Become a Respite Companion Contractor

The Respite Companion Program is designed to:

  • Give temporary relief to families and caregivers / care partners of individuals living with Alzheimer's disease or progressive dementia who live in their own home. The intent is to help the caregiver take regularly scheduled time away from the role of caregiving, knowing the person they care for is enjoying time with their new friend.
  • Provide companionship, stimulation and supervision to the client
  • Foster friendship, social interaction and shared activities that promote a feeling of accomplishment, independence and increased self-esteem

Respite companions

Contracted companions engage in activities that are of interest to the client. We focus our attention on doing things "with the client", not "for the client" and provide the client with an opportunity to:

  • Interact in a way that maintains or enhances the individual's self- esteem and self-worth
  • Take part in appropriate and meaningful stimulation, and activity aimed at the functional level and mood of the client at the time of interaction
  • Engage in activities, such as playing cards, board games, word games, crafts, activities that lead to reminiscences, walking, and household tasks such as cleaning, laundry, gardening and cooking as long as these are a shared activity with client's active involvement
  • Be supported with supervisory care aimed at providing client safety and security
  • Help initiate and participate in activities that bring purpose and meaning to the individual's life experience

Respite companion information

  • Qualifications and experience

    Selection criteria

    • Related work experience and / or practical "lived" experience in supporting people with memory loss
    • Demonstrated qualities, character and skills needed when working with individuals who are living with memory loss and their care partners

    Based on the program's current client-needs, priority may be given to applicants who meet a particular demand including:

    • Language and cultural needs of the program
    • Geographic locations, such as travel distances
    • Availability (how flexible / how available during evenings and weekends)
    • Gender identity needs of our clients, such as male, female, LGBTQ+


    • Grade 12 high school diploma or equivalent
    • Courses in working with older adults are an asset, but are not required, for example recreation and leisure, gerontology, health care and physical activity

    Experience (assets, not required)

    • Experience in working with or caring for older adults, with various types of limitations, including cognitive impairment
    • Experience in program / activity planning, such as in a parenting role or volunteer capacity, at church, Guiding / Scouts, etc.
    • Various hobbies and interests are an asset

    General requirements

    • Demonstrated interest in supporting older adults
    • Good judgment, problem solving and an ability to work independently
    • Stellar communication skills, with an ability to apply them to client and care partner interactions
    • Willingness to upgrade knowledge and skills by actively participating in monthly training sessions hosted by the Respite Companion Program
  • Duties and responsibilities
    • Companions are self-employed and will work within the guidelines of the Respite Companion Program
    • Provide social support, encouragement and stimulating activities to clients with memory loss
    • Report any concerns about the client, their situation or the care partner directly to the program coordinator in a timely manner. This includes filling in any applicable program forms that are required.
    • Attend mandatory monthly training / education sessions hosted by the program

    Excluded activities

    The following services are not activities provided by the contracted respite companion. However, the program coordinator can support families in finding the right community resources to help if they need information about these services.

    • House cleaning, laundry and ironing
    • Making beds
    • Preparing full meals
    • Toileting, bathing, dressing or changing dressings (or other professional nursing tasks)
    • Medication distribution or administration of any kind
    • Transportation (might accompany, but not drive)
    • Shopping or banking
  • Independent contractor details, special conditions and training

    Respite companions are independent contractors.

    • This program is operated by Community Services at Niagara Region, but the respite contractors are not employees of Niagara Region
    • Respite workers are contracted for a maximum of 40 program hours each week
    • No deductions are made from any fees paid for services; no benefits are paid
    • Limits of liability insurance coverage

    Special conditions

    • All contractors must be able to provide a minimum schedule of 15 hours of availability
    • This service is not designed to provide guaranteed hours of any kind and can fluctuate suddenly. Companions may find that following the discharge of a client, it may be some time before hours can be replaced with a new visit.
    • Contractors must provide their own transportation and be willing to travel within Niagara

    Required training

    Successful applicants will be invited to participate in a Five Step Orientation / Training process (32 hours). This can take anywhere from four to eight weeks to complete. The steps include:

    1. Four days - in-class training program, 20 hours in total
    2. Two hours - supervised, practical experience at an Adult Day Program
    3. One hour - aging and dementia simulation experience at the Alzheimer Society
    4. Three hours - shadow visit with a current companion and their client
    5. One hour - computer training to learn about the scheduling / timesheet system

    Training and travel time are paid after you are matched with your first client. It's important to note that based on your own self-evaluation, you're able to opt out of the process at any time.

