In staff jargon, internships are generally classified in bulk as “formal”, “informal”, “paid” and “unpaid”. Organizations can sometimes be confused when it comes to understanding their responsibilities when introducing an internship contract, especially with regard to remuneration. With the recruitment season in full swing, many post-secondary students and graduates are feeling the stress of competing with a limited number of summer internships. In the midst of a limited number of positions and an increasingly competitive job market, many students are unaware of their labour rights. Even in junior positions, you deserve adequate compensation and recognition for your work. Are unpaid internships legal? The short answer is that, unless the intern is a student, probably not. Unpaid internships are prohibited in Ontario unless the internship falls under one of the three narrowly interpreted exceptions mentioned in the ESA: these sections of the ESA become legal for unpaid internships. If a traineeship is not covered by the exceptions referred to in Articles 3(5) and 1(2), the person must be paid for his or her work. Persons who are not considered “workers” under the law are effectively not covered by or protected by the ESA. This creates a loophole in the legislation in which a large proportion of young workers may lack the essential labour protection under this law. Such an archaic system reminds us of the past, before employees enjoyed legal protection and were forced to work long days in uncertain environments. This is essentially a reality for many people who are looking for work experience in unpaid internships….