What Teens Need to Know About Getting an Internship in Canada

Internships are a great way to gain real-world work experience and learn more about the career you’d like to pursue. In this article we explain what getting an internship in Canada involves and share some tips to help you get started.

What is an internship?

An internship is a short-term working opportunity designed to help you get experience in a specific industry or career. The length and terms of internships in Canada vary and are dependent on different company and industry standards. 

In 2023 an internship could look like working part-time or full-time at a company over the summer. Internship opportunities are now more likely to be completely remote or hybrid. In Canada, it is possible to be paid for the time you spent interning at a company.

What is a student internship?

A student internship is an internship that takes place in a federally regulated industry or workplace. Unlike a regular internship, you need to be enrolled in a valid secondary, post-secondary institution, or vocational school and undertake the internship to fulfill your program requirements.

If you are a student intern, the Canada Labour Code doesn’t require that you get paid. However, there are federal labour standards that protect student interns and help you understand your rights around safe working conditions, standard hours of work, and breaks. 

Read more: How to pay for university or college

What are the benefits of getting an internship?

Getting a student internship can help you build practical and soft skills, like teamwork and leadership. We’ve outlined a few benefits below, plus tips on how to make the most of your internship.

Gain valuable work experience

Internships allow you to get hands-on experience in the workplace. These experiences will help you when you start your career, but also give you an opportunity to learn more about yourself and the kind of career you see for yourself. As an intern, your work colleagues are often more willing to give you advice and take time out of their day to help you get the most out of your time at the company. 

Explore career opportunities

Internships give you the chance to try a career you might be interested in before committing to it. This means there is less pressure on you for everything to be perfect. Taking a chance on an internship in a career you’re curious about could open you up to industries and jobs you might not have considered before.

Build a network

It is never too early to start thinking about what you would like to do in the future and finding people who can help you meet these goals. Internships allow you to meet other people in a professional setting. This helps you build a network for when you’re ready to job hunt. There is also the possibility of finding mentors who are willing to guide you and give you advice related to your career path and in life in general.

Read more: The teens’ guide to getting your first job

Develop new skills

Regardless of the industry you are interested in, there is so much you can learn from working in the real world. An internship allows you to develop new skills or refine existing ones. Since technology is always evolving, an internship could help you learn to use state-of-the-art software or programs or create content for emerging social media platforms from people who have experience and advice to share.

Earn money

One of the benefits of becoming an intern in Canada is that, unless it’s a student internship, you should be paid to work at the company you’re interning for. It’s important to know your rights as an intern when it comes to getting paid. The labour standards for interns in Canada states that you must be paid at least the minimum wage.

7 tips for getting an internship in Canada

Here are seven tips to help teens land an internship in Canada:

1. Figure out what work you are interested in

One of the most important steps in deciding to take an internship is knowing which industry or career you’re interested in pursuing. There are hundreds of internships available across the country but figuring out which ones to apply for starts with knowing what you are looking for. A simple way to do this is by asking yourself what you are good at doing, what you enjoy doing, or is relevant to your education. Look at companies that offer internships that align with these points. 

Another approach is to look at people or companies that inspire you. Visit company career pages to help you figure out if they have internship opportunities.

2. Polish your resume

When you apply for an internship, your resume is the first thing that a hiring manager will look at when considering if they would like to work with you. Your resume should list all the experience and skills that are relevant to the internship, as well as highlight extracurricular activities that demonstrate your leadership skills or commitments and interests outside of school. 

Read more: How to make a resume for teens with examples

3. Look for opportunities through your school

Letting your teachers and guidance counsellors know you are looking for an internship is a good place to start and a great way to get advice. Guidance counsellors specifically, are trained to help students find career and post-secondary education options. If your internship needs you to apply with references, teachers and guidance counsellors are people who can speak to your character and skills to keep in mind for this.

4. Network

In simple terms, networking is making intentional connections with people whose work, or career trajectories interest you. Approaching it this way makes it less daunting and makes it easier to make genuine connections with others. Be yourself, respect people’s time and be open to learning things from the people you interact with. Making sure you get the contact information of the people you meet at networking events and connect through LinkedIn or email. 

