Interpretation Guidelines Manual British Columbia Employment Standards Act and Regulations


ESR Section 1 – Definitions – Sitter


Text of Legislation
Policy Interpretation
Related Information


This section contains definitions for terms used throughout the Employment Standards Regulation.

Text of Legislation

"sitter" means a person employed in a private residence solely to provide the service of attending to a child, or to a disabled, infirm or other person, but does not include a nurse, domestic, therapist, live-in home support worker or an employee of

(a) a business that is engaged in providing that service, or

(b) a day care facility;

Policy Interpretation

Definitions under the Employment Standards Regulation are interpreted narrowly because they take away benefits and protection conferred by the Act. All employment conditions, as described in the definition, must be met in order to qualify as a “sitter”.

A "sitter" is employed solely to attend to a child, or a disabled, infirm or other person in a private residence.

A “sitter” does not include an employee of:

  • a business engaged in providing this service; or
  • a day care facility

Certain care workers not considered a “sitter”

Under the definition of “sitter” certain other persons are also specifically excluded from this definition. They are:

  • nurse
  • “domestic”
  • therapist
  • “live-in home support worker”


If the primary employment duties were to look after a child including performing other duties such as cooking the family dinner and grocery shopping, the employee would not be considered a “sitter” because the sole duties were not restricted to attending to the child.

In-home personal care

A "sitter" also includes any personal care giver who, in a private residence, provides the service of attending to another person, regardless of the nature of the responsibilities. The duties of a sitter typically include bathing, dressing, feeding, lifting from chair to bed, tidying up, accompanying on outings, and generally being there to help if an emergency arises. The duties could also include more specialized care and require training, such as trachea care, suctioning, bowel care and catheterization.

In short, employees who provide in-home personal care, regardless of extent or type, unless they are nurses, or performing the work in occupations defined in section 1 of the Act or Regulation, are sitters.


Heather is employed directly by Ms. Short, in Ms. Short's own home, to care for her. Heather’s regular duties include preparing meals, assisting Ms. Short from her bed to her wheel chair, bathing her and providing bowel and catheter care.

Despite performing specialized duties, Heather is a "sitter" because all of her duties consist of attending to Ms. Short's personal care and she is not an employee of a business engaged in providing personal care services.

A “sitter”, as defined in this section, is excluded from Act

Under Regulation s.32(1)(c) the Act does not apply to a “sitter”.

Related Information

Employment Standards Tribunal Decisions

Rhonda D. McLellan, BC EST #D438/98

Tammy Wood, BC EST #D176/00

Mike Renaud, BC EST #D436/99

Related sections of the Act or Regulation