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Snapshot of Unpaid Listings @ UofT

In Universities, Unpaid Internships on September 7, 2011 at 8:45 pm
Toronto Skyline

Credit: ilkerender on flickr

[The following snapshot of job listings was taken from the University of Toronto internal student career site on August 25th, 2011. The fall recruitment drive for next summer’s top jobs – many of which are likely to be unpaid – will begin soon. Email internsheep.canada@gmail.com with scans from your university and they will be posted here to illustrate the extent of the unpaid problem in Canada.]

U of T’s job portal does not distinguish between unpaid internships and volunteer positions and instead lumps everything into one ‘volunteer’ category. Of the 510 listings in the database, 168 were in the volunteer category. That is just shy of 33%, making 1 out of 3 jobs unpaid.

When searching by keyword for ‘intern’ 156 results came back, while only 27 were returned when searching ‘unpaid intern.’ However, many, if not most, of the positions listed under the volunteer category would really be classed as internships or job positions. (A post to come will explore the legal distinctions between volunteer and employee status.)

As with the database at York, some of these listings might be legitimate opportunities. However, the presence of several for-profit corporations (Investors Group Financial Services, RBC, Sony Music) and the concentration of creative fields (web development, design, writing, marketing, social media), parallel trends seen elsewhere that are of questionable legality.

Some posts list letters of reference and experience gained under headings like “what we offer” and “remuneration”. Last time I checked, this kind of creative remuneration isn’t listed as an option under minimum wage guarantees in Employment Standards Acts…

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  1. […] fall, internsheep posted about the amount of unpaid positions at York University and the University of Toronto, questioning whether universities, in presenting these dubious opportunities to their students, […]

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