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Financial assistance

Tax deferral program

The City of Ottawa offers two property tax deferral programs for low-income seniors and low-income people with disabilities. Eligible homeowners may apply for a full or partial deferral of annual property taxes. Application for tax deferral must be made annually to the City of Ottawa to establish eligibility or confirm continued eligibility.

You may apply for one of the following programs:

Full Property Tax Deferral Program
Partial Property Tax Deferral Program

Full Property Tax Deferral Program

Under this program, payment of annual property taxes is deferred for applicants who meet the current program requirements:

  1. Property taxes may be paid up to date or in arrears at the time of application.
  2. No application deadline for first-time applications.

Terms of the Deferral
Repayment of Tax Deferral
Program Requirements

Terms of the Deferral
  1. A non-refundable application fee will be charged to the tax account upon receipt of the application.
  2. A non-refundable renewal fee for subsequent year applications will be charged to the tax account.
  3. Interest on the deferred amounts will be charged at the rate of 5% per annum investment revenue or the cost of borrowing. (These costs will be charged to the tax account).
  4. Approved applicants are responsible for all legal costs associated with the deferral. Legal costs typically relate to title searches, as staff may conduct an annual title search on the property. (All costs will be charged to the tax account.)
Repayment of Tax Deferral

The unpaid tax deferral shall become due and payable at the earliest of the following dates:

  1. the applicant(s) no longer meet eligibility criteria such as income;
  2. the property is sold or transferred;
  3. upon the death of the applicant, unless the applicant is survived by a spouse who continues to qualify for tax deferral;
  4. the total amount of property taxes deferred plus fees and interest exceeds 40 per cent of the assessed value of the property.
Program Requirements
  1. If the property is owned by more than one person who are not married to each other, then all owners must apply and qualify.
  2. Applicant(s) must have continuously owned the property within the City of Ottawa for at least one year before applying for tax deferral.
  3. Must be principal residence of applicant(s).
  4. Property must be assessed in the residential/farm property tax class.
  5. Total amount of property taxes deferred plus fees and interest may not exceed 40 per cent of the assessed value of the property.
  6. The applicant(s)’ total gross household income from all sources is $ 41,130 (for 2017) or less. This amount includes income of all residents in the home. The threshold will be increased annually by the previous year’s Consumer Price Index (CPI).
  7. Renewal application(s) must be made each taxation year by February 28 to confirm continued eligibility.
Low-income Seniors

In addition to meeting the program requirements, an applicant applying for tax deferral, or the applicant’s spouse, must be at least 65 years of age and be eligible for benefits under Old Age Security (OAS) pension.

Low-income People with Disabilities

In addition to meeting the program requirements, an applicant in this category must either:

  • be receiving on-going disability benefits (such as, the Ontario Disability Support Program)
  • be eligible to claim a disability amount on your Canada Revenue Agency Income Tax and Benefit Return
General Information

Applicants must complete and submit an application along with the supporting documentation to apply for the program. Included in the application is a waiver providing the City of Ottawa, Revenue Branch access to personal information.

To receive an application

There are six different ways to receive an application for low-income seniors and low -income people with disabilities under the Full Property Tax Deferral Program:

  1. Print a copy from this website: HTML format
  2. Contact us by e-mail at taxcollections@ottawa.ca 
  3. Send your request in writing to the City of Ottawa, Revenue Branch, 100 Constellation Drive, 4th floor East, Ottawa, ON K2G 6J8 Attn: Full Property Tax Deferral Program
  4. Send your request by fax to 613-580-2457
  5. Drop in to 100 Constellation Drive 4th floor East
  6. Telephone us at 613-580-2740 (TTY 613-580-2401) Transactions will be recorded for training and verification purposes
Returning the Full Property Tax Deferral Application Form

Please make sure the property address and tax roll number are written on all correspondence. Once the form is filled out, it can be returned:

  • by mail to: City of Ottawa, Revenue Branch, 100 Constellation Drive, 4th floor East, Ottawa, ON K2G 6J8 Attn: Full Property Tax Deferral Program
  • or by fax to: 613-580-2457, Attn: Full Property Tax Deferral Program

Within 7 days of receiving your application an Acknowledgment Letter will be mailed to you.

