10/31/2014 01:10 EDT | Updated 12/31/2014 05:59 EST

Live-in caregiver reforms announced by Chris Alexander

Immigration Minister Chris Alexander has announced much-anticipated reforms to the live-in caregiver program, creating new pathways for caregivers to work in Canada. 

"I'm pleased to announce reforms that will improve the lives of caregivers seeking to make Canada their permanent home," Alexander said during a news conference in Toronto on Friday.

Changes to the caregiver program include:

- Making it optional for caregivers to live with their employers.

- Reducing a backlog of 60,000 applications for permanent residence.

- Creating two new categories whereby caregivers can seek permanent residency.

"These reforms show the valuable role caregivers play in all of our lives," Alexander said on Friday.

Starting Nov. 30, the government will launch two new pathways for caregivers to work in Canada.

One pathway will be for child-care providers. The second will be for caregivers who take care of the elderly or those with high medical needs.

Caregiver applications under the new streams will be processed within six months, Alexander said.

More to come