Category Archives: Nanny News & Media

Au Pair of the Year 2018 Winners!

Congratulations to our Au Pair of the Year 2018 Winners!

1st Place: Katrin Hunger

2nd Place: Nico Saueressrig

3rd Place: Paula Eimertenbrink

Wondering what it takes to claim this title? Read their nomination letters below and you’ll see how they’ve gone above and beyond as an Au Pair in Canada and why are they so deserving of this award:

1st Place:


I am nominating our wonderful Katrin Hunger for Au Pair of the year.
As soon as I saw Katrin’s photo on the Au Pair website, I instantly and intuitively knew she would be the perfect person to have in our family during one of the biggest transitions our family would be going through in the months to come.

I was pregnant and due right near the time Kat would be arriving in Canada. Needless to say, having a new baby let alone having two very young children in the household during such a huge change takes a person of great strength and character given the usual expectations of of sleep deprivation, post partum hormones, let alone being in a new country without any family around.

Kat arrived and jumped right in. She was very attuned to the needs of our two year old daughter and was able to teach her and keep her busy with creative crafts like finger painting, gluing and colouring crafts, as well as outings to the local duck pond and parks to play with her little friends during the times when I was busy feeding our baby boy or just needed a break. Kat’s keen awareness of our daughter’s needs has certainly helped our girl adjust to Mom not always being able to “be there” for her every need with the extra demands of a newborn.

Kat has taken the huge initiative of starting toilet training with our daughter and offers us lots of tricks and suggestions, not just for toilet training, but also for other parenting challenges like fussy eating, teaching routine and self control to a “tricky” two-year old which have made things so much easier for my husband and I to parent our daughter in a way that she can adjust into her role as a big sister. It is so nice and refreshing to have a new perspective amidst the fog of the first few months of having a newborn and toddler who is expressing her independence more and more every day. To say that Kat’s patience has been tried would be an understatement; she has shown so much compassion and understanding not just to our daughter, but to our entire family as we are adjusting.

Growing up as the oldest of four siblings may have helped Kat to understand children along with all of her training she did before joining our family, however Kat takes her passion of child development to a whole new level. Her motivation to get up and get outside into the fresh air is exactly what we needed as a family. She regularly plans or suggests fun activities for our family such as going to the play groups in town, play grounds, the local farms as well as inviting other little neighbourhood friends over to our home and creating craft ideas and supervising them as they visit and interact with each other. Kat is also keen to suggest new toys or activities to stimulate our daughter’s development and present new challenges to her – the most recent one was her suggestion of getting our daughter a balance bike which she mastered within a week and a half and now loves to ride around the neighbourhood. Another example was when Kat recently went to the library on her own initiative and brought home a couple of books for her and I to look at for ideas to stimulate interactive learning in my baby son. Kat’s presence and help in our household both while working and not working has been a tremendous help to us. She has been known to fold our laundry, help out with meal preparation and help out with the kids – even when she is not scheduled to work and without anyone asking or expecting her to do so. Kat’s thoughtful and generous heart, her conscientiousness and creativity combined with her strong family values have truly been a blessing to our family and I feel we have really lucked out this year with having this beautiful and amazing person come into our lives.

Sincerely, Elsa Lucash

2nd Place:

I wanted to reach out to nominate our more than amazing Au Pair: Nico Saueressig!! Nico is always smiling, asking what type of help we need, playing, reading, spending time outside with the kids. He is extremely polite, a great communicator and has a huge capacity to adopt to any type of situations. He is up early with the boys on weekends, makes food from Germany for us to discover and has a very curious and inquisitive mind passionate to learn about Canadian culture too!

His sense of humour is just so lovely and he obviously comes from great family values as he is gentle and always patient and friendly with all three boys of ours as well as myself and my partner. He shovels outside when it snows, picks up the kids at school if I am working, helps on outings like at the museum, park and library. He has moved furniture with us between our house and cottage, helps to prepare family fun like hallowe’en ( he made all the decorations on the deck with our 3 year old) and wrapped most of our Christmas gifts!! He takes the kids to story time at the local library, joins me at the kinder school for pickups and is always helping with food, house cleaning and planning!! Honestly I am already sad at the fact that we will one day go back to Germany and am not sure we would ever find an Au Pair in the future to match his level of skills!!!

I think Nico is the Canadian Au Pair of the year for all of the reasons mentioned above! And the kids love him like a brother. We are already chatting about when we can come out and visit him!!

My list of how great he is can go on! I am available for a call if needed. Thank you so much for reading and wishing your team jolly holidays and a wonderful New Year!!

