What does BC employment law say about internships?
First off, big disclaimer. I'm not a lawyer, this is not legal advice. This is our own in-house interpretation of the law that we use to guide our business. From the Employment Standards Act's Section 1 - Defintions document:
Practicum is not considered “work”
"Practicum" is a part of a formal education process for students enrolled in a public or private post-secondary institution that involves the supervised practical application of previously class room taught theory related to course study. The students are usually engaged in studies to obtain a degree so as to pursue a career in education, medicine, or engineering. A practicum is "hands-on" training that is required by the curriculum, and will result in a certificate or diploma. It may assist the student to obtain employment, therefore is different from practical experience, such as apprenticeship training, provided by an employer who is training an employee for business purposes, and is not providing an education.
This the the totality of BC law on internships. But I think it's pretty clear.
If you are in a post secondary program, at a university, career college, or language centre - in Canada or abroad - and that program requires you to complete an internship in order to graduate - then you can do an internship. If you have recently graduated from a university and are looking to get your foot in the door, then 'no' you can't do an internship. If you are a recent immigrant and you need Canadian experience - sorry, an internship is not possible for you.