After our office reviews your application for eligibility a letter of either approval or denial into the program will be mailed within 30 days of sending your Acknowledgment Letter.

Partial Property Tax Deferral Program

The City also offers a partial deferral of property taxes to low-income seniors and low-income people with disabilities. Relief is based on the total tax increase over the previous year rather than a total deferral program as noted above. Both program requirements and relief differs from the Full Property Tax Deferral Program. Details of this program are as follows:

Program Requirements
  1. Property taxes must not be in arrears.
  2. Application for relief is made annually to establish eligibility or confirm continued eligibility; application must be made by December 31 in the year that the tax relief is being requested.
  3. Applicant(s) must have continuously owned the property within the City of Ottawa for at least one year before applying for tax deferral.
  4. Property is assessed at $500,000 or less and is in the residential/farm property tax class.
  5. The applicant’s total gross household income from all sources is $30,000 or less.
  6. Real property tax increase must be greater than $100 and 5% over the real property taxes of the previous year.
  7. Must be principal residence of applicant(s).
  8. Must meet one of the following criteria:
    1. be 65 years of age or more by December 31 of the year prior to the year for which the application for tax relief is made, OR
    2. be receiving on-going disability benefits (such as, the Ontario Disability Support Program) or be eligible to claim a disability amount on your Canada Revenue Agency Income Tax and Benefit Return.
  9. The applicant agrees to provide the necessary information to the municipality in order to demonstrate that eligibility requirements have been met.
  10. The applicant signs a waiver providing the municipality access to personal information for the purpose of confirming eligibility.
Relief
  1. Relief is based on the total tax increase over the previous year.
  2. Any amount deferred under this program for taxation years before 2001 is subject to annual interest rate which is the lower of either the bank prime rate plus ½ per cent (.5%) or a rate established by provincial regulations. No such interest may be charged for 2001 or subsequent taxation years.
  3. Total amount of tax relief available is restricted to a maximum of 75% of the current assessment value of the property.
Repayment of Partial Tax Deferral

Deferral amounts represent a lien against the property under provisions established under Subsection 319 (4) and Section 349(3) of the Municipal Act 2001 as amended.

The unpaid partial tax deferral shall become due and payable at the earliest of the following dates:

  1. the applicant(s) no longer meet eligibility criteria;
  2. the property is sold or transferred;
  3. upon the death of the applicant, unless the applicant is survived by a spouse who continues to qualify for tax deferral.
To receive an application

There are six different ways to receive an application for low-income seniors and low-income people with disabilities under the Partial Property Tax Deferral Program:

  1. Print a copy from this website: HTML format
  2. Send your request to the City of Ottawa by email at taxcollections@ottawa.ca 
  3. Send your request to us in writing to the City of Ottawa, Revenue Branch, 100 Constellation Drive, 4th floor East, Ottawa, ON K2G 6J8 Attn: Partial Property Tax Deferral Program.
  4. Send your request by fax to 613-580-2457.
  5. Drop in to 100 Constellation Drive, 4th floor East.
  6. Telephone us at 613-580-2740 (TTY 613-580-2401). Transactions will be recorded for training and verification purposes. 
Returning the Partial Property Tax Deferral Application Form

Please ensure the property address and roll number are written on all correspondence. Once the form is filled out, it can be returned:

  • by mail to: City of Ottawa, Revenue Branch, 100 Constellation Drive, 4th floor East, Ottawa, ON K2G 6J8 Attn: Partial Tax Deferral Program, or
  • by fax to: 613-580-2457, Attn: Partial Tax Deferral Program

Within 7 days of receiving your application an Acknowledgment Letter will be mailed to you.

After our office reviews your application for eligibility a letter of either approval or denial into the program will be mailed within 30 days of sending your Acknowledgment Letter.

