Canada Precarity Workers

Re-making markets with unpaid internships

From political proposals to street protests, unpaid internships have been making news in Canada. Rightfully so, as there is a litany of problems with unpaid internships. For individuals, unpaid internships can not only be a form of outright wage theft, they also help entrench class-based privilege that allows some the luxury of forgo income in exchange for work experience. Unpaid internships also distort the labour market and contribute to lower participation and higher unemployment, especially among young workers. For firms, of course, unpaid internships offer some real cost savings. There could, however, be another reason why unpaid internships are popular: they help remake the terms of the labour market itself.