Effective as of April 1, 2010, regulatory and administrative changes were made to the Live-In Caregiver Program ("LCP").
On December 12, 2009, Minister Kenney announced a combination of administrative and proposed regulatory changes to the LCP. These changes were designed to better protect the rights of live-in caregivers and to make it easier for them and their families to obtain permanent residence in Canada, while continuing to protect the health and safety of Canadians and maintaining the project objective to respond to labour market shortages.
Proposed amendments to the LCP regulations in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations ("IRPR") were pre-published in the Canada Gazette on December 19, 2009. The regulatory LCP changes were approved and came into force on April 1, 2010.
Administrative changes to the LCP included new requirements for the employment contract between live-in caregivers and their employers and, in particular, specifying mandatory employer paid benefits and contract clauses. This change to the LCP employment contract requirements also became effective on April 1, 2010.
The duration of a temporary work permit under the LCP has also changed as a result of the regulatory changes.
Changes were made to the medical examination requirements at the Application for Permanent Resident stage. The mandatory requirement for all live-in caregivers to complete a standard medical examination at the application for permanent residence stage was eliminated.
The medical examination completed to qualify for the initial work permit as a live-in caregiver will be assessed by medical officers overseas for excessive demand, in anticipation of the applicant subsequently applying for permanent residence under the LCP. This change applies to all new applications for a temporary work permit under the LCP received on or after April 1, 2010, and all instances where applications for a temporary work permit under the LCP and related medical examination have not already been reviewed. The initial medical examination will continue to screen for health conditions that would pose a risk to public health and safety.
Reviewing offices still retain the discretion to request a medical examination at the application for permanent residence stage.
Officers have been encouraged to take a generous view of any humanitarian and compassionate grounds when assessing an LCP application for permanent residence.
Changes were made to the employment requirement at the Application for Permanent Residence stage. Live-in Caregivers who entered Canada are required to be employed as a Live-in Caregiver for at least two of the four years immediately following their entry or, alternatively, be employed as a Live-In Caregiver for at least 3,900 hours during a period of not less than 22 months in the initial four year time period. The period of two years and 3,900 hours may be in respect of more than one employer or household, but may not be in respect of more than one employer or household at a time; and the 3,900 hours are not to include more than 390 hours of overtime.
Under these Regulatory Changes, Live-In Caregivers have up to four years from the date of their arrival in Canada to complete the employment requirement to be eligible for permanent residence under the LCP and may choose between two options for calculating their employment requirement for permanent residence: 24 months of authorized full-time employment or 3,900 hours within a minimum 22 months which may include a maximum of 390 hours of overtime of authorized full-time employment. Documentary proof may include timesheets signed by current and previous employer(s), clearly indicating the date and number of hours worked for all overtime hours claimed, and completion of the new Live-In Caregiver Employer Declaration of Hours Worked Form (IMM 5634) completed and signed by current and previous employers.
Effective April 1, 2010, all LCP applications received by HRSDC/SC, and for all work permit applications received by CIC that are based on Labour Market Opinions, the signed written employment contract between Live-In Caregivers and their employers must demonstrate that all LCP requirements are met, with a description of the mandatory employer paid benefits, including transportation to Canada from the live-in caregiver's country of permanent residence or their country of habitual residence to the location of work in Canada; medical insurance coverage provided from the date of the live-in caregiver's arrival until he or she is eligible for provincial health insurance; all recruitment fees, including any amounts payable to a third-party recruiter or agents hired by the employer that would otherwise have been charged to the live-in caregiver; job duties; hours of work; wages; accommodation arrangements including room and board; holiday and sick leave entitlements; and termination and resignation terms.
There is a new LCP employment contract template and employers are encouraged to use the contract template.
All employment contacts submitted as part of employer Labour Market Opinion applications under the LCP must contain all of the information and clauses indicated as mandatory.
Employers of foreign live-in caregivers are also required to enrol their caregivers in provincial workplace safety insurance (also known as worker's compensation) or comparable insurance if the former is not available. This must be done at no cost to the caregivers and employers are not permitted to recoup these costs from the live-in caregivers.
If considered favourable, HRSDC/SC will issue a Labour Market Opinion that will indicate the employment contract meets all requirements. The confirmation letter from HRSDC/SC to the employer will indicate the approved mandatory information. Overseas Processing Officers will check the date of the Labour Market Opinion Confirmation Letter, which is submitted with the Work Permit application, to confirm that the Labour Market Opinion Confirmation was issued on or after April 1, 2010 and the mandatory employment contract and new requirements apply.
Employers and caregivers who amend their employment contract after it was submitted and approved by HRSDC/SC are required to provide an explanation of any changes. The reviewing officer will consider whether the job offer is genuine and whether the employment contract meets the new requirements.