Caregiver Industry Shifts as Ottawa Implements New Rules for Nannies

Since Jason Kenney, Minister of Immigration, Citizenship and Multiculturalism implemented changes to the Live-In Caregiver Program (LCP) in April 2010; Canadian families have dramatically changed their approach to recruiting an overseas nanny or caregiver. A few short months ago, the vast majority of nannies recruited from overseas came from Asian countries.

However, the current trend is towards hiring a highly skilled and trained caregiver who speaks English as well as a second language such as Spanish or French. Families who are prepared to pay the much higher fees that the changes require of them tend to have much higher expectations of the caregiver being hired.

Association of Caregiver & Nanny Agencies Canada (ACNA) attributes this trend to a reaction to the changes made to the Live-in Caregiver Program. Canadian families are now responsible for meeting all costs associated with hiring an overseas nanny or other caregiver. These costs include all recruitment agency fees, airfare and the first three months of private medical insurance. Despite this financial investment, families have no assurance that the caregiver will remain in their employment or otherwise honor the employment contract. Regardless of who is at fault if the employment arrangement breaks down, the family bears the financial burden – a figure that can range as high as several thousand dollars.

Correspondence received from Minister Kenney’s office states that, “this is a risk a Canadian family is expected to accept when hiring a foreign caregiver for children, elderly or disabled.”

In a time where there is a severe shortage of caregivers in Canada, both for children and elderly, many families have no other choice than to hire a caregiver on the LCP, putting many families across Canada at unmitigated financial risk.

The Canadian Government also compares private families to corporations hiring foreign workers. Like any efficient business operation, hardworking Canadian families are seeking to minimize their risk and optimize their investment as best they can. With this in mind, according to ACNA surveys, families are looking for more thoroughly trained and experienced nannies and caregivers whose native culture is similar to Canadian culture. This reduces the amount of mentoring and training that the family will have to provide the caregiver, and it reduces the likelihood that the placement will not succeed.

# 1 Reason a caregiver placement will not work out is due to poor communication.

As Immigrants from all corners of the world continue to make Canada their home, Canada continues to become more culturally and ethnically diverse.

Jason Kennedy in his role of Minister of Multiculturalism, to keep up with Canadian diversity has modified the Live-in Caregiver program in such a way that Canadians would naturally look at an array of different backgrounds for their family when recruiting a caregiver.

Swift integration of a caregiver living in a private home is always a top priority for Canadian families.

Canadian caregiver agencies following the new regulations have seen a significant drop of interest of legitimate Canadian families of the applicants available since April 1, 2010 whereas Statistics received from Access of Information show that the number of private sponsorships made through the Canadian Embassy in Manila has skyrocketed since January 2010 thus the numbers still being high.

It is clear that the industry needs a fast change for agencies to accommodate the changing marketplace and to survive.

With this in mind, ACNA is in process of becoming a member of IAPA, an International Association for Nanny and Au-pair agencies with members in 45 countries. ACNA will be working with IAPA to expedite the ability of Canadian agencies to recruit caregivers to keep up with the growing demand of Canadian families. Gruber Hersh will be meeting with Jack Hompes, chair of IAPA in Amsterdam in November 2010 and ACNA will also attend the next IAPA conference in Brussels in March 2011.

“ IAPA is excited to work with ACNA Canada in the very near future and give Canadian caregiver agencies greater access to our 45 member agencies around the globe " says Jack Hompes, Chairperson of IAPA.

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