Hire a temporary worker as an in-home caregiver: Program requirements

2. Program requirements

Processing fee

Employers must pay $1,000 for each position requested to cover the cost of processing a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) application.

The processing fee payment (in Canadian dollars) can be made by:

  • Visa
  • MasterCard
  • American Express
  • Certified cheque (shall be made payable to the Receiver General for Canada)
  • Money Order (shall be made payable to the Receiver General for Canada)
  • Bank draft (shall be made payable to the Receiver General for Canada)

Families or individuals seeking to hire a foreign caregiver to provide home care for individuals requiring assistance with medical needs are exempt from paying the Labour Market Impact Assessment application processing fee.

Families or individuals with a gross annual income of $150,000 or less, seeking to hire a foreign caregiver to provide childcare in their home to a child under 13 years of age, also qualify for the processing fee exemption.

There will be no refund in the event of a negative LMIA, or if the application is withdrawn or cancelled by the employer since the fee covers the assessment process and not the outcome. In addition, if a live-in requirement is found during the assessment of the LMIA application, there will be no refund.

Refunds will only be available if a fee was collected in error (for example, an incorrect fee amount was processed).

Employers must be aware that Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), has a policy that prohibits employers and third-party representatives from recovering the LMIA processing fee from temporary foreign workers (TFW).

Recruitment fees

There may be a variety of fees and costs incurred in the process of recruiting temporary foreign workers, including but not limited to:

  • cost of using a third-party representative
  • advertising fees
  • fees paid by a foreign national for assistance with finding or securing employment
  • fees paid by an employer for assistance or advice in the hiring of foreign nationals

As an employer, you must confirm and ensure that you or anybody recruiting on your behalf does not charge or recover any recruitment fees, directly or indirectly, from the temporary foreign workers. Failure to do so will result in a negative LMIA decision.

Language restriction

A distinct language assessment factor has been introduced as subsection 203 (1.01) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR). As a result, English and French are the only languages that can be identified as a job requirement both in LMIA applications and in job advertisements by employers, unless they can demonstrate that another language is essential for the job.

Language proficiency

Employers must ensure that the caregiver being hired speaks, reads and understands at least 1 of Canada's official languages (English or French). Caregivers must have a level of fluency that enables them to communicate effectively and independently in an unsupervised setting.

Education, training or experience

Employers are responsible for ensuring that the TFWs being hired have all the training, qualifications and experience required to successfully and safely perform the job duties of the position for which they are hired. TFWs being hired for:

  • lower-skilled occupations may require a certain amount of experience, short work demonstrations, on-the-job training, or no formal educational requirements; and
  • higher-skilled occupations may require a post-secondary education (for example, university degree, college diploma).

Regulated occupations

Employers hiring a TFW in regulated occupations in Canada must ensure that arrangements are made with the appropriate regulatory body for the certification, registration or licensing of the TFW. A "regulated" occupation is one where a professional or regulatory body has the authority to set entry requirements and standards of practice that lead to a certification, registration or licence (for example, doctors, nurses, with compulsory certification).

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will consider whether the TFW has the necessary qualifications to perform the work in Canada before issuing a work permit.

IRCC has established 2 pathways to permanent residency for caregivers, which are:

  • Caring for children
  • Caring for people with high medical needs

Each pathway has its own language and education requirements. For detailed information on these requirements, visit IRCC’s caregivers closed programs.

Multiple employers

Private household employers can partner with another employer (maximum of 2 official employers), to share the responsibilities of hiring an in-home caregiver. For example, 2 adult children may act as employers of a caregiver for an incapacitated parent. In situations that involve multiple employers, only 1 application is required; however both employers must meet all of the program requirements and sign all documents (for example, Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) application, employment contract, bedroom description form (mandatory in the case of a live-in caregiver).

Canada Revenue Agency business number

Individuals hiring a foreign caregiver are considered employers and must obtain a business number (BN) from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to:

  • meet the initial registration requirements for advertising on the national Job Bank website or its provincial/territorial counterpart
  • apply for a TFW
  • pay the worker's wage (including vacation pay)
  • make deductions from the worker's wage as prescribed by the law and the TFWP
  • issue pay stubs, statements, remuneration paid (T4) or Records of Employment (ROE)

To obtain a business number

A BN is a 15-digit business identifier that CRA assigns to an employer located in Canada for tax purposes.

