Pocket money, working hours and contract for au pairs in Canada

All the information for organising an au pair stay in Canada: Should au pairs and families have an au pair contract? What insurance should an au pair have? How much pocket money does an au pair in Canada receive?

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  • Au pair contract

    We advise au pairs and host families to implement an au pair contract. A written agreement makes it possible to avoid many possible misunderstandings. The au pair contract should specify:

    • Specific au pair duties
    • Working schedule
    • Vacation time
    • Weekly number of working hours
    • Pocket money to be paid

    As there is no official au pair contract in Canada, host families and au pairs usually use the British au pair contract.

    Contract termination

    There is no official notice period for au pairs in Canada. We recommend that au pairs or host families give at least two weeks' notice, leaving enough time for the host family to find a replacement au pair and for the au pair to either organise a return trip or find a new host family.

  • Duties

    The au pair's primary responsibility is to help you look after the host family's children. Alongside childcare au pairs can help with light household chores. We recommend that all the important duties and obligations of both the family and the au pair be specified in writing in the au pair contract.

    More information on the topic:

  • Pocket money

    Au pairs in Canada are paid at least minimum wage minus costs for room and board. As the regulations concerning the minimum wage vary for each province/ territory, please check the minimum hourly wages rates in Canada for specific information on the relevant place of residence.

    As mentioned above, costs for the au pair's room and board (meals) are deducted from the au pair's pocket money. In Ontario, for example, weekly costs for room and board are calculated at 85.25 CAD. Currently the general minimum wage in Ontario is approx. 14 CAD, so if the au pair works 30 hours, he or she will receive 420 CAD (pocket money) -  85.25 CAD (room and board) = 334.75 CAD per week.

    In addition, there are further costs that the host family may deduct from the au pair's pocket money - for employment insurance, the Canadian Pension Plan (CPP) and income tax.

  • Financial reporting for host families

    Workers' Compensation

    Host families need to register their au pairs for insurance coverage with the relevant provincial workers' compensation board. Premiums, depending on the province, should be less than $ 15 a month.

    Registering as an employer

    When a family hosts an au pair, the family assumes the status of an employer. The family therefore needs to register as such with the the Canada Revenue Agency. Only as a registered employer can families deduct EI (Employment Insurance), CPP (Canada Pension Plan) and income tax from their au pair's pay.

    Claiming childcare expenses

    Host families can claim childcare costs for an au pair in their income tax return. The following costs may be deducted: the au pair's pocket money, family contributions toward EI, CPP, premiums to WCB. The fee for the Premium Membership on AuPairWorld is deductible as well.

  • Room and board

    The au pair has a room of her or his own with the host family. The host family also provides for meals in the family. In accordance with the basic idea of au pairing as a cultural exchange, au pairs receive room and board at no charge. However, because au pairs receive the statutory minimum wage in Canada, costs for room and board can be deducted from the pocket money that au pairs receive.

  • Working hours

    There are no specific regulations when it comes to the number of hours au pairs should work in Canada. We, however, recommend 25 to 30 hours per week.

    Within this amount of working hours, families may request their au pair to provide evening babysitting for up to 3 times per week.

  • Free time and holidays

    Prior to the au pair's arrival, it should be discussed how many days and evenings the au pair will be working and how exactly the working schedule will be arranged.  The au pair must have at least one full day off per week, and this should be on a Sunday at least once every month.

    The Working Holiday Maker Programme does not specify how much holiday time an au pair is entitled to. However, we recommend two weeks of holidays for an au pair stay of six months. Should the au pair be staying for less than six months, this value can be used to adapt the length of the au pair's holiday time accordingly.

    In Canada, there are no official regulations with regard to public holidays for au pairs. We recommend that au pairs have a day off on public holidays. Only in exceptional cases should au pairs work on public holidays. The host family should discuss this with their au pair beforehand.

    More information on the topic:

  • Language course

    While staying in Canada, au pairs should participate in an English or French course. Therefore, they need to be given enough time for this. Host families should help their au pairs find a suitable language school. The au pairs usually pay for their own language courses.

  • Health insurance

    To receive the visa for Canada, au pairs must have a health insurance policy for the whole duration of the au pair stay. This policy should cover the costs of medical care, hospitalization and repatriation. Typically au pairs bear the costs for this insurance. Of course if they wish to, host families are free to make a contribution to these expenses.

  • Travel expenses

    Normally, it is expected that au pairs will pay for their travel costs to and from Canada. If the host family is happy with the help that the au pair has provided, they can consider making a contribution to the au pair's travel costs back to her or his home country. This, however, is only our recommendation; there is no obligation for the family to participate in this expense.

  • Driving licence

    Au pairs are typically allowed to drive in Canada with their existing driving licence for a few months. However, after a certain period of time, the au pair will probably be obliged to take a driving test in Canada to continue driving. More information regarding driving as a foreigner in Canada is available from the Canadian government.

    Should the au pair be driving the host family's car, both au pair and host family should clarify issues of insurance and liability beforehand. It should also be discussed who is to bear the costs for material damage in the event of a car accident.

We are continually researching and updating our host country information, but cannot guarantee that all material provided is complete and correct. If you notice gaps or inaccuracies, we would like to hear from you.
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