Service Canada tips on being a caregiver

As a caregiver, you may be eligible for various forms of assistance from the Government of Canada. Service Canada has established a list to help you prepare for this role.

1. Apply for Employment Insurance Compassionate Care Benefits

Employment Insurance (EI) provides Compassionate Care Benefits to persons who have to be away from work temporarily to provide care or support to a family member who is gravely ill with a significant risk of death.

You can apply for EI benefits online or in person at a Service Canada Centre. You should apply as soon as you stop working, even if you receive or will receive money when you become unemployed.

Self-employed people who register for the EI program may also be eligible to receive compassionate care benefits.

2. Claim the Caregiver amount on your tax return

You can claim the Caregiver amount tax credit if you lived with a dependent who was one of the following individuals:

  • you or your spouse or common-law partner’s child or grandchild; or
  • you or your spouse or common-law partner’s brother, sister, niece, nephew, aunt, uncle, parent, or grandparent who resided in Canada
  • other criteria may apply

Answer a few questions to find out if you can claim the caregiver amount on your tax return.

3. Take care of yourself while taking care of others

The Self-Care for Caregivers guide from the Public Health Agency of Canada provides you with information about taking care of yourself in a demanding time.

4. Explore live-in caregiver options

The Live-in Caregiver Program for employers and foreign caregivers allows professional caregivers to work in Canada. Caregivers are individuals who are qualified to work without supervision in a private household providing care for children, elderly persons or people who have disabilities.

Application information for the program is available on the Citizenship and Immigration Web site.

See all Life Events.

Great tips on hiring a nanny

Extracted from –


Choose the best care for your baby.

Keeping your baby at home and bringing the care to him means you don’t have to wake a sleeping infant, dress and feed him for the trip to the daycare centre or the caregiver’s house. Baby can sleep peacefully while you get yourself ready for work. Providing one-on-one care for an infant is one of the key reasons many parents choose to hire a nanny who will come to their home.

A nanny is generally considered to be someone who lives in your home. Some nannies may have received child-care training, usually in a foreign country. But many young women want to travel to a foreign country, to improve their English skills, and to find a position as an au pair with a family. Some women take jobs as nannies in order to immigrate to Canada; they must first be employed for two years to become eligible for landed immigrant status, so they will look for a long-term commitment from you.

One difficulty in hiring a nanny directly from another country lies in checking references. Although it’s possible to make inquiries and check out references, it can be time-consuming and costly in long distance telephone bills. Private agencies that match nannies with potential employers do some of the legwork, but you pay a finder’s fee for their service. It’s important to note that, should you sponsor a nanny from another country, you need lead time of approximately six months to complete all the government documentation. Citizenship and Immigration Canada offers a kit, “The Live-In Caregiver Program,” for parents wanting to employ a non-Canadian nanny.

You may find it simpler to hire a nanny who has already worked in Canada and has local references you can check. To find a nanny, ask friends and neighbours if they know of one who is ready to leave the family she’s with, check newspaper classified ads for nannies looking for work, or place your own ad. Child-care resource centres are also a good place to begin a search. Read the bulletin boards carefully and consider posting a copy of your ad there.

Some families choose a nanny because they’re looking for someone who will also clean house, run errands, and do the cooking — in short do everything the parents might do if they were home. But it’s unrealistic to expect a stranger to fill your shoes. Before you hire a nanny, set out a list of her most important duties — they should all centre around childcare. Don’t expect her to be maid and chauffeur, too.

Live-in help has lots of advantages. If you work shifts or stay late at the office, you can count on the nanny to be home. Children who are cared for at home are exposed to fewer viruses so they’re sick less often. Even when they do get sick, a live-in nanny will be there to take care of them. If you have more than one child, a nanny can be an economical alternative to enrolling two children in daycare. But remember, she’s going to be living in your home. That means you’ll be giving up space and privacy.

One of the objections to nannies is that, in a one-on-one situation, there is no other adult present in the home to make sure that the caregiver is doing her job. You’ll need to plan spot-checks. You and your partner may want to stop in at home at different times of the day to see how things are going. One woman who did that got an unpleasant surprise. She discovered her eight-month-old daughter peacefully asleep in her crib. The nanny, however, was nowhere to be found. She had put the baby down for a nap and gone out shopping.

