Under the Marine Liability Act, the Ship-source Oil Pollution Fund (SOPF) is liable to pay claims for oil pollution damage or anticipated damage at any place in Canada, or in Canadian waters including the exclusive economic zone, caused by the discharge (or imminent threat of discharge) of oil from a ship.
The SOPF has been in operation since 1989 and has handled hundreds of claims. It is a small agency located in downtown Ottawa, involving 15 to 20 persons in the office itself (staff and consultants, part-time and full-time) from various disciplines and backgrounds: marine, legal, information management, administration and accounting, clerical support, IT. In addition, the SOPF works with external lawyers and consultants, and with a number of stakeholders.
The SOPF Student Program offers internship opportunities (paid and unpaid) that provide learning-by-doing opportunities. The objective of the internship program is to provide professional development opportunities for Canadian students completing:
- a degree program or a post-graduate program from a recognized university or marine institute/college; or
- a college technology program from a recognized college, graduating technicians in environmental and engineering programs; or
- a post-graduate program with a professional organization (for professional certification purposes).
The program aims at providing opportunities to a variety of students and therefore aims at having a rotation between the various universities and programs, as well as between paid and unpaid internships.
What is an unpaid internship?
The unpaid internship is a structured and supervised, professional, work-learn experience with our office, for which students earn academic credits from their university. It is “hands on” training that provides an opportunity for students to apply theoretical knowledge to actual work situations. This opportunity is open to students that are registered in a university program that provides credits for this type of internship. The internship will need to be discussed with the university program coordinator and tailored to the student. A specific agreement will be signed between the university and the SOPF.
The unpaid internship can be full-time or part-time, depending on the conditions of the university program granting the credits.
What is a paid internship?
The paid internship is a three-consecutive month assignment that will help acquire beneficial insights that the classroom experience cannot provide, and apply on-the-job skills. This opportunity is open to university students (graduate or post-graduate) on a part-time or full-time basis.
In the case of a post-graduate program with a professional organization (for professional certification/articling purposes), the paid internship can be longer in order to fit the professional training requirements.
What are the types of projects/tasks a student could work on? What is the profile/background sought?
Depending on the student’s profile, the student could work in the following areas: administration, statistical reports, marine matters, communication and outreach, information management, IT, research, translation, legal, environmental issues, spill technology, oil spill focused research and development, etc.
What are the rates of pay (for paid internships)?
The SOPF aligns itself on remuneration in the federal public service, including for student employment.
Is it necessary to work at the SOPF office, in Ottawa?
The short answer is yes.
However, for unpaid internships with marine institutes/colleges or with universities having a program in maritime studies, distance work might be discussed and arranged – if feasible taking into account the type of work to be done.
How many students does the SOPF host every year under this Student Internship Program?
The SOPF will host between one and four interns per year. It is open to internships year-round, to the extent that the internships sought by the candidates match with SOPF’s needs, interests or projects. However, as a general rule, the SOPF will avoid hosting more than one intern at a time.
When is a good time to apply?
There is no specific deadline for application. However, there may not be an immediate opportunity for the applicant. If the applicant’s profile is of interest for a potential internship, the time-slot for such internship may become available only several months later – or even the next year.
What is the application process?