Canada stretching from the U.S. in the south to the Arctic Circle in the north, is filled with vibrant cities including massive, multicultural Toronto; predominantly French-speaking Montréal and Québec City; Vancouver and Halifax on the Pacific and Atlantic coasts, respectively; and Ottawa, the capital. It’s also crossed by the Rocky Mountains and home to vast swaths of protected wilderness. English is predominately the spoken language and it is close to the USA. It has a population of 35 million people has very contrasting weather, gets a lot of snow and it has a Queen. A land of opportunities and a great choice on paper to visit as an au pair.
It is not until you look into Canada and its current job crisis and the requirements to become an au pair Canada that might make you rethink your options. I would not rule things out until you read all below for some great advice and quick tips.
In recent articles in the Huffington Post read here it refers to the unemployment rate sticking at 6.6% and also a concern among Youth Unemployment between 15-29 years olds – bottom line there are not enough jobs. Huffington Post.ca so with au pairs falling into this age bracket what are the possibilities of getting work in Canada as an au pair? Will employment agencies even respond or deal with you? Would it be easier to look for nanny jobs?
Yes is the answer to the above questions; bar the last as in my opinion an au pair is the way to go if you wish to explore new cultures and see new countries. You can work as an au pair in Canada but it will come down to what country you are from at the end of the day. Canada does not offer an official au pair program, however, youths between 18 and 35 may qualify for a Working Holiday Visa, now called International Experience Canada or student work visa programs OR a Live in Care giver programme. So there are 2 programmes you can apply to for becoming an au pair in Canada. Things are looking good already.
Live in Caregiver Visa
This open to caregivers who are aged 19 and above. There is no age limit on this visa program, but if you are looking to use this option to become an au pair generally this is a young person’s game. This visa allows foreign employees to enter Canada as a caregiver. Successful applicants receive an employment authorisation allowing them to work in Canada as live-in caregivers. After two years of employment, program participants can apply in Canada to become permanent residents; they may be granted permanent resident status provided they meet certain requirements. Note: the two years of employment must be completed within four years of the caregiver’s arrival in Canada.
The Working Holiday Program or International Experience Canada (IEC)
Allows young citizens from countries with a reciprocal agreement with Canada, to live and work in Canada for 12-24 months. To work in the “childcare” field on this visa, you will need to lodge additional forms to have an unrestricted visa issued.
Countries eligible for IEC: Austria, Australia, Belgium, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Ireland, Japan, Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Ukraine and the United Kingdom.
About the Live-in Caregiver Program:
The Live-in Caregiver Program allows workers to go to Canada for live-in work as caregivers when there are not enough Canadians to fill the available positions. A “live-in caregiver” is someone who provides unsupervised care of children, the elderly, or the disabled in a private household.
Normal processing times 6-24 months but check your local embassy to verify.
- Applicants must have successfully completed the equivalent of a Canadian high school education.
- Applicants must have six months of full-time training in a classroom setting or twelve months of full-time paid employment, including at least six months of continuous employment with one employer in a field or occupation related to the job you are seeking as a live-in caregiver.
- Applicants must be able to speak, read and understand either English or French at a level that allows you to function independently.
- Applicants must have an employment contract and work permit.
- An application to hire a live-in carer must be submitted by the prospective employer (host family) to Human Resources and Skills Development Canada/Service Canada (HRSDC/SC).The family must apply for the Labour Market Opinion (LMO).
Once granted, the work permit is normally valid for 4 years, in some circumstances 4 years and 3 months, and then you can start working as an au pair in Canada.
Caregivers are paid minimum wage, between $235- $350 per week, depending on the minimum wage set in each province. Maximum of 44 hours per week.
Live in care givers visa http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/work/caregiver/index.asp
About the International Experience Canada (IEC):
To work as an au pair in Canada, working holiday makers must be between 18-30 years of age, provide proof of sufficient funds (usually $2,500 CAD), have a return air ticket or funds to purchase one, have a valid passport, possess neither a criminal record nor serious medical conditions, not be accompanied by dependents, have comprehensive private health insurance, which includes medical, hospitalisation, repatriation and liability cover for the duration of their stay and not have already participated in the working holiday program.
