Parliamentary Internship for the Environment
Applications are now closed for the 2023/24 internship year. Applications for the 2024/25 internship year will open in Winter 2024. Check back here for updates!
Since 2018, the Parliamentary Internship for the Environment (PIE) program has sought to equip the next generation of environmental leaders with invaluable skills, experience, and political know-how to drive change.
About the Internship
Now entering its sixth year, the PIE program offers outstanding young leaders, aged 18-30, the opportunity to work and learn alongside some of Canada's top environmental champions in Parliament. Successful applicants to the program receive a ten-month, paid internship placement in the Parliament Hill office of a Member of Parliament (MP) or Senator with a proven record of environmental leadership. Reflecting ELC's commitment to nonpartisanship, host MPs come from every major national party.
Through PIE, Interns gain a deep understanding of the day-to-day workings of Canadian Parliament. In the full-time office placements, Interns become well-versed in legislative affairs, policy research, and constituency work while supporting current environmental change-makers of all political stripes. Most interns perform a variety of tasks in their offices. This could include writing briefing notes on matters before Parliamentary committees, communications with constituents, conducting research for Private Member’s bills, and supporting MPs in meetings with stakeholders. Outside the office, Interns take part in a range of professional and leadership development programming, including interjurisdictional travel, workshops, seminars, and fireside chats with expert speakers from the nonprofit sector, industry, and government.
The Parliamentary Internship for the Environment program runs from September 2023 to June 2024. Interns receive a monthly stipend of $2,750, for a total of $27,500 over the 10 months of the program. Interns can expect to work full-time hours (35-40 hours) weekly. Most of this time will be spent in the Parliamentary host office, but each week, there will be a couple of hours of ELC programming as well. In September, all interns will participate in an orientation program to get familiar with Parliament, the environmental policy landscape, and the rest of the cohort before placements begin.
We offer two specialized streams of the program.
The Specialized Stream for Indigenous Interns welcomes young First Nation, Métis, and Inuit leaders from coast to coast to coast to apply. This stream is being introduced to continue the difficult work of breaking down the systemic barriers Indigenous individuals face in Parliament Hill and support the development of Indigenous-led policy. The features of this stream were designed in collaboration with an Indigenous-led consultant, including the wraparound supports to ensure participants can thrive and succeed.
The Specialized Stream in Sustainable Agriculture invites young leaders from the prairie provinces (Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba) with an interest and background in agriculture to apply. We piloted interest in a sustainable agriculture stream in the 2020-2021 program year, with tremendous results. This stream advances environmental leadership in agriculture and elevate rural voices in Canada’s environmental space.
All interns, including those in the Specialized Streams, will be part of a single cohort group, and participate in most programming together.
Who should apply?
ELC values young leaders from all backgrounds and disciplines.
Our only fixed requirements are:
applicants are between 18-30 years old as of September 1, 2022 and;
applicants must be legally eligible to work in Canada for the duration of the program.
We especially invite candidates who self-identify as Black, Indigenous, a person of colour, a member of the LGBTQ2S+ community, and/or a person with a disability to apply.
ELC recognizes that leadership takes many forms. We also recognize that many pathways exist to gaining the types of skills and competencies needed to be successful in this program, and that systemic barriers limit access to opportunities for many groups of people. For this reason, we have always invited applications from young leaders no matter their level or type of education and no matter their type of leadership experience.
Based on the nature of Parliament Hill and our role as a leadership development program, the following are some of the skills, experience and competencies we value, more than particular credentials, in the selection process:
Demonstrated interest in the environment
Demonstrated interest in politics, the political process or political advocacy at any level
Exceptional written communication skills in English (proficiency in French is an asset but not required)
Strong oral communication skills in English
Critical thinking skills
Willingness to learn and engage with different political viewpoints (open-mindedness)
Time management skills
Ability to work both independently and as part of a team
Experience in conducting research and ability to effectively synthesize information
Emotional intelligence (strong asset)
For more details about the selection process and internship experience, including our approach to anti-oppressive practice, please refer to our FAQ.
Note: As a program situated on Parliament Hill and run by a non-profit organization, we maintain a high standard for ethics and integrity. Successful applicants will be expected to comply with conflict of interest and anti-lobbying policies (among others). ELC also has policies in place to prevent individuals involved in governing our organization or funding this program from seeking political influence through the program.
