CPRS joins call to end unpaid PR internships

TORONTO, June 11, 2021 /CNW/ – The Canadian Public Relations Society (CPRS) has joined the call to end to the practice of unpaid internships in the public relations industry.

This follows the release of an open letter in May 2021 from a group of leaders in the public relations industry voicing their opposition to unpaid internships. The CPRS National Board of Directors had previously passed a motion “to support the initiative to eliminate unpaid internships in the Canadian public relations industry by December 2021.”

With this in mind, the Board unanimously supported the following statement developed by the CPRS Advocacy and Ethical Public Relations Committee: “The Canadian Public Relations Society calls on all those organizations who employ public relations students and interns to ensure they are properly compensated for work performed either by meeting the minimum wage standards in their region or providing an appropriate honorarium.”

“We add our voice to the call to end the practice of unpaid internships in the public relations industry being led by Bruce MacLellan, CEO of Proof Strategies, and chair of Humber College’s public relations program advisory committee, as well as others in the PR field,” stated Wayne Knorr, APR, CPRS National President.

“Interns perform work that generates real outcomes for their employers. The industry must recognize the value that interns bring to their workplace and pay them accordingly. Paying students for the work they do increases the level of engagement and commitment for both students and employers.”

CPRS defines internship as a non-voluntary, contractual form of supervised work experience, of any duration, that benefits the employer and the intern. This is not meant to discourage employers from allowing students to participate in a work-shadowing or short-term experience program that forms a part of a student’s coursework.

As Statistics Canada reports, half of college students aged 17-24 also work. As such, an unpaid internship is not available to those who must hold jobs to support themselves, creating a barrier to some seeking to obtain valuable work experience. Employers who offer paid internships will attract a larger and more diverse compliment of qualified applicants.

“CPRS is committed to encouraging employers to offer PR students this important work experience and to recognize its monetary value,” added Knorr.

About CPRS

Founded in 1948, the Canadian Public Relations Society (CPRS) is a not-for-profit association of professionals dedicated to the practice, management and teaching of public relations and communications. Comprising 14 local societies, CPRS’ mission is to build a national public relations and communications management community through professional development and accreditation, collaboration with thought leaders, a commitment to ethics and a code of professional standards, advocacy for the profession, and support to members at every stage of their careers.

Cision is the exclusive distribution partner of the Canadian Public Relations Society – National.

Additional Background Information:

PR leaders commit to ending unpaid internships
A group of executives and educators want to stop a practice they call exploitative and particularly burdensome to BIPOC.

Humber College’s Anne Marie Males receives the 2020 CPRS Award of Attainment
Recognition in part for her efforts to eliminate unpaid research internships

SOURCE Canadian Public Relations Society

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