Legislative Assembly of British Columbia


Go To Advanced Search Page

B.C. Legislative Internship Program

Background

The British Columbia Legislative Internship Program was established in January 1976, patterned after the Parliamentary Internship Program introduced in the Canadian House of Commons in 1969. Faculty members of the then three major universities in British Columbia initiated the program. The program continues to be advised by the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, the University of Victoria and the University of Northern British Columbia. The program is open to B.C. residents who have a recent Bachelor's Degree from a Canadian University. 

Objectives

The program offers an opportunity to Canadian university undergraduates to supplement their academic training by observing the daily workings of the Legislature first hand, and to provide Members of the Legislative Assembly with additional assistance during the parliamentary session. The ministry and caucus assignments are designed to provide exposure to public policy-making and legislative processes. Interns will acquire skills and knowledge they can apply in their chosen careers and future life experiences. In the long term, it is expected that Interns will contribute to a greater public understanding and appreciation of our system of parliamentary government.

Organization

The Legislative Assembly of British Columbia currently funds ten Intern positions targeted for the benefit of B.C. residents. The program commences in January of each year and runs for approximately 25 weeks, until the end of June. Actual program start and completion dates are determined each year by the Program Director.

Lieutenant Governor with Interns

2013 Interns with
Her Honour, Judith Guichon, OBC
Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia

The program begins with an orientation week where Interns meet with elected and appointed officials of the Legislature (Sample Orientation Week Agenda 2011 Sample Orientation Week Agenda (PDF)). Following the orientation, Interns are placed with a sponsoring ministry for four weeks with a Mentor. These assignments provide an opportunity for the Interns to learn about the mandate and scope of the ministry as well as to conduct research projects in policy and planning areas. Interns often have the opportunity to research and draft legislation for the upcoming parliamentary session.

Following the ministry assignment, Interns are assigned to a party caucus. Caucus assignments vary and may include writing speeches, private member’s statements and questions for Question Period, as well as researching topics within the area of responsibility of a Member.

Interns are encouraged to attend Question Period and parliamentary committee meetings of the Legislature as often as their assignments allow. At the end of the program, Interns are expected to prepare a newspaper for distribution throughout the Legislative Assembly related to their internship experience.

Please Note: During provincial election years, the format of the Legislative Internship Program will be revised to meet the needs of the Members.

Administration

The Legislative Internship Program is sponsored by the Honourable Linda Reid, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia. The Academic Director is Dr. Patrick J. Smith of Simon Fraser University. The Program Director is Karen Aitken of the Parliamentary Education Office in the Legislative Assembly.

Note: Due to the nature of assignments within the Legislative Assembly, the Directors of the B.C. Legislative Internship Program may be required to modify the program to meet the Assembly’s needs. It may also be necessary to make decisions concerning assignments of individual Interns and their place in the B.C. Legislative Internship Program. All decisions with regard to the program remain the responsibility of the Directors. Decisions are final.

Benefits to the Intern
Speaker of the House with Interns...

2011 Interns with Hon. Bill Barisoff
Speaker of the Legislative Assembly

The benefits of participating in the program are both educational and professional. Interns have an opportunity for a unique learning experience in the field of public affairs during their ministry and legislative assignments. In addition, they are able to observe the daily workings of the Legislature and supplement their theoretical knowledge about the role of the provincial legislature and parliamentary democracy through direct participation in the daily routine of Members of the Legislative Assembly.

Arrangements may be made to obtain credit towards a Master of Arts Degree in political science, at the University of Victoria, Simon Fraser University, the University of British Columbia and the University of Northern British Columbia. To be eligible for credit, candidates must have made all necessary arrangements with the Graduate Student Advisor of the political science department involved, and must have been accepted for degree candidacy by the relevant graduate schools prior to commencing their internship.

Applications

To apply to the B.C. Legislative Internship Program, applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • B.C. resident;
  • Canadian citizenship or landed immigrant status;
  • complete a first Bachelor's Degree from a Canadian university; and,
  • the first Bachelor's Degree requirements must have been completed within the immediate 2 year period prior to the start of the internship program.

