📢📢📢 L’état de la grève peut être trouvé ici: https://crues.org/greve-des-stages/  📢📢📢


Professional, college and university students in several regions are calling for strike actions and protests for the salarization of all internships in the run-up to International Interns' Day on November 10, 2023. These pressure tactics, which will be deployed in several locations across the so-called province, aim to underline the student movement's exasperation with this classist, patriarchal and racist inequality.

This call to action is the result of a mobilization committee meeting held on September 12, bringing together students from the Montreal metropolitan region, the Capitale-Nationale, Bas-Saint-Laurent, Outaouais, Estrie and Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean. The committee plans to hold several demonstrations in various regions on November 10 at 3 pm. The starting points for the various demonstrations will be announced in the coming weeks.

Unpaid internships and the racial and gendered division of labor

In so-called Quebec, 9 of the 20 professions with the most women, some of which require a college or university diploma, require unpaid internships during training. This proportion is 3 among the 20 professions with the most men.

In fact, the professions most heavily occupied by women and associated with non-salaried internships are essentially reproductive jobs such as teaching, nursing and social work. These are also jobs where racialized women are over-represented, but also sectors of activity where we find the highest proportions of first-generation academics.In this sense, the non-remuneration of internships produces a precariousness that proportionally targets women, racialized people and first-generation academics.

Moreover, the exclusion of interns performing reproductive work from the wage relationship contributes to the invisibilization of their work under capitalism and patriarchy. There is a mystification of their activity as not being work, i.e. interns' work is not presented as work with a value, but as an educational service rendered to them. 

On the one hand, this does not explain why internships associated with male professions are paid, while those associated with female professions are not. On the other hand, the majority of interns provide a work service, sometimes even if they are on so-called "observation" internships. Finally, studying is also working: making oneself competent to carry out certain tasks is also a service to society, the state and capital, as evidenced by the exasperation of employers faced with shortages of skilled labor.

Discrimination in the workplace

The mobilization committee also denounces the way in which internship conditions are conducive to the reproduction of discriminatory mechanisms, particularly with regard to people who are racialized, disabled or belong to a sexual minority. 

The internship is quite an ordeal. It's common for teachers and program directors to set high standards in terms of time and energy for trainees, on the pretext that "the related professions demand nothing less than the best of the best".

And yet, many people report being misgendered, deadnamed, or receiving racist, capacitist or sexist comments about their internship environment. However, many find themselves obliged to tolerate such discrimination in the name of successful completion of their studies.

Similarly, internships require interns to contribute all their mental, physical and material faculties over a long period of time, between 45 and 600 hours per session, which can represent 40 hours per week. It also requires sustained performance that does not compromise the productivity level of the employees. "It's all about keeping things moving!" After all, interns do serve as a low-cost workforce for private enterprise, and as an alternative solution for the state in a context of cuts to public services. So, having a paid job at the same time to pay the rent, food, transport, etc., and sometimes taking care of the children, makes the number of hours worked per week explode.

Moreover, unpaid internships often lead to a drop in employment income, given the reduced number of hours worked outside the academic career.As a result, many unpaid interns are forced to rely financially on family and friends, dip into their savings, go into debt or abandon their program. The most precarious people, who have the most recourse to debt, are going to pay more for their education because of the high interest rates imposed on them after their studies.

Reconciling a family, a salaried job, a drop in income and the demands of an internship can be a real challenge, which can turn into a nightmare when interns also experience transphobic, racist or sexist acts.

Student strike

The people gathered at the committee call on student associations to adopt strike mandates for November 10, 2023. This strike is part of an escalation of pressure tactics for the salarization of internships initiated as early as 2015 by psychology internship students, then by CUTE from 2016 and, more recently, by the five-week strike of the Association des étudiantes et des étudiants de la Faculté des sciences de l'éducation de l'UQAM (ADEESE) in fall 2022 and the one-week strike of the Association générale étudiante du campus de Rimouski de l'UQAR (AGECAR) and the Association générale des étudiantes et des étudiants du Cégep de Rimouski (AGECR) in winter 2023.

In the absence of internships, various student associations intend to continue intensifying their pressure tactics over the coming year, and do not rule out the possibility of an unlimited general strike.


Signatories to the call for demonstrations and strikes

Coalition de résistance pour l’unité étudiante syndicale (CRUES)

Association des étudiantes et des étudiants de la Faculté des sciences de l’éducation de l’UQAM (ADEESE-UQAM)

Association Étudiante du Module de Science Politique de l’UQAM (AEMSP-UQAM)

Association générale des étudiants en sciences de l’Université de Sherbrook (AGES)

Association facultaire étudiante de science politique et droit de l’UQAM (AFESPED)

Association générale étudiante du campus de Rimouski de l’UQAR (AGECAR)

Association Générale Étudiante du Cégep du Vieux Montréal (AGECVM)

Association générale des étudiants du Cégep de Rimouski (AGECR)

Association générale étudiante du premier cycle en psychologie de l’UQAM (AGEPSY-1) 

Société Générale des Étudiants et Étudiantes du Collège de Maisonneuve (SOGÉÉCOM)

Association des Étudiant(e)s de l’École des Affaires Publiques et Communautaires de l’Université Concordia (AÉÉAPC/SCPASA)

Association facultaire étudiante des sciences humaines de l’UQAM (AFESH-UQAM)

Association des étudiant-es en sciences sociales de l’Université Laval (AÉSS-UL)

Geography Undergrad Student Society of Concordia (GUSS)

Association étudiante du Cégep de Sherbrooke (AÉCS)

Association facultaire étudiante des arts de l’UQAM (AFÉA-UQAM)

Syndicat des Étudiant·e·s Employé·e·s de l’UQAM (SETUE)

Association des étudiant-es en sciences sociales de l’Université Laval (AÉSS-UL)


  1. Les données quant au nombre de personne par professions, quant à la proportion d’homme/femme et quant aux diplômes associés ont été extraites de « Explorer des métiers et des professions », 28 juin 2023, en ligne, <https://www.quebec.ca/emploi/informer-metier-profession/explorer-metiers-professions>. Puis, les caractéristiques des stages ont été vérifiées sur les divers sites web des établissements collégiaux ou universitaires. Suivre le lien suivant pour voir les données collectées : <https://bit.ly/3OO5ddT>.
  2. Voir Milan et Gagnon, « Professions des femmes sud-asiatiques, chinoises et noires », 23.
  3. Voir Sylvie Bonin. « Les étudiants de première génération universitaire : Toujours d’actualité ! », Enquête ICOPE (Université du Québec, janvier 2019), 7. https://www.uquebec.ca/dri/publications/rapports_de_recherche/etudiants_premiere_gen_univ_2016.pdf.
  4. Sandrine Belley, Alice Brassard, et Ariane Lanctôt. « La crème de la crème a tourné : Capacitisme, handicap et santé mentale », dans Grève des stages, grève des femmes : Anthologie d’une lutte féministe pour un salaire étudiant (2016-2019), dir. Annabelle Berthiaume et al. (Montréal : Les Éditions du Remue-ménage, 2021).
  5.  DERU et DGAUISE, « Stages étudiants : Programmes d’études professionnelles, techniques et universitaires : Portrait, enjeux et pistes de solutions ».