The Financial Cost of Caregiving


As the issue of caregiving is now getting election coverage, the costs of caregiving need to be better understood. These include tangible costs such as financial expenses and loss of income, as well as “soft” costs, such as emotional challenges and loss of opportunity faced by families pressed into service to care for an elderly family member. For those families who decide to purchase care, this article will review the financial cost of hiring a caregiver.

For illustration purposes, the average Personal Support Worker (PSW) rate from a for-profit agency (Toronto 2011) is estimated at $23/hour. Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) of 13% is added in most situations. Let’s see what these calculations might be:
Five hours of purchased care per day = $115/day or $805/week or $3,461.50/month (plus HST).
Nine hours of purchased care per day = $207/day or $1,449/week or $6,230.70/month (plus HST).

Full-time (24-hour) care can be very expensive and is not affordable for many Canadians. Helping you decide what type and how much care is needed will be addressed in another article.

Typically when hiring 24-hour care, there are a few options to explore. These can include hiring privately or using a home healthcare agency and can involve live-in and/or live-out staff: There are pros and cons to consider when choosing to hire privately or through an agency. A professional care manager is able to help you decide which is better for you and your family.

Option 1: Live-in caregiver sponsorship program: (privately hired)

The Live-in Caregiver Sponsorship Program is offered by the Government of Canada through Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC). This program consists of Canadian employers hiring foreign workers to come to Canada to help care for the elderly or persons with disabilities. The HRSDC program outlines the qualifications, satisfaction guarantee, and expectations for the live-in caregiver program.

Things to note1:
1 Sources:
Canada Revenue Agency; 1-800-959-5525; Workers’ Compensation; 1-800-387-0750;
Ministry of Labor; Employment Standards Branch; 1-800-531-5551
Human Resources and Skills Development; 1-800-622-6232

Cost: Sponsorship from out of country: Placement fees range from $1,500 to $3,000 (one time) plus HST. This process can take 5-6 months if the worker must come from overseas. Alternatively, individuals may already be here, and are available for immediate hire

Hours of Work: Live-in caregivers work five days with two days off. Maximum working hours per week is 40 – 44 hours

Payment to Caregiver (based on $10.25/hour, the current minimum wage in Ontario): Live-in caregivers would be paid $1,264.40/month, which is net of remittances to Canada Revenue Agency

Remittance to CRA by employer for CPP, EI, WSIB, and taxes for a monthly total of $1,763


Caregiver is entitled to two weeks vacation annually (remember, you will need to hire a replacement for these two weeks)

Caregiver is entitled to be paid for ten public and civic holidays at their regular hourly rate if they take the day off (remember, you will need to hire a replacement for these holiday days if the caregiver is not working). Should the worker opt to work the public and civic holidays, they must be remunerated at time-and-a-half