Kindest regards,
Nadia Bonenfant

3rd Place:

Kristian and I would like to nominate Paula Eimertenbrink as the Au Pair of the Year. Paula joined our family just under four months ago and in that time has integrated so well that she even gets Kristian’s jokes!

She is quick witted and is continually striving to improve her English while keeping up with our dynamic family. Paula is always “game” to participate in our family outings and to adjust to any changes in our routine. We often enjoy her company and extra assistance (voluntarily) when we head out to family events around town or skating on Sundays. With Kristian’s erratic work schedule coupled with our need for gym time, Paula is a steadfast supporter that can always be trusted to keep the kids routine going.

Paula is a quick learner and is eager to please. She is often found packing snacks and water for the kids for outings when Kristian and I are just trying to sort ourselves out! She also asks the right questions when we forget certain details in our plans or instructions. Always respectful, she attempts to make sure no ones needs are left out. This was especially evident when she shared her plans for Christmas gifts and got involved in our holiday trip planning.

As another resident of our home, Paula steps up and helps with chores aside from her childcare duties. She can be found running small errands on our behalf like picking up a few groceries for the family, she helps keep the kitchen in order, and maintains a tidy room and bathroom.

When it comes to the kids, they ask about her the moment she is not around! I can imagine how sad they will feel when it is time for her to leave us. Though she clearly has a soft spot for our kids, she also has maintained our stance on discipline and routine. She easily steps in when we’re pulled away to something else – like responding to one kid’s urgent need while reading to another.

Finding a match for Paula will be a challenge next summer. She hit it off with Kristian’s mom while she was visiting in the fall and they still stay in touch! I can imagine the same will happen with the rest of the family when she meets them all this Christmas.

Lastly, I am impressed with her resiliency as a young woman living abroad for the first time. Paula maintains a positive attitude though we know there are times when she is missing home. She has maintained a reasonable pace of life making time for the gym, auditing a university course, connecting with a few new friends, and reading! Our hope is that this Christmas will be fun and “warm” enough that she doesn’t get homesick. I think with the amount of activities we have planned, there will be no time for that!

Please consider this nomination from us, a family new to having an Au Pair. We have not been disappointed and are quite happy with the placement!

Thanks,
Caroline Pollock and Kristian Udesen

Congratulations again to our winners and thank you for all of your hard work!

Realistic Expectations when Hiring a Live-In Caregiver

 

 

 

 

 

 

Check out our top 7 tips for realistic expectations when you hire a Live-In Caregiver.

  • Acknowledge that your nanny has arrived in Canada for the first time. You will need to teach her everything she is required to do, from how to use the washing machine to what to feed the children.
  • Do not assume she will know what needs to be done. Just like in any other job where you are the supervisor you will need to delegate tasks.
  • Understand that the culture shock may be overwhelming; the weather, the food, the size of the home, the appliances, the cleaning products, the language, the relationship Canadian employers have with their nannies and the way they raise their children will all be different. This may leave her completely at odds when trying to deal with a Canadian family.
  • Be patient. It may take several months for the nanny to settle into her job and into your home.
  • Be reasonable. Do not expect your nanny to be able to do more than you could.
  • Creating fair working conditions will help your nanny feel settled and secure that she is with a “good employer.”
  • Your nanny may also have realistic expectations of the position. Canada is sometimes seen as an attractive place to work because it is “easier” than other places. It is your responsibility to set the ground rules for the position and ensure your nanny knows what is expected of her.

Every placement is different, whether this is your first Live-In Caregiver or you’ve had multiple nannies in the past. Each placement will take time to settle but the above tips will help you find your groove and set up reliable routines with your Caregiver!

How to be a great Nanny employer!

 

How to be a great Nanny Employer!

It’s a nanny’s world out there meaning that if you find a good nanny – hold on to her!

1.) Follow provincial labour standards with regards to hourly pay rate, overtime, vacation time etc. This is so simple and is yet the number one issue of contention between nannies and employers. It is what she is entitled to, and anything else simply won’t do!

 2.) Show your appreciation … and often! Nanny employers are also busy families, but take the time to show your nanny, this special person who cares for your children on a daily basis, how grateful you are for helping you run the household more efficiently.

3.) Provide regular raises and bonuses for continued good work. If a nanny is from overseas, purchase a flight to her home country to enable her to visit her family. Provide monthly bus passes to help your their nanny socialize on her time off or give birthday and Christmas bonuses.

4.) Have respect for her position as a nanny and appreciate that it is an important job! Even she may not always want to work as a nanny forever, but nanny traits like being trustworthy, organized, reliable and being patient are traits important for all jobs.

 5.) Communicate well with your nanny and let her know she can talk to you openly too. Don’t let little problems escalate out of control. Try and schedule regular nanny performance reviews, where you and your nanny can sit down and discuss any issues.

