If you are in temporary financial need, the Ontario Works program can provide you with money and help you find a job.
To be eligible to receive help from Ontario Works, you must:
Live in Ontario
Need money to help pay for food and housing costs
Be willing to take part in activities that will help you find a job. Some exceptions apply
Ontario Works Information Video
The Ontario Works Information Video is part of the application process. It provides an overview of your rights and responsibilities while receiving employment and financial assistance under the Ontario Works program. Applicants are asked to sign a declaration stating that they have viewed this video. The video is also available in French, Arabic, Spanish and Somali.
Other important information about the Ontario Works program:
Accessible from any computer with an Internet connection
Available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in English and French
Accessible for people with disabilities
The website will give you instructions on how to complete the application. The online application includes a screening section that can tell you whether or not you might be eligible before you submit your application. This part of the application is anonymous and requires no last name.
If you chose to proceed with your online application, you will need to attend an in-person intake appointment at a local Social Services Centre.
An online appointment scheduling service will allow you to choose a date and time for your Intake Appointment.
You may also call 3-1-1 or 613-580-2400 for help to reschedule your Intake Appointment.
Over the phone
Call 3-1-1 or 613-580-2400 to make your application over the phone. The information needed to complete your phone application is the same as what is required to complete an online application. The phone line is open Monday to Friday, 8:45 am to 3:45 pm. The telephone interview may take up to 30 minutes.
What to expect at the intake appointment
You will meet a caseworker who will review the information you gave online or over the phone, who will let you know if you qualify for financial assistance and if so, how much. You and other adult family members who live with you need to be with you to fill out and sign mandatory forms.
You will be asked to bring supporting documents to your interview. Here are some examples:
Ontario Health Card
Social Insurance Number
Any assets liquidated in the last 12 months
EI stub or Record of Employment
Income Tax Assessment and Notice of Assessment
Marriage Certificate, Custody/Separation Agreement or Divorce Papers
School Report Card/Attendance Record
Power of Attorney
Void Cheque (for Direct Bank Deposit)
If you are homeless or don’t have proper identification, you can still apply.
All information you provide is confidential as per the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
City of Ottawa staff will determine eligibility in accordance with the Ontario Works Act. Visit the Ministry of Community and Social Services website to view the Ontario Works policy directives. Policy directives are an interpretation of the laws that govern Ontario’s social assistance programs. They are also the rules and guidelines that Ontario Works program staff follow when making decisions about eligibility and benefits.
If you do not agree with our decision
If you do not agree with a decision about your application, first discuss the issue with your case worker so the decision can be explained in detail. If you still do not agree, you can ask for a review of our decision. This is called an internal review. The person who does the review will not be the same person who made the original decision. To make your request, you must write a letter or fill out a Request for Internal Review form.
Information to complete an application
You will be asked basic personal and financial information for you and anyone else living with you:
Date(s) of birth
Health card number(s)
Social Insurance Number (optional for online application)
Housing costs (rent/mortgage, heat and other utilities)
Income (any money you receive from a job, EI, child support, etc.)
Assets (anything you own such as a bank account, vehicle, RRSP, etc.)
In November 2014, social assistance offices across Ontario started to use a new computer system designed to help deliver social assistance in a more effective and efficient manner. Learn more about the new system.
April Ontario Works payment (cheque) date is Tuesday, March 31.
May Ontario Works payment (cheque) date is Thursday, April 31.
June Ontario Works payment (cheque) date is Friday, May 29.