Feel a class action lawsuit coming on?

A reader comments at my recent article In the dining room, an OOPs moment:


You may have hit on to something really big here. I recently learned that an acquaintance is doing an unpaid internship for 6 months in order to possibly get a paying job as a paralegal. At a major Vancouver law firm. How pervasive is this?

Mind you, if major firms in the law industry are improperly using  unpaid interns, there won’t be a rush of legal factories wanting to start a class action lawsuit.

However, if labour law is being routinely ignored and unenforced in British Columbia, chances of a class action suit succeeding are good. Ontario courts recently certified a class action for an unpaid overtime claim by current and former employees of investment company BMO Nesbitt Burns Inc.

If anyone wants to participate, I can put them in touch with a lawyer not afraid to act. You can email me at the address shown at the upper right.


Fairmont Hotel is not one of our good corporate citizens. The company is owned by capital pools in USA, Saudia Arabia and Cayman Islands. It would be interesting to know if any corporate income tax is paid in Canada or if the income moves to convenient tax havens.

The Canadian Intern Association offers information and resources. It also discusses Fairmont HERE.

Categories: Uncategorized

3 replies »

  1. The class-action is an interesting idea.

    Looks like my comment posted in “In the dining room, an oops moment” didn't make it up.

    Here goes again: Norm I am not a tax expert, but shouldn't employers have to claim the unpaid work as a benefit? After all, it is my understanding that employees have to claim some benefits as income.


  2. Not directly. But, not paying a full time worker for a month saves them about $2,100 in wages, vacation pay, EI, CPP, WCB and perhaps more for non-statutory benefits.

    They don't declare the value of donated labour as income but they also don't deduct the expenses they would have paid to regular employee. A profitable local business would therefore have a higher income tax bill.

    However, in these days of multinational businesses using foreign tax shelters, many corporations pay little or no incomes taxes. For example, giant American company General Electric earned $11 billion profits in a recent year and paid no income tax to the USA. They even got a $1.1 billion tax credit because of their supposed tax losses.

    According to Forbes: “global companies like Apple, Starbucks and Hewlett-Packard… aggressively put income in pockets around the world in ways the IRS doesn’t like. The IRS isn’t alone in not liking it. The G20 countries and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) have been calling it tax manipulation.

    So, no. Businesses like the Fairmont Waterfront hotel using illegal unpaid workers don't declare a taxable benefit like you or I do if our employer gives us something of value.

    BTW, this discussion leaves me wondering if the BC Gov't reported a taxable benefit to Basi & Virk when they paid $6 million to keep those guys (and a few Liberals) out of jail in the BC Rail putridity.


  3. Thanks Norm. It ain't fair.

    Good point about Basi & Virk. Mackin are you there?

    BTW Norm, does your brain hurt from knowing so much???

    July Morning


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