Did you know: You can find me here too… Daddy101 @ www.pinkandbluebaby.com


Did you know that you can find me in other places around the web?  Try this URL below, for Pink and Blue Baby, a baby and parenting magazine which has an incredible discussion forum on Facebook.

http://pinkandbluebaby.com/category/daddy-101/

Aptly billed as providing “EXPERT ADVICE FOR FABULOUS MOMS & SAVVY DADS”, Pink & Blue Baby is an online magazine that is unique because it is the first online magazine to feature experts who interacts with parents and parents-to-be by sharing information and advice.

When you check out the magazine you will see that it features experts in their fields on a variety of topics such as; music classes, prenatal, postnatal, nutrition, recipes, child care options, advice from Doctors of all kinds,   holistic remedies, baby names, charity, coupons & deals, sleep, registries, breast-feeding, financial topics, local events, family fun, birthday party ideas and gifts and anything else related to making parents’ fabulous with expert advice and bloggers, and you can write in and ask questions to our experts and ask “Miss Pink & Mr. Blue” all the questions you are curious about.  No boundaries.

The site also has been doing product give aways – which is a bonus - so as a reader you also have an opportunity to win some great swag while getting the inside goods.

Check out the Facebook group, hit them up on Twitter or follow the URL and come say hello. 

So how did this magazine start, you ask?

The concept came about to fill a niche in the Mommy / Daddy marketplace for those of us who have not always had that group of friends since school who we could turn to in order to ask questions, get advice and seek support.  When you’re a new parent or a 3-time parent such as myself, having support, a network, or someone to turn to is critical to raising sane children (or to stay sane as a parent).  In the case of this magazine, one of the sites creators, Nicole Bloomberg, had a baby girl and moved from Florida to Toronto and wanted to have a network to connect with local mothers and help other mothers connect. Since one did not exist, she created one with Robyn Zeldin, the owner of Wee Care & In a Pinch – which happens to be our nanny agency of choice, I might throw in). 

Viola, out came Pink and Blue Baby.

Here are some links to the rest of the site;

Make sure to check them out and please come by the Daddy101, say hello, post a comment, ask a question and see some of my material done up a little nicer and with pictures!

How having an opinion can get you in trouble.


Here is a copy of a Facebook conversation I had with a friend of mine who has run for the Conservative party municipally and Provincially.  He posted that he will was invited to a dinner event with Immigration minister Jason Kenney, who I just posted about due to my concerns with the recent changes to the live-in caregiver program.
 
I congratulated my friend of over 20 years and asked him to get some information for me.  Now looking back, and knowing my friend, there was no way he would just up and question the minister, however if he had a moment, I guarantee he would ask for me.
 
Someone saw this exchange and must have thought I was criticizing my friend, or the progress being made by this government – which I kind of am doing – and below is a transcript of the conversation.
 
Urbandaddy: Awesome, Mike Yen. Can you ask Jason what he’s doing with the Canadian Live-in Caregiver program? He’s messing up the agencies and the nannies already in it. He’s causing headaches for the employers too. I posted a couple in-depth blog posts you can refer to @ www.urbandaddy.wordpress.com, if you’d like.

urbandaddy.wordpress.com
 
Person: Urban Daddy, you’re little unfair to the minister.. and also mike, by not completely briefing mike prior to meeting Jason kenny.First off you make no reference ( in your blog ) to ” why ” the new changes have been made. Nor do you offer any history into the amount of abuse that was bestowed, under the old rules.There are very good reason’s for the change.Caregivers now have 4 years to get in two years employment,( or equivalent hours ) up from 3 years. This was done, to allow the employee freedom, and not be locked into miserable jobs because of a calendar. Under Minister Kenny, a hot-line has been set up “just for caregivers” working / living in abusive situations… no other minister had done this before.

Clamping down of unscrupulous agents and consultants has been a great accomplishment by Minister Kenny. Maybe a blog on that topic would shine some light on the other side of the fence. And then another one or to on the “abuses of authority” employers rein down on some of these woman.

And of course the wait time to be processed is going to be longer.. more people are applying for the PR, and of course the process time to get here will be longer, more people are applying to come here.

Over the last 5-7 years, there has been a popular and very lucrative and in many cases, unscrupulous, industry created around ( primarily ) Filipinas coming to Canada via Hong Kong, Singapore, and Dubai. Again, this explains the extended wait times.