6.) At the end of the day, just remember – A happy nanny means happy children, and a happy you!

Where to Au Pair: Au Pair in Kelowna, BC

If you’re considering being an Au Pair in Canada then moving to the Kelowna region will be a great adventure! You will love to live in a friendly, cosmopolitan city which offers plenty of opportunities to explore the great outdoors, simply continue reading to discover 5 reasons why you should seriously consider moving to Kelowna.

Kelowna boasts a world class ski resort 

Kelowna is home to the Big White Ski Resort, which boasts 118 unique trails. So, whether you’ve been skiing or your life or are keen to learn how to ski or snow board, you’ll be sure to find plenty of trails which suit your level of experience. If you’re a newbie make sure to take advantage of Big White Ski Resort’s ski school, which offers invaluable lessons from highly qualified ski instructors. 

As an Au Pair living in the Kelowna area, it’s well worth purchasing a season pass, which boasts unbeatable value for money and will allow you to hit the slopes as often as you’d like. As a season pass holder you’ll be about to enjoy free night skiing sessions and will also be able to make use of the resort’s ice skating rink and Nordic trails, free of charge. 

Kelowna boasts a wide variety of word class vineyards 

Kelowna is home to over 20 award winning vineyards, examples of which include Mission Hill Winery, Quails’ Gate Winery, Ancient Hill Winery and Mt. Boucherie Estate Winery. 

So, if you fancy spending your weekends vineyard hopping and wine tasting, you’ll love living in Kelowna. As a bonus, the majority of vineyards, which are in Kelowna, also specialize in offering gourmet café style lunches.

Kelowna backs straight on to the eastern shore of Okanagan Lake

If you’re interested in moving to a picturesque city, it’s well worth considering moving to Kelowna as the central business district looks straight out over Okanagan Lake. In fact, downtown Kelowna is home to two impressive public parks Waterfront Park and City Park. 

Waterfront Park winds around the shore of Okanagan Lake and features a wide boardwalk, a beautifully landscaped garden and a dedicated swimming area as well as a manmade beach. If you have children, they’ll love growing up with Waterfront Park on their doorstep. 

City Park is also incredibly popular with locals and tourists and features a wide boardwalk, which is popular amongst joggers as well as a children’s playground, a skate park and a dedicated picnic area. 

Kelowna offers some of the best beaches in the Okanagan. Young adults will enjoy the busy atmosphere of Gyro Beach, while families with small children may prefer the quieter Rotary Park Beach. If you are looking for lots of facilities, City Park features one of the largest sand beaches in town as well as a picnic area, basketball and tennis court, children’s water park and a skateboarding park. Waterfront Park offers a semi-secluded beach and bird sanctuary for visitors that are looking for a quiet place to relax and enjoy the sunshine and nature.

Kelowna offers individuals an active lifestyle that few cities can match 

If you love nothing more than spending time exploring the great outdoors, you’re guaranteed to fall in love with Kelowna as you’ll be able to spend your free time water-skiing, mountain biking, swimming, skiing and hiking. As Kelowna boasts plenty of mountains, forests and parks, which are just waiting to be explored. Even after a year of living in Kelowna, you’ll still be able to find new hiking trails, that you haven’t explored. 

If you choose to move to Kelowna, it’s well worth joining one of Kelowna’s many recreational clubs. Examples of which include the Kelowna Yacht Club and Hiking Addiction. The latter of which is Kelowna’s official hiking club. After all, there’s no better way to settle in to a new city, than to make new friends who share your passion for adventure. 

Kelowna’s restaurants and cafes feature local produce on their menus 

If you’re a fan of fresh food, you’ll enjoy eating out in Kelowna as many of Kelowna’s most popular restaurants make a point of featuring local fare. As an example, Old Vines Restaurant, offers an ever-changing seasonal menu which features vegetables which are grown in Old Vine Restaurant’s on-site garden. As well as locally sourced steak and seafood. 

If you’re looking to grab a quick bite of food on the go, you may also be interested in checking out Okanagan Street Food, which offers fresh seafood tacos. Which are full of locally caught snapper. 

One bonus to living in Kelowna, is that no matter whether you prefer French, Thai, Mexican, Italian or Canadian fare, you’ll be sure to find a restaurant which caters to your tastes. 

Life & Arts Festival

This family orientated festival showcases local talent and the growing cultural district of Kelowna. Enjoy stage and street performances in music, live theater as well as culinary and performing arts. With three stage venues as well as an artisan market, this festival offers a little something for everyone.

