What is an Au Pair?

Live-in, one-to-one care in your home

What is an Au Pair?

An Au pair  is an unmarried young adult aged 18 to 30 years, who has no children and travels to a foreign country for a defined period of time to live with a host family. Getting board and lodging and a small amount of weekly pocket money in return for help with the children and some light housework.

An Au Pair is typically a young woman who takes care of your children and does light housekeeping for up to 12 months. She is considered a part of your family and is interested in getting to know the Canadian way of life. All of our Au Pairs have been screened and interviewed in person and must have at least 3 non‐related references as well as a some childcare experience. The term “Au Pair” is French and means “equal to”, implying that the relationship between you, your children and the Au Pair is a reciprocal and caring one.



au-pair2Au Pairs are young overseas students without any formal childcare qualifications. They can be between 18 and 30 years of age, however the most common age of an Au Pair is between 19 – 21. All of our Au Pairs will have min. of 150 hours of baby sitting experience with families in their home countries. More about requirements au pairs most have.

They are an “extra pair for hands” during busy periods of the day, such as early morning and afternoons/ dinner time. As Au Pairs are not qualified childcare workers/ nannies, they cannot be responsible for looking after babies under 12 months of age unsupervised for long periods of time ( eg 2/3 hours maximum, not for the entire day).

Au Pairs and nannies are not to be confused with housekeepers or cleaners. The cultural exchange of an Au Pair involves helping you with childcare and light childcare related duties only. An Au Pair comes out to live with an Australian family as part of a cultural exchange and to improve their language skills. They need to be treated as a member of the family. They require a live-in arrangement with their own private room (share bathroom OK) food and accommodation included.


Demi Pairs (half Au Pair) as above are normally committed to language or business classes during the day (typically 8.30-14.00) and are available only in the afternoons. Most families use them for after school care. They normally work between 15 and 20 hours (maximum) a week. As they attend language courses, they do need time in the evenings to study, we recommend that Demi pairs finish at the very latest by 7.30pm, as they usually have assignments to do. Apart from cooking for the children, Demi pairs offer childcare help only.


Are mostly trained childcare workers or nurses, consequently their hourly rates are higher. As we only place overseas nannies, requirements are normally the same as for our overseas Au Pairs. Generally we have more Au pairs available than qualified Nannies and Nannies are therefore, more difficult to find. All our overseas nannies require a live in arrangement and are after a cultural exchange experience.


Au-Pairs and overseas nannies are primarily there to assist with child care and childcare related duties. Breakfast, clearing up, kids lunch boxes, school drop of and pick up, bath time, taking to park, art, craft and playing with the children are typical Au Pair tasks. It is fine to ask them to cook regularly for the children and an occasional meal for the whole family. You can expect the Au Pair/ nanny to assist with some other general light duties such as laundry, tidying for the children and occasionally vacuuming the main family room etc.
With respect to the duties of the au pair, there is a fine line between what can and what cannot be expected. For example changing the bed sheets or ironing the kid’s school uniform are typical Au Pair jobs. We do not expect the Au Pair to change the bed sheets of the parents or iron the parents’ clothes.
Au Pairs/ nannies are not to be confused with housekeepers or cleaners and we recommend that all families employ separate cleaning help. Generally the family’s expectations should be outlined in clear detail to the Au Pair when in contact and before an offer is made to join the family; phrases such as “light housekeeping” are often open to misinterpretation and therefore, misunderstandings.

Au pair Placement Period:

The placement period of Au Pairs and Demi pairs normally ranges from 4 to 10 months, depending on the season. We do not place beyond 10 months as most Au Pairs like to travel around Canada after being an Au Pair. The most common Au Pair placement is 6 to 8 months.

Why should I get an Au Pair in Canada instead of a Live‐in Caregiver?
Depending on your needs an Au Pair might be the better option for you. Au Pairs as well as nannies provide affordable and flexible childcare, but only child‐related housekeeping. Au Pairs can arrive in your home within a couple of weeks and are able to work part‐time. Moreover you are not required to provide your Notice of Assessments, apply for a Labor Market Opinion or pay for the Au Pair’s airfare.

Why Au pair Canada?
With more than 5 years of experience, Au pair Canada is one of Canada’s leading nanny agencies with a focus on providing excellent service to both caregivers and families. All of our Au Pairs have passed a comprehensive screening process. We check all references, interview the Au Pairs and require all of our Au Pairs to present a current police record and undergo a medical exam.

Before your Au Pair’s arrival we make sure that you and your Au Pair are aware of cultural differences and provide more information on how to make it a successful year for both of you. We will also support you during your Au Pair’s stay.

What countries do the Au Pairs come from?
Our Au Pairs come from around the world, but mainly from Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Germany and the UK. They expose your family to other cultures, languages, and customs, offering a valuable cross‐cultural experience.

If I am a single parent do I qualify to be a host an Au Pair? Yes.

Can I select an Au Pair from a specific country or who speaks a certain language?
Of course, just be aware that it may take longer to match you with an Au Pair from a specific country or with certain language skills. Some requests might not be able to be fulfilled since not every nationality is eligible to apply for a Working Holiday Visa.

How do I choose my Au Pair?
You will be able to review the Au Pair’s application, interview her via Skype or phone and discuss your expectations and requirements before making your decision.

How long does it take until I can welcome an Au Pair in my home?
The waiting time depends on the Au Pair’s country of origin but can be anywhere between 4 to 8 weeks. After being matched with a host family, each Au Pair candidate must apply and be approved for a Working Holiday Visa. This process takes several weeks. Some Au Pairs might already have their visa and can therefore travel as soon as possible.

Getting started

How do I get started?
We then ask you to fill out a short application including basic facts about your family and lifestyle, pictures of you and your children and a typical work schedule.

How does the matching process work?
Once we have your complete application and know what is important to you, we will start the matching process and present you with suitable Au Pair profiles. After you and the Au Pair agree on a start date and duration of her stay, we will support the Au Pair during the visa application process and arranging her flight to Canada.

How many hours does an Au Pair work?
An Au Pair works 20 – 44 hours per week according to your needs. She does not need to work full‐time like a Live‐in Caregiver.

Family Responsibilities

How much do I pay my Au Pair?
The weekly pay rate for Au Pairs is determined by the province she works in and the hours being worked. The wage is based on the provincial minimum wage. In addition, room and board can be deducted from the Au Pair’s wage. Wages and room and board deductions vary depending on the province and are subject to change.

Should I provide my Au Pair with her own bedroom and car?
Host families are required to provide the Au Pair with a private lockable bedroom. It is not required that an Au Pair has her own bathroom or car.

What sort of orientation will my Au Pair receive before she arrives at my home?
Au pair Canada as well as its overseas partners are committed to preparing all of our Au Pairs thoroughly so that they can provide the best care for your children. All of our Au Pairs have been interviewed by our local partners; have verified childcare and personal references, passed a medical exam and have a clear medical record.
Moreover they have been provided with extensive information on how to deal with culture shock and the Canadian culture.

Can the Au Pair perform any household duties?
The Au Pair will be able to do any household duties related to the children, such as doing the children’s laundry, cleaning up their rooms, picking up after the children, preparing meals and driving them around. However, the Au Pair is not a housekeeper and therefore not expected to clean the entire house or do the family laundry.

Do all Au Pairs drive?
Most applicants have a valid driver’s license. Depending on the province, her nationality and her driving experiences the Au Pair might need to undergo a driving test in Canada to be able to drive in Canada. During your telephone interview, you may ask the Au Pair about the extent of her driving experience. Once you select an Au Pair, you should also be sure to contact your car insurance company about how to insure your Au Pair.