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Why We Don’t Do Unpaid Internships

Posted by Kelly Chen in Business


As students or recent grads looking for work experience, a lot of us have been tempted to take on an internship.

It’ll look great on my resume!

Think of all the connections and experience I’ll gain!

Yes, experience is fantastic, and no one is arguing against that. But experience alone doesn’t pay the bills.

You might find an internship position that is amazing and helps you develop more skills than you ever expected, but if you can’t put food on the table at the end of the day, is it really worth it?

In our opinion, if an internship involves doing real tasks – not just getting coffee – then it counts as a job, and jobs, by definition, involve payment.

If, as a graduation requirement, you must complete an internship, then the work experience hours could count as a form of compensation, but we still believe in providing an honorarium once the internship is complete.

Beyond what we personally believe in, unpaid internships are actually illegal in British Columbia unless they fall into one of two categories: graduation requirements or training for specific professions. (More information on internships in Canada can be found here: http://www.internassociation.ca/what-is-the-law/)

Basically, it just boils down to what we are comfortable with: we’ve been students, recent grads, and unemployed. We’ve struggled with having consistent income and wrestled with how to gain work experience. Is it fair to take advantage of someone who desperately wants some experience for their resume?