The Au Pair program as a cultural exchange brings many opportunities to Au Pairs and Host Families. It also connects different cultures with each other and sometimes even gives people a new family or family member. But it is important to think that there are duties for Au Pairs just as for Host Families that need to be fulfilled. You will find the most important information about what those are here.
Au Pair responsibilities
Au Pairs in Canada will mainly be responsible for child care. They will take care of the Host Family’s children, bring them to school or kindergarten, pick them up, give them a ride to social activities like sport clubs or play dates, play with them, clean up their room and do their laundry. They won’t be responsible for the parent’s room, their laundry or their food. Of course they can cook something for the family for dinner once in a while so they have the chance to show them national dishes of their country, but it should not be obligatory.
Everyone should remember that the Au Pair is not a cleaning lady and shouldn’t be treated as such. Though the participant should help with general household chores just as every other family member. The responsibilities should always be discussed between Host Family and applicant and noted in the Au Pair contract.
Host Family duties
Of course a Host Family has duties just like the Au Pair. The easiest part should be to provide the participant with their own private room which should be inviting and comfortable. Since the Au Pair is a family member, they need to get daily meals. The Host family should also give a detailed schedule to the participant and discuss the free time during the week. The Host Family should also pay regular pocket money to the Au Pair and discuss if they want to pay it monthly or weekly. Besides that, the Host Family should welcome the participant as a new family member, be nice and enjoy the time together. Read more about the Host Family responsibilities.
There are no specific regulations of how many hours the participant is allowed to work, yet the Au Pair should not spend more than 30 hours a week on Au Pair duties - babysitting on up to 3 evenings included.
The participant should always put the Host Family first and see them as priority.
The Host Family pays pocket money which is regulated by minimum wage, which varies from province to province, minus full board and accommodation. In addition to that, the Host Family will pay employment insurance and income tax. The Au Pair and the Host Family need to check out the minimum wages of each part of Canada. In general the salary is about 200 CAD$ a week.
At the end of the year, the Au Pair can submit a tax declaration in order to get a tax refund.
Time off and holidays
An Au Pair in Canada should have at least 1 day a week off. At least once a month this day should be Sunday.
Although the Working Holiday program does not have specific regulations about the Au Pair’s holiday, it is recommended to give the Au Pair 2 weeks off for a total stay of 6 months, and 4 weeks off for a total stay of 1 year. However, if the Host Family wants to give more time off this is totally acceptable.
If the Host Family invites the Au Pair to join them during their holidays, it should be discussed if this time will be taken from the Au Pair’s holidays or not.
It is important to write those regulations in the Au Pair contract so there won’t be any problems or misunderstandings.
The Host Family has to provide the Au Pair with full board and lodging. Since in Canada the Host Family is an employer, the accommodation is part of the Au Pair’s salary. That means that the participant does not have to pay neither for food nor for the room - these are main rules of the Au Pair program.
The participant is entitled to full board and lodging even in times of illness or holidays.
An Au Pair in Canada should attend a language course or, something similar if your English is already very good. Usually the participant pays for the language course, but of course it is possible to talk to the Host Family about it. Please remember that it is not obligatory for the Host Family to pay!
The participant should actually pay for the flight to Canada and the flight back home. Yet it is possible to talk to the Host Family. Many Host Families are happy to help with the travel expenses. It is not obligatory for the family though, it is only a recommendation.
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