Frequently Asked Questions
ELC recognizes the existence of power disparities in society that benefit certain communities while marginalizing and/or oppressing other groups. As an organization, ELC has an ongoing commitment to advancing anti-oppressive and anti-racist goals in all areas of its work and at every level of the organization, including within the internship program. This includes incorporating anti-oppressive approaches into the application and hiring process, providing risk awareness and workplace readiness training to incoming interns, investing in ongoing training on such topics as brave conversations, restorative practice and unconscious bias for staff and interns, having a zero-tolerance policy for harassment and discrimination in our partner office agreements, and maintaining a limited discretionary fund to support low-income interns and/or interns who face extra barriers to succeeding on Parliament Hill.
We recognize that there are unique challenges and contradictions posed by the context in which the PIE program operates. The Parliamentary system and institution of the federal government have a legacy of creating, permitting and perpetuating power disparities resulting in significant and enduring harm, both direct and indirect, to certain marginalized groups and to individuals within these communities. We recognize that many effects of past harms, such as the legacy of the residential school system on Indigenous peoples, continue to be felt today.
We also recognize that the majority of Parliamentarians are from priviledged groups (i.e. white, male, cis-gender, etc.), and that women, BIPOC individuals, members of the LGBTQ2S+ community, and individuals with a disability are among the groups who are significantly and disproportionately underrepresented in the House of Commons and who face systemic barriers to access. This not only perpetuates cycles of oppression, but at the workplace level, risks exacerbating existing power imbalances between interns/junior staffers and those in positions of authority.
We are committed to elevating interns from all backgrounds, to supporting interns in navigating and overcoming systemic barriers, and to ensuring a safe and respectful working environment for all program participants and staff. Our full (and evolving) statement of practice on Equity, Anti-Oppression and the Parliamentary Internship for the Environment Program, which outlines our commitments in more detail, will be publicly available in the near future.
The Parliamentary Internship for the Environment is an intensive program! Along with working full-time (37.5 hrs/week), interns are expected to attend regularly scheduled leadership development programming, workshops, and events, which may take place on evenings and weekends. Interns can also expect to participate in fun social activities, field trips, group projects, and leadership opportunities. It’s a lot, but you will be supported by the Program Director, your office, and your fellow Interns to share experiences and insights with each other along the way. Following the program, interns can expect to remain in touch through our Alumni Network.
Most of the time in the internship is spent in the office of an MP or Senator. These offices tend to be small, meaning interns are able to take on a variety of tasks and projects. Most work involves research, writing, coordinating with stakeholders, and other administrative tasks. Interns can also expect learning opportunities and mentorship from their host offices.
Interns are expected to abide by ELC's operational policies, including our conflict of interest policies and restrictions on lobbying during the course of the program. Interns must also abide by a Code of Conduct that includes zero tolerance for harassment and discrimination.
Prospective applicants should complete the required application form and upload supporting documents (a copy of your CV or resume and two writing samples). All applications are reviewed by our Hiring Committee, and we hope to contact shortlisted candidates by early June and complete all interviews before the end of May. If you are selected for an interview, we will also ask you to submit three references prior to your interview.
All applicants will be notified of the results of their application, regardless of whether or not they were successful. Due to the overwhelming volume of applications we receive, we do not have the resources to provide feedback on individual applications.
If you have questions during the application process or require reasonable accommodations, please contact email@example.com prior to the application deadline.
You! Interns in the program have come from a variety of backgrounds. Some have a stronger environmental background, others bring more of a political lens. Interns have come from all over Canada and have brought their own unique set of experiences and viewpoints to the program.
Some interns hope to keep working in Parliament after the internship. Many others intend to use what they learn about Parliament to inform their future work in advocacy, the nonprofit sector, the business world, or other government work. It’s also not uncommon for the internship to show new paths for interns. Our alums include a legislative and member assistant, Green Party shadow critic for youth and education, Burnaby city councillor, senior policy advisor, EV researcher etc.!
There are many valid ways to approach the learning and work opportunities offered by the internship, and we’d love to hear about what it could offer you at this stage of your life and career.
We are looking for individuals with the core skills, experiences, and competencies listed above. We understand there are various ways to develop these skills - through courses, work experience, or volunteer opportunities - and we’d love to hear about your experiences in these areas. We're also interested in learning about any other ways you've developed these skills and mindsets.
