Failing a job interview because of limited ability is one thing. Being rejected at the beginning of the application process because of your nationality is another story.
“I’m very frustrated now,” said Arieshadella Irwantini, a third year Journalism student at Humber College. “It is like the effort I’ve devoted doesn’t make sense anymore.”
Irwantini was informed that she was not qualified to be an intern at the CBC during the application preparation. She failed the first requirement – being a Canadian.
Irwantini came to Canada two years and a half ago from Indonesia to achieve her dream of being a journalist. Not only her grades but also her participation in the courses has been no worse than domestic students in the program. After two years of earnest study, she was full of joy and hoping to take her first step into the news industry in Canada.
“Unfortunately, our eligibility criteria require internship candidates to be Canadian citizens or permanent residents.” Katy Swailes, a special project assistant at CBC, wrote in an email regarding to the question of the internship requirements. “We have to ensure that interns are entitled to work in Canada and could potentially be brought back for paid work after the internship is complete.”
Other CBC employees also confirmed that it is the inability to be paid as full-time employee after the unpaid internship that is the key barrier. However, for the duration of the summer, at least, it appears this need not be an issue.
“In the summer semester international students are allowed to work fulltime hours,” said Kristina Mathias, the international student advisor at Humber College. “You can work 40 hours a week with a valid co-op work permit in the summer semester.”
When Swailes was told that the previous legal concerns wouldn’t be a barrier for international students she said she would send the interview request “up the chain”.
The end of November is the beginning of the internship application season for Humber students who are receiving their bachelor degrees in 2016. The summer work placement is a mandatory internship students earn course credits for.
According to Humber’s website, by taking the work placement, “The work settings and the work itself supports your professional development and will provide you with both the knowledge and skills required to enter the profession, as well as the confidence to perform the work required.”
Jacky Gao is an international student from China. As a fashion management and promotions postgraduate student at Humber College, he failed his internship interview with Louis Vuitton last year.
“The first question they asked me at the job interview was ‘are you Canadian’,” Gao still looked a bit upset while talking about his experience. “At the moment, I knew I was done.”
He was informed at once that Louis Vuitton rejected him because of his nationality even though he was capable of working full-time legally.
During the 1970s and 1980s, Canada officially adopted a policy of multiculturalism. Both The Employment Equity Act and The Canadian Human Rights Act set the groundwork for creating workplace diversity where the members of visible minorities should be treated equally, but problems like these persist.