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Becoming an au pair in Canada

Introduction

There is no official au pair programme in Canada, however if you qualify for the International Experience Canada (IEC) programme, you can apply for a Working Holiday visa and you can work as an au pair. 


Am I eligible to be an au pair in Canada?

You are eligible to be an au pair in Canada if:

  • you are aged between 18 and 30 (18-35 for some nationalities)
  • you are single and without children
  • you have a basic knowledge of English or French
  • you hold a return ticket (or can prove you have sufficient funds to purchase one)
  • you have a clean criminal background
  • you can prove to have immediate access to at least C$2,500
  • you have never been approved a visa under a working holiday scheme before

General information

 

Duties
To look after your host children and help out with light household chores. Discuss your duties beforehand and include all the points you agree upon in your contract.

 

Pocket money
Au pairs in Canada work under the IEC programme, therefore they’re considered normal employees and are due the minimum wage. Minimum wage may vary according to the province, but it usually is around C$10 per hour. So if you work 30 hours per week, you earn C$300 before tax. Room and Board, Employment Insurance and Canada Pension Plan are then deducted from your wages, so you can earn approximately C$200 per week after tax. Please check the minimum wage rates in the province where your host family lives. Also, as au pairs are regular employees, they are entitled to claim a tax refund at the end of the year.

Board and Lodging
Your own private room and food 7 days per week, even in the case of illness.

 

 

Travel expenses
Au pairs should bear the cost of their round trip themselves.

Working hours
There is no official regulation concerning the amount of hours an au pair should work, but they usually are between 25 and 40 hours per week, babysitting included.

 

Length of stay
You can work as an au pair in Canada under the IEC programme for a maximum of 6, 12 or 24 months according to your country of origin. See below for more information.

Free time
There is no official regulation, but au pairs are usually entitled to at least 2 free days per week, which should be a Sunday once a month.

 

Holidays
Holiday entitlement is not regulated by the Working Holiday visa programme, but we usually recommend  4 weeks of paid holiday for a 12-month stay. 

Contract
Always sign a contract with your host family at the beginning of the au pair placement. Click here for a sample contract.

 

Languages courses
Au pairs working in Canada under the IEC can enrol in individual courses as far as the course(s) is completed within 6 months and as long as they are not part of a program that lasts longer than 6 months (such as a 4-year degree). If the course or program is longer than 6 months, you will need to apply for a study permit. 

Driving

If your host family requires you to drive in Canada, they must provide you with a car, pay for your car insurance, ensure that the car is well maintained and provide fuel or give you money to pay for fuel for the car. Holders of a driving licence issued by an EU member state can drive in Canada for a short period after arrival. We advise you to check with the provincial or territorial government where your host family lives for details. If you want to use a foreign driver’s licence in Canada, you should get an International Driving Permit in your home country. For more information about driving in Canada when holding a foreign licence visit the website of the Government of Canada.

 

Insurance
You must take out private medical and travel insurance to cover you during your stay in Canada.

Visa information

Au pairs who want to do their placement in Canada can apply for a Working Holiday visa through the International Experience Canada (IEC) programme.

 

International Experience Canada (IEC) programme

Young individuals whose country of citizenship has a bilateral youth mobility agreement with Canada may travel and work in Canada under the International Experience Canada programme by applying for a Working Holiday visa

Citizens from:

  • Italy can apply for a Working Holiday visa. The Working Holiday visa allows you to travel in Canada up to 12 months and to find temporary paid employment for up to 6 months.
  • Belgium, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, DenmarkEstoniaGermany, Greece, Hong Kong, JapanKorea, Latvia, Lithuania, Mexico, the Netherlands, NorwayPoland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Ukraine can apply for a Working Holiday visa and can travel and work in Canada for up to 12 months.
  • New Zealand can apply for a Working Holiday visa and can travel and work in Canada for up to 23 months.
  • Australia, France, Ireland, UK can apply for a Working Holiday visa and can travel and work in Canada for up to 24 months.

 

To apply for a Working Holiday visa, you need:

  • A valid passport for the duration of your stay in Canada
  • Be at least 18 and not more than 30 years old (some countries 35)
  • Hold a return ticket, or sufficient funds to purchase such a ticket
  • Have a minimum of C$2,500 available funds
  • Not have been approved a visa under a working holiday scheme before
  • Submit a clean criminal record
  • Submit a medical certificate (mandatory for all workers who want to work with children)
  • Be able to take out health insurance for the duration of your stay

 

During your stay you must not take up permanent employment and you can enrol in one or more courses of training/study of up to 6 months duration in total.

The IEC participation fee is C$150. On top of that Working Holiday participants have to pay an open work permit holder fee of C$100.

Applications can be submitted online clicking on the link below. Please bear in mind that not all applicants will be approved a Working Holiday visa as the number of visa issued every year is restricted.

Once your request is approved, you will need to undergo a medical examination to obtain a work permit that allows you to work with children. Your host family might help you with the application for a Social Insurance Number (SIN) needed if you want to work legally in Canada.

 

For more information about the Working Holiday visa, we invite you to check the Canadian Government website.