Our application process offers a few opportunities for you to share more about your lived experiences, experiences in community engagement and leadership, as well as why you believe this program is the perfect fit for you right now. We're not just looking for candidates with the most impressive resumes or abundant talents. We want individuals who can contribute to the program and also benefit from it.
Our aim is to create a diverse cohort of young people with different political perspectives, lived experiences, and environmental interests. So, we encourage you to let your personality shine through in your application. Tell us who you are, where you're at, and what you hope to achieve by being part of the program. We're excited to get to know you better!
Interns’ experiences vary between offices and can change quickly depending on what’s happening in Parliament. A typical workday for Interns could include communications work, conducting research, constituency outreach, Parliamentary Committee work, assisting on Private Members’ Bills or legislative amendments, special projects, and attending events with their MP on and off the Hill. We work with host MPs to ensure Interns have a range of learning opportunities. Administrative work is expected of every Hill staffer, and so too it is expected of interns! Most of your day will be spent with a screen, but in-person work on the Hill can also involve a lot of meetings, both formal and informal.
You can expect to work a standard office workday (say 9ish to 5ish), but your exact working arrangements will depend on your office placement. Later working hours may be expected if Parliamentary business runs late, but through the internship, you are entitled to time off if you work extra hours.
For 2023/24, we expect our interns to relocate to Ottawa and be ready to participate in the program in person as part of our internship program (though some elements are delivered virtually). We ask that interns prioritize their health and the health of their colleagues by working remotely if they are feeling unwell or experiencing any symptoms of illness. We understand that this situation may present additional challenges for our interns. We’re committed to providing support and resources to help make their experience as smooth and successful as possible.
We encourage our interns to take advantage of all opportunities to engage with the program, both in-person and remotely. We remain committed to providing a valuable and enriching experience for all our interns.
Yes, all Interns receive a monthly stipend to help cover living expenses, totalling $27,500 CAD. This stipend is provided monthly at the start of every month, as we know it is important that you’re able to cover rent and other expenses. Stipends are, unfortunately, taxable.
We want interns to be in a position to succeed in this program. By providing stipends and other financial supports, we hope to enable the participation of interns coming from a variety of different contexts. In addition to the stipend, ELC will also help interns cover the transportation costs of relocating to Ottawa (up to a fixed budget). We also provide interns with a personalized professional development budget so interns can access relevant learning or training that isn’t otherwise directly covered in our programming. We also have offered specific ad-hoc support to interns in unique circumstances as they’ve come up.
We welcome applicants regardless of where they are in their education; however, students completing a degree, diploma or certificate program may find it challenging to carry on academic pursuits concurrently with the program. In the past, interns who were part-way through a degree have paused their studies for a year to participate in the PIE program.
Due to the intensive nature of the program and past experience, we do not recommend Interns pursue their education in a full-time capacity during the internship.
We welcome applicants regardless of where they are in their education; however, students in the process of completing a degree, diploma or certificate program may find it difficult to carry on academic pursuits concurrently with the program. In the past, interns who were part way through a degree have paused their studies for a year to take part in the PIE program.
Not at all - our interns to date have had backgrounds in everything from agriculture and evolutionary biology, to kinesiology and economics. We welcome applicants from all backgrounds and provide training during orientation on the political and legislative process to get everyone up to speed. With that said, you should still be able to demonstrate an interest in the environment and politics in your application.
No, the program is structured to be full-time in Ottawa. We consider program modifications only in very rare circumstances.
Not at all. Previous political experiences, such as involvement in a political party, are considered when selecting our cohort, but like all criteria, it is one of many. We do strive to include a variety of political perspectives in our cohort, and do take political affiliations into account when arranging office placements. Some interns have had deep roots in political parties, and others have brought non-partisan political experiences. Some interns have had limited political experience of any kind, but possessed strong attributes in other areas.
Of course! If you are reapplying to the program, we’d encourage you to include this information in your application.
Fluency in French is not a requirement but is considered an asset for this internship. Please note that ELC's operating language is English, and internship programming is conducted in English.
Host MPs come from every major national political party. We take interns’ party preferences and/or party membership into account when arranging placements, but it is not guaranteed, and interns do not get to choose their MP.
Invaluable experience, in-depth exposure to politics and decision-making in Canada, leadership skills, personalized professional development training, incredible networking opportunities, access to expert guest speakers and sector leaders, a deeper understanding of environmental issues and their solutions, and much more!