Caregiver Program

1. Overview
Families can hire a foreign caregiver to provide care, in a private residence, to children, seniors or persons with certified medical needs, when Canadians and permanent residents are not available.

Under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP), families can hire foreign caregivers. However, the caregivers must:

  • provide care on a full-time basis (minimum 30 hours per week)
  • work in the private household where the care is being provided
  • meet the requirements set Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC)/Service Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC)

These families or private household employers will be able to hire foreign workers, on a live-in or live out basis, for 2 categories of in-home workers, which include:

  • Caregivers for children
    • Children under 18 years of age
    • This category could include positions such as:
      Child care provider (NOC 4411), Live-in caregiver (NOC 4411), Nanny (NOC 4411)
  • Caregivers for people with high medical needs
    • elderly persons, 65 years of age or over
    • people with disabilities, a chronic or terminal illness.
    • This category could include positions such as:
      Registered nurse or registered psychiatric nurse (NOC 3012), Licensed practical nurse (NOC 3233), Attendant for persons with disabilities, home support worker, live-in caregiver, personal care attendant (NOC 4412)

[alert type="success" close="yes"]Note: Foreign caregivers working in Canada may be eligible for permanent residency, provided they meet IRCC requirements. For more information on the pathways to permanent residence for caregivers, and the specific occupations that are eligible.[/alert]

 

2. Program requirements
Processing fee
Employers must pay $1,000 for each position requested to cover the cost of processing a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) application.

  • Families or individuals seeking to hire a foreign caregiver to provide home care for individuals requiring assistance with medical needs are exempt from paying the Labour Market Impact Assessment application processing fee.
  • Families or individuals with a gross annual income of $150,000 or less, seeking to hire a foreign caregiver to provide childcare in their home to a child under 13 years of age, also qualify for the processing fee exemption.

There will be no refund in the event of a negative LMIA, or if the application is withdrawn or cancelled by the employer since the fee covers the assessment process and not the outcome. In addition, if a live-in requirement is found during the assessment of the LMIA application, there will be no refund.

Refunds will only be available if a fee was collected in error (for example, an incorrect fee amount was processed).

Employers must be aware that Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), has a policy that prohibits employers and third-party representatives from recovering the LMIA processing fee from temporary foreign workers (TFW).

 

Language restriction

A distinct language assessment factor has been introduced as subsection 203 (1.01) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR). As a result, English and French are the only languages that can be identified as a job requirement both in LMIA applications and in job advertisements by employers, unless they can demonstrate that another language is essential for the job.

 

Language proficiency

Employers must ensure that the caregiver being hired speaks, reads and understands at least 1 of Canada's official languages (English or French). Caregivers must have a level of fluency that enables them to communicate effectively and independently in an unsupervised setting.

 

Education, training or experience

Employers are responsible for ensuring that the TFWs being hired have all the training, qualifications and experience required to successfully and safely perform the job duties of the position for which they are hired. TFWs being hired for:

lower-skilled occupations may require a certain amount of experience, short work demonstrations, on-the-job training, or no formal educational requirements; and
higher-skilled occupations may require a post-secondary education (for example, university degree, college diploma).

 

Regulated occupations

Employers hiring a TFW in regulated occupations in Canada must ensure that arrangements are made with the appropriate regulatory body for the certification, registration or licensing of the TFW. A "regulated" occupation is one where a professional or regulatory body has the authority to set entry requirements and standards of practice that lead to a certification, registration or licence (for example, doctors, nurses, with compulsory certification).

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will consider whether the TFW has the necessary qualifications to perform the work in Canada before issuing a work permit.

IRCC has established 2 pathways to permanent residency for caregivers, which are:

  • Caring for children
  • Caring for people with high medical needs

Each pathway has its own language and education requirements. For detailed information on these requirements, visit IRCC’s caregivers closed programs.

 

Multiple employers

Private household employers can partner with another employer (maximum of 2 official employers), to share the responsibilities of hiring an in-home caregiver. For example, 2 adult children may act as employers of a caregiver for an incapacitated parent. In situations that involve multiple employers, only 1 application is required; however both employers must meet all of the program requirements and sign all documents (for example, Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) application, employment contract, bedroom description form (mandatory in the case of a live-in caregiver).