Becoming an employer

As soon as you hire a nanny or caregiver to work in your home, you become an employer, subject to many of the same rules and regulations that govern any employment situation. Revenue Canada requires you to report your employee’s income, making all the proper deductions in a timely fashion. The paperwork may be an annoyance, just one more task for you to do in an already hectic schedule, but it’s essential.

Hours of work and wages are set by the provincial Ministry of Labour. Most provinces require employers to pay nannies at minimum wage.  Depending on where you live in Canada, you may also have to pay an employer’s health tax. And don’t forget vacation pay and statutory holiday pay. The deductions you make on behalf of the nanny are determined by Revenue Canada. Prior to the end of the first month of employment, you must visit a Revenue Canada office and fill in an application. You will be assigned a business number. After you file your first tax remittance, Revenue Canada will automatically send statements to you each month to fill out and pay by the fifteenth of each month.

Maybe you can’t turn your home into a daycare, but it’s worth taking a safety lesson or two from licensed daycares. To begin with, write out your street address and telephone number. Should a caregiver have to make an emergency call, she may become confused and forget the house address. Also list all emergency information at each telephone in the home. Include the numbers to call for police, fire, and ambulance. The list should include the full names and job titles of both parents, a number where each can be reached and the name of both employers. Add to the list the names of baby’s doctor, and family members or friends who can be called in an emergency.

Post a menu detailing feedings and make sure the nanny knows how to operate a microwave. However, formula should not be heated in a microwave because it heats food or liquid from the middle out; what tests warm on your wrist can, in fact, be dangerously hot for your baby.

Childproof your home and backyard, Spend some time with the nanny showing her the neighbourhood, including the location of parks and libraries. Discuss where she is permitted to take your baby and let her know that you want to be informed beforehand of outings. One mom discovered her baby was making a cross-town trip on the streetcar several times a week. When the nanny was asked about it, she explained that she took the baby with her to visit friends who lived several blocks away.

Introduce her to the neighbours. Let her know who in the neighbourhood is likely to be home during the day if she runs into a small problem and needs assistance. Last of all, set down the house rules. While you can’t regulate her life outside of working hours, it’s important that she show up for work cheerful and well rested. Above all be sure she knows her job description — what you expect her to do and to not do.

Canada Mom’s Blog Post – Funny Nanny stories

Extracted from Canadamomsblog –


The Nanny Diaries, part 1

I came home from work this afternoon to find my nanny lounging on the couch reading the newspaper.


(this would be like if I were sitting and reading a book in my cubicle while my boss was sitting right beside me, expecting me to be working)

Over the past 6 years, I’ve had three different nannies and my fair-share of rather, um, interesting nanny stories:

My nanny sometimes sends my son to school dressed in his sister’s skinny jeans.

My nanny occasionally eats the yogurt I hauled across the border from Michigan.

My nanny has shrunk at least 8 sweaters of mine.

My nanny has told me “Miss Ali, you look like you’ve gained weight!”

My nanny has occasionally seen me completely naked.

My nanny once used Tide when she didn’t have any more palmolive.

My nanny has caused the washer to overflow. TWICE.

My nanny has said “yes” to something that she totally didn’t understand and did the opposite of what
I’ve asked. many times.

My nanny once let the dog out and had to chase him 8 blocks to get him.

My nanny has thrown out important receipts because she assumed they were garbage, but cannot figure out how to throw out ANYTHING from the fridge. ever.

My nanny has managed to break three vacuums.

My nanny has called me at work to tell me she forgot to send the kids with lunches.

My nanny has USED MY HAIR BRUSH. right in front of me.

My nanny still spoon-feeds my three-year-old.

My nanny had a bit of an, um, bulimia problem.

My nanny has spent way too much time both on the computer OR on her cell phone.

For the most part, I’ve overlooked these things, because, well, the kids LOVE her. because I need her. because she is part of our family. Because we have history. I mean, I overlook these things, because they are not obvious dealbreakers for me, like stealing from me or hurting my children physically or emotionally. But the couch thing, it REALLY irked me. And it makes me wonder what sort of lounging she does when I am not around. For those of you with nannies…what are the dealbreakers for you? I mean, obviously, you don’t fire a nanny for using your hairbrush or for telling you that you are fat…but they sure do make you start to think.

