The more we talk to parents about Au Pairs, the more we are asked about the requirements to host an Au Pair. There is a common misconception that Au Pairs are for the elite or a Kardashian-type family. In reality, Au Pairs are an affordable child care option for many Canadian families and they provide great benefits that traditional child care cannot. Here are the requirements to host an Au Pair in Canada:
Be in need of child care.
Although this seems like a given, we have been asked if Au Pairs provide elderly care. Unfortunately, at this time, our program does not have Au Pairs that are willing to provide this type of service. Au Pairs come to Canada with the intention of providing child care, to improve upon their child care skills and make a connection with a family.
Commonly, Au Pairs care for children who are between the ages of 6 months to 15 years old, as many do not have experience with newborns. As well, usually after 15 years, a child is more self-sufficient and does not need the same daily care as younger children.
Be open to have someone live-in.
A host family must be willing to have their child care provider live-in with them, to be a part of their family. An Au Pair acts as a big sibling in the family since she is responsible for the children but will also join in on the odd family movie night. By sharing meals, engaging in daily conversations and providing reciprocal emotional support, a family and an Au Pair can build a lifelong relationship with their childcare provider!
Be open to share in cultural exchange.
Continuing on the point made above, having an Au Pair live-in allows for a unique cultural exchange where the Au Pair is immersed into the Canadian way of living and the host family can learn about the Au Pair’s culture. Au Pairs want to know how much, or how little, maple syrup is consumed in your home, while your Au Pair can make you delicious schnitzel. Providing your children with a new culture at a young age is a special learning opportunity that will not only teach them about fun new customs but as well cultural acceptance.
Have an appropriate sized room.
A lot of clients we talk to are confused about what size room to provide their Au Pair. “Do I have to provide an entire ‘nanny suite’? Do they need their own apartment? Bathroom?” The answer to these questions is, “If you have it, yes. If not, no”.
What you do need to provide is furnished accommodations that meets municipal building requirements and health standards set by your province. This includes a properly heated and ventilated private room, with a lock on the door, with no visible or structural repairs required.
Be able to cover the costs of having an Au Pair.
Au Pairs are paid an hourly provincial minimum wage with room and board deductions. As an employer, you will have to provide remittances to Canada Revenue Agency. Additional costs include adding your Au Pair to your insurance, providing some funds for your Au Pairs cell phone if you expect her to use it while working and a completion bonus at the end of her stay.
As the Au Pair is paying for room and board, this means that she has paid for her food and rent expenses, which the host family is to provide for her. So, make sure to budget in one more mouth to feed before doing groceries!
If you have any questions about how much it will cost to have an Au Pair or general information, give us a call at 647-332-2477.