Caregivers to be given permanent resident status on arrival under new pilot programs

Canada has announced new, enhanced caregiver pilot programs as the expiry date for Canada’s existing Home Child Care Provider Pilot and the Home Support Worker Pilot approaches.

The existing pilot programs are set to expire on June 17. In their place, the new pilot programs will grant home care workers with permanent resident status when they arrive in Canada, rather than requiring a certain amount of work experience in the country.

They will also be permitted to work for “organizations that provide temporary or part-time care for people who are semi-independent or recovering from an injury or illness.”

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To be eligible, caregivers must:

  • attain a minimum of level 4 based on the Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB)
  • hold the equivalent of a Canadian high school diploma
  • have recent and relevant work experience
  • receive an offer for a full-time home care job

This criteria marks a change from the previous pilot programs that required a CLB of 5 and a year of Canadian post-secondary education (or a foreign equivalent). The programs also included a work experience requirement of at least six months. IRCC has yet to make it clear what the work experience requirement will be under the new pilot programs and says more details will be announced closer to the full launch.

In an IRCC news release, Immigration Minister Marc Miller said, “Caregivers play a critical role in supporting Canadian families, and our programs need to reflect their invaluable contributions. As we work to implement a permanent caregivers program, these two new pilots will not only improve support for caregivers, but also provide families with the quality care they deserve.”

Caregivers in Canada

According to the 2024-2026 Immigration Levels Plan, Canada expects to welcome more than 15,000 new permanent residents through caregiver programs and as of April 30, 2024, approximately 5,700 caregivers and their family members have become permanent residents since the launch of the Home Child Care Provider Pilot and the Home Support Worker Pilot in 2019.

The demand for caregivers in Canada is rising as the population ages. It is expected that in the next six years, over nine million Canadians will retire. This means that over the coming years, more individuals will need additional care in their homes or institutions.

Further, the Canadian Centre for Caregiving Excellence recently published a report that highlights pressing needs for caregivers in Canada. Among them, it notes that, “Many caregivers are 65+ and may also need care. Nearly one in five caregivers are over the age of 65. Senior caregivers are least likely to access any services or supports to help with their responsibilities.”

Finally,  families in Canada require a childcare provider as more women, who traditionally take on more of the caretaking duties for young children, seek to enter the workforce. Statistics Canada data from 2023 found that

“On an annual basis, the labour force participation rate for women aged 15 years and older and all education levels grew from 58.5% in 1990 (the beginning of the current data series) to 61.5% in 2022. The rate for men declined from 76.1% to 69.5% over the same period.”

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