Kasugai Japanese Garden

Located within a walled enclosure behind City Hall, Kelowna’s Kasugai Japanese Garden is almost completely hidden from the streets. Built to represent the sister-city relationship with Kasugai, this sanctuary provides a relaxing escape from the busy downtown areas of Kelowna during the summer months. The garden itself features a walking path around the perimeter, footbridge, koi fish pond, waterfall and many scenic sitting areas.

Mission Creek Path

Mission Creek Park offers 12 km of average to difficult trails, including Mission Creek which is a famous trail for walking, cycling, and jogging. The path begins at the intersection of Dilworth and Springfield and continues all the way to Lakeshore Road. Dogs are allowed in this park. Enjoy living in Kelowna.

Tours in different locations

Kelowna has no shortage of high-quality places to visit, and there are different places known both for it’s delicious organically grown wine and signature on-site pyramid. Unlike many of the other wineries in the area, it offers free guided tours several times a day followed by a complimentary tasting.

Heritage sites

This heritage site is where the famous missionary ( Pandosy) ministered for the original settlers. Founded in 1860, this site marks an important period in history. Today you can explore the four-acre property, which contains several of the original buildings that have been restored and filled with antiques unique to the area.

Bear Creek Park

Located in West Kelowna, this area offers more than 5 km of well-marked hiking trails, including Bear Creek Canyon Trail. This popular trail makes a loop of the canyon and includes a footbridge over the creek, a sturdy staircase on the side of the mountain and several viewpoints offering spectacular vistas. The park is also home to a 400m sandy beach, playground and summer concession.

 

Reasons to Hire a Nanny or Au Pair Through a Full Service Agency

Au pair and child

Many parents who are considering hiring a nanny or au pair wonder if they should use an agency?

As we’ve discussed at length in a number of blog posts so far this year, the Canadian childcare crisis is very real and even though the new federal budget introduced a series of proposals which would in theory increase the number of childcare spots available as well as make those spots more affordable, it’s unlikely that any changes will go into effect until 2018.

If this is so, what are Canadian families to do?

In consideration of the number of childcare options potentially available to families, the following are some of the reasons why it might be in your family’s best interest to hire a caregiver (such as a nanny or an au pair) through an agency like us.

Family service Halifax

1. Convenience

This is the main reason families come to us: we save you time so that you can spend it with your friends and family.

We handle all the particulars of the Au Pair application and placement process so that you don’t have to. Because trust us: it is no easy job finding the ideal Au Pair or caregiver for a particular family.

Let us bring you the wisdom of our twenty years of experience as a caregiver placement agency and help you find your perfect match.

2. Reliability

The bottom line is this: we only place caregivers and au pairs who have been thoroughly screened by us or one of our partner agencies abroad.

All of our applicants undergo an extensive screening process (including background checks, medical exams, and character references) and all of them have previously verified experience working with children (or the elderly, in the case of our caregiver program).

So, while sites like Craigslist and Canadian Nanny might be the more popular way to find childcare these days, with an agency like us, providing you with a greater peace of mind is part and parcel of our commitment to you.

3. Practicability

Hiring a in home caregiver such as an au pair or nanny can provide you with the quick fix you need if you’re stuck in a jam.

Our au pair placement process can take as little as four weeks! Check out some of the profiles we have available now.

One of the other benefits of hiring an au pair or a nanny through an agency like us is the opportunity for a replacement. It’s not a particularly enjoyable topic of conversation, but unfortunately, not all caregiver placements work out.

This is why we have measures in place to provide you with replacement au pair or nanny, should you need one. It is not often that childcare options provide you with such a reliable backup.

4. Support

An invaluable part of our services includes providing ongoing support to you and your caregiver before and during their placement.

One of the most rewarding parts of our job is keeping up with all of our clients and caregivers by phone and email to make sure everything is going as smoothly as possible and that the line of communication between Employer (family) and Employee (caregiver) is always open.

To put it simply: we are here for you, your family and your caregiver.

These are all of the things that we, a longstanding caregiver placement agency, can offer you when it comes to reliable, affordable childcare.

Give us a call today to find out more: 1 (800) 820 8308.

Canada Wide Coordinators for Personal Service

How to Become a Nanny in Canada: Checklist

Filipino nanny

Are you in interested in becoming a nanny in Canada but unsure where to start?

Start HERE. And save yourself time, effort, and frustration.

Ask yourself the following series of questions:

1. Do I have childcare experience?

If yes, you may be qualified to become a nanny in Canada. Proceed to the next question.

If no, you are unlikely to qualify to become a nanny in Canada. There is nothing we can do for you.

2. Do I like children?

If yesproceed to the next question.

If your answer is anything other than yes, we recommend that you seriously consider whether you want to commit to potentially working full-time with children for up to two years.

