"Hello. I wonder if you can tell me what the salary rate for a live-in care giver would be for the Belleville area?"

The voice on the other end gives a website: www.labourmarketinformation.ca

Magdalen discovers the hourly rate for a livein caregiver is $9 per hour. Salaries have risen since the minimum wage was pegged at $7.75 this summer.

And Magdalen has a family in Belleville who is looking for a livein nanny for their family.

Funny what happens when a person hits a brick wall.

Often, if it's the right kind of person, they take another route to effectiveness. A wall is often the most creative opportunity we get.

Take Magdalen Gollop, for instance. Her initial business plan was to open a church-based day care centre. She found the church but its construction didn't comply with Day Nurseries Act legislation. Then she investigated home day care and found the rules, regulations and red tape at several levels of government made it little more than a hobby... certainly not potential for a full blown business.

And so Sapphire Personnel was born.

When Magdalen moved to Canada from Barbados in 1989 she discovered caregiving by being a foster parent. While she has never used or been a nanny she did know about the numbers of highly trained people who were interested in moving to Canada. She also knew about the federal government's Live-in Caregiver Program which replaced the Domestic Worker Program in 1994.

"The new program allows caregivers to come to Canada to work and after 24 months they can apply for Landed Immigrant Status," explains Magdalen.

Turns out it's a win-win-win all round. As a result of the fast-tracking program, would-be immigrants are eager to put in their two years. Magdalen works with the employer family to make sure all paperwork is up to date so the caregiver meets the 24-month requirements.

The terrific part of this is that Magdalen (and her company, Sapphire Personnel) are receiving applications from trained teachers, nurses, doctors, university graduates all wanting to work as caregivers for the 24 month period.

"I love children," says Magdalen, "and this is a good way to apply my abilities."

Her philosophy is that the children, the family and the caregiver all must be looked after well...people arriving as caregivers usually have no family here and Magdalen is quick to point to the Caregiver Coalition, services that help nannies settle.

She says good things happen culturally, too. The Filipino community rents a house and on weekends Filipino caregivers retreat there to relax, to speak their own language, to cook and to be comfortable. It's hard work communicating in a new language, cooking strange things that you've never heard of, and living in a new culture. These weekend houses can make a big difference.

Magdalen is using her website effectively. It offers application forms for both caregivers AND those needing caregivers. It's not always for children, either. Some families need help for a senior, or for an adult with a disability.

Magdalen ensures her candidates are legally entitled to work in Canada or legally entitled to sponsorship. She checks out credentials, quotes fees, services needed and connects nannies with families. She expects a one year commitment from both.

She asks families about the numbers of children, special needs, elderly, housekeeping expectations, type of accommodations for the nanny.

Since opening her company Magdalen has placed over 50 nannies with families as far away as western Ontario and Quebec. She has more orders from nannies wanting to work in the Toronto area... they want to work in Toronto because of the cultural connections.

All caregiver applicants have taken a six months training course. Magdalen has agreements that are signed by both caregiver and family. She works cooperatively with other nanny businesses. Once a match is made, Magdalen charges a fee to both the employer and the caregiver.

She works with agencies, too, and then charges the agency for her work.

Getting the word out is a big challenge but she has regular ads in the Yellow Pages, Today's Paren Magazine, and of course through her website.

What relief for a family to know they've got good help on the home front... and what relief to know Magdalen has checked it all out!

Thanks, Magdalen.


........

www.sapphirepersonnel.ca
Magdalen Gollop
caring for families and caregivers

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