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Death knell sounding for unpaid internships?

By: The Canadian Press

 | Aug 08, 2014 - 3:15 PM |
OTTAWA - Canadian companies large and small are nervously eyeing their unpaid intern programs because of increasing scrutiny about the practice, says a New Democrat MP who's tabled a private member's bill that would regulate unpaid interns.

Andrew Cash says he's heard from companies of various sizes in recent months that are rethinking their programs.

And an unpaid internship program at Bell Mobility, the so-called Professional Management Program, appears to have been at least temporarily shuttered.

After telling callers earlier this week that Bell was not accepting applications to the program, the phone number associated with the program now goes unanswered. Its recruitment and application web page is also down.

Under the program, hundreds of unpaid interns were employed annually at the company, one of Canada's largest and most profitable telecommunications giants.

Bell Mobility did not immediately reply to a request for a comment about whether it had scrapped the program in the face of growing controversy.

Cash says he's been told by companies that they've begun paying their unpaid interns as a result of the scrutiny and a lack of cohesive regulations. His bill will be debated in the House of Commons this fall.

Follow Lee-Anne Goodman on Twitter at @leeanne25

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