Hiring OFWs under the Live-In Caregiver Program in Canada


Submitting an application under the Live-In Caregiver Program

The Live-In Caregiver Program was closed in 2014, and is no longer accepting new applicants.

However, Canadian employers may still hire an OFW under the Live-In Caregiver Programunder two conditions:

  • The OFW must already be in Canada with a Work Permit under the Live-In Caregiver Program
  • The Canadian employer must also have already been received a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) that indicates that the OFW has agreed to live in their home.

If neither conditions are met, Canadian employers can still hire an OFW, just not under the Live-In Caregiver Program.

The Canadian employer and the OFW must decide if the OFW will live at the Canadian employer’s home or find alternate accommodations.

The Canadian employer must receive a positive LMIA from Service Canada.

The OFW must apply for a regular Work Permit.

Who is eligible to apply for the Live-In Caregiver Program?

The Live-In Caregiver Program was closed in 2014, and is no longer accepting new applicants.

However, Canadian employers may still hire an OFW under the Live-In Caregiver Program if they meet the following conditions:

Canadian employers must first look for Canadian citizens or Permanent Residents to fill the Caregiver position.

Canadian employers must be able afford to pay the Caregiver’s salary.

Canadian employers must be able to provide the Caregiver a suitable play to live in their home.

Canadian employers must make an offer of employment to care for a child, an elderly person or a person with a disability.

If the Canadian employer meets all of the above requirements, then they will apply for an LMIA.

Once the positive LMIA is issued, the OFW can than apply for a new Work Permit under the Live-In Caregiver Program.

Canadian employers can only hire OFWs who are currently under the Live-In Caregiver Program.

The OFW must be willing to work on a live-in basis.

Take note that the main responsibility of an OFW under the Live-In Caregiver Program is to take care of children, elderly and disabled.

Canadian employers cannot hire OFWs under the Live-In Caregiver Program to clean their homes.

Canadian employers are required to meet all the rules of the Live-In Caregiver Program before they can hire an OFW as a caregiver.

How to apply under the Live-In Caregiver Program (Canadian employers)

Canadian employers are responsible for finding an OFW by advertising the position in the Job Bank, through personal contacts and through employment agencies.

It is the Canadian employer’s responsibility exercise due diligence in finding an OFW who has the proper Work Permit and other immigration documents, and to determine that the OFW is suitable for their unique caregiving requirements.

Take note that a Canadian employer cannot hire an OFW who is not authorized to work in Canada legally.

This means that unless they are hiring a Canadian citizen or a Permanent Resident, the OFW must have a Work Permit under the Live-In Caregiver Program.

Employment Contract between Canadian employer and OFW

Canadian employers and OFWs are required by law to sign a written Employment Contract.

The signed contract will be submitted by the Canadian employer as part of their application for an LMIA.

Having a signed Employment Contract is not only a requirement for an LMIA application, but also makes certain that there will be a fair working arrangement between the Canadian employer and the OFW.

The Employment Contract must include the following:

  • a description of all the benefits the Canadian employer will be providing the OFW including transportation from the OFW’s residence to place of work (if necessary),
  • medical insurance from the OFW’s date of arrival until the provincial health plan coverage begins,
  • workplace safety insurance for the length of the contract,
  • all costs related to recruitment, including payments made to recruitment agencies, employment agencies or any other third party,
  • a detailed description of the OFWs duties and responsibilities as a caregiver,
  • salary information
  • hours of work
  • housing arrangements
  • vacation leave and sick leave benefits
  • details on termination of employment, including the amount of time the Canadian employer or the OFW needs to give in advance, how the Canadian employer will pay for outstanding wages and remaining vacation leaves.

Canadian employers can use a standard Employment Contract from Service Canada. Canadian employers can also use their own Employment Contract, but it must include all the mandatory information and clauses detailed above.

If the province of employment is Quebec, the Employment Contract must use the Quebec contract template.

Canadian employers – How to apply for an LMIA

Canadian employers must apply for an LMIA. Only after an LMIA has been issued to a Canadian employer can an OFW apply for a new Work Permit.

An OFW under the Live-In Caregiver Program cannot work for a Canadian employer unless a new Work Permit has been issued to them bearing the new Canadian employer’s name.

Canadian employers have a specific LMIA application. Positive LMIAs issued are valid for six months.

The Canadian employer must give the OFW a copy of the positive LMIA so they can apply for a new Work Permit.

