Become an au pair in Canada
Last Updated on March 4, 2022
Canada is home to breathtakingly picturesque mountains and lakes that kick every traveller’s heels once in their lifetime, but with rising demand for Canada as a travel destination, accommodation, food and other expenses have increased to the point that not every wanderer has the means to fulfil the dream.
This is why we have a better option for you to explore the natural landscapes of Canada – by becoming an au pair in Canada.
Although there is not a formal au pair program in Canada, visitors can become one by applying for a working holiday visa for Canada.
Not sure what an au pair is? Don’t worry. We got you.
And in case you’re wondering why you should be listening to my advice regarding something you probably have never even heard of – well I have worked as an au pair in the UK and it was an immersive and once-in-a-lifetime experience for me. That’s why I want all of you backpackers and future travellers to know all of the amazing opportunities you can avail yourself to travel for practically less than you could have ever imagined.
This blog post is going to walk you through the steps of knowing what an au pair is, the requirements necessary to become one, and how to become an au pair in Canada.
What’s an au pair
Au pair is the job title of the person who lives with a family, in a foreign country, helps them in looking after their children by taking them to school, or teaching at home, getting involved in creative learning activities and just keeping an eye on them while the parents are away at work. Sometimes, the au pair might also be asked to do small housework, but nothing too serious like housekeeping.
In return for their services, an au pair is offered a place to stay, food and other amenities like pocket money for personal use. The job itself isn’t very time-consuming or tedious like a 40-hour workweek, or else what’s the point of travelling to a foreign land only to work and not have time to explore – as any tourist would.
This is why working as an au pair is the perfect option for those with a tight budget for travelling but with the patience and enthusiasm of working with children.
In many countries, the au pair is expected to engage in a cultural exchange during their stay of 12 or 24 months. This can involve learning a new language, engaging with the local community in various activities and visiting historical and cultural landmarks.
If you’ve read this far, you are probably fully aware of what the au pair is supposed to do, but we know you might be thinking how is it different from the conventional job of a live-in nanny?
Differences between a nanny and an au pair
A live-in-nanny is an employee of the household they are working at and is supposed to take care of the kids, do chores around the house like cooking, cleaning and whatever is demanded by the employer/house owners.
The au pair, on the other hand, is not an employee, rather a guest who has come to visit for some time and has volunteered to take care of the children while their parents are away, and can do some work around the house if asked by the host family, but nothing too much like cleaning every day or cooking.
Though there are au pairs who cook and clean around the house, they are also heavily compensated for that, as it isn’t an au pair’s job, but if there has been an agreement between the host family and the au pair, it’s okay.
When the parents are back after getting off from work or whatever kept them from their children, an au pair’s job is done, and this is the time they can go off to learn the language they were supposed to learn, roam around the city or do whatever touristy things they intend to do.
In a nanny’s case, even if the parents are back home, it is expected of the nanny to look after them and cater to their needs.
The working hours for a nanny are also different from that of an au pair. In most countries, the weekends are free for the au pair, but being a nanny is a full-time job and, in some countries, a nanny might only get off on Sundays. The working hours of an au pair are also flexible and vary across countries, and the host family is supposed to respect their needs and demands for time.
Au pairs are also not protected under the labour or wage laws of the country they are visiting as they are not full-time employees, but nannies are employees, thus protected.
The money paid to an au pair is more like a personal allowance for buying souvenirs or enrolling in a language course, whereas, a nanny is paid a salary or wage, in compliance with the number of hours they have worked.
In most cases, nannies are not given accommodation, food or other amenities like an au pair, because they are an employee and rightfully a citizen of that country so they are responsible for getting their place, food and other utilities. An au pair, though, is a guest and is treated like one by being given a space to live, food to eat and doesn’t have to worry about paying bills.
Apart from all these differences, certain qualifications and requirements need to be met before one even applies to become an au pair in Canada.
What are the requirements
Before discussing how to become an au pair in Canada, let’s see what requirements are necessary.
Any person intending to become an au pair in Canada is expected to be within 18 to 35 years of age, and must not be married or have dependents. This is to ensure that while the au pair is in Canada, they can solely focus on their job as an au pair. Apart from that, the applicant must be from a country that is acceptable under Canadian laws to hire a worker or au pair from.
Lastly, applicants must have a clean criminal record in the last five years of when they plan to apply as an au pair in Canada.
Apart from the basics, any applicant to the au pair job in Canada is supposed to give proof that they have worked in a child-caring role for fourteen days at least, before applying. This gives evidence that you can handle taking care of children well. Some au pairs even have certifications and teaching experience, but this is not compulsory. If you have it – good, but nothing too strictly required.
Though the au pair will be engaging in cultural exchange and learning a new language, they must be fluent in English and some au pair agencies suggest they even have a basic understanding of the French language.
Lastly, applicants are supposed to show medical proof that they have not suffered from any psychological or psychiatric illness or disorder in the past 12 months before applying. Neither should an au pair in Canada have any ill habits like smoking. Now it is mandatory for people looking forward to becoming au pairs in Canada to be fully vaccinated.
How to become an au pair in Canada
Now that we have got the requirements out of the way, let’s see how a travel enthusiast like you can become an au pair in Canada. Since I have worked as an au pair in the UK and I know how difficult it can be try find jobs alone without support, I have an amazing service to recommend –Global Work and Travel.
Global Work and Travel is a travel agency that helps travellers like you and me to fulfil our travelling goals and dreams without indulging in something that can cost an arm and a leg.
Before even starting your au pair journey with Global Work and Travel, we recommend you check out their platform to see whether you’re even eligible to become an au pair in Canada or not.
Once you have got that out of the way, go ahead and register as an au pair, pay the deposit and you’ll be given access to your gWorld account. From matching a host family and finding you the perfect home, their team will help you with everything – bank accounts, trip visa guidance, preparation for the first interview with the host family, and in case of incompatibility, even rematch you with another family.
Apart from that, they make sure you reach your destination safely and there is a pickup service available at the airport for you.
You also get access to a five-night accommodation at a hostel somewhere in Canada, so you can fully experience Canada’s beauty as a traveller and not as an au pair. They also allow you to spend a night in Las Vegas at a 4-star hotel and party away from the stress.
When you register and get access to the gWorld, there is also an online au pair course available for you to take before you officially start your au pair journey in Canada. Global Work and Travel make sure they are with you through every step, that’s why they are available on call 24/7.
From British Columbia to Alberta, there are abundant opportunities to avail as an au pair in Canada.
How much do Au pairs get paid in Canada?
Since the work hours might differ for every au pair, normally they get $14 per hour, which is about $27,000 per year. Though experienced au pairs can make up to $50,000 per year in Canada, the lowest an au pair in Canada can get is 200 CAD.
Moreover, a normal workweek for an au pair in Canada is not more than 30 hours, though there is no limit on the lower end. Any time over 30 hours won’t leave much room for recreational activities and kind of defeats the purpose of becoming an au pair. It is also mandatory that an au pair gets at least one full day off from work, typically this can be a Sunday.
How long do au pairs stay in Canada?
It is expected that an au pair must stay in Canada for 6 to 12 months on a single journey. After the 12-month period has ended, the au pair must return to their home country.
Becoming an au pair is the perfect answer to our travelling goals and ambitions, especially for women, as they are most likely to take up roles involving childcare, though men can sign up for this as well.
Hopefully this was a helpful guide for you to start your journey as an au pair in Canada. Check out Global Work and Travel to find out more about applying to become an au pair in Canada.
Other articles you will love: