At Canadian Au Pair Solutions we believe in being smart about hosting an Au Pair and doing everything “by the book.” This means making sure your Au Pair has the appropriate Visa to work in Canada, registering as an employer, submitting payroll remittances, following the labor standards of your province and adhering by provincial legislation regarding foreign drivers licences (to name a few things!). There are many families, however, that are convinced that it is cheaper and easier to ignore the rules and hire under the table. Here is why this is a BAD idea…
(Worksafe in BC or WSIB in Ontario for example)
If you fail to register for insurance coverage with your province’s worker’s compensation board, you could put yourself at considerable financial risk. If your Au Pair is injured on the job and you’re not registered as required, you could be held liable for all compensation costs associated with the claim and for your unpaid premiums. Premiums for domestic workers in BC (which your Au Pair is if she lives with you and works more than 15 hours per week) are less than $15 per month.
Once you hire an Au Pair, you become an employer. This is no different from hiring a live-in nanny. You must register as a business so that you can deduct EI, CPP and income tax from your Au Pair’s pay. You then must remit to CRA the employer and employee portions of the Au Pair’s payroll. If Revenue Canada is alerted that you have hired an Au Pair and have not been remitting payroll deductions, you could be fined. And the fine amounts are not peanuts.
The CRA can assess a penalty of 10% of the amount of CPP, EI, and income tax you did not deduct. If you are assessed this penalty more than once in a calendar year, CRA will apply a 20% penalty to the second or later failures if they were made knowingly or under circumstances of gross negligence. They will also fine you for any late T4 filings. Fines start at $100 and climb.
When an Au Pair has an interruption in earnings (i.e. she completes her term of employment ), as an employer you must complete a Record of Employment (ROE) for EI purposes. Even though an Au Pair working under a working travel Visa is ineligible for EI, a Record of Employment must be completed. If you fail to file the ROE, you could be fined up to $2,000, imprisoned for up to six months, or both (sounds harsh, but that’s what they tell us!)
For more information on CRA penalties you can visit their website.
Provincial Labor Standards
If you hire anyone who is not family to look after your children and that person also lives in your home, the person you have hired is classified as a “Domestic.” If you are not providing your Au Pair with a pay stub, logging her hours, giving her at least minimum wage etc you could face penalties. In British Columbia, penalties for contravening the Labor Relations Act are $500 for the first offence and up to $2500 and $10,000 if you continue to fail to abide by the Act. Not to mention, what a hassle!!!
CBSA / Immigration Canada
Your Au Pair is working in Canada illegally if she is working for you on a tourist Visa. Canadian Border Services is cracking down on Au Pairs coming to Canada without obtaining the appropriate working holiday permits.
Imagine the following scenario: Your Au Pair wants to travel south of the border for the weekend with her girlfriends but gets stopped on her way back into Canada. She has no work permit and Canadian Border Services Agents (CBSA) detain her for questioning because her passport shows she has been in Canada for four months. What is she doing in Canada? How has she supported herself for four months? She admits she is working as an Au Pair and CBSA gives her 24 hours to return to her country of origin. Not only does this have huge consequences for your Au Pair, but now you have no childcare.
We personally know of families who have had their Au Pairs turned away at Vancouver International Airport for failing to have the proper work permits. Many of these Au Pairs were counselled to lie to border officials (CBSA) about their purpose in Canada. Never counsel your Au Pair to lie or omit information about their purpose in Canada. Families could face immigration-related charges related to counselling people to lie to border agents or helping a foreign national work illegally in Canada. See the link below for further proof:
How Does this Impact Your Au Pair?
But what about your Au Pair? Have you thought about how hiring an Au Pair “under the table” can impact her? Imagine planning to spend your gap year in Canada and being hired by a family that says you don’t need a Visa… only to be turned around at the border. How devastating that would be! Imagine how your Au Pair will feel when she speaks with members of the vast network of Au Pairs in Vancouver and compares labor standards? Believe us when we tell you that Au Pairs have an incredible social network on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. They all compare host families and they all talk about working conditions, benefits and perks. The last thing you want is for your Au Pair to seek out another family.
Kind of makes you think again about hiring an Au Pair under the table, eh?
At Canadian Au Pair Solutions we discuss all of the above and more within our membership-only pages. We walk you through the process of becoming an employer. It’s not as daunting as it may seem, especially with us to guide you. A membership with us is valuable and you won’t regret it.
Canadian Au Pair Solutions