The Doug Ford campaign is seeking unpaid interns to help with the Ward 2 councillor’s mayoral run.
Over the last several weeks posting seeking help for Ford’s campaign have found their way onto the job boards of local universities like UofT, York and Ryerson. Ford’s campaign is office is seeking young individuals that are proficient at Microsoft Word and Excel, typing, research and social media. The expectation is that applicants are willing and able to work 15 to 20 hours each week between now and the end of the campaign.
“You will be involved with many areas of campaign execution and be exposed to the inner workings of how its [sic] all put together, gaining valuable experience and know how,” says the posting on the York University Career Centre website.
Unpaid internships have become a hot button issue of late. The Ministry of Labour recently became much more active in policing unpaid internship; a recent blitz it conducted found a significant number of unpaid internships do not conform to ministry guidelines. According to one of its guidelines, the employer of an unpaid intern should gain little to no benefit from the free labour. Additionally, interns cannot replace someone else’s job. Based on those guidelines, the Ministry of Labour will likely take issue with the positions Doug Ford’s campaign is seeking to fill.
According to Canada.com, this is not the first time one of the Fords is in the news for their use of unpaid interns. In 2010, Nick Kouvalis, Rob Ford’s campaign manager at the time, said he underpaid and overworked his young staff to great effect. “I wanted young kids because I could pay them nothing and they would do what I told them to. I paid them $500 a week and I wanted 60 or 70 hours a week out of them,” he later told a group of lobbyists at a fundraising dinner.
Of course, the reality is that whether they’re called interns or volunteers, whoever wins this fall’s election will do so with significant unpaid help. Doug Ford campaign is merely the most blatant about it. [via Canada.com]
Igor Bonifacic is the managing editor of Toronto Standard. Follow him on Twitter.