Canadian Families Should Seek Canadian Advice
At Canadian Au Pair Solutions, Michelle and I often are asked questions about Canada’s “Au Pair Program” and how Canada differs from other nations with respect to the hiring of Au Pairs. The truth is, Canada does not have an official Au Pair Program. Unlike the United States which offers a very strict Au Pair Visa and hiring process, Canadian families and foreign Au Pairs must muddle through Canadian Visa and labor regulations in order to make things work.
Why is Canada Different?
Although there has been much talk over the years of revamping the live-in caregiver program and welcoming an Au Pair Program, it has yet to happen. There have been recent changes to the live-in caregiver program that now make it possible for care-givers who were once required to live in-house to live outside the home, but this has no impact on families choosing to hire Au Pairs on the Working Holiday Visas. Hiring an Au Pair to help with home and family has been common in many European countries for decades but is relatively new to Canada.
I have recently spoken with officials at the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) on the prevalence of Au Pairs coming to Canada without Visas and trying to skirt the work permit requirements (stay tuned, our blog post on that topic as well as info directly from CBSA will be coming soon). It is becoming a bigger problem unfortunately. Many families would welcome an Au Pair Program in order to assist these young women who’ve received bad advice and thus been turned around at the border. The question remains, where is the bad advice coming from? Why is there so much misinformation out there about the process of coming to Canada as an Au Pair or hiring an Au Pair in Canada?
The majority of websites giving advice on the Au Pair experience are not Canadian. Most websites are based out of Europe or the UK and generalize the Au Pair requirements in each country. Canada, without an Au Pair Program, is unlike many of the nations with established Au Pair protocol. Even some of the big Au Pair search websites get it completely wrong when it comes to Canada.
Canadian Families should always refer to Canadian sources when trying to figure out the process of hiring an Au Pair. Au Pair search websites often refer to “pocket-money” and suggest average expected pay for your Au Pair. These sites usually suggest that pocket-money in Canada ranges from $150-$200 per week… unfortunately the website authors are ignorant to the fact that everyone employed in Canada is entitled to minimum wage and thus the “pocket-money” is actually a wage and cannot be “averaged.” Foreign websites rarely do their homework when it comes to Canada and this is part of the reason there is a lot of misinformation floating about.
Social Media Forums
The other source of incorrect information is social media. Michelle and I are members of a variety of Au Pair Facebook groups and we have seen our fair share of bad advice. Often the advice is passed from friend to friend and something is missed in communication. Be diligent and check with reputable sources before you put your trust in what you read through social media (Facebook etc..). Some Au Pairs who are in Canada illegally try to give other Au Pairs tips on how to get through customs or what the average under the table weekly pay is… all of this is bad advice.
Social Media can be a great place to share problems, concerns and search for Au Pairs. We love Social Media, we just want all Au Pairs and families to be cautious and make sure you follow-up on any questionable advice. Second opinions are never a bad option!
Au Pair Blogs
There are a number of great international websites and blogs with advice for Au Pair families and we encourage families to browse the internet for ideas and tips on being a great host family. We caution families to consider the source of the information provided however as what may be the norm in some European countries or the USA is not necessarily common practice or legal practice in Canada. The USA in particular has very different Au Pair requirements than what we expect in Canada and cannot be compared.
Canadian Au Pair Solutions has spent a great deal of time researching all of the topics featured in our membership pages and we are routinely updating current changes and adding more information. We are the only company in Canada that will walk you through the Au Pair hiring process from A-Z. We welcome questions and encourage your engagement. We routinely consult with law enforcement, Border Services and Immigration Canada to make sure we offer families the most accurate information.
Canadian Au Pair Solutions