Employers can register for a BN by:

Employers should know that:

  • sole proprietors may use an existing BN to hire a foreign caregiver. However, they must employ the caregiver under a domestic account separate from their other business activities
  • other employers cannot use an existing company BN, should they have one, to hire a foreign caregiver. They must obtain a separate BN for the specific purpose of hiring a caregiver
  • in instances of multiple employers applying to hire a foreign caregiver, only 1 BN is required
Businesses outside Canada
  • Employers in the United States can contact the International Tax Service Office at: 1-800-267-7383
  • Employers from outside Canada and the United States can call collect at: 1-613-940-8498

Record of Employment

Under the provisions of the Employment Insurance Act, all employers are required to provide a Record of Employment (ROE) when an interruption of earnings occurs for an employee. This requirement applies whether the employee is a Canadian or a foreign worker. The ROE, which indicates the wages paid and the number of weeks the TFW worked, is required by the foreign worker as proof to qualify and apply for permanent residency. TFWs also need the ROE to apply for Employment Insurance benefits.

Proof of individual requiring care

Employers must provide proof that they or a dependant is in need of care. The documentation that must be submitted along with the application form includes proof of 1 of the following:

  • age and parentage for each child under the age of 18 (provide 1 of the documents listed):
    • long form birth certificate
    • adoption order
    • official guardianship, or
    • medical doctor's note confirming the pregnancy and the due date
  • age for each senior, 65 years or older (provide 1 of the documents listed):
    • birth certificate
    • passport, or
    • Old Age Security identification card
  • disability, chronic or terminal illness for each disabled, chronically or terminally ill person (provide 1 of the documents listed):

Proof of address

Employers must provide proof of the care recipient’s address (for example the work location where the foreign national will perform their duties) with the LMIA application if they and the care recipient reside at different addresses.

Examples of proof of address: a driver’s license, utility bill, provincial/territorial identification card, bank statement, CRA notice of assessment or a statement of other government benefits such as CPP, OAS or GIS.

Financial ability

To hire a foreign in-home caregiver, employers must demonstrate their financial ability to pay the caregiver’s wages. Service Canada will assess the financial ability of the employer by using the Low Income Cut-Offs (LICO) produced by Statistics Canada. To have their financial ability assessed, employers must complete the Financial ability section of the LMIA application form. If the total is positive, the employer may be considered as having met the financial ability requirement.

As part of this assessment, employers must submit a copy of their most recent Notice of Assessment (NOA) from the CRA with their LMIA application. The NOA submitted must be from the past year if your application is submitted after July 1. Please note that NOA’s submitted from previous years will not be accepted.

In exceptional cases where the employer is not required to pay income tax in Canada, copies of paystubs, bank statements, personal work contract or other official documents can be submitted as proof of income.

In cases of multiple employers where the income of 1 employer is not sufficient to meet the financial ability to pay the caregiver’s wages, the income of both employers can be combined to meet this requirement. However, the 2 employers must submit copies of their past year individual Notice of Assessment from CRA if your application is submitted after July 1. Please note that NOAs submitted from a previous year or a combination of years will not be accepted.

Transportation

Employers of low-wage in-home caregivers must always pay for the transportation costs (for example, plane, train, boat, car, bus) of the caregiver to the work location in Canada. These costs must be paid up-front to ensure that they are not part of any negotiations related to the employment contract. This process helps protect temporary foreign workers, who may be tempted to accept alternative travel arrangements in return for a job offer.

Employers may have a financial agreement with any member of their family to pay for the transportation costs.