Now, onto a more practical question:

3. Do I have an employer in Canada who is interested in sponsoring me?

If yes, your employer can hire us to do their Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) paperwork for them.

This is the first step in the process of becoming a nanny in Canada, as mandated by the Canadian government under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.

It is effectively illegal to become a nanny in Canada by any other means.

Please have your employer email us at [email protected] or give us a call at the toll free number 1 (800) 820 8308, and we will help them get started with the LMIA paperwork.

If you are not in contact with an employer in Canada who is interested in sponsoring and then hiring you, your only option is to find an employer yourself using social media and other outlets, such as:

mother with little daughter and pram

 

Once you’ve found an employer, then, and only then, can we assist them with the LMIA paperwork and thereafter, you with your work permit.

The following are some other Frequently Asked Questions from other prospective nannies, like yourself:

Can I apply for my relative to become a nanny in Canada on her behalf?

No. To become a nanny in Canada, you need to do so on your own behalf. This includes every step from finding an employer to applying for your work permit, and then your open work permit after your tenure under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program is complete.

Can I become a nanny in Canada if I’m already in the country?

This depends on your status in Canada.

If you:

  • are a Canadian citizen
  • are a permanent resident
  • have an open work permit

You can become a nanny right away.

On the other hand, if you:

  • have another type of visa (such as a student or tourist visa)

While you would be able to work as a casual babysitter if you found the right family, you would not be legally allowed to become a full-time nanny. The only way to become a nanny in Canada if you are a foreign national is to do so under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.

New York City scenes

How do I apply for permanent residency?

How do I sponsor my family to immigrate to Canada from our home country?

For all immigration-related inquiries, please contact our partner agency, Apex Immigration.

There’s no denying it: the process of becoming a nanny in Canada is not a walk in the park.

It can take anywhere from 6-9 months, there is extensive paperwork involved, not to mention a high level of cooperation and patience.

That said, thousands of nannies come to Canada under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program every year.

If they can do it, so can you 🙂 

Feel free to share this post with your friends, acquaintances, and/or anyone you know who is thinking about becoming a nanny in Canada!

Budget 2017

Budget 2017After what feels like ages of waiting and anticipation, the 2017 Canadian federal budget was finally announced last week by finance minister, Bill Morneau.

Morneau delivered his bilingual speech to the House of Commons in Ottawa yesterday afternoon, which was met with several rounds of applause from the Liberals.

Morneau

Why might this event warrant an entire blog post on a caregiver placement agency’s website?

Because, just as expected and as postulated in media rumblings since December of last year, the federal budget allocated substantial sums of money to tackle the Canadian childcare crisis, a topic we addressed a couple of posts back.

So what exactly did the budget account for in the matter of childcare in Canada?

Childcare

Building on the commitment the Liberal government made in 2016 to ‘help Canadian children get the best start in life, and to better support Canadian families,’ this year’s budget proposes to invest an additional $7 billion over the next decade to ‘to support and create more high-quality, affordable childcare spaces’ across Canada.

$7 billion certainly seems like a lot!

However, this impressive number becomes somewhat less impressive when you consider the following:

  • This investment in childcare won’t begin to take effect until 2018-2019
  • While this money will create more childcare spaces, it won’t necessarily make the cost of such a space more affordable

According to Global News, only three provinces actually set caps on childcare costs. Therefore, the rest of the Canadian provinces are supposedly more likely to increase the number of childcare spots, rather than lower the costs of existing spots.

Nevertheless, in the very least, the allocation of this money, along with the government’s pledge to develop a National Framework on Early Learning and Child Care so that all provinces and territories can work together towards the common goal of providing more affordable childcare that will best serve families, do show that the government recognizes the necessity of its role in solving the problem.

Filipino nannyAnother provision the 2017 budget made that may improve the childcare situation in Canada is the proposed improvements to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP). 

The TFWP allows Canadian employers to hire foreign workers to fill temporary labour shortages when qualified Canadian workers are unavailable. The program itself has undergone many changes over the years, and has made the process of hiring temporary workers such as nannies that much more labourious and difficult.

The most frustrating part of the application process is arguable the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), a topic to which we dedicated another entire blog post, the document that an employer must obtain to prove that no Canadian is available to fill a position, and therefore that the employer had no choice but to hire someone from overseas. The current processing fee for this application is $1,000.

As it happens, much to ours and many families’ delight, the budget proposes ‘to eliminate the Labour Market Impact Assessment processing fee’.

However, just as with the caveat on the aforementioned proposal of the $7 billion to be injected into the childcare sector, this provision too comes with its own conditions.