 

Canada Revenue Agency business number

Individuals hiring a foreign caregiver are considered employers and must obtain a business number (BN) from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to:

  • meet the initial registration requirements for advertising on the national Job Bank website or its provincial/territorial counterpart
  • apply for a TFW
  • pay the worker's wage (including vacation pay)
  • make deductions from the worker's wage as prescribed by the law and the TFWP
  • issue pay stubs, statements, remuneration paid (T4) or Records of Employment (ROE)

 

To obtain a business number

A BN is a 15-digit business identifier that CRA assigns to an employer located in Canada for tax purposes.

Employers can register for a BN by:

  • Internet: Use the CRA business registration on-line service
  • Phone: Call the CRA business enquires line at 1-800-959-5525 (toll-free). Before calling, be ready to answer all the questions in the request for a BN Form (RC1).
  • Mail or fax: Complete the request for a BN Form (RC1) and mail or fax it to the nearest tax services office.

Employers should know that:

  • sole proprietors may use an existing BN to hire a foreign caregiver. However, they must employ the caregiver under a domestic account separate from their other business activities
  • other employers cannot use an existing company BN, should they have one, to hire a foreign caregiver. They must obtain a separate BN for the specific purpose of hiring a caregiver
  • in instances of multiple employers applying to hire a foreign caregiver, only 1 BN is required

 

Businesses outside Canada

  • Employers in the United States can contact the International Tax Service Office at: 1-800-267-7383
  • Employers from outside Canada and the United States can call collect at: 1-613-940-8498

 

Record of Employment

Under the provisions of the Employment Insurance Act, all employers are required to provide a Record of Employment (ROE) when an interruption of earnings occurs for an employee. This requirement applies whether the employee is a Canadian or a foreign worker. The ROE, which indicates the wages paid and the number of weeks the TFW worked, is required by the foreign worker as proof to qualify and apply for permanent residency. TFWs also need the ROE to apply for Employment Insurance benefits.

 

Proof of individual requiring care

Employers must provide proof that they or a dependant is in need of care. The documentation that must be submitted along with the application form includes proof of 1 of the following:

  • age and parentage for each child under the age of 18 (provide 1 of the documents listed):
    • long form birth certificate
    • adoption order
    • official guardianship, or
    • medical doctor's note confirming the pregnancy and the due date
  • age for each senior, 65 years or older (provide 1 of the documents listed):
    • birth certificate
    • passport, or
    • Old Age Security identification card
  • disability, chronic or terminal illness for each disabled, chronically or terminally ill person (provide 1 of the documents listed):
    • completed Schedule H - Medical disability, chronic or terminal illness certificate (EMP5600) form, signed and dated by the physician, or
    • physician's note attesting that the patient has a disability, chronic or terminal illness and that he/she requires access to a live-in caregiver

 

Financial ability

To hire a foreign in-home caregiver, employers must demonstrate their financial ability to pay the caregiver’s wages. Service Canada will assess the financial ability of the employer by using the Low Income Cut-Offs (LICO) produced by Statistics Canada. To have their financial ability assessed, employers must complete the Financial ability section of the LMIA application form. If the total is positive, the employer may be considered as having met the financial ability requirement.

As part of this assessment, employers must submit a copy of their Notice of Assessment (NOA) from the CRA with their LMIA application. The NOA submitted must be from the past year if your application is submitted after July 1. Please note that NOA’s submitted from previous years will not be accepted.

In exceptional cases where the employer is not required to pay income tax in Canada, copies of paystubs, bank statements, personal work contract or other official documents can be submitted as proof of income.

In cases of multiple employers where the income of 1 employer is not sufficient to meet the financial ability to pay the caregiver’s wages, the income of both employers can be combined to meet this requirement. However, the 2 employers must submit copies of their past year individual Notice of Assessment from CRA if your application is submitted after July 1. Please note that NOAs submitted from a previous year or a combination of years will not be accepted.