Transportation costs may include:

  • transportation from the caregiver's country of current residence to the work location in Canada
  • transportation from the caregiver's current residence in Canada to the new work location
  • gas expenses when the caregiver drives his/her personal car to the new work location
  • return transportation from the caregiver’s current residence in Canada to his or her original country of residence

Employers should know that:

  • the mode of transportation selected must reduce the travel time, expenses and inconvenience to the caregiver
  • under no circumstances, can an employer recover the transportation costs from the TFW

Transportation costs paid by the employer do not include:

  • hotels, meals and miscellaneous expenses during the caregiver's travel to the work location
  • transportation or other expenses for vacations or emergency trips

Employers must keep records (for example, invoices, receipts, copies of flight itineraries, tickets, boarding passes) of all transportation costs paid, for a minimum of 6 years. This information may be required as proof if employers re-apply for a subsequent LMIA or if they are selected for an inspection.

Note: This requirement does not apply to employers of high-wage in-home caregivers.

Housing

Employers cannot require a caregiver to live in their home. However, if an employer and foreign caregiver decide that a live-in arrangement is the most suitable, for the needs of the person requiring care or to assist the TFW, there are certain criteria that must be met. Specifically, employers must ensure the:

  • accommodation is being provided in the home of the person receiving care
  • accommodation is private and furnished bedroom
  • bedroom door has a lock and safety bolt on the inside
  • bedroom meets the municipal building requirements and the provincial/territorial health standards
  • foreign caregiver is not charged room and board for the accommodations, as per the policy, under the TFWP

Employers must complete the Bedroom description section of the LMIA application form.

Employers of low-wage in-home caregivers, who are not providing live-in accommodations, must ensure that suitable and affordable accommodation is available to the TFW. In addition, these employers should be prepared to provide proof (for example, newspaper ads) that affordable housing is available in the community where the TFW will be employed. Meanwhile, employers of high-wage in-home caregivers do not have to meet this requirement.

Ministerial instruction – Refusal to process an application

As a result of public policy considerations as determined in Ministerial Instructions, the TFWP may refuse to process LMIA applications received on or after December 1, 2014 from employers seeking to hire in-home caregivers exclusively on a live-in basis.

Health and workplace safety

Health insurance

In applicable provinces/territories (P/Ts), you must obtain and pay for private health insurance that covers emergency medical care, for any period during which the TFW is not covered by the applicable P/T health insurance system.

The coverage the employer purchases must correspond with the TFWs’ first day of work in Canada and the costs must not be recovered from the TFWs.

During an employer inspection, an ESDC/SC inspector will look at the policy coverage to make sure that it has not been charged back to the worker, and that it covers at minimum the costs of basic emergency health care for sudden illness or injuries during the period the TFW is not covered by the P/T health insurance. Some private insurance companies offer more comprehensive plans, but ESDC will accept a basic plan so long as it ensures that the TFW will not have to pay for medical care if they become sick or have an accident while working in Canada.

To demonstrate compliance, the employer must be able to show proof of payment for suitable private health insurance for each TFW, as well as the terms of the policy coverage (for example, the details of what is covered).

Note: Under no circumstances, can an employer recover the health insurance costs from the TFW.

Workplace safety

Employers must always ensure that the TFWs they want to hire under the TFW Program are covered from the provincial/territorial workplace safety insurance provider, where required by law. In provinces/territories where the provincial/territorial legislation allows employers the flexibility to opt for a private insurance plan, employers must ensure:

  • that any private plan chosen provides the same level of compensation to that offered by a province/territory (for example, must provide the same or better coverage than that offered by the province/territory)
  • that all employees on the worksite are covered by the same provider

Employers enquiring about private insurance plan equivalency should contact the provincial/territorial workplace safety authority.

The coverage purchased by the employer must correspond with the TFWs’ first day of work in Canada and the costs must not be recovered from the TFWs.

Employment agreement

Although a copy of employment agreement is not required at the time of LMIA submission, you must commit to providing a completed and signed employment agreement to each foreign worker on or before their first day of work with you. An employment agreement must:

  • include information for employment in the same occupation, with the same wages and working conditions as those set out in the offer of employment
  • be drafted in either English or French as preferred by the foreign worker, and
  • be signed by both the employer and the foreign worker

You can use this sample employment agreement (under development), or, if you use your own version of an employment agreement, please ensure that it meets all above requirements.

Employers must maintain comprehensive employment records that fully document adherence to the employment agreement throughout the duration of the employment.

