Quebec is protecting interns in the workplace
Dimitris Ilias, Local Journalism Initiative
In an important move to protect interns at the workplace the Minister of Labour Jean Boulet announced that Bill 14 was passed by the National Assembly. The Bill is particularly important to the young workforce of Park-ex being a borough bordering the largest university of Quebec.
This law represents a step forward in the rights and protections offered to the 195,000 interns who complete an internship in the workplace each year. With the adoption of the law, interns will be able to benefit from short-term leaves or accommodation measures for longer absences. In addition, they will be granted better protections against psychological or sexual harassment as well as recourses adapted to their reality at the Commission for Standards, Equity, Health and Safety at Work (CNESST) and the Administrative Labour Court.
This law places Quebec in the forefront of Canadian jurisdictions in terms of the rights and protections of interns. The CNESST, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Higher Education as well as student associations will be called upon to develop tools to publicize the new provisions applicable to interns in Quebec. “I am delighted to see that our project quickly achieved consensus among players and stakeholders from student associations, education and employment circles, as well as my parliamentary colleagues. Adhering to the bill allows Quebec to grant better protections to interns in the workplace. With this historic advance, we will promote the success of our interns so that they can integrate the labor market and participate in the economic development of Quebec in healthy environments free from harassment,” said Minister of Labour Jean Boulet.
The law grants interns the right to be absent from their internship for short-term leaves, in particular during public holidays, due to illness, due to family or parental obligations or to care for a loved one, at the death or funeral of a member of their family, on the occasion of a marriage or civil union, for the birth of a child, adoption or termination of pregnancy or for a medical examination related to a pregnancy, whether this examination is performed by a midwife, a doctor or a specialized nurse practitioner.
The law provides that the employer and, as the case may be, the educational institution or the professional order must take the reasonable means at their disposal to ensure that the success of the studies or training of the intern or obtaining a permit to practice a profession is not compromised because of the exercise of a right provided for by law. They must also take the reasonable means at their disposal to accommodate the trainee in the event of a long-term absence for a reason provided for in the Act Respecting Labour Standards.
The intern will be able to benefit from better protection in terms of reprisals, psychological or sexual harassment, as well as recourses adapted to their reality. The law also allows a non-profit organization for the defense of students' rights or an association or a group of student or student associations to lodge a complaint with the CNESST on behalf of an intern.