A Toronto employment lawyer say upwards of 95 per cent of unpaid internships in Ontario are probably illegal according to a post from Canadian Press, carried on CTV.ca
"If you have an intern making coffee or researching articles . . . then they're an employee, not an intern, and they should be getting minimum wage and all the other protection that comes with the Employment Standards Act," [says Andrew Langille.]...
Under Ontario law, "trainees" can work for free if the training is similar to what's given in a vocational school and is for the benefit of the trainee, with little to no benefit for the employer. Many employers mischaracterize employees as trainees, often because they don't know or understand the regulations, Langille says. Matt Blajer, a spokesman for Ontario's Ministry of Labour, says the government will consider suggestions "regarding non-traditional work patterns" when the law is up for review. In the U.S., the federal Labor Department last year pledged to crack down on companies that fail to pay interns proper wages.
[Thanks to Jowita Bydlowska for pointing this story out on the Toronto Freelance Editors and Writers listserv.]