The processing fee will only be eliminated for families in the following circumstances:

  • Families seeking to hire foreign caregivers for family members with high medical needs
  • Families seeking to hire caregivers for their children with less than $150,000 in annual income

Immigration Canada

 

The budget also proposes ‘to invest $279.8 million over five years…to support the continued delivery of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program,’ which, supposedly, would improve the program overall, in particular in benefit to the workers themselves and their ability to apply for permanent residency after completion of the program.

The budget is, however, nonspecific as to exactly what that money will go towards.

Federal Budget 2017

So, what can we conclude from this year’s budget address?

A number of media sources, including this one from CBC, purport that while Budget 2017 did propose some commendable changes and improvements for Canadian families, especially in relation to funding for childcare, it didn’t go nearly far enough in terms of addressing the issue of equality, an oft-emphasized ideal since Trudeau took office.

For example, no provisions were made about raising taxes on the wealthy or other measures that would potentially bridge the economic gap, a move that some have interpreted was made ‘partly because of uncertainty about what the Trump administration will do next.’

Whether or not that is probable remains to be seen.

For now, what is most relevant for us is the elimination of the LMIA processing fee and the question of whether or not more childcare spots will become available to Canadian families beginning next year.

Until then, only time will tell whether the proposed budget will take effect.

Sources

“Building a strong middle class: Budget 2017.” Budget 2017, 22 March 2017.

“Federal Budget 2017: Liberals extend parental leave to 18 months, boost childcare funding.” Global News, 22 March 2017.

“It never seems a good time for a “tax-the-rich” budget: Don Pitts.” CBC News, 23 March 2017.

The Canadian Childcare Crisis

Kids running enjoying summer

You may have heard it said that there is a childcare crisis in Canada.

Incredulous? Well, if you Google the term ‘childcare crisis Canada,’ you’ll get seven hundred and forty thousand results.

What could possibly be the reason for the childcare situation in Canada to be deemed a ‘crisis’? You guessed it.

Childcare is expensive

But just how expensive is childcare in Canada?

Let’s look at some of the numbers.

Most expensive cities for childcareAccording to Global News, as of October of last year, the top three most expensive cities for childcare are Toronto, St. John’s, and Vancouver (the third of which will surprise no one).

To get a sense of just how expensive this is, let’s take a look at the five most expensive cities in Canada for university tuition:

Most expensive cities for tuitionYou read it correctly. Childcare for a year in Toronto is almost twice as costly as a year of university tuition in London.

What could possibly be the reason for childcare costs in Canada being that exorbitant?

According to Today’s Parent, the answer is simple: there is a lack of government funding.

Not only that, but the actual number of spots available in Canadian daycares is far too few for the number of families requiring care for their children. An article from the Huffington Post estimates that there are only enough spots in daycares for one in five children.

So how does Canada rank in childcare on the world stage?

Canada childcare rankAnd since then, the costs of childcare have only increased, while the available spots in licensed, regulated, and/or subsidized daycares, has only decreased.

So you can see why the term ‘crisis’ applies here. But is this ‘crisis’ actually universal across Canada?

For the most part, the answer unfortunately is yes.

The province of Quebec, however, is the exception.

As of last year, the cost of childcare in Quebec, thanks to government subsidies, was, regardless of the child’s age:

  • $7.30/day for families with an income of less than $50,000 annually
  • $20/day for families with an income between $50,000-$150,000 annually

This makes British Columbia’s proposal of $10/day for childcare seem a little less ‘radical’ to those in government who would be opposed to increasing the budget for childcare subsidies. After all, according to $10aDay.ca:

BC Childcare

Not only that, in the approximately 20 years Quebec has been making universal access to low-cost childcare a priority, there has also been a dramatic increase in the number of mothers who are able to and do join the workplace which, concurrently, has over time led to the burgeoning of Quebec’s economy.

Sounds like Quebec has got it figured out.

So, what can be done to remedy this crisis in the rest of Canada?

According to the Toronto Star in an article published just days ago (8 March), change will be difficult without the support of the government.

Interestingly, Canadian PM Justin Trudeau has yet to fulfill his campaign promise to ‘deliver affordable, high-quality, flexible, and fully inclusive childcare for Canadian families,’ the work for which he claimed would commence in his first 100 days in office.

Notwithstanding, the three ideas that Carolyn Ferns posits in this Toronto Star article that might transform the childcare crisis in Ontario (or perhaps on a more broad scale, Canada as a whole) are:

  1. Making childcare more affordable
  2. Making the wages for educators more fair
  3. Opting for non-profit childcare spaces

Hard to argue with that. Especially coming from Ferns, the public policy and government relations coordinator for the Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care.

In the meantime, what are our other childcare options?

Childcare crisis Today's ParentSome families hit the jackpot and can rely on the children’s grandparents for free, flexible childcare until the children are old enough to start kindergarten.