Application is typically made during the student's final undergraduate year; however, applicants must have completed all of their first Bachelor's Degree requirements prior to participating in the program. Applicants are expected to have a reasonable familiarity with the governing process of British Columbia and are expected to participate effectively in assignments with any party caucus.

Applications are completed on-line. See below for further instructions.

It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that their application is complete by the deadline date. This includes:

  • attaching their personal resume;
  • arranging for official sealed academic transcripts for all credits, College or University that go toward their degree completion, to be sent directly to the B.C. Legislative Internship Program from the institution Registrar’s office;
  • asking two (2) academic professors/instructors to electronically submit a confidential Academic Referee Evaluation form on their behalf using the applicant’s individual tracking number; and,
  • asking (1) work/volunteer supervisor to electronically submit the Work/Volunteer Reference form by using the applicant's individual tracking number.

All on-line applications and supporting documentation must be complete prior to the application deadline. Late or incomplete applications will not be considered.

Selection

Applications are screened and short-listed by the Program and Academic Directors. Approximately 20 applicants are invited to attend an interview. The Academic Advisory Committee is made up of political science professors from British Columbia universities, the Academic Director and the Program Director. Interviews are usually held in March over a two-day period in Victoria and/or Vancouver.

Selection is based upon a range of considerations, the most significant being the applicant’s academic achievements, maturity, interpersonal skills and an interest in British Columbia’s governing process. The program is educational in intent. A flexible approach to assignments is needed as the work is varied on a daily basis and requires multi-tasking abilities.

Notification to candidates regarding their status is sent by mail shortly after the interview period. Interview travel costs may be reimbursed by the program as outlined in the interview confirmation email.

Personal Requirements

It is expected that successful candidates will act in a professional, ethical and mature manner during the internship. Interns must agree to maintain the confidentiality of the workplace and respect confidences disclosed to them in the course of their internship, and swear oaths to that effect. Interns must behave in a non-partisan fashion and refrain from outside political activity for the duration of the program.

Remuneration

Legislative Interns receive compensation funded by the Legislative Assembly. Remuneration is reviewed each year by the Program Director and the Legislative Comptroller and approved by the Speaker. For the 2015 program year, the Intern remuneration is set for $22,920 for six months.

Seminars and Special Visits
Student Education Day

2010 Interns
with Mount Douglas Secondary School

Academic seminars, arranged by the Academic Director, feature presentations by academics and other specialists on timely topics of interest to the Interns.

WA State Visit by Interns

2012 Interns in Olymipia, Washington
Washington State Senate

Bi-weekly discussion groups offer Interns the time to develop and plan their Constituency Week assignment, educational visit to Vancouver and year-end newspaper.

Based on available funding, a visit to another Legislature has been a part of the program. In turn, B.C. Interns have hosted other provincial and American Interns and have had the opportunity to compare views based upon their experiences in the various Legislatures. This creates a pool of citizens better informed about the similarities and differences characteristic of the regions that make up the face of Canadian federalism.

 

BCLIP Alumni

BCLIP Alumni have established themselves in a variety of professions including politics, law, academia, journalism and the public service. In 2010, the program celebrated its 35th anniversary. The 2013 intern newsletter, entitled "BC Intern Gazette" – based on the results of an alumni survey for the new name – is now available. Copies have been mailed to all alumni. If you have not received your copy, kindly email BCLIP@leg.bc.ca to update your contact information.

BCLIP Academic Advisors

Dr. Patrick Smith
Academic Director of the
Legislative Internship Program

Simon Fraser University
Burnaby, BC
E-mail: psmith@sfu.ca


Dr. Gerald Baier
Department of Political Science
University of British Columbia
Vancouver, BC 
Email: baier@politics.ubc.ca


Dr. Colin Bennett

Department of Political Science
University of Victoria
Victoria, BC
Email: cjb@uvic.ca


Dr. Andrew Heard

Department of Political Science
Simon Fraser University
Burnaby, BC
Email: aheard@sfu.ca


Dr. Tracy Summerville

Department of Political Science
University of Northern British Columbia
Prince George, BC
Email: summervi@unbc.ca

 

How to Apply

The application deadline has now passed. Please refer back to this page in the fall for application instructions for the next B.C. Legislative Internship Program or contact bclip@leg.bc.ca.