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In Ontario, the Employment Standards Act sets out protections specifically for employees. However, some classes of workers do not fall into the definition of “employee” and the Employment Standards Act does not apply to these separate classes of workers.

Someone called an intern will generally be considered to be an employee under the ESA (and therefore will need to be paid) if they:

  • receive training from an employer
  • are being trained in a skill that is used by the employer’s employees

However, the ESA does not apply to an individual who performs work that is under a program approved by a:

  • college of applied arts and technology or a university
  • private career college registered under the Private Career Colleges Act, 2005

That being said, unpaid internships are not permitted unless:

  • The intern is receiving academic training
  • The position is providing training required for a specific profession (ie. an articling student or architecture student)
  • The internship fulfills all the requirements that must be met to be classified as a “trainee” under the ESA

If you think that your employer should be paying you for your internship and are looking to obtain legal advice, please contact Toronto employment lawyers, Sultan Lawyers at 416-214-5111 or via email at mlahert@sultanlawyers.com.