Feds used hundreds of unpaid interns since ’08; few hired for paid jobs

More than 30 federal government departments and agencies have employed hundreds of unpaid interns since 2008, but only a few were hired for paying jobs.

OTTAWA — More than 30 federal government departments and agencies have employed hundreds of unpaid interns since 2008, but only a few were hired for paying jobs.

In House of Commons written responses to the NDP, the Conservatives say that just 22 of the 961 unpaid interns were subsequently brought on to work for the government.

The responses reveal that Veteran Affairs Canada hosted the most unpaid interns of any department, with at least 142 since 2008, but only one was later hired on as a paid employee.

The Department of National Defence had 57 interns; seven were offered jobs.

A number of departments provided no information because they don’t track unpaid interns, while others had missing data for several years.

NDP MP Laurin Liu, who has tabled a private member’s bill to crack down on unpaid internships in federally regulated industries, says she’s stunned at how few federal interns were subsequently hired.