The Ontario Legislature Internship Programme runs from September 1st to June 30th each year. It is a paid internship, with ten interns receiving $25,780 in stipends with additional payments upon completion of a draft and final version of an academic paper. The Programme is designed to provide backbench Members of Provincial Parliament with highly qualified members of their team.
The Ontario Legislature Internship Programme is a nonpartisan programme. What is nonpartisanship? Nonpartisanship means not being affiliated with a political party, or publicly endorsing positions on matters of public policy. Since OLIP interns will work with both government and opposition MPPs, they are expected to remain politically neutral in a variety of political settings.
In addition to providing practical experience with the daily workings of the Ontario Legislature, OLIP provides Interns the opportunity to supplement their university training through regular academic discussions and by writing an academic paper on a topic of their choice. If accepted, the paper topic will be presented at the annual Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences Conference.
Although there is an academic component to the programme (through seminars and the preparation of papers on the Legislature), the principal purpose of the programme is to provide MPPs with extra staff assistance. The Interns split their ten months at Queen’s Park between two individual members: they work one half of the time for a government MPP and the other half for an opposition MPP (ministers and party leaders are not eligible). The range of duties performed by Interns for MPPs is very wide, and depends on the Member’s priorities and responsibilities. Interns write speeches, prepare MPPs for question period and for committee work, research policy issues of interest to the Member, assist with constituency work and attend meetings with Member and on her or his behalf. Members are encouraged to take their Interns with them to their constituencies at least once during their time together.
Interns arrange and attend meetings with important figures in public life. These meetings are with the current Premier and past Premiers, as well as independent officers of the Legislature and stakeholders, Programme sponsors, journalists, and more! To find out more about what the interns have been doing read our blog or magazine.
The Interns have the opportunity to attend comparative study tours to other Legislatures. Each year, visits are planned for Ottawa and Quebec City, Yellowknife, and, with the assistance of the British Consulate in Toronto, London, England. Accommodation and travel expenses for these visits are covered by the Ontario Legislature Internship Programme through corporate donations. Interns also have the opportunity to visit the constituency of the MPP they are placed with.
In their ten months at Queen’s Park, Interns gain valuable experience and insight into the provincial political process. Alumni of the programme have established themselves in a variety of responsible positions in government, business, journalism, law and academic life.