Should You Work for Free? Things to Consider Before Making the Decision

Should You Work for Free

Are you considering working for free in order to gain experience? Here are a few things to think about before making that decision.

In Canada, there are several opportunities to work and earn a living. These chances differ between provinces. A common feature to understand is that the higher the job opportunities, the more tax payments should be paid.

Hence, a question is whether one can work for free and not subject himself to tax obligations. Some people feel it is unfair and should be banned. They believe it is a means of exploitation, especially against people from specific backgrounds. However, others believe it is a great way to gather work experience. Employers also use this strategy to see which employee fits in their organization.

Here, we will describe certain conditions you may face if you decide to work for free. At the end of this article, you will be able to weigh your options and determine whether you want to work without being paid or not.

How to Protect Yourself When Working for Free

How to Protect Yourself When Working for Free

Since you need a means of survival, it is necessary to check out opportunities where you can earn an income. There are several options among the fastest e-transfer payday loans Canada 24/7 no documents are required. All you need is to submit an application that you’re a resident of Canada and use it to get cash advances.

A budget detailing your needs is also essential during this period. You can use it to manage your finances while getting the needed experience to become more valuable.

Before you set out to provide free services, there are certain boxes you need to tick first. This area is tricky since most employers may not take you seriously. Here are a few steps to prove that you’re to work for free.

Set a Schedule

You must let the employer know you won’t be available at all times. Clear communication between you two is essential to provide sufficient agreement on work times and load. Understanding before starting out is a great way to protect yourself from future embarrassment.

Treat it as a Job

Whether paid or not, you can include the job title and package in your portfolio or resume. New employers are always skeptical about your work experience before hiring. Most reach out to former bosses to get testimonies about your work ethic.

You must treat the job as seriously as possible, showing why you should be taken as someone responsible. Many Canadian employers prioritize workers with free gigs in their resumes.  It means you’re passionate about getting the job done.

Set a Timeframe

No one wants to stay at a particular place for free for a long period. Choose an achievable deadline. Educational internships usually take between 3-6 months. If you prefer, a period of 2 years is still reasonable. It allows you to prove your work competence and skill.

Ensure it is Government Approved

Before starting out, you should confirm that it is a government-approved program. This is important if you’re considering filing an Employment Insurance application. Check out the legislation of provinces you rely on and where it stands on unpaid work.

It is Illegal to Work for Free in Certain Provinces

In many provinces, working without having a specific payment plan in writing or on record is a criminal offense. However, particular considerations may be given if they are internships within a formal educational setting.

Aside from rights and infringement, governments believe it is a way of hijacking tax returns. Here are some provinces that consider such laws.

Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador

No clear-cut law mandates what job type is an internship or full-time. One thing is clear, though, interns are entitled to receive the minimum wage. You may not be paid if on educational training.


Working for free is illegal in Manitoba. You can be considered if undergoing training in a government-approved program. Other considerations are if you’re working for a charitable or political cause.


The same conditions found in Manitoba are applicable here. You can be jailed if found working and not being paid. It is legal if you work based on an academic course, training, or other known arrangements.


No one is allowed to work for free here. All interns in this province are entitled to the minimum wage payment. Whether you’re on academic training or otherwise, it is illegal to work without remuneration.

Government Insurance Benefits

There are specific programs sponsored by the Canadian government directed at people out of jobs. While there is a chance that you can’t get a complete paying job, a Government Employment Insurance (EI) package allows you to earn benefits from the provincial authorities. There are specific requirements to be fulfilled before applying.

It is possible to receive a maximum of $638 per week and a total of $60,300 each year. Don’t forget the stringent criteria, even if the employer is related to you.

If the Cause is Morally Right

For many Canadian laws, joining a cause to fight for certain beliefs is categorized under charitable affairs. Hence, you may not be paid. It is a great way to offer your services rather than what you may get at the end of the day.

You must balance the time you offer on charitable works and a profitable venture. Since government intervention programs have stringent requirements, you would rather not come off as unqualified at the end of your application.

If It Provides a Life-Changing Experience

It is Illegal to Work for Free in Certain Provinces

Going for a job without pay is excellent if you will get a  wealth of experience. This becomes peculiar if you’re trying to build a career and need mentoring or guidance. Necessary areas are public speaking, freelancing, science, photography, etc.

The government understands this simple fact, but you will have to make adequate arrangements, so it does not affect your livelihood. Free work is a great way to showcase your skills and put yourself in front of potential clients.

An essential piece of gaining experience, especially in Canada, is that it puts you in the right circles and gives you the proper instructions on standing out.


Starting out with a job without payment could be challenging. However, considering the relevance and experience could be a way to become the right candidate for the job. Ensure you look for tips on protecting yourself, including how to survive and ensuring you’re not breaking any law.

The benefits of getting exposure from unpaid gigs could be a lifesaver. However, don’t forget that regulations differ between provinces, and you can benefit from the government too.

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