5. Practice for your interview

Leaving the best impression possible during your interview with the hiring team starts with being prepared. One of the best ways to do this is by researching the company, current industry trends, and how their internship programs work. Practicing ahead of time helps you get comfortable speaking about yourself, and your accomplishments. You can research potential interview questions and responses to help you prepare. Following career-related pages on TikTok and Instagram is another way to help get interview tips.

Read more: Job interview questions for teens with sample answers

6. Ask for feedback

With internships and job applications in general there is so much you can learn from asking for feedback on a position you didn’t get. If you applied for an internship but weren’t successful, consider asking the hiring manager for tips/feedback on how you can improve your chances next time. Sometimes keeping in contact with the people who interviewed you means they can let you know about future opportunities with the company. A “no” doesn’t necessarily mean “never” when searching for an internship. It might just mean not right now. 

7. Know your rights

Before you start an internship or any work it is important to make sure you understand workplace and labour laws. There are specific labour laws for internships but you should also learn about general labour laws. Knowing your rights and responsibilities means that you know exactly what is expected of you while you are working and who you can reach out to for help if you have any questions or concerns.

In addition to government regulations, ask about the company culture of where you are interning (this can be a great question to ask in an interview). In addition to company culture, find out how much you should get paid, the expected hours you’ll work, as well as lunch breaks. 

Although it can take a lot of planning and research to find an internship, you’ll be rewarded with hands-on experiences that can be fun and teach you so many things about working and life in general.

Download Mydoh and help build the foundation of financial literacy for your kids and teenagers.

How to Spend Money According to Your Values: A Guide for Parents and Teens

Navigating how to spend money wisely is no easy feat for teens. From keeping up with the latest fashion trends to buying the must-have TikTok dupe, to watching the latest blockbuster movie with friends, teens face many choices when it comes to managing their money. 

So, how can they figure out if their spending is bringing them joy and meaning? Here are some tips on how teens can determine if their values align with their spending habits.

What is value-driven spending? 

Whether your kids know it or not, everyone has their own set of money values which informs their spending. Value-based spending simply means spending money on what is important to you. Helping your teens recognize their values will help them become mindful of their spending behaviour. It’s a helpful exercise to determine whether their spending habits align with what is most meaningful to your teen.

Your kids’ values will probably be different from their BFF or from their parents, which is normal because it’s part of what makes them unique. Maybe their friends value buying the latest video game because they love playing online with others. In contrast, your kid could value going thrifting with friends because it’s more environmentally friendly. Having a conversation with your teens can help them understand how to give their money purpose.

How do you align spending with your values? 

Here are some tips you can use to have a discussion with your teen about values-based spending. 

1. Consider what matters to you 

It’s easy to get caught up in living in the moment and experiencing instant gratification. Asking your teens about what is important to them can help guide them to spend intentionally rather than impulsively. 

Encourage teens to consider a variety of spending categories, such having the latest tech gadgets, eating out, sports, entertainment, and clothing. Most likely, these values will involve spending time with people, enjoying experiences or even self-expression. Whatever they choose, showing your support will encourage teens to be more aware of how they choose to spend their money.

2. Review what you’re spending money on 

At the dinner table, you can chat about the most recent things your teens spent money on. Ask them to rate their happiness level on a scale from 1 to 10 to see how much satisfaction they received from each purchase. 

This eye-opening conversation can help your family understand how each product or service purchased impacts humans on an emotional level. If your teen identifies any frivolous purchases that don’t bring them joy, have them consider reducing those expenses going forward. This will help free up cash so your teens can buy things that align with their core values.

3. Consider whether something is a want vs. need 

There are some purchases your kids will have to make whether it brings them joy or not. These are needs, which are basic necessities like food, water, and shelter. On the flip side, there are things teens could be buying which are wants, such as fashion accessories or concert tickets.

Next time you’re at the mall, play the game of “want vs need” as you browse different stores. For instance, when you see your teens ogling a pair of designer shoes in the window storefront, it’s the perfect opportunity to broach the topic of asking them to evaluate if this is a want versus a need. Having them come to their own conclusions will help them to form mindful spending habits.

