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Ontario Works Caseloads

The number of cases (individuals and families) who are in temporary financial need and are provided with employment and financial assistance.

Key Highlights

  • Average Ontario Works (OW) caseloads declined by 8.2 per cent in January - June 2020.
  • Since November 2019, monthly OW caseloads have remained below 17,000 cases.
  • The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020 and associated decline in employment increased the financial vulnerability of many Peel residents.
  • Government supports to affected individuals have delayed the expected increase in OW caseloads.

For the period January – June 2020, Peel’s average Ontario Works (OW) caseloads were 16, 080 cases, a decline of 8.2 per cent relative to the same period last year, representing the sharpest 6-month decline since 2008.

After increasing to 16,940 cases in April 2020, OW caseloads declined in May and June 2020 as residents applied for government supports, including the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).

Quarterly Changes

In Q2 2020, average OW caseloads recorded in Peel were 16,157 cases, 5.9 per cent below the number of cases recorded in Q2 2019.

This was the ninth consecutive quarterly decline in Peel’s OW caseloads.

Peel’s OW caseloads trended up since 2002 and started declining in the second quarter of 2018 as labour market conditions improved.

With the onset of COVID-19, labour market conditions have deteriorated but with the availability of government supports for Peel residents, demand for social services is likely to decline until the supports expire.