Last updated: March 7, 2017

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Ontario disability support program

ODSP is provides income and employment assistance for people with disabilities.

If you receive financial assistance, you may apply to ODSP if you meet all of these conditions:

  • You are disabled, or believe you are disabled
  • You are over 18 years-old
  • You have a substantial health condition expected to last more than two years

If you are not on social assistance, you can still apply to ODSP. To apply, contact the Ministry of Community and Social Services at 613-787-3951.

Medical information review

The Disability Adjudication Unit will contact you directly to review the medical portion of your application. You do not need to go through this step if:

  • You are receiving CPP disability
  • You are 65 years or over
  • You are already receiving Ontario Works disability support and your condition is not expected to improve

ODSP compared to Ontario Works

ODSP provides significantly more funding than Ontario Works. If you do not qualify for ODSP the first time you apply, then you will have to use the Ontario Works asset levels.

It sometimes takes several months to determine if you are eligible for ODSP. If you cannot wait for help, you can apply for Ontario Works. The Employment and Financial Assistance branch can help you to apply for ODSP.

What are Essential Health and Social Supports (EHSS)?

The Essential Health and Social Supports (EHSS) program helps Ottawa residents who cannot afford to pay for items or services needed to maintain their housing and for health items that are not available through other programs.  EHSS may help to pay for things like:

  • Urgent dental care and dentures
  • Eye exams and glasses
  • Fuel/gas/hydro arrears, deposits and reconnection fees
  • Rent arrears and deposits
  • Assistive Devices Program (ADP) 25% consumer contribution
  • Bathroom aids
  • Surgical and diabetic supplies
  • Cremations and burials

Who can get EHSS?

If you receive or earn a low income and have limited savings, we may be able to help. If you are receiving Ontario Works or ODSP, you should talk to your case worker. A case worker must first approve your application. The City of Ottawa will not pay for an item or service that has already been purchased.

Financial Support – Ottawa Hand in Hand

Recreation & Culture Fee Support

The City of Ottawa offers help with program fees so that all residents can take part in recreation and culture activities regardless of their ability to pay. If you are already a participant in a community or social service agency program, or if you are an individual or family with a low-income, you may qualify for the Ottawa Hand in Hand recreation and culture fee support program.

To apply for the Ottawa Hand in Hand, Recreation and Culture Fee Support:

Step 1: Get the application form at any recreation facility or at a Client Service Centre.

Step 2: Complete the application form.

Step 3: Bring the completed application form to your local recreation or cultural facility. A supervisor will review the application for approval.

More information on the fee support program:

  • Residents of all ages are eligible for Ottawa Hand in Hand, recreation and culture fee support.
  • Applications can only be approved at a recreation or cultural facility.
  • Residents are encouraged to apply for the Ottawa Hand in Hand fee support as early as possible before the program registration period. Each qualifying individual, or member of a family, is eligible for an annual amount of fee support ($170 per person).
  • Participants can register for recreation and culture programs or activities at any of the program registration locations across the City.
  • Applicants are encouraged to pay a minimum of 25 per cent of the program cost. A parent or guardian can transfer all, or a portion of their Ottawa Hand in Hand fee support entitlement to a child or children in their household.
  • Applications for Ottawa Hand in Hand, recreation and culture fee support are accepted at anytime.

Cost of medical supplies

Low-income individuals and social assistance recipients can get help with the cost of medical supplies. For information on how to apply for short-term help call 311.

Assistive Devices Program (ADP)

  • Helps any Ontario resident who has a valid Health Number and a physical disability that will continue for six months or longer
  • Pays for basic supportive devices – such as wheelchairs, hearing aids and medical supplies

Costs covered by ADP

  • Pays for 100 per cent of the approved cost, if you receive financial assistance from Ontario Works or Ontario Disability Support Program
  • If you are not receiving financial assistance, ADP pays 75 per cent of the cost of items such as artificial limbs, orthopedic braces, wheelchairs and breathing aids
  • Contributes a fixed amount for adult hearing aids and breast prostheses
  • Finances the cost of needles and syringes for diabetic seniors as well as ostomy and incontinence supplies through an annual grant

NOTE: There are limits and restrictions in all device categories. For example, the repair and replacement of damaged or stolen items is not covered by ADP.