For positions in Quebec, please visit the website of ministère de l'Immigration, de la Francisation et de l'Intégration (MIFI) (French only) for specific requirements regarding the employment contract.

Union consultation

Although it is not a mandatory requirement, if the position being filled by the foreign worker is unionized, it is recommended that employers:

  • work actively with union representatives to recruit unemployed Canadians and permanent residents;
  • consult the union on its position regarding the hiring of a foreign worker for the available job;
  • confirm that the conditions of the collective agreement (for example wages, working conditions) will apply to the foreign worker.

Note:

  • ESDC/Service Canada may contact the union for more information.
  • The position offered to the foreign worker cannot affect current or foreseeable labour disputes at the workplace, or the employment of any Canadian or permanent resident workers involved in these disputes.
  • During LMIA assessment, if it is determined that hiring TFWs is likely to adversely affect the course, the outcome, or the settlement of any labour dispute, you will receive a negative LMIA decision.

Third-party representatives

Employers do not need to use the services of a third-party representative to apply for a foreign worker. However, employers who choose to use the services of 1 of these individuals or organizations must pay for all of the fees associated with the service and meet all of the applicable requirements. The third-party representative also cannot demand or recover the processing fee or other costs related to recruiting from the TFW.

Representatives assist employers by providing services, such as:

  • explaining and providing advice on the TFWP
  • completing and submitting the application form and all required documents
  • communicating with ESDC/Service Canada on the employer’s behalf
  • representing the employer during the application process

Employers who wish to use the services of a third-party representative, paid or unpaid, must complete the appropriate section of the LMIA application form. Employers must identify their representative and not simply the firm/organization employing this person.

Paid third-party representatives

Individuals representing or assisting employers in exchange for compensation (for example, money, goods or services) must be authorized under section 91 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA), which means they have to be a member in good standing with:

  • a Canadian provincial/territorial law society, or a student-at-law under its supervision
  • the Chambre des notaires du Québec
  • the Province of Ontario’s law society as a paralegal
  • the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC)

Employers should visit Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to verify that a specific representative is authorized to represent them or provide immigration advice.

Unpaid third-party representatives

Individuals representing employers for free (for example, do not collect fees or other forms of compensation) are not subject to any restrictions under the IRPA. These individuals are usually family members, non-for-profit or religious organizations that assist employers who may not be able to complete the application process on their own.

If a paid representative is not authorized under the IRPA, ESDC/Service Canada will continue to process the application, but will communicate with the employer directly. However, a copy of a signed letter stating that the employer is no longer using the services of the original representative will be required before the employer can:

  • hire another paid authorized representative
  • work with an unpaid representative

ESDC/Service Canada:

  • reserves the right to contact employers directly when further information or documentation is required
  • will not mediate a dispute between an employer and a third-party representative nor communicate complaints to a regulatory body on an employer’s behalf. Employers who wish to file a formal complaint against their representative should contact the appropriate regulatory body (for example, the provincial law society, the Chambre des notaires du Québec or the ICCR). For additional information on how to file a complaint, visit IRCC’s page to file a complaint

Recruiters

A recruiter or anybody recruiting for the employer is someone who:

  • finds or attempts to find an individual for employment with the employer, or
  • assists another person in finding or attempting to find an individual for employment with the employer, or
  • refers a foreign national to another person who finds or attempts to find an individual for employment with the employer

Some provinces and territories have specific requirements for recruiters and recruitment activities. It is your responsibility to ensure you comply with those requirements. As an employer, you are also responsible for the actions of anyone who recruits on your behalf.

New employers

Employers who have not employed a temporary foreign worker in the past 6 years prior to submitting a LMIA application will be subject to a review.  The employer must demonstrate that they made reasonable efforts to provide a workplace that is free of abuse and that they were not an affiliate of an employer who is ineligible for the TFW Program or in default of any amount payable in respect of an administrative monetary penalty.

A workplace that is free of abuse includes

  • (a) proactive efforts made to prevent workplace abuse
  • (b) reactive measures taken to stop abuse

An affiliate includes an employer that is controlled by another employer

  • (a) 2 employers that are under common control; or
  • (b) employers that are not operated at arm’s length.
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