4. Set aside money for fun in your budget 

Creating a budget will give your kids the chance to reflect on their past purchases while planning ahead to save for future goals. If they’re earning money from working part-time or receiving an allowance, show them how they can allocate a portion of their earnings as their “fun money.” 

Whether that means indulging in ice cream from a local shop or visiting an amusement park with their buddies, it’s up to them. They still get to enjoy their money today while saving for their future.

Check out our Should I Buy It Quiz to help you plan buying your next purchase and calculate how much it will cost every time you use it!

What is a value-based budget?

Once your kids have figured out their money values, they can take the next step to create a value-based budget. This will help them allocate their money based on what matters to them most. 

Here’s how you can create a value-based budget:

1. Calculate your income

If your teen is earning money from a part-time job or receiving an allowance from completing their weekly chores, they can tally up all the money coming in. 

2. Review your bank account

See what transactions your teens have made within the past three months. If they have Mydoh’s Smart Cash Card, they can track their spending in their Mydoh account.

3. Cover your needs

Any basic needs your teen is responsible for should take priority, such as food, transit, cell phone bill, or clothing. This way, they can have peace of mind in knowing they have sufficient funds to cover their needs.

4. Add expenses that align with your core values

Your teen may value buying books and magazines because they love reading. They can add a line item to their budget and allocate some of their money toward the categories that matter most to them.  

5. Contribute to your savings goals

Perhaps your teen values learning new skills and making new friends and decide they want to save for an outdoor summer camp or to take a gap year. Discuss how they can set aside a portion of their money to reach this goal. 

6. Don’t forget to treat yourself!

Whatever money your teen has left over, they can feel free to spend it on things that make them happy. 

Oftentimes, people have this preconceived notion that a budget restricts their lifestyle. However, a value-based budget guides teens to reflect on what purchases will bring them the most happiness.

What are the benefits of spending according to your values?

There’s a wide range of benefits to value-based spending. By spending money on items that truly matter to them, your will notice that it can help them curb impulsive purchases and avoid going into debt.

At the same time, it also allows teens to focus on setting savings goals that are meaningful to them. As an added bonus, they will get enjoyment out of saving up for those bigger ticket purchases. Having a conversation will help teens realize that spending mindfully can help boost their confidence in how they manage their money.

Help teens make meaningful and mindful purchases

Encourage your teens to practice spending mindfully until it becomes a habit. But, have some grace and patience along the way in motivating them to identify their wants versus their needs, create a value-based budget and find joy in how they spend their money. Before you know it, they may be giving you pop quizzes on your money values!

Download Mydoh and help build the foundation of financial literacy for your kids and teenagers.

What is Period Poverty? A Guide for Teens

Picture this: you’re at school, sitting in class, and suddenly, you feel a familiar discomfort. It’s your period starting, and you realize you don’t have any sanitary pads or tampons with you. Your heart sinks as you realize you have no choice but to spend the rest of the day in discomfort, worrying about leaks and stains. You might have to ask a friend for help, which can be embarrassing and uncomfortable. And worst of all, this situation repeats itself every month, potentially impacting your confidence, education, and overall well-being.

Period poverty affects people who menstruate in countries around the world. Here’s what teens need to know about period poverty and what you can do to promote menstrual equity.

What is period poverty?

You’re a teenager, excited to discover the world and embark on new adventures. But along your journey, you could face a hidden obstacle: period poverty. This affects many young people. Period poverty is when individuals lack access to menstrual hygiene products and the resources needed to make periods comfortable and safe.   

The term “period poverty” includes not only the financial barriers that prevent people from accessing necessary menstrual products but also the stigma and discrimination associated with menstruation that creates inequality and restricts opportunities for those affected.

What is period equity?

Equity means fairness and justice for all and differs from equality. An example of equality is giving each person a step ladder to reach the top shelf, which may leave some shorter individuals still unable to reach it. An example of equity is still giving everyone a step ladder, but making sure each ladder is adjusted for the individual to reach the top. The shorter individuals will be given a taller ladder than some, but everyone is still reaching the same height.   

Period equity means ensuring equal access to menstrual products, education, and resources for all individuals, regardless of their gender, status, or background. It’s the belief that menstruation should not be a barrier to anyone’s well-being, opportunities, or rights.  

