Ontario Works social assistance

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:

How to apply for Ontario Works


Go to ontario.ca/socialassistance to start your online application for social assistance. The application is:

  • Confidential
  • 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.  

Rescheduling your Intake Appointment

If you  booked your Intake Appointment using the online appointment scheduling service, you may reschedule or cancel your appointment online.  

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:

  • Identification
    • Birth Certificate
    • Ontario Health Card
    • Social Insurance Number
    • Immigration Papers
  • Assets
    • Bank statements
    • RRSPs
    • Life Insurance
    • Car ownership/insurance
    • Any assets liquidated in the last 12 months
  • Income
    • Pay stubs
    • EI stub or Record of Employment
    • Income Tax Assessment and Notice of Assessment
    • NCBS Statement
  • Other
    • Marriage Certificate, Custody/Separation Agreement or Divorce Papers
    • Résumé
    • 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.)

Important Notice:

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.

  • August Ontario Works payment (cheque) date is Friday, July 31.
  • September Ontario Works payment (cheque) date is Monday, August 31.
  • October Ontario Works payment (cheque) date is Wednesday, September 30.