In my experience, the only ones that are “really upset” with the minster’s new rules, are those that are attempting to live off the avails of caregivers. See consultants and agents above.

To send Mike at the minister, using only the info in your blog, could very well be an embarrassment to him.

Jason Kenny has done a great job with the changes. They are not perfect, but the door has been slammed on the bastards that were using and abusing the caregivers. And for that, he gets my full respect.

 
Urban Daddy: Hi.  I don’t think I’m being unfair to Mike at all, actually. I’ve known him for over 20 years personally and Mike would never just read what I’m writing and speak to the Minister on that. I was hoping that if he knew him and had a moment to ask him about where the government is going on this he would. Mike’s a pretty strategic fellow. And as for my views on the program, I’m coming at it from a very honest straightforward view. I worked in government, and I’ve employed nannies (still do). Going through the process for me was a little more difficult because it had to be even more by the book. While I understand there has been some corruption in the program, I have never seen it personally, so I’m looking out for the honest folks, like myself, the agency that helped us on 3 occasions and the wonderful woman who have helped take care of my children.
 
- I’ll saw here that a lot of what this person said was legitimate, however, had he read any of my 3 blog posts on this topic he would know that not only do I have the government experience, and I’ve sponsored 3 nannies and helped them all go through the program, complete their paperwork and get jobs after, but I have also sent my posts to an amazing nanny agency called Wee Care here in Toronto to vete my thoughts to ensure they are not biased.  This agency is about as legit as you can get and just for doing business they are required to jump through hoops. 
 
I’m all for getting the bad guys but let’s not lose sight of the fact that not everyone is a bad guy.  Good guys can complain too about process / procedures because they make little sense.  Those trying to cheat the system will do so regardless of what obstacles are in front of them,.  So why make the honest guys suffer.  My kids current nanny is this petit sweet very Christian girl who just wants to get her residency so she can get her career moving and help her family back home.  She wants to run a business here and upgrade her education.  To do so, she needs her residency but until that time she can’t even take courses.  She’s devoted 4 years of her life to this country and in return she is asked to wait an additional 18 months to get her residency.  If the minister really wanted to be fair to everyone, he’d grandfather (grandmother) the current group and start fresh with the next lot.
 
Back to the discussion -
 
  • Person: Urban Daddy, my wife is a Filipina, that came into this country through the caregiver program.. I have met many caregivers, and only one, has had what I’d consider a really good employer. By that I mean her employer stuck to the duties spelled out clearly on the contract.Caregivers are not dog walkers, snow removers, lawn cutters, house painters, furniture movers, car washers, gardeners ( read: weed pullers ) etc. However, most, almost all, are called upon to perform many of the tasks I’ve noted. Employers are getting all those services for min wage. If they were to pay the caregivers market value for those extra tasks, ok, then that would / could be acceptable.. but that is not the case.What Minster Kenny has set up, is a system whereby, caregivers can now leave their slave-driving employers, with no penalty to themselves. This is a great change.

    I agree with you, there are a few good agencies. Just a few. The new guide lines, are closing down the exploiters very quickly. I just heard of another one tonight.

    The new wait times are longer. I know this can be frustrating.
    But there are more than enough here, that will accept part-time, until the other caregiver arrives. We’re currently waiting for my brother in-law to arrive from Dubai. There’s a job waiting for him when he arrives, and until then it is being filled by a woman with a PR Card. She’s aware of the temporary nature of the job. Plus, she’ll be working there on the weekends when he’s with us. And of course, under the new guidelines ( as I’m sure you’re aware ) no fee’s are being charged to the employee, for the job.

    I really think it’s noble how you care for your employee’s future here in Canada. I also believe we have a great guy ( Minster Kenny ) steering the ship.

    Whenever I get frustrated at the new rules, ( that my brother in-law is experiencing ) I just think of the added protection to the caregivers.

Again I appreciate that this is his view, however, now in over 6 years of employing caregivers and having many at our house, often, I cannot say that I have ever seen this.  I have not heard of, nor would I ever ask an employee – nanny or tax staff – to do something not in their contact.  Again I think each person sees different things or gets asked different things.  I’ve been asked if nannies are allowed to go out at night, or if they are on call 24/7 and yes, I have set people straight.  How else do people learn. 
 
I like some of the changes to reduce nanny abuse and require them to be treated equally under the law as a regular employee but to up the costs to employers and make life difficult and expensive for potential employers tells me the minister is trying to make this program available only to the rich and I have problems with that since it’s usually the middle class who need the live-in caregivers so both parents can work as it’s a cheaper option that a live-out caregiver.
 
