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Trainees may complete an educational, probationary, refresher or upgrading training period in the course of their work. The training period may be completed in order to do a job or a new task in a job. It can also be a probationary period or a training period at the beginning of a job that is required by the employer. In most cases, the employer must pay the trainee during these periods.

These categories of trainees are covered by all the legislation enforced by the CNESST.

Certain conditions apply for the protection of trainees (in French only) in the event of a work accident or occupational disease during the training period and in the calculation of the size of a company during the pay equity exercise.

The CNESST gives employers the opportunity to take on a worker who has suffered a work accident or occupational disease as a trainee. In this case, the employer must:

  • be registered with the CNESST (in French only)
  • have an experience file in good standing
  • be able to offer the worker a training period that they are capable of doing, depending on their condition or situation

Exceptions to labour standards for student trainees

The working conditions provided for under the Loi sur les normes du travail apply to student trainees except in the following situations:

  • a student who works 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 et de l’Enseignement supérieur (MEES). However, they are covered by the provisions relating to:
  • trainees within the framework of a vocational training program recognized by law (for example, articling period for the Bar, articling period in accounting, etc.). These trainees are covered by most of the provisions of the Loi sur les normes du travail, except for the right to minimum wage and the right to annual vacation, from which they are excluded.
  • a person who works 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 is excluded from the Loi sur les normes du travail. This exception applies for the first 4 weeks of each of these training periods.

Further information

The Loi sur l’équité salariale and the Loi sur les normes du travail do not apply to students or trainees when the job is part of a Québec university or college program.

Training period agreement

To ensure a training period goes smoothly, the CNESST recommends that the roles and responsibilities of the student, the employer and the educational institution or school board be established before the training period begins.

Role of the trainee

At the training site, the student is responsible for:

  • taking the necessary steps to protect their health, safety and physical well-being and that of other workers
  • participating in the identification and elimination of hazards in the workplace
  • wearing appropriate personal protective equipment in the workplace and following the safety rules in use in their workplace
  • refusing to perform a task if they believe that it endangers their health and safety or that of another person

Role of the employer

To support and protect trainees, the employer is responsible for:

  • appointing a training supervisor in the company and ensuring that they train and supervise the trainee from the beginning of the training period
  • ensuring compliance with training period guidelines
  • providing the personal protective equipment and collective protective equipment necessary for the tasks performed by the trainee free of charge (unless the equipment is provided by the educational institution)
  • committing to providing the trainee with a safe and healthy work environment

Role of the educational institution or school board

During the training period of one of these students, the educational institution or school board is responsible for:

  • setting up, in collaboration with the company's training supervisor, a reception and training plan for the trainee
  • obtaining from the employer a description of the tasks to be performed by the trainee
  • terminating the training period if the health and safety measures are not respected by the employer or the trainee
  • selecting the training site by visiting it to ensure that the workplace is healthy and safe
  • assessing, in collaboration with the company's training supervisor, whether the trainee has mastered the requisite knowledge and recommended practices for the tasks performed during their training period

Laws and regulations

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