This fact sheet contains important information for live-in caregivers. The website of Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) provides important information on the rights of temporary foreign workers and the law.
Live-in caregivers would need to ensure that they have written employment contracts. These contracts would need to bear the signatures of both, the employee and the employer. The contract would typically define the following aspects:
- The job duties
- The hours of work
- The salary and,
- The various benefits such as overtime etc.
The contract would also serve to reinforce the employer’s legal responsibilities towards the employee. This requirement helps in providing a fair working arrangement for both the employee and the employer. In addition, it provides both the parties with a clear understanding of their expectations of each other.
Live-in caregivers would need to ask for a pay slip with each pay cheque that they receive from their employers. This pay slip must clearly specify any deductions and the net pay i.e. the pay after accounting for the various deductions.
Situations could arise where the caregivers are not happy with their jobs. In this scenario, the live-in caregivers would need to express their concerns to their employers. In many cases, a little flexibility on both sides is sufficient for causing the changes that could make the lives of both the parties much easier and happier. Some employers often bear the cost of agency fees required for bringing the live-in caregivers into Canada. As such, they might even have waited for a long time. By sharing their concerns with their employers, the caregivers might help their employers appreciate their honesty.
Situations could arise where the live-in caregivers could decide to change employers. However, they would need to note that they cannot begin working for the new employers until they get new work permits. The new work permits would need to list the names of the new employers. Similarly, the new employers would need to obtain approvals from Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) / Service Canada. Only then, would the live-in caregivers be able to obtain their new work permits and consequently, begin working for their new employers.
It is worth highlighting that live-in caregivers typically receive work permits when they enter Canada. These work permits enable the caregivers to work in Canada as live-in caregivers for a duration of up to four years and three months. These work permits specify the date of expiry of the work permits. Bearing the expiry dates of their work permits in mind, the live-in caregivers would need to renew their work permits before they expire. This is applicable even if the caregivers do not change employers. They would need to apply for an extension of their work permits in Canada at least three months prior to the expiry date listed on their work permits. The live-in caregivers would need to note that applying for an extension of their existing work permits is entirely their own responsibility. As such, their employers would not be responsible for the renewal of the caregivers’ work permits.
In addition, the caregivers also bear the responsibility for keeping their legal documents safe. Such documents could typically include work permits and passports. Caregivers would need to avoid handing over these documents to anyone – including their employers. On occasions, the caregivers might need to produce these documents and show them to officers for various verification purposes. For instance, the caregiver’s employer might ask the caregiver to show the caregiver’s work permit. After showing the work permit to the employer, the live-in caregivers would need to continue keeping these important documents safely in their possession.
It is worth mentioning that under no circumstances can employers have the live-in caregivers deported from Canada. In addition, the caregivers would need to note that their employers have no right or authority for retaining the caregivers’ passports.
Situations could arise where the live-in caregivers or someone else might have lied about the caregivers’ education, training or experience when they first applied in the Live-in Caregiver Program (LCP) outside Canada. In this scenario, the caregivers would need to know that they could face disqualification from the program in Canada.
If individuals want to apply for permanent residence in Canada under the Live-in Caregiver Program (LCP), they would need to:
- Work full-time as a live-in caregiver for at least 24 months or a total of 3,900 hours in a minimum of 22 months within the four years immediately following their entry into Canada under the Live-in Caregiver Program (LCP)
- Ensure that they, their spouses and their dependent children meet the prescribed admissibility requirements and must not be going to any immigration enquiries (hearings) or be under express orders for leaving Canada.
- For instance, if a caregiver marries a refugee claimant in Canada, the status of the spouse could prevent the live-in caregiver from obtaining permanent resident status
- Ensure that they live in the home of the persons for whom their employers hired them to provide care
- Without meeting this prescribed requirement, live-in caregivers would not be able to continue working in the Live-in Caregiver Program (LCP)
- In addition, they would not be able to apply for permanent residence either AND,
- Maintain their temporary resident status and have valid work permits as live-in caregivers at the time they apply for permanent residence
Situations could arise where the live-in caregivers would need calculate their work experience as live-in caregivers. To aid them in this, the caregivers would need to note that when they calculate their work experience as live-in caregivers, they would need to avoid including the following periods:
- Any periods of unemployment
- Any extended time outside Canada
- For instance, if the caregiver needs to leave Canada for longer than the period of vacation time allotted or specified in the employment contract, that period would not count in their work experience OR,
- Any period the caregiver works for their employer outside Canada
- For instance, any time that the caregiver spends on a family vacation does not count in the work experience of the caregiver
In many cases, the live-in caregivers might decide to apply for permanent residence. In this scenario, they would need to get the original documents that demonstrate, in as much detail as possible, all of their education, training and experience before they leave their own countries. Having these documents handy could help them when they apply for work in Canada. Alternatively, having these documents on hand could help them get into a program of study after they become permanent residents. The authorities have found that it is often easier to get the prescribed documents when the caregivers are still in their home countries.
In some situations, the live-in caregivers might find that they need to obtain temporary resident visas for coming to Canada. In this scenario, they would also need to get new visas if they have to leave Canada temporarily. This could typically happen if they were to leave Canada on holidays for example. The only exception to this scenario is if the caregivers are only visiting the United States of America.
In some situations, applicants for permanent residence to Canada might be waiting for the authorities to finalise their permanent residence application assessments. The authorities permit these individuals to apply for work permits while they wait for the authorities to finalise their permanent residence application assessments.