Employment assistance for Ontario Works clients

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Education and training

There are many types of education, training options and financial supports available to you while you are receiving Ontario Works.


Partners for Jobs (P4J), in partnership with education providers, can help support you while you attend full time classes. Additional education can assist you in preparing for, finding and keeping a job.

Basic education

You can go back to school and get your high school diploma or mature student equivalency. Upgrading your education opens doors to better paying jobs.

Language instruction

You can go to school to learn or improve your English or French. This will make it easier for you to get a job, especially if you are new to Canada.

Literacy and basic skills training

If you need to improve your reading, writing, math or computer skills, we can refer you to a community program. This will help you further your education to reach your employment goal and increase your independence.

If you are interested in pursuing your education, speak to your case coordinator to find out if this is the right activity for you. Extra supports may be available to help you through this activity.


If you need to update your skills to get a job, you may be eligible to participate in a training program. The first step is to determine if any other potential funding sources are available for the Training

If you need to update your skills to get a job, you may be eligible to participate in a training program. The first step is to determine if any other potential funding sources are available for the training, such as the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP), Employment Insurance Programs and Second Career.

If you are receiving Ontario Works and meet certain criteria, you may be eligible for training.
Approval is decided on a case-by-case basis. The training can be no longer than 12 months. Additional supports may be available to help you during this activity. If you are interested in a training opportunity, speak to your case coordinator to find out if you qualify.

Help for young parents

The LEAP program

LEAP – Learning, Earning and Parenting – is a Partners for Jobs employment activity under basic education and literacy training. It is designed to meet the needs of young parents on social assistance. LEAP provides help to finish high school, gain work experience and learn more about parenting.


  • Mandatory for 16 and 17-year-old parents on Ontario Works who have not completed high school
  • Eligible single parents and couples aged 18 to 25 who have not completed high school

Community partners can support the LEAP program by offering non-paid and paid employment placements to help participants gain work experience and on-the-job training.

LEAP provides young parents with additional financial and emotional supports to overcome barriers to school attendance and to learn more about parenting. LEAP can help participants:

  • Finish high school
  • Develop employment skills
  • Plan for the future
  • Get ideas and support
  • Learn more about child development

More information:

Young parents on Ontario Works can find out more about LEAP from their case coordinators. For more information, please call the Partners for Jobs information line at 613-560-6000.

Benefits for participants

As well as gaining education and experience, LEAP participants receive many benefits including financial assistance with:

  • Housing
  • daycare
  • Transportation
  • School or training supplies
  • Upon completion of high school and an approved parenting program, participants will also receive a $500 bursary to be put towards their post secondary education or their child's Education Savings Plan.

LEAP was created to help young parents take good care of their children and themselves. LEAP participants learn to be self-reliant. Completing grade 12 is a positive step towards finding and keeping a job. It also serves as an excellent example about the importance of education to the children of LEAP participants.


What is self-employment?

The self-employment program is an Ontario Works employment activity that supports participants, who have a realistic business idea, to successfully develop their business. Self-employment is a full time activity, however, depending on the circumstances; part time involvement may be approved. 

 Who can participate?

Ontario Works participants who:
  • are legally entitled to operate a business in Canada

  • have a viable/realistic business idea

  • have a business idea that can be started with minimum start-up costs

  • have given their business idea some serious thought and started preliminary research

  • can understand and articulate the gap in the market their product/service will fill

  • can commit to their business for at least 30 hours per week for 60 weeks

  • have no health barriers that would limit their ability to carry out their business idea

  • have stable housing, transportation and childcare supports in place or in the process of being referred/secured.

How does it work?

Ontario Works participants interested to pursue self-employment are:

  • to discuss their interest to participate in the self-employment program with their case coordinator

  • to attend a mandatory Self-employment Information Session, where they will receive instruction on how to complete an application form and learn about the requirements of the program.

  • to complete a Self-Assessment Application form to help determine if they and their business idea are suitable for the program

  • to be working closely with a self-employment case coordinator, once accepted in the program.

What additional supports may be available?

Self-employment and small business development are two of the leading growth areas in the province's economy. Providing Ontario Works participants the opportunity to become self-sufficient through self-employment is another way of helping participants to find and keep a job.
If you become involved with the self-employment program, the following additional supports may be available to you:

  • the support of a self-employment case coordinator

  • referrals to self-employment resources in the community. 

Supports after you get a job

Partners for Jobs (P4J) provides benefits and financial supports to make it easier for you to stay employed.

Job retention services

  • Extended health benefits including medication, dental care and vision care for you and your family

Job placements

Paid or unpaid job placements are available based on your recent work experience and job readiness.

Paid job placement

The City partners with employers and community agencies to create jobs for Ontario Works participants and other unemployed residents. These jobs are posted in our Employment Resource Areas. If you are job ready, we can screen and assess your skills and experience against those required by an employer to find a job that suits you. Additional supports may be available to help you start a placement. Speak to your case coordinator if you feel you are suited for this activity.