All I wanted from the minister was answers… Where is he going with the program.  I ended the conversation this way: It looks like we both pretty much see things the same way. Happy to see corruption kept out of the program and let the legit businesses run properly and help those fantastic workers do their stuff and come to be productive Canadians. Pleasure having this discussion with you. I’ve learned a lot. Cheers.
 
What are your thoughts?  If you comment and you have either a nanny or an agency, please disclose.
 
Thanks!

Ontario Minimum Wage Increase Impacts Federal LCP


Please remember this come election time in Ontario…

We all know how complicated it is to set-up and file payroll to the CRA for live-in caregivers, well thanks to the Ontario government (I’m sure with the love and support of the NDP), the increase in minimum wage from $10.00 and hour to $10.25 will mean mid-year you will have to change your payroll figures you report to the CRA.

Thank you Dalton McGuinty.

Of course, the CRA will not audit, nor penalize you for accidentally excluding this increase in the payroll figures – they just won’t tell you that. 

Here is the press release from my friends at the Wee Care Placement Agency, www.weecareplacement.ca.

Please note effective March 31, 2010, the prevailing wage rate in Ontario for the Live-In Caregiver Program will be increased to $10.25 gross/hour from the current prevailing wage rate of $10.00.

Information on the Regional Wages, Working Conditions and Advertisement Requirements for the Live-In Caregiver Program (LCP) found on the TFWP website URL at: http://www.hrsdc.gc.ca/eng/workplaceskills/foreign_workers/advertreq/wageadreq.shtml will be updated.

I will never figure out how raising minimum wage is going to help anyone?  Minimum wage is an entry level wage usually for people who are first entering the workforce, like teens, or for those unskilled workers who are learning a trade.  If they are any good at it, they will perform better and earn a better wage or get promoted.  If the starting wage is too high, places will hire less entry level or part-time staff and people who need experience to learn and develop and grown won’t get that chance.  If it made sense, everyone would get $20.00 and hour and all Ontarians would own $500,000.00 houses.  But they don’t.

More government stupidity. Immigration style…


This came from my friends at the Wee Care Agency who have helped place my family with 3 nannies over the past 5 years, through the Canadian live-in caregiver program.  The program lasts 2 years and allows those who utilize it to apply for Canadian citizenship upon completion of the program.  So if you are considering sponsoring a nanny from overseas, act now!  Read on and you will see why.  Wee Care can be found at www.weecareplacement.ca.  Tell them Urban Daddy sent you.  They wont know who that is but it will be fun.

They wanted to bring to everyone’s attention that the proposed regulatory changes to the Live-in Caregiver Program brought forward by the Immigration Minister, Jason Kenney, on December 12, 2009 have now been passed by Canadian Immigration.   

These changes will take effect as of April 1, 2010 and will have serious consequences to families needing caregiver help.  Specifically, employers who sponsor from abroad will be required to pay for all travel expenses of their caregiver, as well as increased recruitment fees.  This will put an unnecessary financial burden on Canadian families hiring live-in caregivers.

Additionally, Ontario families wishing to hire a live-in caregiver are hit with a double whammy with the passing of Bill 210.  Bill 210 comes into effect on March 22, 2010 and ensures that Ontario families hiring live-in caregivers will have to incur substantial increases in costs in relation to hiring a live-in caregiver.  You can find a link to Bill 210 at the bottom of this letter.

Furthermore, we are expecting that the minimum wage for the live in caregiver program will be increased at the end of March 2010- however this has not yet been announced and we will inform you when it does.

So this is the government’s press release:

Changes to the Live-in Caregiver Program

Effective April 1, 2010, all employers applying for a Labour Market Opinion under the Live-in Caregiver Program and wishing to hire foreign live-in caregivers must meet the following requirements:

Health Insurance

Employers of foreign live-in caregivers are now responsible for paying for their caregiver’s health insurance at no cost to the caregiver until he/she becomes eligible for provincial health coverage. Employers are not permitted to recoup these costs from live-in caregivers.

Workplace Safety

Employers of foreign live-in caregivers are now required to enrol their caregivers in provincial workplace safety insurance (also known as worker’s compensation) or comparable insurance if the former is not available. This must be done at no cost to the caregiver. Employers are not permitted to recoup these costs from live-in caregivers.