Some families hire part-time babysitters to cut the parents a break from time to time.

Some families do a nanny-share with another family and their children for convenience and to cut costs.

Other families prefer to hire caregivers through agencies like us.

Interested in finding out more about one of your childcare options?

Give us a call today at 1 (800) 820 8308.

Update: THE FEDERAL BUDGET WILL BE ANNOUNCED WEDNESDAY, 22 MARCH.

Childcare is among the six things to watch, according to the Globe and Mail.

Sources

“Solving Ontario’s childcare crisis.” Toronto Star, 8 March 2017.

“Child care.” RealChange.ca, 2017.

“How child care costs compare in Canada (hint: they’re way more than tuition).” Global News, 13 October 2016.

“B.C.’s child care crisis: ‘so much more stressful than it has ever been.” Vancouver Sun, 24 September 2016.

“It’s Time to Rip the Bandaid Off Canada’s Daycare Crisis.” Huffington Post, 26 April 2016.

“The Canadian child care crisis.” Today’s Parent, 18 February 2015.

11 Reasons to Hire a Nanny

There is really no way to spin this truth: childcare is expensive.

When it comes to comparing the costs of modern childcare options, families are often stymied by how pricey the process of sponsoring and hiring a nanny can be.

But why do so many families across Canada (and around the world) prefer having a nanny to other types of childcare? There must be some reason. 

In fact, there are dozens of reasons. This article, for instance, lists a whopping 67 reasons, to be exact.

For the sake of brevity and conciseness, we thought we’d stick to what we think are the top eleven reasons to hire a nanny, instead of another form of childcare.

Who knows? Hiring a nanny might end up being the best thing for you and your family.

Fun piggyback ride

1. Nannies are experienced caregivers.

In many cases, nannies have had years of experience in childcare and often have other educational and professional experiences that enhance their abilities as your child’s caregiver.

A lot of overseas nannies have children of their own in their home countries, and choose to work as nannies in Canada or elsewhere in order to provide for those children and one day fund their travels or even immigration into Canada.

2. Nannies are available for long-term commitments.

Many overseas nannies stay with their families for at least two years, and sometimes even longer.

This can provide you and your children with desirable continuity and lead to a more comfortable childcare arrangement than one in which turnover and transition are more likely to occur.

3. Nannies are flexible.

This is probably the reason most families cite as the most important one that factored into their decision to hire a nanny in the first place.

We get it! Raising children while working full-time is no picnic, and parents find that having a nanny affords them with much more flexibility than a daycare or another type of caregiver can.

You can create your nanny’s schedule based around your schedule, and most nannies are used to week-to-week schedule changes therefore they can be very adaptable if and when you need to adjust their working hours.

4. Nannies help with housework.

One of the benefits of having a nanny as opposed to a babysitter or another form of childcare is that they help with housework.

This includes basic clean up related to the children’s activities, preparation of meals, the general maintenance of their rooms and play areas, and additional chores as needed.

While the primary role of a nanny is a caregiver for your children, rather than housekeeper, nannies expect to do a little bit of both, especially in situations where the children are at school or sleeping.

5. Nannies can be live-in.

This scenario is not only convenient, it can also foster a more familial bond between your family and your nanny, giving your children another trustworthy adult to rely on as well as keep them safe and happy.

6. Nannies can act as a third member of your parenting team.

Let’s face it, parenting isn’t easy!

It can be incredibly helpful to have a third parent figure in your children’s lives who spends almost as much time as you do with them (and sometimes more) and knows what they are like and what their needs are, both for day-to-day happiness and personal growth and maturation.

It can be difficult to keep a babysitter or a daycare centre helper in the ‘parenting’ loop about what your child needs, especially when it comes to discipline, but due to the nature of a nanny (especially a live-in nanny) there are likely to be far fewer inconsistencies between the raising and parenting of your children.

7. Nannies help you maintain your household.

As the previously cited article describes, “Your home is under control when you walk in the door.”

Can you imagine coming home to a clean house, happy and healthy children who are doing their homework or whatever it is they should be doing that moment, and all you have to do is greet your children and help with dinner (if the nanny hasn’t already begun making it)?

All of this is possible if you decide to hire a nanny!

woman holding a cute girl8. Nannies can take on the role of date night babysitter.

Provided those hours she spends ‘babysitting’ your children don’t lead her to exceed her full-time limit, with a nanny, you eliminate the need of calling a casual or part-time babysitter to watch your kids while you take an evening off!

9. Nannies can be affordable similar to day care costs.

For most daycare, for instance, you pay per child, whereas with a nanny, you generally do not pay for the number of children.

