While receiving Ontario Works

On this page

Access and update your case information

MyBenefits is an online service for social assistance recipients to report changes in their circumstances or get information about their Ontario Works case. It is available 24/7. With MyBenefits, you can:

  • Send a message to your case worker.
  • Send documents electronically.
  • View monthly statements, including a breakdown of each payment.
  • Receive, view and download letters about your file.
  • Report income and track the status of each submission.
  • Show proof of assistance.
  • Report changes to your address and phone number.
  • Report shelter costs (e.g., rent, mortgage, property tax, maintenance fees).

To use this service, you must have an email address on file and create an account.

Access MyBenefits 

If you are having trouble signing in or registering, visit the Help page or call 1-888-999-6130. For more information, speak with your case worker.

Rights and responsibilities

Learn about your rights and responsibilities for you and your family.

Your rights

  • An interview
  • A decision in writing
  • A chance to have decisions reviewed
  • Benefits available (if you are eligible)

Your responsibilities

  • Attend interviews
  • Look for work and becoming job-ready
  • Keep receipts and statements
  • Tell us about your income and other money received
  • Tell us about your assets
  • Report when something changes in your life and in your family
  • Try to find other sources of income
  • Repay an overpayment
  • Report honestly
  • Participate in employment activities to prepare for and find a job

For more information, visit the Province of Ontario website.

Ontario Works information video

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.


What is self-employment? 

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 you find and keep a job.   

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, may be part time  if approved. 

Who can participate?  

Ontario Works participants who:  

  • Are legally entitled to operate a business in Canada  

  • Have a viable/realistic business idea with minimum start-up costs 

  • Have already started to research their business 

  • Understand and can explain 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  

How does it work?  

Ontario Works participants interested in self-employment must:  

  • Discuss their interest to participate in the self-employment program with their case worker. 

  • Attend a mandatory information session, where they will find out about the requirements of the program.  

  • Complete a self-assessment application form to help determine if they and their business idea are suitable for the program.  

  • Work closely with a self-employment case worker, once accepted in the program.  

What other supports may be available once accepted into the program?  

  • Support of a self-employment case worker  

  • Referrals to self-employment resources in the community   

Learning, Earning and Parenting (LEAP)

The LEAP program helps meet the needs of young parents on social assistance with financial and stability support. Completing Grade 12 is an important step in planning your future. With the support of a case worker, LEAP provides help to: 

  • Finish high school 

  • Develop employment skills 

  • Gain work experience 

  • Learn more about parenting

The program is: 

  • Mandatory for 16 and 17-year-old parents on Ontario Works who have not completed high school 

  • Optional for eligible single parents and couples aged 18 to 25 who have not completed high school 

LEAP program supports may be used to cover the following expenses: 

  • Housing 

  • Child care  

  • Transportation 

  • School or training supplies 

Upon finishing high school and an approved parenting program, participants will receive a $500 bursary to be put towards their post-secondary education or their child's Education Savings Plan. 

For more information about the LEAP program, speak to an Ontario Works case worker.  

Internal reviews and appeals

Internal reviews

If you disagree with a decision about your Ontario Works benefits, you can:

  1. Speak with your case worker to resolve the issue.
  2. Request an Internal Review of the decision.

Your request for an internal review must be made in writing and sent to the Ontario Works office.  You must complete the Internal Review Form [ 75.4 KB ] or provide a letter that includes:

  • A statement that you would like the original decision reviewed
  • The reason you disagree with the decision
  • Your name, date of birth and Member ID
  • Your signature

Your written request must be submitted within 30 days from the date of the original decision. A review will take place within 30 days of receiving your request. You will receive a letter informing you of the internal review decision and what you should do if you continue to disagree.

Appeal to Social Benefits Tribunal

If you disagree with the results of the Internal Review or the office has not completed the Internal Review within 30 days of your request, you may be able to appeal to the Social Benefits Tribunal directly. Your Internal Review Decision letter will tell you whether you can appeal the decision to the Social Benefits Tribunal. Not all decisions can be appealed. 

The Social Benefits Tribunal is an independent group separate from Employment & Social Services and the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services. The Tribunal holds hearings which are like court, but less formal.