Unpaid job placement

Unpaid placements are available if you haven’t worked in a long time and you need work experience. An unpaid placement increases your self-confidence and provides you with an opportunity to meet new people to help you with your job search. An unpaid placement is often a stepping-stone to paid employment as it provides you with experience, an opportunity to develop new skills and get references. Additional supports may be available to help you through this activity. If you are interested in an unpaid placement, speak to your case coordinator.

Self-employment program

Where approved by a case coordinator, participants may be able to pursue self-employment as an employment activity. To learn more about this option, please contact your case coordinator.

Ontario Works employment activities

Ontario Works employment activities give you a good route to paid work by teaching you new skills and giving you more experience. Ask your case worker about these fast-track activities:

Basic education

Education is a crucial prerequisite for establishing a rewarding career. Basic education includes:

  • Complete high school education, grade 12 or equivalent
  • Advanced language skills in either English or French
  • Basic reading, writing and math skills

Social Service Centres





    370 Catherine Street,1st floor (near Bay Street) 613-580-2424 ext. 26402 2339 Ogilvie Road, 1st floor (Beacon Hill Shopping Centre) 613-580-2424 ext. 12240 100 Constellation Drive, 2nd Floor (near Baseline and Woodroffe) 613-580-2424 ext. 27480 2020 Walkley Road (near Conroy Road) 613-580-2424 ext. 15041

    Services for employers

    The City of Ottawa’s Partners for Jobs (P4J) team can work with your business to find and recruit suitable candidates for your staffing needs. We can help your business by marketing open positions to thousands of job seekers. We can screen applicants, arrange interviews and offer support to new employees in a number of ways. What’s best is that these valuable H.R. services are free. Please contact us for more information.

    Submit your job openings to: partnersforjobs@ottawa.ca
    A member of the P4J team will contact you within one business day to follow up. Your job opportunities will be accessed by thousands of job seekers. If you would prefer to speak to a member of the P4J team before submitting your job order, please do so. Our contact information is below and we would be happy to speak with you.

    Job Fairs and On-Site Interviews

    The P4J team has professional Job Developers who can assist businesses to coordinate job fairs, information sessions and job interviews. We have been involved in hundreds of these events, resulting in thousands of job seekers getting hired. If requested, we can provide the facilities to host such events at one of our Employment Resource Areas across the City. We can also help to develop and distribute advertising to ensure that your event is a success. Remember, our services are always free.

    Financial Incentives to Qualified Employers

    The City of Ottawa can offer financial incentives to employers who hire eligible candidates. Incentives can last for up to six months and can be used to offset training and supervision costs that employers may incur. A P4J Job Developer would welcome the opportunity to discuss financial incentives further with you.

    Supports for new employees

    Our P4J services are designed to help new employees stay in their new positions. We offer support in a number of different ways to new employees and employers if required.

    Contact us

    For more information on P4J services, contact us:

    Ontario Works Services

    Partners for Jobs (P4J) is an employment strategy developed by the City of Ottawa to help unemployed and under-employed residents develop an employment plan that leads to finding and keeping a job.

    Ontario Works participants

    OW employment activities

    Learn about activities that can help you get a rewarding job.

    Education and training

    There are options to receive more education and training to help you find a job.

    Job placements

    Find out about programs to get on the job training and experience.

    Building skills for work

    There are lots of workshops offered to help you prepare for, find and keep a job and improve your computer skills.


    Find out about self-employment and if it might be an option for you.

    Support when you get a job

    Partners for Jobs can help you keep a job when you start working with supports to make it easier to stay employed.

    Help for young parents – LEAP

    Find out about the LEAP program that helps young parents finish high school while also learning about child development.

    Employment Resource Areas

    The resource areas are located in each of the Social Service Centres:

    East Central Employment Ontario Centre West South
    2339 Ogilvie Rd. 1st floor, (Beacon Hill Shopping Centre)
    613-580-2424 ext. 12240
    370 Catherine St., Suite 100 (near Bay St.)
    613-580-2424 ext. 26402
    100 Constellation Cres. (near Baseline Rd. and Woodroffe Ave.), 2nd Floor
    613-580-2424 ext. 27480
    2020 Walkley Rd. (near Conroy Rd.)
    613-580-2424 ext. 15041


    Learn about Partners for Jobs recruitment and retention services.


    Marketing services, training staff, attracting volunteers and recruiting new employees are typical challenges faced by many private, public and not-for-profit organizations. Partners for Jobs can help develop partnerships that address these challenges and benefit all parties involved.

    The Partners for Jobs strategy involves the City working with private, public and not-for-profit sectors to monitor labour market trends and plan training programs that meet current and future job market needs.

    Community partners interested in providing employment support, training or work experience, can obtain more information about our employment activities by contacting us at 613-580-2424 ext. 14372 or partnersforjobs@ottawa.ca.

    Through Partners for Jobs, the City offers services to Ontario Works participants to help them prepare for, find, and keep a job. Partners for Jobs also provides recruitment services to employers.