In addition, if you miss a day of daycare because your children are sick, you are still have to pay for that particular day. With a nanny, she will be there to work and take care of your kids whether they are healthy or sick.

10. Nannies provide one-on-one attention.

Your child is guaranteed to have more one-on-one attention and care if looked after by a nanny.

While the socialization aspect of daycare is appealing, it can often to your child feeling neglected or less than stimulated. A nanny makes her career out of being a nanny and can provide activities tailored specifically for your children and their needs, and can adapt with other activities and strategies as needed, rather than have to depend on what the majority wants or needs.

11. Nannies can be like an extended member of the family.

There are so many success stories of families whose relationships with their past nannies last a lifetime.

And, after all, as Julia Quinn-Szcesuil says, “your nanny loves your kids as fiercely as you do and will do everything in her power to make them happy, healthy, and secure.”

What more could you want for your children?

Family jumping

Differences Between a Nanny and an Au Pair

Drawing together

This is probably the most common question we get from families who are interested hiring a caregiver for their children through our agency.

While there may be a general consensus (at least in Canada, where we are based) of what a nanny is and what her job entails, the notion of what an au pair is and should be is significantly less understood, which is why we tried to address that in one of our recent posts.

Unfortunately for some au pairs or other types of caregivers, a misunderstanding or miscommunication of exactly what their job entails can lead to a feeling of sourness or negativity for a large part of their placement. In fact, just as the question of the difference between nannies and au pairs is the most frequently asked question here at International Nannies, so too is the confusion between these two positions the most common cause of discord in these types of caregiver placements.

Woman having a conversation with her therapist on couch in office

That’s why it is our goal in this post to clear up this confusion in the hopes that it doesn’t occur in your placement.

Whether you are an interested host family or a prospective caregiver candidate, all we want here at International Nannies is for you to have a successful placement. There are such valuable experiences to be gained from cultural exchanges like these, which is why we will do our utmost to ensure that this can happen for you in the most positive and stress-free way possible.

Young asian woman with cute caucasian toddler boy1. How many hours are nannies and au pairs expected to work?

This is one of the first questions we ask interested host families when it comes to determining whether a nanny or an au pair is right for them.

In Canada, in general, while both nannies and au pairs can work full-time (which is 40-44 hours depending on the province), nannies tend to work almost exclusively full-time while au pairs are flexible to work either part-time (approximately 20-25 hours) or full-time.

2. How much does it cost to hire a nanny versus an au pair?

To hire a nanny in Canada, the host family must effectively sponsor their nanny’s trip to and life in Canada, from their visa paperwork and travel expenses to their healthcare and room and board.

The process of hiring an au pair is much cheaper; the host family only pays for the matching process that our agency undertakes. The au pair pays for their own flight and the Working Holiday Visa they must obtain to be an au pair requires them to undergo a medical exam, obtain a police clearance, and demonstrate proof of healthcare coverage.

In addition, host families who are looking to hire an au pair have the option of deducting a small sum for room and board from their au pair’s minimum wage pay; to find out more about room and board deductions and au pair pay stubs, you can refer to our Au Pair Brochure which is available for download on our website.

Baby

3. How long does the hiring and matching process take?

For nannies, the process is a lot longer, due mostly to the extensive paperwork involved. Daunting as it might seem at first, another service we provide is the completion of the Labour Market Impact Assessment required to hire a nanny in Canada, which can save you loads of time!

The process of hiring an au pair, on the other hand, usually takes only between 5-16 weeks.

During our high season, we can receive up to several au pair applications per day, which is part of the reason why it is much easier and much faster to hire an au pair. That being said, we always recommend that our host families start the application process as soon as possible in order to ensure that they are able to hire an au pair to start on their desired start date.

Charming woman doing the housework

4. Do nannies and au pairs provide housekeeping?

This is the factor that people tend to be most confused about. As mentioned above, nannies almost exclusively work full-time, and a large part of that full-time work involves general housekeeping.

An au pair, on the other hand, as is common practice in the international au pair industry, is only expected to perform housekeeping duties that are directly related to the care of the children. This includes cleaning up after the children, preparing their meals, and helping with their laundry and general upkeep of their rooms and play areas.

If your family requires any more housekeeping than that, an au pair is probably not the best option for you, and a nanny might be a better option (or, as an alternative, an au pair or part-time babysitter in conjunction with another person in a general housekeeping role).

At International Nannies, we do our best to make this particular distinction as clear as we can for both our au pair applicants and our interested host families.

However, at the end of the day, if there is any confusion between a host family and their au pair, we always encourage that both parties establish clear and open lines of communication from the beginning of the placement in order to avoid further conflict in the future.

Babysitter