10 Things you need to know before you hire a nanny or caregiver…

10 Things you need to know before you hire a nanny or caregiver…

Employers of  nannies or caregivers should have realistic expectations when considering having a nanny or caregiver work in their home.   We’ve compiled a list of the top 10 things you should know before you hire a nanny or caregiver. 


1.   Not all nannies and caregivers are created equal.

Just like all people, nannies and caregivers come to the table with different levels of skills, experiences, education, attitudes,  energy levels, temperaments and personality traits.   What’s “common sense” to one person is completely different by another person’s standards.  Establish what you are looking for and be prepared to spend the time to get know, screen and choose your ideal candidate. 


2.   Nannies and caregivers are not a cheap alternative.

Minimum wages and the cost of having nannies and caregivers have risen significantly over the past several years in most provincial and territorial jurisdictions in Canada. In fact in some provinces, including Ontario, imposed median rates are forcibly higher than the provincial standard (e.g. Ontario) or obligated minimum hours are imposed over 40 hours (e.g. Alberta).   Add to that: Recruiting fees, immigration consulting fees, transportation, health insurance (for foreign workers), food, board (for live-ins), workers safety insurance, employer mandatory employment related costs and employee tax remittances. 


3.   Nannies have just as much right to pick you as you have to pick them.

In any fair and equitable relationship, both parties have equal choice and right to adopt whether or not they work with an employer’s family and vice-versa.  Therefore, how employing families will be judged by caregivers and nanny candidates, to some degree, will be the same things employers judge their candidates, such as; attitudes, temperament, personality traits, reliability and dependability.  Of course other factors will be considered by nannies and caregivers including (but not limited to); size of family, expected hours, work environment, family dynamics, communication style, location and distance to major centres, job expectations, amount of physical work and pay for the amount of work completed. 


4.   Nannies have the right to vacation pay, sick days (paid or not paid), paid statutory holidays and overtime pay

Employers of caregivers and nannies must, by law, be paid according to Provincial and Territorial labour standards and statutes, and through a Revenue Canada Agency (CRA) employer payroll account.  As such, they are treated exactly as hourly employees in any work contract.  Also, be aware that in most provincial and territorial jurisdictions, it is a legal requirement to inform and make available to nannies and caregivers, copies of regulations and statutes for employees.  There are ways to pay caregivers as self-employed workers, but this is reserved only for permanent residents and Canadians and must meet certain conditions (See CRA web site on self-employment). 

5.   Nannies should be supported by employers

Nannies who work in employer’s homes need to be given the tools, courtesy, respect and support to do their jobs properly.  This includes ready supplies and tools for the cared for, access to food, time off for breaks and between shifts, properly working equipment and tools, cleaning supplies, training and due consideration for their time off or time away from the employers home. 


6.   Legislation prevents you from using nannies for other jobs

The federal foreign caregiver program and most Provincial and Territorial statutes limit the work allowed to be carried out by nannies and caregivers to only those duties.  Light housekeeping is allowed but heavier work such as;  car washing, window cleaning, snow removal and other heavier jobs are restricted and discouraged.  As well, working in an employer’s business away from the home is restricted or illegal as well. 

7.   There is high competition for available nannies in Canada

Currently, it’s a nanny and caregiver market.  It appears that for every one nanny or caregiver looking for a job, that there are about 4 to 6 competitively searching families.  Therefore, it is important for employers to realize that they need to make themselves appealing to a prospective nanny or caregivers to get and keep good candidates. This may include offering higher pay rates. And, although there is an over-abundance of caregiver candidates from overseas, employers are reluctant to consider them because of: the long and unreliable processing times, increased legislated costs of airfare, health care, immigration consultant fees, agency fees and the increased risk of the caregiver not being approved and cleared to come to Canada or leaving the employer shortly after they arrive.  

8.  Relationships are a critical success factor

In-home care-giving requires compassion, caring and respect.  Excellent relationships are the most important success factor between caregivers and employers for the care of their loved ones (children, disabled persons and the elderly). Employers or caregivers who treat one another as “objects and not people” often find failed working relationships.

Ideally, a great reciprocating relationship exists when, ‘the nanny or caregiver take great care of the family’ and ‘the family takes great care of the caregiver or nanny’.  Ensuring great relationships in employee to employer matching is number #1 at Canadian Caregivers®  


9.   “Under-the-table” arrangements are not wise

Recent sweeping legislative changes in the caregiver industry have imposed stricter sanctions and regulations on employers and caregivers more than ever before.  For example: Employers who claim home child care expenses on their income taxes may be scrutinized by provincial and territorial Worker Safety Insurance boards for compliance issues through cooperative agreements with the CRA (Canada Revenue Agencies);   Most provincial and territorial and federal agencies in Canada now require employer compliance in keeping caregivers informed about current employment law and laws affecting live-in caregivers;  Employers using paid third party services such as recruiting or placement agencies must have or contract properly licensed Immigration Consultants (and the likes) for applications.

Employers (and supporting recruiting and/or placement agencies) can now face huge fines and/or be subject to audits at their locations by officials without notice or search warrants.

“Under-the-table” arrangements are illegal. Why would a family want to risk themselves, their loved ones and/or their employees? For example; In the aftermath an emergency, how would the illegal status come into play with insurance companies for injuries or damaged property, or for employees or employers acting without authority or accountability, not to mention, CRA (Canada Revenue Agency) issues, employment standards issues and possible immigration issues. 



10.   If you are hiring a Foreign Worker, whether already in Canada or overseas, it will take significant time to process

In Canadian and North American culture, most employers expect to get nannies and caregivers on demand when they decide to look for one.  With the exception of permanent residents, Canadian citizens and Foreign Workers with Open Work Permits, the processing times for caregivers in Canada can run anywhere from 4 to 9 months.  Getting a caregiver or nanny from overseas is another story and while there are a few exceptions where processing and approvals can be accomplished in under 6 months the average is about 9 to 12 months, and in some extreme cases, 18 months to 2 or more years. 


Questions? We can help!