Apply – Hire a live-in caregiver

As an employer, you are responsible for finding a foreign live-in caregiver through advertisements, personal contacts or hiring agencies. You then must go through the application process to hire them.

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Finding a caregiver

Your local Employment and Social Development Canada/Service Canada (ESDC/SC) centre may provide advice on how to advertise your position for a live-in caregiver in Canada’s national Job Bank or the equivalent in Saskatchewan, Quebec or the Northwest Territories. They will also ask you to show that you have made reasonable efforts to hire a Canadian, a permanent resident or a foreign worker already in Canada as a live-in caregiver. You are required to advertise your position in the national Job Bank. Find out more about the minimum recruitment efforts for hiring a caregiver on the ESDC website.

Using a hiring agency

You do not have to use an agency. Many people rely on recommendations from friends or on advertisements.

If you decide to use a hiring agency, choose a reputable one. Neither ESDC/SC nor Citizenship and Immigration Canada will recommend specific hiring agencies. You must contact the agency yourself. You should:

  • find out what services the agency offers;
  • review your agency contract for information about caregiver costs you may be required to pay; and
  • ask about refund guarantees and whether the company will replace an employee who quits (and if so, within what period of time and after what period of employment).

Ask the agency for references to ensure that the workers it recommends are qualified. You can also ask:

  • How does the agency screen applicants?
  • Does the agency have the resources to service clients?
  • Does the agency have a non-refundable placement fee?
  • Does the agency check references and interview applicants in person?

Under the Live-in Caregiver Program, recruitment costs cannot be charged to live-in caregivers. As well, in certain provinces, such as British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan, recruitment agencies are prohibited from collecting a variety of fees from workers.

Hiring a caregiver who is already in Canada

You can hire a live-in caregiver who is already in Canada and has a valid work permit.

The caregiver will need to apply for a new work permit naming you as the employer. It is illegal for the caregiver to begin working for you without this permit. You cannot hire a caregiver on a trial basis to find out if they are suitable. It is a crime to employ a worker who is not authorized by Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

When you have found a caregiver you want to hire, contact the ESDC/SC Live-in Caregiver Call Centre to obtain more information about the Live-in Caregiver Program at 1-800-367-5693 (from within Canada or the United States) or 506-546-7569 (from outside Canada or the United States).

Applying for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)

Changes to Canada’s Caregiver Program took effect on November 30, 2014:

  • You may not hire a new caregiver from overseas through the Live-in Caregiver Program if you have not applied for an LMIA before November 30, 2014.
  • You may hire a foreign caregiver through the regular process of hiring a foreign worker if you successfully apply for an LMIA after November 30, 2014.
  • Caregivers who are not part of the Live-in Caregiver Program are not required to live in the home of their employer. If the caregiver you are hiring agrees, a live-in arrangement may still be possible. The live-in arrangement must be specified in the LMIA application.
  • You may hire a caregiver who is already part of the Live-in Caregiver Program and wants to continue working on a live-in basis. To do so, you need to get an LMIA and the caregiver needs to get a new work permit.

Your job offer must first be assessed and approved by ESDC/SC in the form of a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) before a caregiver can begin working for you. The LMIA is the first step to hiring a foreign worker. The employer is required to demonstrate 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. You must provide a copy of the signed written employment contract with your caregiver as part of your LMIA application.

The LMIA that you apply for at ESDC/SC is valid for up to six months (except in Quebec, where it is valid up to 3 months following the issuance of the Certificate of Acceptance (CAQ) by the ministère de l’Immigration, Diversité et Inclusion, regardless of the LMIA expiry date). An LMIA is an assessment of the impact a job offer will have on the Canadian labour market.

Work permits

You will get an LMIA when ESDC/SC has approved your job offer. The LMIA confirmation letter sent to employers contains important information which you must relay to your live-in caregiver, including information relevant to the work permit application. It will also tell you which documents you must send to the caregiver and which they will need for their work permit application.

Caregivers found to be eligible and who meet all other requirements will be issued a work permit. This process may take several months, so plan ahead.

Even if your job offer is approved and you receive an LMIA from ESDC/SC, the caregiver cannot work in Canada until he or she receives the work permit naming you as the employer. You should keep in contact with the caregiver so that you’ll know when he or she will be able to begin working for you.

Live-in caregivers have the right to change jobs without your 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.

After a live-in caregiver has worked under the Program for two years, or 3,900 hours, within four years of their date of entry into Canada, they can apply for permanent residence. They may also wish to apply for an open work permit, which would allow them to work in Canada in any occupation.

The written employment contract

You and the caregiver you hire are legally required to sign a written employment contract. The written contract will ensure there is a fair working arrangement between you and your caregiver. The employment contract must demonstrate that the Live-in Caregiver Program requirements are met by including a description of:

  • mandatory employer-paid benefits, including:
    • transportation to Canada from the live-in caregiver’s country of permanent residence or the country of habitual residence to the location of work in Canada
    • medical insurance coverage provided from the date of the live-in caregiver’s arrival until he or she is eligible for provincial health insurance
    • workplace safety insurance coverage for the duration of the employment
    • all recruitment fees, including any amount payable to a third-party recruiter or agents hired by the employer that would otherwise have been charged to the live-in caregiver
  • job duties
  • hours of work
  • wages
  • accommodation arrangements (including room and board)
  • holiday and sick leave entitlements
  • termination and resignation terms

Your caregiver must submit the signed contract with the work permit application.

A contract template along with the guide for completion is available on the Service Canada website. Your contract does not have to look exactly like this, but it must contain all the information and clauses indicated as mandatory.

The use of an alternative contract format may delay the processing of the LMIA application as ESDC and Service Canada officers will need to determine if the contract complies with LCP requirements.

The contract template is different for the province of Quebec and is available on the website of the Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Diversité et de l'Inclusion (Quebec’s immigration department).

Note: The province’s/territory’s labour laws take priority over the terms of the contract if the contract terms provide for less than the law requires.

The wages will be set out in the contract. Be prepared to pay a wage rate and provide benefits comparable to those provided to other caregivers in your community if you want to keep your employee.

Hiring in Quebec

If you live in Quebec and your employee will be working in that province, your ESDC/SC centre can tell you about any differences in the process of hiring a foreign live-in caregiver. For more information, visit the website of ESDC and the Ministère de l’Immigration, Diversité et Inclusion (Quebec’s immigration department).

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