Recruitment and Third Party Fees

Employers who wish to use a recruitment agency or third party agency to hire a foreign live-in caregiver must pay for all the services provided by the agency or third party, and must pay all fees and costs associated with such a recruitment or third party agency. Employers are not permitted to recoup recruitment fees or other costs associated with the use of such an agency or third party from the caregivers.

Transportation costs

Employers of foreign live-in caregivers are required to pay the transportation costs for bringing their caregivers to Canada. In the instance where foreign caregivers are already in Canada, employers are responsible for paying to relocate them to the location of work (where caregiving will take place) at no cost to the caregiver.

Mandatory Employment Contract (for sponsorship from abroad and local)

Employers must submit to Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC)/Service Canada an employment contract with their Labour Market Opinion application to hire a foreign live-in caregiver. The employment contract must include the following mandatory clauses:

  • Duration of the contract
  • Duties of the position
  • Hours of work (including wages, overtime, holidays, and sick leave)
  • Accommodation arrangements, as per provincial and municipal standards
  • Registration for provincial workplace safety coverage
  • Transportation costs and arrangements
  • Health Care provisions
  • Recruitment fees
  • Terms of resignation and termination

A contract template and accompanying instructions will be posted on the HRSDC Web site soon. When the foreign national applies to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) for a work permit, a copy of the contract, signed by the employer and the foreign national, must be submitted to CIC.

IMPORTANT:

Employers are strongly encouraged to visit CIC’s Web site to familiarize themselves with the requirements of the Live-in Caregiver Program http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/work/apply-who-caregiver.asp 

It is expected that employers will ensure that complete and accurate records of work performed, wages paid, and other human resource records are maintained concerning their employment of a foreign national under the Live-in Caregiver Program.

Employers must provide their foreign live-in caregivers with signed documentation clearly identifying any regular and overtime hours worked. This is now required under new regulations that allow the caregiver to choose to count these hours toward the requirement for an application for permanent residence.

You can find Bill 210 here:  http://www.ontla.on.ca/web/bills/bills_detail.do?locale=en&BillID=2229&BillStagePrintId=4498&btnSubmit=go 

WHY SHOULD YOU BE CONCERNED?

These changes will mean a substantial increase in the cost that Canadian families will have to shoulder when hiring a live-in caregiver.

If Canadian employers must cover the airfare to Canada for their intended live-in caregiver, as well as increased recruitment costs. The employer should at least have some small assurance and/or recourse should the caregiver decide to leave after a short period and without due cause. 

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

Email the Immigration Minister, Jason Kenney, and the Prime Minister’s office and voice your concerns.

Minister Kenney can be contacted via email at Minister@cic.gc.ca, the PM at pm@pm.gc.ca

So this is the stupidest thing I have ever heard!  Why would Canadians continue to sponsor caregivers from overseas – specifically Hong Kong or the Philippines when it is going to cost them an arm and a leg to bring them over.  And what happens if they don’t work out?  All that money will be a waste.  Last time I checked if I wanted a job in say, Australia, I have to get there to work in that job.  I am not going to write the Australian government and ask them to draft new legislation requiring my new employer to pay for my relocation because I want to work there.     

Maybe Immigration Canada wants me to pay for my nanny to fly to Canada 1st class, and I can put her up at the Royal York on weekends.  I mean who do they think hire live-in caregivers?  People who need to work hire them so they can work and wont have to worry about daycare, etc.  They people are now going to be burdened by workers compensation, health insurance, travel and relocation expenses and a minimum wage increase.  Add to that the costs of salary, increased water and electricity, food and payroll deductions and the live-in caregiver will be a luxury for the wealthy only.

I suspect the fall out from this simply poor-thought out legislation will be that people will start asking companies live Wee Care for caregivers who live closer to their home, like Mexico, or Chicago, or Barrie.  Caregivers who will want to go into the program who are working in Hong Kong will have to make their own way to Canada on a “vacation” them apply while here in order to get hired and not burden their future employers with that cost of a plane ticket.

If the Canadian government wanted to remove the Live-in caregiver program and stop Philippino caregivers from coming in to Canada from Hong Kong why did they just say so.  To add this ridiculous stipulations make the government look like they are trying to stop people from abusing the program and the kind folks theat get brought over rather than than helping these people come over, get placed and them making sure they are not being overworked.

Provide a resource for them once they arrive, don’t make it impossible for them to arrive.

Congrats to the CIC.

You make the Canada Revenue Agency look like geniuses.