As a teenager, period equity is an important concept that directly affects your life and the lives of those around you. It means that every person who menstruates should have access to affordable and reliable menstrual products, such as pads, tampons, or menstrual cups. No one should have to worry about not being able to afford these essential items or resorting to unhygienic alternatives due to financial issues.  

How many Canadians experience period poverty?

Period poverty is a significant and often overlooked global issue that affects millions of individuals, particularly those who menstruate, in both developing and developed countries. There are over 300 million people who menstruate every day.   

Here in Canada, 1 in 4 people experience period poverty. A study by Leger asked 1000 women about their periods and the difficulties they face with them. Out of the 1000 women surveyed, over 80 per cent said period products were too expensive. This number grew to 90 per cent among younger women aged 18 to 24. In the same survey, they found over 1 in 2 Canadians have had to miss out on an activity because of their period and lack of menstrual products. That’s over half the girls in your class who will be negatively impacted by their periods.  

Canadians will actually spend up to $6000 on menstrual supplies, such as tampons and pads, in their lifetime. And depending on where you live, this could even double to $12,000. For example, people living in rural areas or Indigenous communities can pay two to four times more for a pack of menstrual pads compared to someone in an urban city. The cost means some people have to choose food over products for their period.  

Read more: What is the pink tax? A guide for teens.

What are the main causes of period poverty? 

Period poverty for teenagers can manifest in various ways. Perhaps your family struggles financially, and purchasing menstrual products becomes a luxury they cannot afford. These products can be quite expensive, and if money is tight, families may have to choose between buying food or other necessities before buying menstrual supplies.   

In other cases, period poverty can be caused by a lack of availability or accessibility to menstrual products. Some communities or schools may not have easy access to stores or affordable options for purchasing these products.   

Or maybe you live in a community where menstruation is considered a taboo subject, resulting in limited access to information and resources. In certain places, there may be a stigma surrounding periods, making it difficult for teenagers to openly talk about their needs or find support. As a result, you’re left feeling isolated and unprepared to manage your periods properly.  

What are the effects of period poverty on teens?

Period poverty can have a profound impact on your life as a teenager. It can affect your attendance at school, because without access to reliable menstrual products, the fear of leaks and discomfort may lead you to skip classes or even entire school days. Missing out on your education can hinder your academic progress and future opportunities, putting you at a disadvantage. This can result in falling behind in your studies and missing out on valuable learning opportunities.  

Period poverty can take a toll on your emotional well-being. Feeling unprepared or ashamed due to a lack of resources can lead to feelings of embarrassment, low self-esteem, and anxiety. The stress and anxiety caused by not having the necessary resources during your period can impact your overall mental health and self-esteem. It’s crucial to remember that menstruation is a natural process and not something to be ashamed of, but the stigma surrounding it can make it hard to accept.  

Period poverty could also take a toll on our physical health. Due to a lack of access to period products, people who menstruate may turn to using toilet paper, old socks, newspapers and children’s diapers. People without access to proper hygiene and safe menstrual products may experience serious health threats such as reproductive and urinary tract infections.  

What teens can do to promote menstrual equity

You deserve access to affordable, safe menstrual products, education about menstruation, and a supportive environment that fosters understanding and acceptance. 

By advocating for period equity, you are advocating for your own rights and the rights of others. Period equity aims to create a world where no one feels ashamed or limited because of their periods. It promotes inclusivity, gender equality, and the recognition that menstruation is a natural and normal part of life.   

Many organizations, initiatives, and communities are already working towards eradicating period poverty. They are advocating for change, pushing for affordable or free access to menstrual products in schools, and promoting menstrual health education.   

As a teenager, you have the power to make a difference.   

By raising awareness, supporting these initiatives, and speaking out about period poverty, you can contribute to breaking the silence, reducing stigma, and ensuring a brighter future for yourself and others. Like menstrual equity advocate, Jada Malott, donating menstrual products is also a very easy way to help on an individual level. Menstrual products are some of the most frequently requested items in shelters, and yet the least donated.  

There is still lots of work to be done to dismantle period poverty and period taboo, but we can all find our own way to fight this. Remember, one person can make a difference.