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Financial assistance

Property tax and water utility deferral programs

Property tax deferral program

The City of Ottawa offers two deferral programs for property taxes for low-income seniors and low-income people with disabilities. Eligible homeowners may apply for a full or partial deferral of their annual property taxes. Existing applicants must apply to the program annually and verify continued eligibility.

You may apply for the program as follows:

  • Full property tax deferral
  • Partial property tax deferral

Full Property Tax Deferral Program

Under this program, the City defers payment of annual property taxes, at a reduced interest rate, for applicants who meet the current program requirements.

Property taxes may be paid up to date or in arrears at the time of application. There is no deadline for first-time applicants.

Program requirements

  1. If the property is owned by more than one person who are not spouses, then all owners must apply and qualify.
  2. Applicant(s) must have continuously owned the property within the City of Ottawa for at least one year before applying for deferral.
  3. Must be principal residence of applicant(s).
  4. The property must be assessed in the residential/farm property tax class.
  5. The total cumulative amount of deferred property taxes and water and sewer charges, plus fees and interest, may not exceed 40 per cent of the assessed value of the property.
  6. The applicant(s)’ total gross household income from all sources is $42,749 (for 2019) or less. This amount includes income of all residents in the home. The threshold will be increased annually and is based on the annual Consumer Price Index (CPI).
  7. Applicants shall submit a renewal application annually no later than the 1st day of July in the year the deferral is sought.

Low-income seniors

In addition to meeting the program requirements, an applicant applying for tax deferral, or the applicant’s spouse, must be at least 65 years of age and be eligible for benefits under Old Age Security (OAS) pension.

Low-income people with disabilities

In addition to meeting the program requirements, an applicant in this category must either:

  • be receiving on-going disability benefits (such as, the Ontario Disability Support Program), or
  • be eligible to claim a disability amount on your Canada Revenue Agency Income Tax and Benefit Return

Terms of the deferral program

  1. A non-refundable application fee will be charged to the tax account upon receipt of the application.
  2. A non-refundable renewal fee for subsequent year applications, will be charged to the tax account.
  3. Interest on the deferred amounts will be charged at the rate of 5% per annum. These costs will be charged to the tax account.
  4. Approved applicants are responsible for all legal costs associated with the deferral. Legal costs typically relate to title searches, as staff may conduct an annual title search on the property. All legal costs will be charged to the tax account.

Repayment of deferred property taxes

The deferred taxes shall become due and payable at the earliest of the following dates:

  1. When the applicant(s) no longer meet eligibility criteria such as income;
  2. When the property is sold or transferred;
  3. Upon the death of the applicant, unless the applicant is survived by a spouse who continues to qualify for deferral (The tax deferral cannot be transferred to the estate of deceased owner(s));
  4. When the total cumulative amount of deferred property taxes and water and sewer charges, plus fees and interest, exceeds 40 per cent of the assessed value of the property.

How to apply

Applicants must complete and submit an application along with the supporting documentation to apply for the tax deferral program. Included in the application is a waiver providing the City of Ottawa, Revenue Services access to personal information.

There are a number of ways to apply for low-income seniors and low-income people with disabilities under the Full Property Tax Deferral Program:

  1. Print a copy of the application 
  2. Contact us by e-mail at taxdeferralprogram@ottawa.ca 
  3. Send your request in writing to
    City of Ottawa, Revenue Services,
    100 Constellation Drive, 4th floor East,
    Ottawa, ON K2G 6J8
    Attn: Property Tax Deferral Program
  4. Send your request by fax to 613-580-2457
  5. Drop in to 100 Constellation Drive 4th floor East
  6. Telephone us at 613-580-2740 (TTY 613-580-2401) Transactions will be recorded for training and verification purposes

To Return the application form

Please write the property address and tax roll number on all correspondence. Once the form is filled out, return:

  • Mail or deliver to:
    City of Ottawa, Revenue Services,
    100 Constellation Drive, 4th floor East,
    Ottawa, ON K2G 6J8
    Attn: Property Tax Deferral Program
  • by fax to: 613-580-2457, Attn: Property Tax Deferral Program
  • by email at taxdeferralprogram@ottawa.ca 

An acknowledgment letter will be mailed to you, upon receipt of your application.  Once we have reviewed your application for eligibility, a letter of either approval or denial will be mailed to your attention.

Partial Property Tax Deferral Program

The City also offers a partial deferral of property taxes to low-income seniors and low-income people with disabilities. Relief is based on the total tax increase over the previous year rather than a total deferral program as noted above. Both program requirements and relief differ from the Full Property Tax Deferral Program. Details of this program are as follows:

Program Requirements

  1. Property taxes must not be in arrears.
  2. Application for relief is made annually to establish eligibility or confirm continued eligibility; the application must be made by December 31 in the year that the tax relief is being requested.
  3. Applicant(s) must have continuously owned the property within the City of Ottawa for at least one year before applying for tax deferral.
  4. Property is assessed at $500,000 or less and is in the residential/farm property tax class.
  5. The applicant’s total gross household income from all sources is $30,000 or less.
  6. Real property tax increase must be greater than $100 and 5% over the real property taxes of the previous year.
  7. Must be principal residence of applicant(s).
  8. Must meet one of the following criteria:
    1. be 65 years of age or more by December 31 of the year prior to the year for which the application for tax relief is made, OR
    2. be receiving on-going disability benefits (such as, the Ontario Disability Support Program) or be eligible to claim a disability amount on your Canada Revenue Agency Income Tax and Benefit Return.
  9. The applicant agrees to provide the necessary information to the municipality in order to demonstrate that eligibility requirements have been met.
  10. The applicant signs a waiver providing the municipality access to personal information for the purpose of confirming eligibility.

