TORONTO, Dec. 3, 2013 /CNW/ - Student leaders representing over 140,000
undergraduate and professional students are visiting Queen's Park this
week to call for greater protections for unpaid interns in Ontario.
Participating in the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA)'s
annual Student Advocacy Conference, students will spend the week
meeting with Ministers, MPPs, and party critics to discuss issues
around youth employment, student financial assistance, and university
"Students are becoming increasingly familiar with stories of their peers
being unfairly required to work long hours for no pay," said Amir
Eftekarpour, OUSA President and Vice President External of the
University Students' Council of Western University. "In many cases, the
work being done by interns constitutes paid work under the Employment
Standards Act (ESA) and deserves monetary compensation."
Under the ESA, an unpaid internship that does not provide the intern
with vocational training or displaces a paid position fails to meet the
standards for unpaid work and should therefore be paid.
"OUSA believes that the Ministry of Labour should be more proactive in
its enforcement of the ESA," continued Eftekarpour. "Increased
mechanisms should be put in place that allow any student employed in an
unpaid internship that they believe is illegal the ability to
anonymously file a complaint with the Ministry and have the matter
actively looked into."
Supported by recent reports by the C.D. Howe Institute and the Institute
for Competitiveness and Prosperity, students are also calling for the
Province to cease issuing new tuition and education tax credits and
redirect these funds towards improving and expanding existing financial
"The government expects to spend $340 million on tuition and education
tax credits in 2013, making them the second most expensive investment
the Province makes in student financial assistance," said Spencer
Graham, OUSA Steering Committee Member and Vice President Education of
the McMaster Students Union (MSU). "Yet only 54% of first year students
are aware these tax credits exist and only 1/3 make enough money
in-study to benefit from them, meaning they do little to improve
accessibility or affordability."
Alongside OUSA's concerns with unpaid internships and tuition and
education tax credits, students will also be making recommendations to
politicians and stakeholders regarding work-integrated learning
opportunities, improvements to the Ontario Student Assistance Program,
and spending transparency at Ontario's universities.
About the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA)
OUSA represents the interests of over 140,000 professional and
undergraduate, full- and part-time university students at eight member
associations across Ontario.
SOURCE: Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance
For further information:
For further information or to arrange an interview, please contact Brandon Sloan, Director of Communications.
T: (416) 605-1345