New Rights and Protections for Unpaid Trainees

In the News

Are you currently doing or about to start unpaid training? Even though most workplace protections don’t apply to you, you now have new rights and protections thanks to a law that applies as of August 24, 2022.

Holidays and time off

You have the right to take the same public holidays as paid employees, even though you don’t get paid for them. If you have to work on a public holiday, you can ask your employer for a different day off. You can also take ten days off if you’re sick, or for personal reasons. For example, you can ask for time off to take care of someone close to you.

You can also take five days off after your child is born or adopted, and, in some cases, if you get an abortion.

Although you don’t have the right to the same long-term leaves of absence as paid employees, your employer must accommodate you if you need to take time off for certain medical or family reasons, like the birth or adoption of a child. Your professional order or educational institution must also accommodate you.

Protections against workplace harassment

Your employer must protect you from psychological harassment, including sexual harassment. The same goes for your professional order and your educational institution.

In general, if you experience psychological harassment at work, you can file a complaint with the Commission des normes, de l’équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (CNESST or labour standards, pay equity and workplace health and safety board).

 For more information on workplace harassment, check out our articles on psychological harassment at work and sexual harassment at work.

Trainees have many other rights. Contact the CNESST to find out more.

Are you considered a trainee?

You’re considered a trainee if you shadow or take part in activities that are meant to help you develop or apply certain skills.

You must also be in one of the following situations:

  • The training program is required to be able to practice a profession (for example, practice as a lawyer or a notary).
  • Or the training program is part of a secondary, vocational, CEGEP or university program that will give you a diploma, a certificate, or an attestation of studies.