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Apply for Ontario Works

If you need help paying for food and shelter, you can apply for Ontario Works.

Ontario Works is financial assistance from the Province of Ontario, sometimes also known as social assistance. Eligibility depends on your household income, what you own, and the number of people in your family. Only one application is needed per family.

Watch this video to learn how Ontario Works can help you.

To apply, you must:

The application will take about 45 minutes to complete. Once submitted, you will receive a call within 4 business days.

Apply Online

Other information

You can apply for Ontario Works by phone. The application will take 45 minutes to an hour.

Before applying, make sure you have the following information for the application:

  • Your current address
  • Housing costs
  • Lists of expenses (e.g., child care costs)

Also, for each family of your household, you'll need:

  • Date of birth
  • Status in Canada (citizen, immigrant, refugee, etc.)
  • Total Income
  • List of assets and their values
  • Social Insurance Numbers and Ontario Health Cards

To apply by phone:

  • Call 905-793-9200 if you live in Brampton or Mississauga.
  • Call toll-free at 1-800-327-5379 if you live in Caledon.

If you aren't eligible for financial help you will get a letter. This letter will tell you why your application wasn't accepted. You can ask for the decision to be re-considered. This is called an appeal.

You can appeal if:

  • your application wasn't accepted, or
  • you're already getting financial help, but you feel you need more money to meet your needs.

To get more information about appeals, visit the Province of Ontario's How to Appeal a Decision page.

Ontario Works provides financial and employment assistance to people in financial need. Eligibility for assistance depends on the number of members in your benefit unit, your shelter costs, income, assets and participation in approved employment assistance activities. If you are eligible for assistance, you will receive assistance each month for as long as you are eligible.

Your Rights

  1. Any time that you meet with your worker you can bring someone with you. This person can be anyone you would like to have there.
  2. We will inform you in writing of any decision that we make regarding your eligibility or amount of assistance including suspending or cancelling your assistance.
  3. If you do not agree with a decision that we make, you will have the right to ask for an internal review. You must ask for an internal review within 10 days. We will notify you of the result of the internal review. If you do not agree with the result, you can file an appeal with the Social Benefits Tribunal. If you did not first ask for an internal review, the Social Benefits Tribunal will not hear your appeal. There are a very limited number of decisions for which there are no rights of appeal. You will be informed of your appeal rights when decisions concerning your eligibility or amount of assistance are made.

Your Responsibilities

  1. You are required to attend an employment information session at the second stage of the application process.
  2. You may be required to take a literacy screening test at the second stage if you have not completed grade 12 or its equivalent. If you provide proof of a learning disorder, you are not required to take the literacy screening test.
  3. If you are applying to the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) through Ontario Works and you have assets above the Ontario Works asset limit and you have not previously used the one-time asset exemption, then you are required to complete an Agreement to Reimburse. If you are determined to be ineligible for ODSP, you must repay some or all of the assistance that you have received.
  4. You will be required to meet with your worker at least every 3 months to review your participation in employment assistance activities and every 12 months to review your financial information.
  5. Contact your worker promptly if:
    • You receive a message that your worker needs to speak to you.
    • There are any changes in your circumstances.
    • You are planning to leave the province for any period.
    • If you being to receive income or your income changes
  6. Respond promptly if you receive a request for information or a form to complete.
  7. All members of your benefit unit who are 18 years of age and older are required to participate in employment assistance activities including a looking for work or better paying work. Activities that may be approved include:
    • Independent job search
    • Employment placement
    • Education or training program
    • Supports to self-employment
    • Learning, Earning, and Parenting program
    • Job search support (i.e. resume workshop)
    • Community placement
    • Addiction treatment program
    • Self-employment activity
    • Literacy training program

    All members are required to immediately report any changes in their participation.

  8. Keep receipts and statements so that your worker can verify your income, expenses and assets. Keep receipts and statements such as:
    • Pay Stubs
    • Hydro, water, and heating costs
    • Bank account books/statements
    • Fire insurance
    • Rent or mortgage payments
    • Income tax assessment or returns
    • Child care costs
  9. Obtain and report all available income that you or a member of your benefit unit is owed or receives, including any earnings and training allowances. Each month you will receive an income reporting form that is used to report all changes to your income. If you or any member of your family begins to receive income or your income changes, you must report this income to your worker and the completed statement must be received in your worker's office by the due date. Your worker will review your income history regularly. Examples of sources of income include:
    • Earnings
    • Sponsor payments
    • Interest or dividends
    • OSAP
    • Sale of assets
    • Training allowance
    • WSIB
    • Roomer/boarder income
    • Pensions
    • Insurance/accident claims
    • Child/spouse support
    • Inheritances or lotteries
    • Employment Insurance
    • Money owed tyou
    • Self-employment income
    • Farm income
    • Child care income
    • Compensation for victims of crime
  10. Report all your assets. An asset is property of all kinds, including cash or anything that you own that can be converted into cash. The total dollar value of your assets affects your eligibility for assistance. The equity that you have in real estate other than your primary residence is included as an asset at the time of application. Examples of assets include:
    • Primary or other residence or real estate
    • Life insurance
    • Collections or valuables
    • Investments
    • Vehicles
    • Money in bank account
    • Remember to tell your worker immediately if you or anyone in your benefit unit:

    • Sells or transfers an asset
    • Borrows money
    • Buys a new asset
    • Opens or closes a bank account
  11. Report your living arrangements and any other changes. Tell your worker immediately if there are changes in your current living arrangement such as:
    • Your address or phone number changes
    • Your rent or other home cost changes
    • Your dependent leaves school, return tschool, starts work, leaves home or returns home
    • The number of people in your benefit unit changes
    • You or a member of your benefit unit leaves Ontario for a period greater than 7 days
  12. You and your spouse are responsible to repay all overpayments you may have. If you leave social assistance, you and your spouse are still required to repay the overpayment.
  13. You are responsible for following the rules of the Ontario Works Program including honest reporting of all circumstances and changes of circumstances that affect eligibility