    In addition, the program manager also reserves the right to stop the training process for any particular potential contractor if they feel that the program is not a good fit for them.

  • Payment

    Current rates of pay per hour, based on number of hours worked for the program are:

    • 0 to 1500 hours - $17
    • 1501 to 3500 hours - $17.25
    • 3501 to 5500 hours - $17.50
    • 5501 to 6500 hours - $17.75
    • 6501 to 7500 hours - $18
    • More than 7501+ hours - $18.25

    The charge to the family is $8.50 / hour or lower. The rate is negotiated based on the client's Notice of Assessment. Funding for subsidization is provided by the Ministry of Health.

    Contractors are paid for their travel time, using the following equation: 50 km = 1 hour (total mileage) divided by 50 = (time spent driving) x hourly rate of pay = $ mileage payment.

    For example: if you drove 120 km in a pay period / 50 km = 2.40 travel time x $17 rate of pay = $40.80.

* = Required

Contact Information

Work Experience

Work Experience 1

Work Experience 2

Volunteer Experience

Volunteer Experience 1

Volunteer Experience 2


Reference 1

Reference 2


Work Availability

Days and times you are available to visit with clients


Locations you are willing to travel

Do you have reliable transportation?

Have you ever been convicted of a criminal offence for which you have not been pardoned?

Additional Questions

Terms and Conditions

Personal information on this form is collected under the authority of the Regional Municipality of Niagara Act. This information is needed to apply for the position of respite contractor. From time to time additional personal information may be collected as part of the ongoing operation of the Respite Companion Program. Questions about the collection of this information should be directed to the Coordinator of the Respite Companion Program, Community Services Department, Seniors Community Programs, 1815 Sir Isaac Brock Way, P.O. Box 344, Thorold, Ont. L2V 4T7, 905-980-6000 or 1-800-263-7215.

I hereby certify that the information given is true and correct to the best of my knowledge.

I hereby certify that I am eligible to work in Canada, and that I am in possession of a valid Canadian Social Insurance Number.

I hereby authorize any individual, company or institution to furnish the Respite Companion Manager with any information they may have concerning my job performance, and I do hereby release such individual, company or institution from any and all liability by reasons of furnishing such information.

I agree to comply with the Rules and Regulations of the Respite Companion Program.

I agree to undergo any relevant physical examinations and/or Criminal Reference check which may be required by the Respite Companion Program. Such requirements will be at my own expense.

I hereby agree to partake in both educational and training programs required through the Respite Companion Program.

I understand that I will be self-employed and will not be an employee of the Regional Municipality of Niagara.

I understand that I will be required to show original proof of education such as original transcripts and/or diplomas and qualifications such as the validity of my driver's license, professional license(s) and entitlement to work in Canada and other documentation that may be required.

I hereby certify that all the above information is correct and that any false statements or deliberate omission of a material fact made by me on this application or in the recruitment or selection process may be sufficient cause for cancellation of the application and, if I have been employed, for immediate dismissal from the Respite Companion Program.

Notice of Collection

Any personal information or personal health information submitted will be collected, used, and disclosed, where applicable, by members of Regional staff according to the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act or the Personal Health Information Protection Act. Any information you share will only be used for the intended purpose for which it was provided.

For questions or comments about privacy practices, or for more information about the administration of the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act in Niagara Region programs, see Freedom of Information and Open Government.

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