The issue of whether interns should be paid continues to be a hot topic after two former Bell Mobility interns filed a complaint with the Canadian Labour Board.
CBC's Ottawa Morning hosted a debate between two Ottawa employers Wednesday.
Doug Tetzner is the head of talent acquisition for the Ottawa tech firm Shopify, which pays interns for their work, and Vinod Rajasekaran is the executive director of HUB Ottawa, which offers unpaid internships.
'Look at them as regular employees'
"We don't really treat them any differently than paid employees … we look at them as regular employees who just happen to be here for two, four, or say eight months," said Tetzner.
Shopify interns typically earn between $15 and $35 an hour, said Tetzner, which is less than the wage of regular employees.
"We get value from our interns, we also want to hire interns once they graduated," said Tetzner.
Unpaid internships legal in Ontario
Interns at Hub Ottawa, however, receive an honorarium of roughly $40 a week to go towards further professional development, but do not get an hourly wage.
"Our internships are designed to be an extension of their in-class learning," said Rajasekaran. "There's a huge focus on mentorship, there's a huge focus on learning and building their social capital."
Unpaid internships are legal in Ontario as long as they meet certain rules.
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