Check the Government of Canada website to check your eligibility click here to check eligibility
You have 2 options to becoming an au pair in Canada going on the Working Holiday visa and which one you go for depends on how urgent it is.
- You can go the ‘normal’ route and submit your application get all your medicals done (all through approved doctors or centres from the CIC) and await approval, this can take 6-8 weeks. During the application process, you’ll be asked if you would like to work in childcare, answer ‘yes’ to that question. If you are successful, a Letter of Introduction (LOI) will be emailed to you and you can enter Canada and be issued an unrestricted work permit so you may start working in childcare and hence as an au pair in Canada. You do not have to have a job offer in advance but with so many website out there like aupairworld.com you can read my article on this here IMDEB LINK and the nature of the au pair business it would be better off to look for a host family in advance and more for peace of mind – especially after reading the jobs situation in Canada above.
- Try the faster route -apply for the working holiday, don’t tick ‘no’ to working in childcare. Your application will be processed as a routine case. When you enter Canada with your LOI, you will be issued a RESTRICTED work permit so you may work in any field except childcare, healthcare or teaching. Contact Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) Centre where you will get medical examination forms and further instructions, then CIC will modify your Work Permit and remove the occupational restrictions and then you can work as an au pair in Canada. Voila.
Au pair in Canada General Requirements
|Topic||Au pair in Canada – Working Holiday Visa||Au pair in Canada – Live-in Care Giver Program|
|Age||18-30 or 35 depending on nationality||No age limit|
|Pocket Money||An Au Pair MUST be paid at LEAST the minimum wage as prescribed by each province. $10.45-$13 per hour.||To be negotiated|
|Working hours, free time and holidays||To be negotiated. As a guide around 35 hours per week and holidays to be calculated at 2 weeks for every 6 months worked.||To be negotiated|
|Accommodation and meals||An au pair in Canada is provided with a private, lockable room in the family home with all meals provided for on a daily basis. Families may deduct a minimal portion of the hourly wage for room and board.||An au pair in Canada is provided with a private, lockable room in the family home. The host family may deduct a fee for board and lodging from your wages|
|Travel costs||A working holiday maker must pay for their own travel costs.||The host family is responsible for one way travel costs from the au pair’s country of residence to the host families’ home in Canada. If the au pair is already in Canada, the host family is responsible for the au pair’s transportation costs to their house.|
|Language skills and courses||An au pair in Canada must be able to speak, read and understand English or French. Attending a language course is not required||An au pair in Canada must be able to speak, read and understand English or French. Attending a language course is not required|
|Length of stay||Varies depending on country of origin (ranging from 12-24 months)||Up to 4 years and 3 months|
|Insurances||An au pair in Canada is required to have their own comprehensive private insurance, including medical, hospitalisation and repatriation cover as well as liability insurance for the duration of their stay.||The host family must provide health care insurance until the au pair is eligible for provincial / territorial health care insurance. The host family must also register the au pair for Workplace Safety Insurance at no cost to the au pair.|
|Au pair in Canada Job duties||Childcare including babysitting up to 2 nights per week and light housework,||Childcare and light housework – babysitting optional. Bringing children to and from day care.|
So as you can take from what you have read so far Canada is not like other countries to travel to work in and no matter what country you are from, even the USA, you will require a work visa. If you are an EU citizen and looking to au pair London or looking for something more romantic like au pair Paris you would not require any visa so count your blessings. Canada has always been and will always be tough to get into and just to bear in mind that the Working Holiday Visa or IEC program has a quota of visas issued per year per country, usually in 2 rounds. Ireland gets 3,800 per year and the UK gets about 5,500. Australia gets unlimited quota. These are all on a first come first served basis.
Make sure you plan ahead and keep an eye on the CIC website to see when the visas will be available and be prepared and act fast. Once you do this and follow the steps above you will be on your way to Canada. When you have your visa secured then you should to start your search for host families and the adventure will become a reality. Remember Canada is a vast country with very extreme weather conditions so choose your location wisely.
A quick look at the temperatures in a few cities
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