How to apply

Apply for basic support equipment such as wheelchairs, hearing aids and other equipment for independent living by:

  1. A physician, or a therapist recognized as an ADP authorizer must complete your application form.
  2. Social Services must approve your application before you can purchase equipment from the approved vendor.
  3. Get your doctor or therapist to follow up with Social Services.

Help if you can't pay the difference

Private insurance companies, service clubs and charitable organizations such as the March of Dimes, and Easter Seals may be able to help you cover additional costs. Social Services can help you when all other options are exhausted.

More information

  • If you are receiving ODSP (Ontario Disability Support Program), call 613-596-2035.
  • If you are receiving financial assistance from Ontario Works, contact your Case Coordinator.
  • Low-income residents can apply for help by calling 3-1-1 between 8:45 am and 4 pm
    • Select 1 for service in English or 2 for service in French
    • Select 4 for Community and Social Services

TTY Line 1-800-855-0511

Prescription drugs

There are two programs to help you pay for prescription drugs: the Ontario Drug Benefit program and the Trillium Drug Program.

Ontario Drug Benefit program

You qualify if you are:

  • Receiving financial assistance through Ontario Works or Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP)
  • 65 years of age or older
  • A resident of a long-term care facility or a home for special care
  • Receiving professional services under the Home Care program
  • A Trillium Drug Program recipient

Trillium Drug program

You qualify if:

  • You are a low-income individual or family
  • Your insurance covers only a portion of your drug costs
  • Most, but not all, prescription drugs are covered. Your doctor can apply to the Ministry of Health to request that a drug be covered.
  • There is usually a minimal pharmacy fee of $2 for each prescription.
  • Some seniors and Trillium Drug Program recipients must pay a certain deductible for their own prescriptions. This amount varies according to your family size and income. If you can't afford the deductible, the City will look at your financial situation and needs to determine if you are eligible for extra help.
  • You must provide receipts for all paid prescriptions.

How to apply:

  • For the Ontario Drug Benefit program, your coverage is automatic if you are receiving financial or residential assistance.
  • Seniors contact their pharmacist.
  • For help paying the deductible for Ontario Drug Benefit or Trillium Drug Program, low-income residents can apply for help by calling 3-1-1 between 8:45 am and 4 pm:
  • ​​Select 1 for service in English or 2 for service in French
  • Select 4 for Community and Social Services
  • Bell Relay TTY 1-800-855-0511

Dental care

You may be able to receive dental care for children and adults who are Ontario Works recipients, belong to low-income families or are recipients of the Ontario Disability Support Program.

Dental care

Dental services for adults

  • Urgent dental care will be provided for social-assistance (Ontario Works) recipients and low-income adults who qualify for Essential Health and Social Supports (EHSS).
  • Denture services covered under the Community Denture Program may be provided. However, the service must be pre-approved at a City Dental Clinic.

Dental services for children

  • The City will provide basic dental care for dependent children of Ontario Works recipients.
  • Low-income families without dental insurance may qualify for limited dental services.

Where to get dental care:

Ontario Works recipients

Contact a City dental clinic. If your child wishes to continue with the same dentist, the dental clinic will make the arrangements. EFA cannot pay for dental bills unless you obtain pre-authorization from a clinic.

A low-income individual

Low-income families and individuals can call 3-1-1 to apply for Essential Health and Social Supports for dental care. If your application is approved, the City dental clinics will provide you with care.

Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) Recipients

ODSP issues dental cards directly to recipients. You may see any private dentist who accepts ODSP. For further information, or to receive a dental card, contact your ODSP worker.

City dental clinics

  • 40 Cobourg Street (Le Patro) Tel: 613-580-9633
  • 2525 St. Laurent Boulevard (near Conroy Road) Tel: 613-580-9632
  • 400-1580 Merivale Road Tel: 613-580-9631