OTTAWA -- An upcoming study on internships says the majority of interns surveyed are young women who make less than the minimum wage -- if they're paid at all -- and work primarily in entertainment, media and journalism.

The study, to be released in the coming weeks by two researchers at the University of Victoria and the Canadian Intern Association, is aimed at determining the scope of unpaid internships amid a growing uproar about the practice.

Some estimates suggest there are as many as 300,000 unpaid interns in the country, but critics say the lack of federal labour market data has made it impossible to determine a precise number.

The problem is compounded by the fact that employers are not required to report their use of unpaid interns to provincial or federal authorities.

The lack of data prompted grad students Isabelle Couture and James Attfield to conduct the study.