Monday, May 05, 2014

Some Walrus interns are back working in a pilot project funded by Chawkers Foundation

Given that this blog reported fairly extensively on the fallout from the Ontario Ministry of Labour crackdown on unpaid internships, it seems only reasonable to report that some interns are back, and paid, at The Walrus. The story, reported by the Toronto Star, is that the Chawkers Foundation, a private family foundation that was primarily responsible for the launch of The Walrus in the first place, will pay three of its interns for six month "editorial fellowships".
“The new Chawkers Fellows will be solely funded by The Chawkers Foundation who will provide a stipend to the three of them (in an amount acceptable to the Ministry of Labour) for the six month period, which begins now and ends at the end of September,” wrote co-publisher Shelley Ambrose in an email to the Star.
“We, of course, offered the opportunity to those who were affected by the Ministry of Labour’s shut down,” she wrote.
Ambrose maintains the magazine is not "hiring" the fellows.
“The Walrus Foundation does not pay them. This is a project by The Chawkers Foundation that we are creating for Chawkers,” Ambrose wrote. “We did not ‘rehire.’ The three individuals who are here now were interns before. We offered the former interns who were affected by the Ministry’s order FIRST chance at becoming Fellows (which we were thrilled to be able to do) and taking part in this pilot project and they agreed.”
Of the seven interns found on the premises by the ministry of labour, two were kept on because they were paying tuition at vocational schools and three are now working again courtesy of Chawkers. Which, we suppose, means that two interns are essentially out of luck. 

Now, a bit of background. The Chawkers Foundation paid $5 million to help get The Walrus off the ground a decade ago -- pledging $1 million a year for five years. The scion of the family, Ken Alexander, became the editor and quit in 2008 after a tumultuous reign. For a time, early on in the magazine's life, the Metcalfe Foundation had funded Walrus internships -- one of the most lucrative programs in Canada -- but several years ago pulled its support. Thereafter, interns were unpaid. It's not known what the three interns are now to be paid, but if it is at the Ontario minimum wage, the nut for the Chawkers is probably in the range of $65,000. 

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Fellowship" is sexist, patriarchal and dangerously close to being misogynistic. Get rid of this term! Now! Or I will call the Ministry of Labour (again!).

The bright side to this story is there's still something to bitch bout, thank gawd.

Andrea Horwath, we need you on this file immediately! We are all drowning in a sea of neoncon ... yada, yada...

11:20 pm  

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