Trainees are usually people who are studying and who must complete a training period as part of an educational program. Sometimes, they are also workers who complete a training period as part of a job.
Trainees may complete different types of training periods.
Protection of trainees in the workplace
Anyone who completes a training period, called a trainee, is protected by the Loi visant à assurer la protection des stagiaires en milieu de travail if either the following 2 situations applies:
- the training period is required to obtain a permit to practice issued by a professional order
- the training period meets the following 3 criteria:
- it is part of a program of study or training program at the secondary, vocational, college or university level
- it is offered by an educational institution
- it leads to a diploma, a certificate or an attestation of studies
In the event that the trainee would also be covered by another Act, an individual employment contract, a collective agreement or any other agreement relating to training period or working conditions, the most advantageous standards and conditions will apply to their situation.
Rights of trainees
Every trainee is entitled to a training environment that is free from psychological or sexual harassment.
The employer, the educational institution or the professional order does not have the right to apply discriminatory measures, reprisals or sanctions following the exercise of a right provided for in the Act by the trainee.
Short-term absences or leave
Every trainee is entitled to leave for events that occur during the training period.
They have the right to be absent:
- on statutory general holidays
- owing to an illness or for family or parental obligations (maximum of 10 days per year, per training period)
- for a death or funeral
- for a wedding or civil union
- for an adoption or birth
- for an examination related to their pregnancy
The trainee’s employer and the educational institution or professional order are required to make reasonable efforts to accommodate a trainee who must be absent from their training period for longer:
Examples of accommodation:
- Agree that the hours not worked owing to one of these absences may be completed at a date after the date of end of the training period provided for in the training period agreement to ensure that the success of their studies or the obtention of their permit to practice their profession is not compromised because they exercised a right provided for in the Act
- Ensure that their absence for a few days owing to illness or for family or parental obligations does not affect the training period assessment
Any trainee may file a complaint for a prohibited practice in the event of discriminatory measures, reprisals or sanctions by the employer, the educational institution or the professional order following the exercise of a right provided for in the Act.
The trainee’s employer and the educational institution or professional order are obliged to prevent harassment and to put an end to it when it is brought to their attention.
Any trainee who believes that they have been the victim of psychological or sexual harassment may file a complaint with the CNESST.
With the trainee’s consent, a complaint may be filed on their behalf by:
- a non-profit student rights organization
- a pupil or student association
- a group of pupil or student associations
Remedies adapted to each trainee’s particular situation may be imposed by the Tribunal administratif du travail.
Risk prevention during a training period
With respect to occupational health and safety, an educational institution is considered to be the employer (in French only) of students who are completing a training period as part of a program of study or a training program.
The trainee and their educational institution and training site have responsibilities to ensure the health and safety of trainees before and during the training period.
The training site and the educational institution are obliged to take the necessary measures to protect the health and ensure the safety and physical and psychological well-being of trainees.
Accident or occupational disease during the training period
Conditions must be met so that trainees are insured in the event of a work accident or occupational disease (in French only).
Trainees are considered to be workers when the workplace training period is paid. In this case, they are automatically insured by the CNESST.
The trainee, their educational institution and their training site all have a role to play in the event of a work accident or occupational disease during the training period.
To ensure that the training period is carried out in safe conditions that respect trainees’ rights, consult the list of responsibilities that apply in your situation. It provides information about what must be taken into account during the training period.
- the trainee’s list of responsibilities (in French only)
- the training site’s list of responsibilities (in French only)
- the educational institution’s list of responsibilities (in French only)
- the professional order’s list of responsibilities (in French only) for training periods that are required to obtain a permit to practice a profession or that are required as part of a program of study
- Specific provisions concerning trainees under the different acts
Specific provisions related to the Loi sur les normes du travail
Unpaid trainees are not covered by the Loi sur les normes du travail because they do not receive a salary.
Trainees are considered to be workers when the workplace training period is paid. Therefore, paid trainees generally have the same rights with respect to labour standards.
The Loi sur les normes du travail applies in part to some paid trainees, namely, trainees:
- who work within the framework of a vocational training program recognized by law, for example articling period for the Bar and articling period in accounting. These trainees are not entitled to the minimum wage or annual vacation. They are protected by the other provisions of the Loi sur les normes du travail
- who work during the school year in an establishment selected by an educational institution and within the framework of a work initiation program approved by the Ministère de l’Éducation and the Ministère de l’Enseignement supérieur. This student is protected by the provisions of the Loi sur les normes du travail only in relation to:
- who work within the framework of employment assistance measures or programs that provide for workplace exploration training periods to clarify vocational orientation or to support job integration or job preparation. These trainees are totally excluded from the Loi sur les normes du travail during the first 4 weeks of the training period
Specific provisions related to the Loi sur l’équité salariale
Unpaid interns are not covered by the Loi sur l’équité salariale because they do not receive a salary.
Some trainees are excluded in the calculation of the number of workers (in French only) by the employer during the initial pay equity exercise and the pay equity audit (in French only). The Loi sur l’équité salariale does not apply to paid trainees:
- who complete a training period within the framework of a vocational training program recognized by law
- who work during the school year in an establishment selected by an educational institution to integrate practical experience with theoretical training
- who work in their field of study at the educational institution where they are studying