After extensive consultations with caregiver groups across Canada, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Canada (CIMC) Minster Jason Kenney announced proposed changes to the Live-in Caregiver program earlier this month.

The changes will make it easier for foreign workers in Canada employed as live-in caregivers to qualify for Canadian permanent resident visas, as well as ensure that their rights are protected and their working conditions are up to standard.

“These important changes help fulfill Canada’s duty to those who care for our young, our disabled and our elderly. The Government of Canada is taking action to protect foreign workers from potential abuse and exploitation,” said Kenney.

The first proposed change is that live-in caregivers will not have to undergo a second medical examination at the time that they apply for Canadian permanent residence. Under the current requirements, live-in caregivers have to take one set of medical exams when they apply for their Temporary Work Permits, and another one as part of their Canadian permanent residence application process.

Other proposed changes to the program will make it easier for live-in caregivers to qualify for Canadian permanent residence than under the current system.

Under the current system, caregivers must complete a minimum of two years of work as live-in caregivers in Canada within the three years prior to the date of their application for permanent residence. Any time spent outside of Canada or not working as a live-in caregiver does not count towards this requirement.

Under the new proposal, the number of hours caregivers have worked, as opposed to the number of days worked, will be counted towards their qualification for Canadian permanent residence. Caregivers will have four years to accumulate this experience, not three. This will ensure that caregivers who work overtime hours will be able to qualify for a permanent resident visa sooner, and that caregivers who must stop working for a certain period of time (for example, due to pregnancy) will not fall short of the requirements for their permanent residence applications.

There will also be modifications to the requirements and responsibilities of Canadian employers who wish to hire live-in caregivers.

These employers will be responsible for:

  • The costs of the caregivers' travel to Canada;
  • Medical insurance and workplace safety insurance; and
  • Any recruitment fees involved in bringing their live-in caregivers to Canada.

In addition, employers will have to provide caregivers with contracts that clearly state the above, as well as job duties, work hours, leave and resignation terms.