There is no official au pair programme or au pair visa for Canada. However, young persons from the following countries may apply for a Working Holiday visa instead and work in Canada as au pairs:
Australia, Austria, Belgium, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy*, Japan, South Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mexico**, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Ukraine** and Great Britain.
* Au pairs from Italy may only legally work in Canada during the first six months of their stay.
** Mexican and Ukranian au pairs should choose another host country. Canada has not been accepting applicants from these countries for some years now.
How to apply for a Working Holiday Visa as an au pair
Step 1: A valid passport is required
To apply for a Working Holiday Visa the au pair needs to have a valid passport for the entire period of the planned stay in Canada.
Step 2: Applying for the Working Holiday Visa
Au pairs need to create a profile at the "International Experience Canada" website to enter the process. Then they come into the applicant pool with all other candidates for a Working Holiday Visa. Applicants should be aware that creating and submitting an IEC profile does not guarantee that they will receive a visa.
Profiles are selected from this pool for one year until the quota of Working Holiday Visas is used up. For this reason we recommend that au pairs apply for a visa as early as possible. You can check quotas and current status for every nationality. The Citizenship and Immigration Canada agency (CIC) regularly selects candidates from the applicant pool and sends them an official Invitation to Apply (ITA). Not every applicant who creates a profile receives an invitation for the second part of the process.
New requirement for travel to Canada
Only IEC participants with a port of entry letter of introduction and a valid job offer are eligible to travel to Canada right now. You must also be able to start your job as soon as you complete your quarantine. Check the start date on your job offer before you travel.
Step 3: Accept invitation and apply for a work permit online
Applicants who are invited to apply will be notified accordingly in their IEC accounts.
At this point, the au pair applicant has 10 days to decide if they intend to accept the invitation. Once the invitation has been accepted, applicants have 20 days to apply online for a work permit. Applicants should be sure to have all documents requested by the IEC ready ahead of time.
Please note that all IEC participants need to pay a CAN$ 156 fee and Working Holiday participants need to pay an additional CAN$ 100 on top.
To accept the invitation, proceed to the section called “Applications” in your IEC account. Find the application called “Work permit” and click “Start application.”
Step 4: Wait for processing and receive Port of Entry Letter
After submission of the work permit application with all the final documents, the application will be processed on a “first-in first-out” basis within 8 weeks. Once the application has been accepted, the au pair will receive a Port of Entry (POE) Letter of Introduction. Please note that the au pair will need to bring this letter along to Canada and present it to a Canadian Border Service Officer at a port of entry.
Step 5: Medical examination
The work permit that is issued on the basis of this application will state that the au pair is initially not authorised to work in the 3 following occupation fields: 1) childcare, 2) primary or secondary school teaching, 3) health care. For au pairs it is therefore necessary to undergo a medical examination and have the work permit modified once they are in Canada. To receive this examination, the au pair needs to contact a Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) Centre for medical examination forms and further instructions. Once the examination has been performed and the CIC has received the examination results, the work permit will be modified and the occupational restrictions will be removed.
Step 7: Applying for a Social Insurance Number (SIN)
Host families are urged to help their au pairs when the apply for a Social Insurance Number. It is necessary for the au pair to have such a number for the family and the au pair to receive possible tax refunds in connection with the au pair stay. Here is detailed information on the Social Insurance Number in Canada.