Student March Halts at Ministry of Education, Unhappy with ‘Short Term’ Solutions

General Assemblies Set to Take Place Friday

Students gathered in front of the ministry of education yesterday to voice their concerns. Photo Caroline Marsh

For the second time in two days, students across Montreal partook in a march against unpaid internships. The demonstration was capped off by students coming to a halt in front of the office of the ministry of higher education.

For the last three years, students have been putting pressure on the provincial government to provide remuneration for internships. They want to see interns considered workers under the labour code, so they can get the same rights and protections as regular employees.

Still, students are unsatisfied with the responses they’ve received over the issue.

“It’s evident that [the provincial government’s] short term solutions won’t solve this issue in our society,” said Raphaëlle Théorêta—a psychoeducation student at Université de Montréal—in front of the ministry’s office.

In January, Quebec’s Minister of Education Jean-François Roberge said he was conscious of the inequalities that exists in internships across Quebec. This month, Roberge said work on the issue was “progressing rapidly.”

“The scenarios for the compensation [for internships] will be presented at the end of April,” wrote Roberge on Twitter yesterday. “We have been assured by the minister of finance that money will be available to follow up as soon as the next fall.”

Sandrine Belley, a social work student the Université du Québec à Montréal, said she’s concerned and that Roberge has “made it clear” that provincial budget won’t include anything regarding remuneration for interns.


“It’s not acceptable to ask interns to wait another year without a salary and without legal protection,” said Belley. “It’s a lack of political will.”

Charlène Boucher, member of Campagne sur le travail étudiant UQAM, said in a statement that if the minister doesn’t get to work, then interns and students will do the same.

“No salary, no trainees,” Bousher wrote in the statement.

Joëlle Dupuis, a sexology student at UQAM, claimed the Quebec government “doesn’t care” about what the students are asking for and said they don’t “want to talk with us.”

“It’s not just the money, we don’t have the right of workers during our internships,” Dupuis said.

Various student associations across Quebec—including Concordia’s School of Community and Public Affairs—will be holding general assemblies on Friday.

Belley is expecting students to continue voting in favour of continuing the general unlimited strike.

“The strike will continue as long as we get what we demand,” Dupuis said.