Article By: Catherine Longo
Canada is facing a shortage of live-in caregivers. Many Canadians are turning to Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s Live-In Caregiver Program (“LCP”) as a result of this shortage. The LCP is a subset of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program through which a temporary foreign worker may come to Canada for the purpose of caring for a child or an elderly or disabled person living in your home. As the name suggests, the caregiver must live in the home where he/she works.
If you hire a live-in caregiver, you are the employer. As an employer, you have a number of responsibilities. As with any other employment relationship it is crucial to start on the right foot.
LCP Program Requirements
As an employer under the LCP, you must:
- Provide proof that your dependant is in need of care;
- Make (and document) efforts to find a Canadian or a permanent resident to fill the position;
- Demonstrate that you have sufficient income to pay the caregiver;
- Provide suitable accommodation in your home;
- Put together a job offer that has primarily caregiving responsibilities for a child or an elderly or disabled person living in your home;
- Prepare an employment contract incorporating the legal and LCP requirements with respect to wages, working conditions and occupation, and consider other terms of employment such as overtime;
- Submit an application for a Labour Market Opinion with the employment contract to Human Resources and Skills Development Canada/Service Canada;
- Register as an employer with the Canada Revenue Agency;
- Pay the transportation costs of the live-in caregiver to the work location in Canada;
- Pay for the caregiver’s private health insurance from the time the caregiver arrives in Canada until the worker is covered by the appropriate provincial/territorial health insurance plan; and
- Pay for workplace safety insurance coverage from the applicable provincial or territorial workplace safety insurance provider. In Ontario, the insurance provider is the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board.
In addition, you must ensure that the caregiver meets the LCP requirements. Specifically you must:
- Ensure that the caregiver can speak, read, and understand either English or French;
- Ensure that the caregiver has a valid work permit; and
- Ensure that the caregiver has the necessary qualifications:
- Equivalent of a Canadian high school education;
- 6 months full time training; or
- 1 year of experience as a full time caregiver or related occupation (including 6 months with the same employer) during the past 3 years.
Other important considerations:
- Start early, the processing time for the application may be a couple of months or more; and
- Determine any special requirements based upon your province/territory. For example, advertisement criteria vary slightly in the province of Quebec.
If you are looking to hire a housekeeper or housecleaner, or a nanny who would live outside of your home, then this is not the program for you. You should apply under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program for Lower Skilled Positions.
For those who require full-time care for a loved one, proper diligence on your part is essential to ensuring a positive outcome.