Here’s the thing with nannies: when they are good, they are very, very good; but when things go bad or weird, it kind of makes you want to quit your job and be a stay-at-home mom.

Support for caregivers of people with Alzheimer — sign up today!

Extracted from BC local news —


By Staff Writer – Vernon Morning Star

The Alzheimer Society of B.C. presents an educational  series for caregivers who are caring for a person with dementia starting Sept. 29. This series is not intended for people with dementia.

The five-session series takes place from 1 to 3 p.m. Sept. 29 and Oct. 6, 23, 20 and 27 at the People Place (3402-27th Ave).

The series covers Understanding Dementia, basic information on dementia and the impact on individuals, caregivers, families and the community as well as an overview of the progression of the disease and approaches for meeting the challenges.

In Self-Care for Caregivers, participants will gain a better understanding of how certain messages, demands or beliefs can contribute to stress and burnout.

For more information and pre-registration (required, no drop-ins, registration limited to 20 people), call 1-800-634-3399 or e-mail There is no cost to attend but donations to the Alzheimer Society of B.C. are appreciated.

Program teaching Canadian caregivers the “how to’s” of Canada

Extracted from the National Post —

  Sep 23, 2011 – 9:00 AM ET | Last Updated: Sep 23, 2011 12:47 PM ET

By Jason Spencer

Six months ago, a friend invited Regine Ganancial, a caregiver from the Philippines, to learn English. Ganancial had been in Vancouver for only half a year and wanted to understand the lay of the land, but like many newcomers she was stifled by a language barrier. She accompanied her friend to a small ESL class as part of the Domestic Workers Literacy Program offered by Frontier College. The 30-year-old has been attending the free classes every Sunday since.

Not only is the program teaching Ganancial English, she’s learning the customs, too. “They teach us how to live in Canada,” said Ganancial. “My English is coming a long way … the class upgrades my knowledge for job applications, interviewing, and [provides] a model to work with other people.”

Sherry Campbell, president of the 113-year-old Toronto-based literacy organization, says Frontier College customizes education to the needs of communities across Canada. “Every learner comes different. Age doesn’t make a difference, experience does,” said Campbell. “There’s a greater stigma involved if you’re an adult and you have trouble reading and writing,” she added.

Ganancial’s program is set up in conjunction with the West Coast Domestic Workers Association, one of the 300 community partners that Frontier College has across Canada. The registered charity, which is strongly supported by Postmedia’s Raise-A-Reader initiative, is not a typical college and does not have a bricks-and-mortar campus. “We’re in the places you might usually expect us: in schools, in libraries, and we’re in places that might seem a little unusual [like] women’s shelters, prisons, sports clubs, etc.”

They have about 3,000 volunteers across Canada, most of whom are university students and community members, said Campbell, and given the organization’s mandate to serve those who are most needy, “whether it’s because of low literacy levels, or whether they’re living in a marginalized or isolated community,” the screening process is taken very seriously. “Because the people [the volunteers] work with are vulnerable, there’s intense training, interviews, police checks.”

The Domestic Workers Adult ESL Program that Ganancial is taking includes female live-in caregivers, some of whom are from South-East Asia and Eastern Europe. According to Ganancial, trying to co-operate with co-workers, who are all not speaking their first language, is a “challenge,” but the volunteers from the program are reliable, open and patient. “[Outside of class], if I email them a question, they get back to me. They are there to clarify all things. … [My classmates] feel lucky to be involved in this kind of activity.”

“It’s important to not just look at literacy as an employment outcome, but to look at literacy as enabling people to participate fully in their lives,” said Campbell. “Literacy is a serious issue in Canada that isn’t often talked about.”

About the fundraiser

Frontier College is one of many charities that has been helped by Raise-a-Reader, Postmedia’s national fundraiser for literacy.

The year-round initiative culminates on Wednesday with  Postmedia employees hawking copies of the Post  in exchange for donations. More than $17-million has been generated since the program’s national launch in 2002. All the money collected is distributed to local literacy programs such as Frontier College, The Redwood, ABC Life Literacy, Girls Inc., CNIB and many more.