 

Transportation

Employers of low-wage in-home caregivers must always pay for the transportation costs (for example, plane, train, boat, car, bus) of the caregiver to the work location in Canada. These costs must be paid up-front to ensure that they are not part of any negotiations related to the employment contract. This process helps protect temporary foreign workers, who may be tempted to accept alternative travel arrangements in return for a job offer.

Employers may have a financial agreement with any member of their family to pay for the transportation costs.

Transportation costs may include:

  • transportation from the caregiver's country of current residence to the work location in Canada
  • transportation from the caregiver's current residence in Canada to the new work location
  • gas expenses when the caregiver drives his/her personal car to the new work location
  • return transportation from the caregiver’s current residence in Canada to his or her original country of residence

Employers should know that:

  • the mode of transportation selected must reduce the travel time, expenses and inconvenience to the caregiver
  • under no circumstances, can an employer recover the transportation costs from the TFW

Transportation costs paid by the employer do not include:

  • hotels, meals and miscellaneous expenses during the caregiver's travel to the work location
  • transportation or other expenses for vacations or emergency trips

Employers must keep records (for example, invoices, receipts, copies of flight itineraries, tickets, boarding passes) of all transportation costs paid, for a minimum of 6 years. This information may be required as proof if employers re-apply for a subsequent LMIA or if they are selected for an inspection.

Note: This requirement does not apply to employers of high-wage in-home caregivers.

 

Housing

Employers cannot require a caregiver to live in their home. However, if an employer and foreign caregiver decide that a live-in arrangement is the most suitable, for the needs of the person requiring care or to assist the TFW, there are certain criteria that must be met. Specifically, employers must ensure the:

  • accommodation is being provided in the home of the person receiving care
  • accommodation is private and furnished bedroom
  • bedroom door has a lock and safety bolt on the inside
  • bedroom meets the municipal building requirements and the provincial/territorial health standards
  • foreign caregiver is not charged room and board for the accommodations, as per the policy, under the TFWP

Employers must complete the Bedroom description section of the LMIA application form.

Employers of low-wage in-home caregivers, who are not providing live-in accommodations, must ensure that suitable and affordable accommodation is available to the TFW. In addition, these employers should be prepared to provide proof (for example, newspaper ads) that affordable housing is available in the community where the TFW will be employed. Meanwhile, employers of high-wage in-home caregivers do not have to meet this requirement.

 

Ministerial instruction – Refusal to process an application

As a result of public policy considerations as determined in Ministerial Instructions, the TFWP may refuse to process LMIA applications received on or after December 1, 2014 from employers seeking to hire in-home caregivers exclusively on a live-in basis.

 

Health and workplace safety

Health insurance

Employers of low-wage in-home caregivers must always pay for the TFW's private health insurance. Coverage must begin from the time the TFW arrives in Canada until the worker is covered by the appropriate provincial/territorial health insurance plan. The waiting period to be eligible for the provincial/territorial health insurance is available on the Ministry of Health websites for each province or territory. The private insurance coverage provided to the TFW must be similar to the provincial/territorial health insurance plan.

Note: Under no circumstances, can an employer recover the health insurance costs from the TFW.

 

Workplace safety

Employers must always ensure that the TFWs they want to hire under the TFW Program are covered from the provincial/territorial workplace safety insurance provider, where required by law. In provinces/territories where the provincial/territorial legislation allows employers the flexibility to opt for a private insurance plan, employers must ensure:

  • that any private plan chosen provides the same level of compensation to that offered by a province/territory (for example, must provide the same or better coverage than that offered by the province/territory)
  • that all employees on the worksite are covered by the same provider

Employers enquiring about private insurance plan equivalency should contact the provincial/territorial workplace safety authority.

The coverage purchased by the employer must correspond with the TFWs’ first day of work in Canada and the costs must not be recovered from the TFWs.

 

Employment contract

All employers of in-home caregivers must prepare and sign an employment contract. Although employers are not required to use the contract template provided, they must ensure that the contract used, contains all of the mandatory information and clauses. For positions in the province of Quebec, the ministère de l’Immigration, de la Francisation et de l’Intégration (MIFI) has its own requirements concerning the employment contract between an employer and a worker providing in-home care.