OFWs have 6 months to apply for a new Work Permit.

If the OFW is eligible, they will be issued a new Work Permit, which will indicate the name of the new Canadian employer.

Take note that the application of a new Work Permit may take several months, during which time the OFW cannot work legally for the Canadian employer.

Only once the new Work Permit has been issued to the OFW, they can start working for the Canadian employer.

Hiring an OFW as a caregiver in the province of Quebec

Hiring an OFW in the province of Quebec may be a little bit different from other provinces.

Canadian employers in the province of Quebec must meet the minimum requirements to facilitate the employment of an OFW under the Live-In Caregiver Program indicated in the Service Canada and Ministère de l’Immigration, Diversité et Inclusion websites.

Canadian employers and OFWs under the Live-In Caregiver Program

Canadian employers must be able to provide OFWs with suitable working conditions, reasonable duties, a salary that is inline with prevailing market wages, private accommodations with a lock on the door and a key to the Canadian employer’s residence to allow for free access.

OFWs are entitled to privacy while living with their Canadian employer.

Canadian employers are not allowed to enter the OFWs room without permission.

Canadian employers must discuss the OFWs need well beforehand, so that any religious or cultural accommodations may be made in advance.

OFWs are protected by most employment standards, including days off per week, statutory holidays, overtime pay and minimum wages. Employment standards are under provincial government jurisdiction.

Health Insurance for OFWs under the Live-In Caregiver Program

Canadian employers may be required to make payments for premiums or health taxes on behalf of the OFW.

Canadian employers must contact the provincial or territorial authorities to determine how they can provide medical insurance for the OFW.

Canadian employers cannot deduct health premiums or health taxes from the OFW’s salary.

Worker’s Compensation of OFWs under the Live-In Caregiver Program

OFWs under the Live-In Caregiver Program have the right to be covered in most provinces and territories’ Workers’ Compensation Laws.

Workers’ Compensation is a Canadian employer’s insurance plan, which makes sure that the OFW is covered in case of injury while on the job.

The Canadian employer is responsible for arranging the OFW’s Workers’Compensation coverage during their employment.

Canadian employers’ legal responsibilities

Canadian employers hiring OFWs under the Live-In Caregiver Program are legally required to register with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

Canadian employers must provide OFWs with a Record of Employment (ROE) at the end of their employment. Canadian employers who are not registered with the CRA will not be able to provide an ROE.

Every Canadian employer is required to keep written records of any OFWs under their employment. This includes a record of the OFW’s earnings.

Canadian employers are also required to provide the OFW with a statement of earnings every time they are paid.

The statement of earnings should indicate the OFW’s gross and net pay, detailed information about any deductions made as well as total number of hours worked during that pay period.

Canadian employers must also provide a T4 slip by the end of February of each year. The T4 slip shows the OFW’s total gross earnings, as well as total deductions.

The OFW will need the T4 slip in order to file their taxes.

OFW Salary Deductions

Canadian employees are required to deduct income tax, Employment Insurance premiums, Canada Pension Plan contributions, workers’ compensation, health insurance, and any other provincial or territorial deductions as necessary.

Canadian employers must remit these deductions to the CRA in a timely manner.

OFW Room and Board

Canadian employers charging OFWs for room and board are calculated on a weekly or monthly basis. This will be indicated in the Employment Contract.

Provincial and territorial employment standards apply, so Canadian employers must first check to see whether or not they can deduct room and board directly from the OFW’s paycheque.

Referring OFWs to a Settlement Agency

Most OFWs need as much help as they can get.

Canadian employers are strongly encouraged to connect OFWs under their empty with a federally or provincially-funded settlement organization in their area.

Settlement organizations are staffed by professionals who provide support to Newcomers to Canada, including OFWs.

Terminating an Employment Contract with an OFW under the Live-In Caregiver Program

Canadian employers can terminate the Employment Contract if the OFW is unwilling or unable to perform the duties indicated therein.

Canadian employers who cannot give advance notice of termination will be required to pay the OFW for the period the advanced notice would have covered.

Even if it is not specifically stated in the Employment Contract, Canadian employers may be required, under provincial or territorial laws, to pay the OFW in lieu of notice.

Canadian employers must provide Service Canada with written notice when terminating the services of the OFW.

Canadian employers who are looking to hire a new OFW must apply for a new LMIA from Service Canada.

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