If your Internal Review Decision letter states that you can appeal, then you can fill out and send an Appeal Form to the Social Benefits Tribunal. You must send in this form within 30 days of receiving your Internal Review Decision letter.

Appeal forms are available at your local Employment & Social Services office or from the Social Benefits Tribunal website. Send your completed Appeal form to the:

Social Benefits Tribunal
15 Grosvenor Street, Ground Floor
Toronto, Ontario M7A 2G6
Toll-free: 1-800-753-3895
TTY: Call the Bell Relay Service at 1-800-855-0511

After you send in your Appeal form, you will receive a letter from the Social Benefits Tribunal stating the date, time and location of your appeal hearing.

Interim assistance

Interim assistance is financial aid you may be eligible to receive while waiting for your hearing with the Social Benefits Tribunal. This can include pausing overpayment recovery. Contact the Social Benefits Tribunal to apply for interim assistance.

More resources

Status in Canada

All applicants and recipients of Ontario Works must provide documentation to verify their status in Canada.

For more information about residency requirements, visit the Ontario Works policy directives.

Convention refugees

Convention refugees may be eligible for Ontario Works.  Convention refugees are selected by the federal Immigration and Refugee Board based on the United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees. Convention refugees may be sponsored by either the federal government or a private sponsor and are provided with resettlement assistance. Convention refugees who are sponsored may be eligible when the sponsorship ends.

In-country refugee claimants

In-Country (in-land and port of entry) refugee claimants with official documentation confirming they have made a claim for refugee protection are eligible for Ontario Works effective the date they initiated their claim with an immigration officer. Official documentation includes:

  • Refugee Protection Claimant Document (IMM-1442)
  • Acknowledgement of Claim and Notice to Return for Interview Form
  • Entry for Further Examination or Admissibility Hearing Form
  • Acknowledgement of Conditions Form (IMM-1262)

In cases where an individual has a future appointment scheduled with the IRCC to determine if their claim is eligible for referral to the IRB, the status of their claim must be verified one week (five working days) after their scheduled appointment with an immigration officer.

Family-class immigrants

Family class immigrants are sponsored by relatives who live in Canada.

You may be eligible for financial assistance if your sponsor is no longer able to provide for your basic needs, fully or partially. You must try to obtain support from your sponsor unless violence is an issue. In the event of a sponsorship breakdown, any funds issued to the sponsored individual(s) will result in sponsorship debt to the sponsor. The sponsor will be notified by Ontario Works of the potential debt. Special rules apply to family violence.

Refugee claimants

You may be eligible for financial assistance while you wait for your refugee claim hearing with the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB). During this waiting period, you may apply for a work permit and are eligible for basic health coverage from Citizenship and Immigration Canada (Interim Federal Health program).


Tourists are people who are in Canada for a short period of time. They are not eligible for Ontario Works.


Visitors are people who are in Canada for a temporary purpose. A visitor may have a tourist visa, student visa or work permit/authorization or may be temporarily re-located from another country (e.g., a natural disaster has forced a community evacuation).

Visitors are not eligible for Ontario Works unless they have made a claim for refugee protection or applied for status as a permanent resident under the federal Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA)

Cultural interpreter or Sign Language interpreter

If you have a limited knowledge of English or French, you can bring any adult you chose including a cultural interpreter.

You have the right to request cultural interpretation services if your first language is not English or French.

An interpreter can support with the following:

  • Translate information about the programs and services you for which you are eligible.

  • Interpret word for word the message from your case worker who will explain the programs and services for which you may be are eligible for.

Please note that two days are required to book a cultural interpreter if one is needed for an appointment.

If you are a person who is hard of hearing and your preferred method of communication is Sign Language, a Sign Language interpreter can be arranged for you.


Changes in your life can affect your Ontario Works benefits.  For example, if you get a part-time job or your rent changes, so will the amount of your Ontario Works payment. Depending on when you report these changes to your case worker, you may receive benefits you are not eligible for.

When this happens, it is called an overpayment. That money must be repaid. Your payment each month will be reduced, until the overpayment amount is paid back in full. You can make a request to your case worker to lower the monthly repayment amount.

Even if you no longer receive Ontario Works, you must pay back the amount you were overpaid. 

Pay your Ontario Works or social housing overpayment