In the event that differences arise between the employer and the TFW, the contract will guide the resolution of disputes. In cases where the dispute cannot be resolved between the 2 parties, the employer or the TFW may contact the Ministry of Labour in the province/territory where the work is being performed.

ESDC/Service Canada has no authority to intervene in the employer-employee relationship or to enforce the terms and conditions of the contract.

 

Third-parties

Employers do not need to use the services of a third-party representative to apply for a foreign worker. However, employers who choose to use the services of 1 of these individuals or organizations must pay for all of the fees associated with the service and meet all of the applicable requirements.

Representatives assist employers by providing services, such as:

  • explaining and providing advice on the TFWP
  • completing and submitting the application form and all required documents
  • communicating with ESDC/Service Canada on the employer’s behalf
  • representing the employer during the application process

Employers who wish to use the services of a third-party representative, paid or unpaid, must complete the appropriate section of the LMIA application form. Employers must identify their representative and not simply the firm/organization employing this person.

 

3. Wages, working conditions and occupations

Employers applying for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) must pay the TFW at a minimum, the posted prevailing wage for the occupation and work location where the TFW will be employed.

Employers must refer to the median wage published on Job Bank to determine the prevailing wage.

 

Process to determine the prevailing wage of the position

Use the job title of the available position and conduct a search on Job Bank to determine the median wage for the occupation and work location where the TFW will be employed:

  • if the median wage is available on Job Bank, employers must pay the worker a wage that is equal or above that median wage for the economic region where the work will be located
  • in Quebec the prevailing wage rates are determined based on labour market information wage data published by Emploi-Québec (in French only)
  • if the median wage is listed as “n/a” for the local area (economic region) where the work is located, employers should consult the provincial/territorial level wage. If this wage is not available, employers should consult the national wage

To determine the median wage on Job Bank:

  • go to Compare wages on Job Bank
  • in the “Job search” field, enter the job title or the NOC code that best describes the duties and requirements of the position
  • the hourly median wage will be listed in the middle column, by community or area. If the median wage is listed as ‘‘N/A’’, consult the provincial/territorial wage. If it is not available, consult the national wage

 

Prevailing wage

Under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, the prevailing wage rate is identified as the median hourly wage (or annual salary as published on Job Bank) or higher for the particular occupation and work location. Employers must also ensure that they include the wage being paid for the position, as part of their advertisement of the available position.

Employers must review and adjust (if necessary) the TFW’s wage after 12 months of employment to ensure the worker continues to receive the prevailing wage rate of the occupation and work location where the TFW is employed.

In addition, employers must ensure the wage offered to the TFW is not below any:

  • applicable federal or provincial/territorial minimum wage rates. If a provincially regulated wage for a specific occupation is greater than the wage posted on Job Bank, then the regulated wage will apply. As a result, employers must ensure they use this wage in all advertisements and on their application, in order to receive a positive assessment, or
  • wage schedules set by provincial/territorial legislation (for example Manitoba Construction Industry Wages Act)

Employers offering a wage that is below the prevailing wage rate will be considered as not meeting the labour market factor for the assessment of wages and therefore, will be issued a negative LMIA.

 

Working conditions

Canadian law protects all workers in Canada, including TFWs. The exploitation of a TFW is considered a violation of Canadian laws and human rights.

Employers must:

  • pay workers for all work (including overtime, where required by law)
  • make sure that the workplace is safe
  • allow for proper break time and days off

Employment in most occupations is covered under provincial/territorial legislation that deals with labour and employment standards such as: hours of work, working conditions and termination of employment. In fact, every province/territory has a Ministry of Labour that can provide information to assist employers and TFWs with questions or issues related to work.

 

Occupations

Employers cannot force any TFWs to perform duties for which they were not hired or trained (for example, if an employer submits an application to hire a TFW as a caregiver, the duties given to the worker must correspond to that occupation and not those associated with a cleaner).

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