Mr. Speaker, today, for the first time ever, almost 50% of workers in Toronto cannot find stable, full-time jobs. What does this mean for urban workers and, in fact, for all workers across the country who are among this growing sector? It means part-time work, split shifts, serial contracts, self-employment and, increasingly, it means unpaid internships.
There are many excellent internship programs out there, but their reputation is being tarnished by companies that wish to exploit young workers. Indeed, more and more young people who are recent graduates, carrying on average $28,000 in student debt, are told that they must work for free first before being able to get a paying job in their field. It is tantamount to being bribed with the possibility of a job in exchange for free labour. Indeed, too often unpaid internships are being misused while the current government turns a blind eye.
This inaction is one of the many reasons that I will be tabling an urban worker bill in the House that will, among other things, call on the government to crack down on the misuse of unpaid internships. I urge the government to finally take this issue seriously, to take the issue of youth unemployment seriously and to support my bill.