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Financial 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.

For more information about Ontario Works and other financial assistance programs available to Ontario Works recipients, visit Ontario Works social assistance.

Rent supplement

The Rent Supplement Program provides affordable housing to eligible low-and moderate-income families in social housing. Once enrolled, households pay no more than 30 per cent of their income towards rent. To make an application for subsidized housing in Ottawa, please contact the Social Housing Registry. The Registry is located at 2197 Riverside Drive, and can be reached by phone at 613-526-2088.

For more information, visit Rent Supplement Program.

Pregnancy and parenting

Healthy Pregnancy

At Healthy Pregnancy, you will find information about a variety of topics relevant to pregnant women, including:

  • Labor and birth
  • Abuse
  • Nutritional tips
  • Post-partum depression
  • Alcohol
  • Exercising
  • Herbal remedies, medications, and drugs
  • Communicable diseases

Prenatal Education

Ottawa Public Health offers a variety of options for prenatal education to meet the needs of Ottawa residents. All classes/programs are facilitated by a Public Health Nurse. The following options are available:

  • Young Parents Pregnancy Circle (up to 25 years of age)
  • Online prenatal classes for all
  • In person prenatal classes to supplement the online class
  • Pregnancy Circles for expecting parents who need more support
  • Prenatal classes offered by other agencies

For more information on these classes/programs, visit: Prenatal Classes/Programs offered in Ottawa.

For information about other services offered by the City of Ottawa for expectant or new parents, please contact the Ottawa Public Health Information Line to speak with a public health nurse. We may be able to help guide you to classes that would best suit your needs. Tel: 613-580-6744 (TTY: 613-580-9656) or 311.

Healthy Babies, Healthy Children

A free home visiting program for pregnant women and families with children from birth until transition to school.

  • Service in the language you speak
  • We are here to answer your questions about pregnancy and parenting; call us at: 613-580-6744.

After your baby is born, a Public Health Nurse will:

  • Call you to assess your health and the health of your newborn
  • Offer support and answer your questions about such things as parenting, feeding, safety, and growth and development

As your child grows, we can help by:

  • Providing information about different programs in your community
  • Connecting you and your family to resources
  • Based on your needs and goals, your family may benefit from home visits from a Public Health Nurse, Social Worker and Family Visitor.

Infant Care and feeding

Baby Express and Breastfeeding Support Drop-ins

If you need help with breastfeeding or have questions about your baby, you can come to one of many FREE drop-ins. Baby Express Drop-ins offer breastfeeding and well baby support by a Public Health Nurse to parents of babies up to one year of age. Breastfeeding Support Drop-ins offer breastfeeding support by a Lactation Consultant. For schedule and location details, visit: Support drop-ins.

Ottawa Breastfeeding Buddies

A mom-to-mom breastfeeding telephone support program where volunteers who have experience breastfeeding, provide support to pregnant and new moms of babies up to 6 months of age. For information on how to connect with a Breastfeeding Buddy, visit: Get help with breastfeeding.

Infant feeding

At Feeding Your Baby, you will find information about a variety of topics relevant to new parents, including:

  • Deciding how to feed your baby
  • Breastfeeding
  • Preparing baby food
  • Introducing solids

Car Seat Safety

For information about car seat safety, how to properly install a car seat, and the progression from car seats to booster seats and seat belts, visit: Child Passenger Safety.

Resources for Dads

Being a parent is not an easy job. Here are some websites you may find helpful:

Dad Central Ontario provides great parenting information for all dads, including free booklets and articles that are available by download. You will also find links to fathering websites from around the world.

The Parent Resource Centre has a Parent Education Calendar to help you find a parenting workshop or a playgroup to enjoy with your child. Search this calendar to find programs for parents and caregivers of children from birth to 6 years of age. Most programs are open to all parents and there are also programs just for dads.

Child care subsidy

A Child Care Fee Subsidy is intended to help families with the high cost of child care. It is available to families living in Ottawa who financially qualify and are determined to be eligible in accordance with the recognized level of need and the availability of funds for subsidy.

Some examples where a parent or guardian may qualify are as follows:

  • Employed and need financial assistance with child care to remain employed
  • Going to school
  • Looking for work
  • Caring for a child with special needs
  • Having personal needs

Child care fee subsidies are available in licensed child care programs for children aged 0 to 10 (11 to 12 years in special circumstances and up to 18 years for a child with a severe handicap).

The City of Ottawa administers the Child Care Fee Subsidy and will pay for all or part of your child care costs once you are determined eligible by a Subsidy Coordinator.

For more information, visit the Child care fee subsidy section.

Recreation and culture fee support

Do you need help to pay for a City of Ottawa recreation or cultural program? The City of Ottawa offers financial support to ensure that all residents can participate in recreation and culture programs and activities offered by the City, regardless of their ability to pay.

Ask for a Hand in Hand application form at your local recreation or cultural facility or any City of Ottawa Client Service Centre. Applicants will be asked to provide proof of financial need. For more information, visit Ottawa Hand in Hand.