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.
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 for a minimum of 14 calendar days. Find out more about the minimum recruitment efforts required under the Live-in Caregiver Program 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 1‑877‑227‑4577 (toll-free).
Applying for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)
Your job offer must first be assessed and approved by ESDC/SC in the form of a positive 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 with the employer 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 under the Live-in Caregiver Program is valid for up to four years and three months (except in Quebec, where it is up to three years). An LMIA is an assessment of the impact a job offer will have on the Canadian labour market. For more information about LMIAs, see the ESDC website.
When ESDC/SC has approved your job offer, you will obtain a positive LMIA. 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 have received a positive LMIA from ESDC/SC, your caregiver cannot work in Canada until he or she receives the work permit naming you as the employer. You should keep in contact with your 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 the employer’s 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 a positive 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
- 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 immigration department).
Note: The province’s labour laws take priority over the terms of the contract if the contract terms provide less than the law requires.
The wages will be set out in the contract. The wage to be paid to the live-in caregiver in your province or territory, and which is required under the Program as per ESDC’s requirements for the LMIA, may be below the market wage in your community. 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.
Additional requirements in foreign countries
Some countries may have additional requirements for their citizens that do not exist in Canada. For example, some countries have exit requirements whereby their citizens must apply and meet certain requirements to get approval to leave their country. Before you sign an employment contract, you should ask your caregiver about their country’s requirements and find out if there are additional requirements that may affect you. You can also contact the embassy for that country in Canada.
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 the Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Diversité et de l’Inclusion (Quebec immigration department).
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