In case you were not aware, there are new rules and regulations governing live-in caregivers and temporary foreign workers in Canada – with a twist, as these rules also target the people who sponsor them in Canada and those who hire them.
These new rules clearly outline the government’s agenda going forward – after tightening the rules for the caregivers last year – the focus this year is on the families who sponsor, bring over to Canada and hire through the live-in caregiver program.
Effective April 1, 2011, the government will apply a more rigorous assessment of jobs for foreign workers to ensure that offers are legitimate to consider whether employers have followed the rules in the past before they can hire a nanny or temporary foreign worker. A bad track record could lead to a denial of the necessary permits to hire foreign workers.
Employers who fail to meet their commitments to workers with respect to wages and working conditions will face a two-year prohibition on hiring foreign workers.
There will also be a four-year limit on the amount of time a foreign worker can be employed in Canada. Once that limit is reached, the workers must return home and wait four years before they can work in Canada again.
That limit does not affect eligibility for permanent residence.
“The government is taking action to protect temporary foreign workers, including live-in caregivers, from potential abuse and exploitation,” explained immigration minister Jason Kenney.
The exploitation of the live-in caregiver program led to a first round of changes that took effect in April 2010 and mandated that employment contracts must spell out wages, benefits, accommodation, duties, hours of work and holiday and sick leave entitlements.
Those changes also added some flexibility to the amount of time given to live-in caregivers or nannies to meet the requirements needed for permanent residence status.
Under the law, caregivers can apply for permanent status after two years of regular full-time employment. With the changes, that time frame can be sped up if the person works a lot of overtime or can be extended if they work less than full-time hours or need time off because of illness or factors.
Once the two years are completed – and al the payroll made to the CRA, nannies can expect to wat up to 10 months for their permanent resident status.
So here is what you can expect to be asked if the government suspects you are doing something illegal;
They will ask for receipts to see if you paid for the flight to bring the nanny over. Failure to do so will put you on the unable to sponsor list.
Sponsoring then releasing nannies once in Canada is also a no-no.
Not having the correct paperwork – not signed contract, or failing to remit to the CRA monthly is a definite no-no.
Abusing their rights – making them work longer than allowed hours – refusing to let them have free time to go out or relax – if reported is a bad move, and yes there are some people who think a live-in caregiver is on call 24/7. So NOT true. They work regularly scheduled hours and must be paid overtime if those hours are exceeded.
And on the nannies side, failure to live-in when in Canada through the live-in caregiver program can result in them not being allowed to apply for permanent residency.
So play it safe, be respectful, and good luck. Here is the link to the new requirements;
In addition to the standard requirements to apply for a labour market opinion (LMO) under the Live-in Caregiver Program (LCP), Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC)/Service Canada will also evaluate the following criteria starting April 1, 2011:
- All employers hiring a live-in caregiver must use the new LMO application form specific to the LCP and provide:
- the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) business number
- an explanation of how hiring a temporary foreign worker (TFW) meets the employment needs of the employer; and
- a signed statement attesting that the employer will abide by the LCP requirements.
In addition to the above mentioned requirements, the following documentation must now be submitted along with the new LMO application:
- Proof of age or disability for the person requiring care:
- Child – long-form birth certificate or official adoption documents or medical doctor’s note confirming the pregnancy and due date of the child. The parents must submit a long form birth certificate after the child’s birth. Failure to do so may result in a refusal by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) to issue a work permit. If these are not available, any other official document issued by a government authority demonstrating the child to parent relationship (e.g. original birth certificate for children born abroad translated into English or French).
- Senior – birth certificate, Old Age Security Identification Card, passport or any other official documents showing the date of birth of the senior requiring care.
- Disabled person – medical certificate - (PDF 27KB)stating that the disabled person requires care (but not the nature of disability).
- A detailed description - (PDF 38KB) of the private accommodations provided to the live-in caregiver.
- An Option C-printout that any taxpayer can obtain from the CRA by calling 1-800-959-8281. The Option C-printout provides information on declared income from a variety of sources. In exceptional cases where the person is not required to submit taxes in Canada, the employer can submit: paystubs, bank statements, the employer- employee contract or any other official documents proving that the employer has the income necessary to pay the live-in caregiver.
Employers may also be required to provide, if requested by HRSDC/Service Canada, a provincial workers compensation clearance letter or other appropriate provincial documentation.
- The genuineness of the job offer made to the live-in caregiver will be assessed based on whether the employer:
- demonstrates a reasonable need for a full-time live-in caregiver to provide child care, elder care or care for a disabled person;
- can provide adequate, private accommodations to the live-in caregiver;
- has sufficient financial resources to pay the live-in caregiver.
- the employer, or the third party representative who recruited the live-in caregiver on behalf of the employer, must be compliant with the relevant federal-provincial/territorial employment and recruitment legislation.
- All returning employers must demonstrate that they have met the terms and conditions of employment set out in previous LMO confirmation letters and annexes (if applicable). In addition, some employers may be required to submit documentation to support a more detailed employer compliance review, including any or all of the following documents:
- payroll records;
- time sheets;
- job descriptions;
- copies of the employer-employee contract;
- receipts for private health insurance (if applicable);
- provincial workers compensation clearance letter or other appropriate provincial documentation;
- receipts for transportation costs; and
- information about accommodations provided by the employer.
If it appears that the employer did not fully uphold the terms and conditions of employment set out in the LMO confirmation letter and annex (if applicable), the employer will have the opportunity to provide a rationale. In this case, HRSDC/Service Canada will work with the employer to implement the appropriate corrective action, which may include providing compensation to the live-in caregiver. Employers may be found non-compliant if they refuse to provide a rationale and/or provide only partial compensation to the live-in caregiver.
If the employer is found to be non-compliant:
- HRSDC/Service Canada may issue a negative LMO and revoke all positions on confirmed LMOs for which work permits have not yet been issued by CIC
- CIC may deem the employer ineligible to hire TFWs for two years. The employer’s name, address and period of ineligibility may also be published on a list of ineligible employers posted on CIC Web site.
So in a nutshell, it is going to be that much more difficult to hire a live-in caregiver on your own. Spend the money and go through a registered agency and make sure you have everything you need, or prepare to be banned.