Anyone with experience with 'overseas' nannies in Canada? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 01-11-2010, 03:17 PM - Thread Starter
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Ok, I've decided to be more specific with this post (see my previous post: Talk to me about nannies....)

The only nanny that we would be able to afford are the ones through the overseas caregiver program here in Canada.

My concerns:
- I feel like I'm benefiting from their marginalization, is that right? I know ultimately the program helps them gain residency status, but it doesn't seem right that I'm taking advantage of their vulnerability.
- What kind of quality of care can they offer? Have any taken any courses? Is it appropriate to ask them to take courses? I just know that if I hadn't educated myself as a parent, I would have done exactly what my parents had done without realizing it.

If you've had experience with one of these caregivers, I'd love to hear about it! Thank you!!!
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#2 of 7 Old 01-11-2010, 04:14 PM
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I was one of those caregivers. It's (or was, in my and a number of nanny friends' experience) nothing more than indentured servitude. However, in the long run, I did get my papers and was able to make a life. But the 2.5 years (with a couple of different families)? Not fun, poor (at the time, minimum wage was 2.75, less taxes, EI - which I had to pay but couldn't claim, CPP, room and board, etc., I was left with not a lot of money, and still had expenses).

And yes, I have met ONE nanny that wasn't taken advantage of in some way. Even small little things like the parents always being 10 - 15 minutes late every day, without being paid. There were a lot of negatives for me.
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#3 of 7 Old 01-11-2010, 04:55 PM
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IME foreign nannies are considered a status symbol in my neighbourhood and quality-wise they seem to be hit or miss. They are often not treated well and in return I have witnessed what I believe to be sub-standard care. And I mean things like sleeping at the park while the kids play unsupervised or ignoring a clearly upset child.

I cringe when I listen to my neighbours speak about "the nanny" like they aren't even humans. I know that having a live-in caregiver can be the most practical solution for parents who work shifts or have long work days and if you can find someone you trust and who loves working with your kids it can be a terrific situation for all parties involved.
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#4 of 7 Old 01-12-2010, 03:55 AM
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Well... since you would be the one hiring the nanny, you would be the one who determines if the nanny is being taken advantage of or not. You're required by law to pay minimum wage, and overtime for anything worked more than 8 hrs/day. You're also required to provide room and board (and can then deduct an amount which varies by province from their pay... it's only about $350/month). So, the nanny should be getting, after tax and food and accomodation, around $800-$1000/month. That seems like a fairly reasonable amount to live on, when your basic living expenses (food and housing) are already paid for.

As far as training goes, they are required to either complete a 6 month caregiver course, which includes on the job training, or are required to have at least one year's of paid experience working as a nanny or in some sort of childcare capacity. I'm not sure what the rules would be for asking them to take courses while they're working for you... in that case I would expect that you should pay the course fees and also pay them for their time while attending the course.

WHen I was growing up my parents went through many live-in nannies. Some were great, others not so great, and others were just plain terrible (one of them left my 2 year old brother sleeping in his crib while she walked the 10-15 minutes to my school and back to pick me up. my mom has many more horror stories). My parents found that a great nanny was wonderful, but daycare was preferable to an average or terrible nanny. It feels like you'd be taking a big risk, IMO to leave someone alone with your kids for so long every day. Now, if you could get a referral from a friend or relative or something, then it might be a great solution.
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#5 of 7 Old 01-12-2010, 03:55 PM - Thread Starter
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I can't thank you enough for your thoughtful responses!

I just don't feel comfortable going that route, and I think my discomfort is justified. I just hope I get some funding soon so I can tell my dh that 'I' will pay for the expensive childcare.

Thanks again!
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#6 of 7 Old 01-13-2010, 06:13 PM
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I agree with Lian. The people I know with a nanny who have been happy have had a referral from someone they trust.

I went with daycare -- even though picking the kids up etc. is indeed a hassle. This is not an option for everyone -- I pay $1000/mth a kid (I have two). But, there are advantages, I think -- I don't have to call in sick if my caregiver is sick, my kids get lots of socialization, they get field trips, art, homemade food. It took me a LONG time to find a good daycare -- there were some that I visited that honestly made me cry.

Some daycare choosing tips for you -- always go non-profit. (Think about it -- how do you think daycares would make a profit?). Ask your friends, neighbours, the cashier at your grocery store -- everyone. Look online -- there should be some sort of provincial registry or certifcation agency. The daycares run by colleges or universities tend to be very good -- especially if they are affliated with childcare certification granting organizations. Get on waiting lists. Target your preferred daycare and call them weekly to "check" on the waiting list. Bring them cupcakes. The squeaky mom gets the spot.

Anyway -- I don't know what province you live in or how much your family makes (nmb) -- but here in Alberta there are daycare subsidies for low income families.

And good luck! No matter what your daycare choice, you will probably feel guilty at some point. Just embrace the guilt -- it means that you care and that you are a good mom.
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#7 of 7 Old 01-15-2010, 01:41 AM
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I am not living in Canada, but I live in Hong Kong where most people that I know have a domestic helper that is from the Philippines, Indonesia or Sri Lanka.

I will begin to hire someone in the next few weeks. We don't have the same option of daycare here in HK, so you either need a relative (which I don't have here) or you hire a domestic helper.

And there are loads of horror stories, because those types of stories get the best reactions. But there are lots of wonderful helpers/nannies out there.

Just so you are aware, often domestic helpers like moving to Canada because of the hire pay and the better working hours than you have here.
And as far as guilt goes, I am a boss and I'm hiring someone who is looking for a job. I would treat my helper very well and try and be fair to her. And I'll certainly follow the letter of the law.

But from a person where almost every mother I know has a domestic helper...I think you should go for it.
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