The Legislative Assembly of British Columbia currently funds twelve 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.
The program begins with an orientation week where Interns meet with elected and appointed officials of the Legislature. 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 in policy and planning areas. Interns often have the opportunity to assist with projects related to 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 of the Legislative Assembly.
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 newsletter about their internship experience for distribution throughout the Legislative Assembly and to all alumni.
Please Note: During provincial election years, the format of the B.C. Legislative Internship Program will be revised to meet the needs of the Members.
The B.C. Legislative Internship Program is sponsored by the 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 at 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.
Benefits to the Intern
The benefits of participating in the program are both educational and professional. Interns gain exposure to 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 school prior to commencing their internship.
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 online 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.
All individuals are entitled to equal employment opportunities without regard to race, colour, ancestry, place of origin, political belief, religion, marital status, family status, physical or mental disability, sex, sexual orientation, age, or conviction for a criminal or summary conviction charge that is unrelated to the employment or to the intended employment of that person.
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 obtained towards degree completion - from both Colleges and Universities attended - to be sent directly to the B.C. Legislative Internship Program from the institution's Registrar 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 one (1) work/volunteer supervisor to electronically submit the Work/Volunteer Reference form by using the applicant's individual tracking number.
Please Note: All online applications and supporting documentation must be complete prior to the application deadline. Late or incomplete applications will not be considered.
Applications are screened and short-listed by the Program and Academic Directors. Approximately 24 applicants are invited to attend an interview. The Academic Advisory Committee is made up of political science professors from British Columbia universities, the Program Director and the Academic Director. Interviews are held in Vancouver over a two and a half day period in March of each year.
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 processes. The program is educational in intent. A flexible approach to assignments is needed as the work can vary considerably from day-to-day. The ability to multi-task is essential.
Notification to candidates regarding their status is sent by email shortly after the interview period. Interview travel costs may be reimbursed by the program as outlined in the interview confirmation email.
View an electronic version of the 2018 BC Legislative Internship Gazette.pdf
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.
Legislative Interns receive compensation funded by the Legislative Assembly. Remuneration is reviewed each year by the Program Director and the Deputy Clerk and Clerk of Committees, and approved by the Speaker. For the 2019 program year, Intern remuneration is set at $27,979 for 25 weeks.
Seminars and Special Visits
Academic seminars, arranged by the Academic Director, feature presentations by academics and other specialists on timely topics of interest to the Interns.
Bi-weekly discussion groups offer Interns the time to develop and plan their Constituency Week assignment, educational visits and year-end newsletter.
Based on available funding, a visit to another Legislature may form 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 various jurisdictions that comprise the Canadian federation.
B.C. Legislative Internship Program Alumni
Alumni of the program have established themselves in a variety of professions including politics, law, academia, journalism and the public service. In 2016, the program celebrated its 40th anniversary. The 2018 edition of the intern newsletter — the BC Legislative Internship Gazette — is now available. Copies have been mailed to all alumni. If you did not receive your copy, please contact the Parliamentary Education Office at BCLIP@leg.bc.ca to update your contact information.
“The BC Legislative Internship Program not only provided an enjoyable, enriching six-month experience, but also continues to affect me four years later. My work benefits from the skills I developed during my ministry and caucus placements — working under tight timelines, being adaptable, and remaining non-partisan. Since 2014, I completed my MA in Canadian history, returned to work in the Parliamentary Education Office, and am now a Manager with the Ministry of Jobs, Trade and Technology. My "success" might have been very different had I not completed BCLIP in 2014… and I may not have made such good friends and connections.” ~ Esther Rzeplinski, 2014 BCLIP alumnus
40th Anniversary Reunion of the B.C. Legislative Internship Program
The 40th Anniversary Reunion of the B.C. Legislative Internship Program took place on Friday, April 22 and
Saturday, April 23, 2016 in Victoria. The events included an Opening Reception at the Parliament Buildings, hosted by the Honourable Linda Reid, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, an after-party featuring music by the Soul Shakers, and a Reunion Banquet at Government House, the ceremonial home of all British Columbians. Over 150 distinguished alumni from across British Columbia and Canada reunited in Victoria to celebrate this important milestone!
The Parliamentary Education Office would like to thank the members of the 40th Anniversary Reunion Alumni Committee for their support and assistance in planning these events.
B.C. Legislative Internship Program Alumni Association
Following the 40th Anniversary Reunion, we are happy to advise that a BCLIP Alumni Association has been formed. All alumni are automatically a part of the Association. Events are being planned and there are numerous way to stay connected:
BCLIP Alumni Association group
Academic Advisors to the B.C. Legislative Internship Program
Dr. Patrick Smith
Department of Political Science
Simon Fraser University