Canadian HR Reporter

April 7, 2014

Canadian HR Reporter is the national journal of human resource management. It features the latest workplace news, HR best practices, employment law commentary and tools and tips for employers to get the most out of their workforce.

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CANADIAN HR REPORTER CANADIAN HR REPORTER April 7, 2014 April 7, 2014 2 NEWS NEWS ACROSS CANADA Alberta, Ottawa announce funding deal to address specifi c job vacancies Renewed labour market agreement includes $23 million for training Harper should 'get out of the way' on pension reform: Wynne But feds say Ontario pension plan would hurt business, shrink paycheques Business activity to increase in 2014: Survey But few payroll professionals expecting staff increases Manitoba introducing tax credits, hiring incentives to help with apprenticeships Application process also being streamlined Slow growth may be 'new norm' for Canadian economy: Bank of Canada governor Demand for Canadian products could remain soft for some time AROUND THE WORLD Cuba off ering substantial pay hikes for health-care workers Some to receive raises of over 100 per cent — still less than medical professionals earn elsewhere German fi rms fret about lowering of pension age As of July, people can retire at 63 Seven dead in shooting at Turkey statistics offi ce Attacker previously dismissed from job U.S. CEOs more upbeat on economy: Survey 37 per cent expect to increase employment in next 6 months 5 'megatrends' for HR leaders Rick Lash, national practice leader of leadership and talent at Hay Group, fi lls Canadian HR Reporter TV in on key HR trends identifi ed in the organization's latest book, Leadership 2030 Recent stories posted on Check the website daily for quick news hits from across Canada and around the world. WEB O N T H E FEATURED VIDEO Human resources professionals Human resources professionals sour on unpaid internships: Survey sour on unpaid internships: Survey Many interns performing work of paid employees Many interns performing work of paid employees BY SARAH DOBSON ALMOST TWOTHIRDS (62 per cent) of HR professionals in Ontario feel unpaid internships that are not part of an educa- tional or training program should be illegal, according to a Pulse Survey conducted by the Human Resources Professionals Associa- tion (HRPA) in partnership with Canadian HR Reporter. Internships should not be con- sidered free labour, according to John Breakey, CEO of Fivel, a Mis- sissauga, Ont.-based technology adoption learning company with 15 employees. "I'm not really keen on unpaid people, I think it abuses the op- portunity," he said. "You have to be careful as corporations not to abuse the privilege and the op- portunity, just from a fairness perspective. Oftentimes, an intern has some level of living expenses and so (employers) shouldn't treat them as if they're outside the em- ployment environment." It seems like when times get tough, people think internships are a chance for free labour, said Michelle Baily, vice-president of human resources at Resound in Toronto, a not-for-profi t mu- sic licensing company with 48 employees. "From everything I've looked at, there is no exemption under the employment standards act for non-paying unless it's through an educational program. So I already think they are illegal, but clarity needs to be made on that." But making unpaid internships illegal would limit young peo- ple, especially in the non-profi t world, said Sandra Watt, chief of organizational development at rive Group, a non-profi t um- brella group providing services to people with unique needs. It has about 600 employees. "You limit young people from getting employment experience if the law is going to say we can- not do it… that law would short- change those young people." e whole argument is much more about the ethics of an em- ployer, she said. "Employers are going to abuse interns whether they're paid or unpaid. In fact, they're going to abuse volunteers and their paid workers if it's an ethics issue," said Watt. "One way or another, if you take a fi rm stand on this, you're going to close doors on a certain population of young people look- ing for work experience." Who benefi ts? e biggest concerns around the use of unpaid internships is they only benefi t the organization, not the individual, according to 32 per cent of respondents, and they dis- place paid workers (18 per cent). An internship should be a learning opportunity and employ- ers should be prepared to spend extra time working with these people to teach them and provide them with experience, said Watt. "It's a big investment on the employer's part and employers with internships need to under- stand that it's going to take a little more time because this has to be a learning experience, fi rst and foremost, for the intern." Internships used to be a way for recent graduates from university programs without co-operative education options to get real ex- perience, said one respondent. " ey were specifi c, short-term and off ered genuine value for both parties. Now, it would seem that many organizations — particu- larly in media, arts, publishing, advertising and not-for-profi ts — are using unpaid interns without off ering much to the young peo- ple. To the untrained eye, many seem very exploitative." ree-quarters (76 per cent) of respondents said their interns perform work normally assigned to paid employees. And that's the idea, said Breakey. " at's what you want them to do — you want them to get direct experience." But if an intern is doing the same work as the employee sit- ting beside him, the intern should be paid, said Baily. At Resound, interns are rotated through vari- ous departments to gain a good understanding of the business and they are given a $20-per-day stipend to cover commuting and meal expenses, she said. "Some of it is performing work but it's not displacing workers, it's not free labour," she said. "It's a bal- ance, so it's giving them a cross- section of what it is that we do by actually doing the work. ere's some job shadowing, there's some actual performing of the tasks." To pay or not to pay About one-quarter (27 per cent) of respondents said they off er paid internships, found the Pulse Sur- vey of 611 people. Twelve per cent off er unpaid internships, 24 per cent off er a mix of paid and unpaid internships and 30 per cent don't off er internships. Among the unpaid internships, 66 per cent are part of an educa- tional or training program. "Both the universities and the colleges over the last 20 years have really advanced their co-op pro- grams from what used to be a two- week event to one month to now sometimes six months, and I think those are great," said Breakey. "The integration of business and education is important. Busi- nesses have to participate in the whole education system and the intern environment is a great mechanism to do that — as long as we're not abusing the people." The internships at Durham College are unpaid, according to Tony Sutherland, professor of music business management in Oshawa, Ont. "In rare instances, employers will off er students work and a sal- ary that is outside the realm of the internship. In the last two years, and through the guidance of our advisory committee, we have en- couraged employers to give stu- dents an honorarium for travel and lunch." A lot of the negative media cov- erage has been around non-edu- cational internships, which there's no place for, said Baily. But as part of a formal educational program, they are invaluable. Many people call her up, keen to break into the music industry, but unless the in- ternship is through an educational program, she refuses. "I say, 'Sorry, you're being taken advantage of if anybody's off ering that. If I have a position, I'll hire you but I'm not bringing you in to work for me for free.'" But employers are more likely to take a risk by hiring people with no experience if they are not being paid, said one respondent. "I got my foot in the door at my current organization because of an unpaid internship. ey can be an excellent way to start network- ing and displaying your skills… at being said, I think the length IS > pg. 8

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