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Becoming a host family in Canada


There is no official au pair programme in Canada, however au pairs can work in Canada for a temporary period if they qualify for the International Experience Canada (IEC) programme. 

Basic requirements

You are eligible to be a host family in Canada if:

  • you have at least 1 child under 18 living with you
  • you are able to offer an individual room and 3 meals a day
  • you speak local language (English or French) in your daily life
  • you are of a different nationality than your au pair

General information



Your au pair will look after your children and will help you 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 must be paid the minimum Provincial wage. Room and Board, Employment Insurance and Canada Pension Plan are then deducted from the au pair’s wages, so families must be registered for payroll remittances with Revenue Canada. 

Board & Lodging

Au pairs are entitled to free board and lodging even in case of illness. You should be able to offer your au pair a separate room.


Travel expenses
Au pairs should bear the cost of their 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
Most au pairs working in Canada under the Working Holiday visa programme can work for up to 12 months. Exceptions apply for au pairs from Italy (only up to 6 months), from New Zealand (23 months) and from Australia, France, Ireland and UK (up to 24 months).

Free time
There is no official regulation, but au pairs are usually entitled to at least 2 free days per week.


Holiday entitlement is usually 2 weeks of paid holiday for a 6-month stay.


It is recommended that you draw up a contract with your au pair. The contract should include au pair pocket money, holidays and duties. Click here for a sample contract.


Language courses
Au pairs should be granted enough time off to attend a language course. The au pair will bear the cost of the language course him/herself.


If you require your au pair to drive, you must provide him/her with a car, pay for car insurance and ensure that the car is well maintained. You must also provide fuel or give money to your au pair to pay for fuel for the car. Remember your au pair is young and comes from a different country where she/he might drive on the other side of the road. She/he may not have much driving experience. We recommend that you provide your au pair with driving lessons until she/he is confident enough to drive your car.


Your au pair must take out private medical and travel insurance, but as a host family / employer, you are required to pay Employment Insurance and Workplace Safety Insurance and make contributions to the Canada Pension Plan for your au pair.