Dollars and Sense – The Cost of an Au Pair
Some recent media coverage has highlighted the exorbitant costs associated to daycare in Canada. What does this mean when it comes to hosting an Au Pair?
According to a recent article in the Vancouver Sun, a typical family in Vancouver with a child in full-time care can expect to pay approximately $50,000 for childcare. That in itself is a frightening number for one child – how on earth do average families do it with more than one child? What happens if you’re forced to pay full-time daycare fees when in reality, you need less than 40 hours per week? Daycares don’t often charge by the hour but opt instead to charge a daily rate. Is this the most affordable option for parents? What do parents do if they need only before & after school care? With all of these huge costs associated to childcare, it’s no wonder that some parents make the decision not to return to the workforce because it doesn’t make financial sense.
The Canadian Au Pair Solutions Team is based in Vancouver, BC and we are well aware of the challenges that many families face when it comes to finding and securing affordable childcare. Not only is Vancouver one of the most expensive cities to live in North America, childcare costs for daycare (especially in the Lower Mainland) are far higher than the provincial median fee (BC’s median fee for one toddler in daycare is $850). That being said, Vancouver is not unique when it comes to these challenges. According to the website Finding Quality Childcare, Ontario’s median fee for one child in daycare is the highest in Canada at $1152 per month. ParentDish wrote a great comparative article on childcare across Canada and indicated that in Toronto, it’s not uncommon to pay between $1650-$2250 for daycare per month. These numbers present a HUGE challenge for most average income families and especially those with more than one child.
How can Canadian Au Pair Solutions help figure out Au Pair costs?
It’s really quite simple to calculate the costs associated to having an Au Pair. There is a common misconception that Au Pairs are for wealthy families when in reality, this is not the case. Whether you have one child or three children, Au Pairs are paid at least minimum wage minus room and board. Some provinces (including BC) impose a cap on what employers can charge for room & board. Many families also offer their Au Pair perks like bus passes and cell phone allowances. Provinces (including BC) impose a cap on what employers can charge for room & board. Each province/territory will vary regarding this. We have a detailed list of minimum wage requirements as well as other regulations for Provinces and Territories available for our members and we walk our clients through the detailed process of paying their Au Pair. It is not complicated but our clients find it useful to be guided through the process the first time around to make sure they have all their ducks in a row.
Remember, you don’t have to guarantee full time hours to an Au Pair like you would a Caregiver under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program and you’re not paying per child. Most Au Pairs work between 25-35 hours per week. Au Pairs are definitely less expensive than temporary foreign workers.
Reach out to us for more information on our memberships and how we can help you in your childcare decision.
Thanks for reading!
Michelle – Canadian Au Pair Solutions