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Understanding the Live in Caregiver Program in Canada
Live in Caregiver Program in Canada
The program was created address the shortage of caregivers in Canada. Over the period, new criteria for education and skills have been introduced in the live-in caregiver program. The program applies only to the care of children under 18 years of age, elderly aged 65 or older and persons with disability. The program applies only to caregivers who live in the home of the person for whom they are caring, even if the home is not the employers’ residence. The employer must employ the live-in caregiver on a full-time basis and provide a furnished room for the exclusive use of the caregiver.
Six essential things to qualify as Live-in Caregivers in Canada
1. A positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) from an employer in Canada
Before hiring you, your employer must apply for a LMIA. The Employment and Social Development Canada/Service Canada (ESDC/SC) will assess your employer’s job offer and the employment contract to be sure that it meets the requirements for wages and working conditions and the provincial labour and employment standards, and that there are not enough Canadians or permanent residents available to work as live-in caregivers in Canada. If ESDC/SC finds the job offer acceptable, they will issue a positive LMIA to your employer.
2. A written contract with your employer, signed by you and the employer
You and your employer who proposes to hire you are legally required to sign a written employment contract, and this must be the same employment contract submitted to ESDC/SC by your employer, unless you provide an explanation of any changes (for example, a new start date). The written employment contract will ensure there is a fair working arrangement between you and your employer.
3. Successful completion of the equivalent of a Canadian secondary school education
You must have successfully completed the equivalent of Canadian high school education (secondary school). In most provinces, it takes 12 years of schooling to obtain a Canadian high school diploma. The immigration officer assessing your application will let you know what is needed.
4. At least six months’ training or at least one year of full-time paid work experience as a caregiver or in a related field or occupation (including six months with one employer) in the past three years
To claim work experience, you need to have worked for one year, including at least six months of continuous employment for the same employer. This work experience must be in a field or occupation specific to what you will do as a live-in caregiver. This experience must have been acquired within the three years immediately before the day on which you make an application for a work permit as a caregiver.
5. Good knowledge of English or French
You must be able to speak, read and understand either English or French so that you can function on your own in your employer’s home. For example, you must be able to call emergency services if they are needed, and to understand labels on medication. You will be unsupervised for most of the day and may have to communicate with someone outside the home. You can also read and understand your rights and obligations if you can function in English or French.
6. A work permit before you enter Canada
To participate in the Live-in Caregiver Program, you must make an application for an initial live-in caregiver work permit at a visa office outside Canada. If your application is successful, you will receive a letter of introduction from the Canadian visa office responsible for your area. You will need to present this letter to the Border Services Officer upon arrival in Canada in order to obtain your work permit.
Who can hire Live-in Caregiver to Canada?
Live-in care givers are hired by families that have a child or an elderly member to be taken care of, or a person with disabilities or high medical needs. To hire a caregiver under the live-in caregiver program the employer must:
- have made an effort to fill the position with a Canadian citizen, permanent resident or a foreign worker already in Canada
- be able to pay them
- give them acceptable living space in his home
- make a job offer for caregiving duties for:
- a child
- an elderly person
- a person with disability
- have applied for Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) from Service Canada before November30, 2014, including the employment contract
A caregiver who is already a part of the live-in caregiver program and wants to continue working on live-in basis can be hired for caregiving. To do so, the employer needs to get a positive LMIA and the caregiver needs to get a work permit. The live-in arrangement must be mentioned in the LMIA application.
Responsibilities of the Employer under the Live in Caregiver Program
- Working conditions
- Health Insurance
- Workers’ Compensation
- Record of Employment
- Room and board
- Helping your employee adjust
- Ending the contract with an employee
It is the responsibility of the employer to provide acceptable working conditions, reasonable duties and fair wage rate, along with private accommodation with free access. It is also the duty of the employer to legislative benefits under the Employment Standards like salary meeting minimum wages, extra pay for extra time, weekly day off and statutory holidays.
The employer is required to pay the health insurance and taxes for the caregiver and cannot deduct it from the wages of the caregiver.
The employer is required to register as an employer so as to be able to give the caregiver a Record of Employment (ROE) upon severance of employment. The employer also has also to provide T4 slips for the previous years of employment.
Employer is required to deduct income tax, employment insurance premium and Canadian pension plan contribution.
Periodicity and mode of deduction of room charges would differ depending on the provincial standards of employment. Food charges cannot be deducted when the caregiver has not eaten. The caregiver is free to go out on day offs.
Employer has to help the caregiver to adjust to the Canadian life style.
When the caregiver is unable or unwilling to continue the employment, the employer has to terminate the contract of employment and give intimation thereof to HRSDC/ Service Canada.
Hiring process for a Live in Caregiver in Canada
The hiring process of live-in caregiver happens in four steps. The process has to be initiated and undertaken by the employer.
- Finding a caregiver
- Applying for Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) Application
- Work Permit
- Written Employment Contract
The employer advertises the position for the live-in caregiver position in Canada’s national job bank or the equivalent in Saskatchewan, Quebec or the Northwest Territories. The employer has to show that reasonable efforts were made to hire a Canadian, permanent resident or a foreign worker already in Canada as a live-in caregiver. The employer may use a hiring agency.
The job offer must first be assessed and approved by Service Canada in the form of a LMIA before a caregiver can begin working for you. The LMIA is the first step to hiring a foreign worker. The employer has to show that no Canadian citizen or permanent resident in Canada is qualified and available to take the live-in caregiver job and that the employment offer meets all the necessary legislative and program requirements. A copy of the signed written employment contract between the employer and the caregiver has to be a part of the LMIA application. The certificate of acceptance of the LMIA is valid for 3 months from the date of issuance.
Caregivers found to be eligible and who meet all other requirements will be issued a work permit. This process can take several months. Even if your job offer is approved and you receive an LMIA from service Canada, the caregiver cannot work in Canada until he or she receives the work permit naming you as the employer.
Live-in caregivers have the right to change jobs without the employers permission and work for another employer as a live-in caregiver. However, live-in caregivers cannot start working for someone new until the new employer has obtained an LMIA and the caregiver has a new work permit naming the new employer.
The employer and the caregiver are legally required to sign a written employment contract. The written contract will ensure there is a fair working arrangement between them. The employment contract must demonstrate that the Live-in Caregiver Program requirements are met and that the contract provides all statutory benefits to the caregiver. The caregiver must submit the signed contract with the work permit application.
The live-in caregiver Program is for facilitating immigration of caregiver on the basis of a work permit. However, this work permit is issued only when the employer has shown that at the employer has made sufficient efforts to hire a Canadian, permanent resident or foreign workers already in Canada. The basis for getting this work permit is the employment contract between the employer and the caregiver.
What Akrami and Associates can do!!
Documentation is very crucial for immigration under the Live-in Caregiver Program. The work permit for under the program depends heavily on the contents of the employment contract. This program also entails a lot of responsibilities on the employer and the caregiver. We have helped hundreds of clients through this program. We can help you too. Whether you have a question, or are looking to book a consultation in person or over the phone with one of our representatives, feel free to give us a call today at 416-477-2545 or toll free at 1-877-820-7121.
With Akrami & Associates there is always a way!!