Study shows Caregivers face financial & emotional stress…claims study

Extracted from –

By RICK NAUERT PHD Senior News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on September 22, 2011

A new UCLA study finds that caregivers for the aging or disabled are subjected to considerable financial and emotional strain.

Unfortunately, experts believe the strain will intensify as many states deal with cutbacks in services that provide support for home-based care.

The new study looked at family members or friends caring for aging or disabled individuals in California. In California, caregivers represent over 6 million individuals with the helpers characterized by a range of age and individual health status.

Among this group, researchers found higher levels of serious psychological distress and negative health behaviors, such as smoking, compared with the general population.

Of particular concern are an estimated 2.6 million caregivers between the ages of 45 and 64 who may be setting themselves up for an unhealthy future due to higher rates of poor health behaviors, compared with both non-caregivers in the same age range and older caregivers.

“This is the ‘sandwich generation,’ the group of people struggling to meet the needs of both growing children and aging parents, often alone and while holding down full-time jobs,” said Geoffrey Hoffman, the brief’s lead author.

“Caregivers need help, especially as baby boomers age and place even greater strains on their and their families’ abilities to cope.”

Researchers found that the caregivers provide an average of 20 hours of care per week for a friend or relative who can no longer do certain things for themselves, such as bathing, shopping, managingmedications or paying bills.

Most caregivers are not reimbursed for their efforts, and few use state services that might help alleviate both financial and psychological burdens.

Experts are concerend that as the population of those 65 and older will more than double in the next 30 years, the magnitude of largely uncompensated care by family and friends will rapidly increase.

“We may be seeing an association between caregiving and stress, where caregivers are both more likely to be seriously depressed and to exhibit certain health behaviors that put them at risk,” Hoffman said.

“These effects on caregivers’ overall health merit attention from policymakers.”

Among the findings:

  • Caregivers under stress
    Mental health: More than 1 million caregivers report moderate or serious distress levels, with almost one-third reporting that their emotions interfere a lot with their household chores (29.9 percent) or their social lives (32.9 percent).Middle-aged caregivers struggling: Compared with both older caregivers and non-caregivers of the same age, middle-aged caregivers are more likely to binge drink (25.5 percent), smoke (15.9 percent) or be obese (30.1 percent).Stress and smoking: Caregivers of all ages who reported serious psychological distress were 208 percent more likely to smoke than non-caregivers with serious psychological distress — an exceptional amount.
  • Middle-aged caregivers lack support
    Nearly one-third (29.0 percent) of middle-aged caregivers are single, divorced or widowed, and more than two-thirds (67.1 percent) hold down full- or part-time jobs. Nearly one-quarter (22.5 percent) are low-income.
  • Caregiving is time-intensive
    Approximately one-third of caregivers who live with care recipients spend an average of 36 hours on caregiving — almost as much as a full-time job. A majority (62.0 percent) of caregivers of all ages work full or part time.
  • Caregivers of all ages under financial strain
    Only 7.4 percent of informal caregivers reported being paid for the help they provide. Moreover, nearly 20 percent spent $250 or more of their own money on caregiving in the past month. The strains of caregiving may be alleviated by respite services (short-term temporary relief from duties), yet only 13.5 percent of caregivers report ever using any respite care.

“Family members and friends supporting loved ones in need provide the bulk of personal assistance services and often absorb the high costs of caregiving, both financially and emotionally,” said Dr. Bruce Chernof, president and CEO of The SCAN Foundation, which provided funding for the analysis.

“Programs that support family caregivers can help them create and sustain vulnerable elders in community settings, which promotes the values of dignity, choice and independence as loved ones grow older.”

Recent legislation proposes a voluntary, consumer-funded long-term care insurance program. Policymakers view this initiative as a means to provide cash benefits that could be used to compensate informal caregivers and to purchase needed respite or mental health services.

However, this program is currently under close scrutiny from lawmakers and may not survive impending budgetary adjustments.

Researchers believe this program and additional programs that provide community-based attendant supports and services to disabled individuals requiring an institutional level of care, could significantly lift the burden off of family and other informal caregivers.

Source: UCLA

Take a look at some Nannies on the big and small screen!

Photo Gallery from the Boston Globe of Nannies from hit TV show and movies throughout history. You might recognize some. Are there any similarities in terms on work situation? looks? personality? between you and these ladies/men? Check it out!