Relief

  1. Relief is based on the total tax increase over the previous year.
  2. Any amount deferred under this program for taxation years before 2001 is subject to the annual interest rate which is the lower of either the bank prime rate plus ½ percent (.5%) or a rate established by provincial regulations. No such interest may be charged for 2001 or subsequent taxation years.
  3. Total amount of tax relief available is restricted to a maximum of 75% of the current assessed value of the property.

Repayment of Partial Tax Deferral

Deferral amounts represent a lien against the property under provisions established under Subsection 319 (4) and Section 349(3) of the Municipal Act 2001 as amended.

The unpaid partial tax deferral shall become due and payable at the earliest of the following dates:

  1. the applicant(s) no longer meet eligibility criteria;
  2. the property is sold or transferred;
  3. upon the death of the applicant, unless the applicant is survived by a spouse who continues to qualify for tax deferral.

How to apply

Applicants must complete and submit an application along with the supporting documentation to apply for the tax deferral program. Included in the application is a waiver providing the City of Ottawa, Revenue Services access to personal information.

There are a number of ways to apply for low-income seniors and low-income people with disabilities under the Full Property Tax Deferral Program:

  1. Print a copy of the application 
  2. Send your request to the City of Ottawa by email at taxdeferralprogram@ottawa.ca 
  3. Send your request to us in writing to the
    City of Ottawa, Revenue Services,
    100 Constellation Drive, 4th floor East,
    Ottawa, ON K2G 6J8
    Attn: Partial Property Tax Deferral Program.
  4. Send your request by fax to 613-580-2457.
  5. Drop in to City office at 100 Constellation Drive, 4th floor East, Ottawa, ON.
  6. Telephone us at 613-580-2740 (TTY 613-580-2401). Transactions will be recorded for training and verification purposes.

Returning the Partial Property Tax Deferral Application Form

Please write the property address and roll number on all correspondence. Once the form is filled out, return:

  • by Mail or deliver to:
    City of Ottawa, Revenue Services,
    100 Constellation Drive, 4th floor East,
    Ottawa, ON K2G 6J8
    Attn: Partial Tax Deferral Program, or
  • by fax to: 613-580-2457, Attn: Partial Tax Deferral Program or
  • by email at taxdeferralprogram@ottawa.ca

An acknowledgment letter will be mailed to you, upon receipt of your application.  Once we have reviewed your application for eligibility, a letter of either approval or denial will be mailed to your attention.

Water utility bill deferral program

The City of Ottawa offers a deferral program for water utility bills for low-income seniors and low-income people with disabilities. Eligible homeowners may apply for deferral of their water utility bills. Existing applicants must apply to the program annually and verify continued eligibility.

Under the program, payment of water bills is deferred for applicants who meet the current program requirements.

There is no deadline for first-time applicants.

Program requirements

  1. Water bills must be paid up to date.
  2. If the property is owned by more than one person who are not spouses, then all owners must apply and qualify.
  3. Applicant(s) must have continuously owned the property within the City of Ottawa for at least one year before applying for the deferral program.
  4. Must be principal residence of applicant(s).
  5. Property must be assessed in the residential/farm property tax class.
  6. Total cumulative amount of deferred taxes and water and sewer charges, plus fees and interest, may not exceed 40 per cent of the assessed value of the property.
  7. The applicant(s)’ total gross household income from all sources is $42,749 (for 2019) or less. This amount includes income of all residents in the home. The threshold will be increased annually and is based on the annual Consumer Price Index (CPI).
  8. Applicants shall submit a renewal application annually no later than the 1st day of July in the year the deferral is sought.

Low-income seniors

In addition to meeting the program requirements, an applicant applying for water deferral, or the applicant’s spouse, must be at least 65 years of age and be eligible for benefits under Old Age Security (OAS) pension.

Low-income people with disabilities

In addition to meeting the program requirements, an applicant in this category must either:

  • be receiving on-going disability benefits (such as, the Ontario Disability Support Program)
  • be eligible to claim a disability amount on your Canada Revenue Agency Income Tax and Benefit Return

Terms of the deferral program

  1. 1.  A non-refundable application fee will be charged to the tax account upon receipt of the application.
  2. 2.  A non-refundable renewal fee for subsequent year applications will be charged to the tax account.
  3. 3.  Water bills being deferred will be transferred to the tax account annually. An annual transfer-to-tax fee applies.
  4. 4.  Interest on the deferred amounts will be charged at the rate of 5% per annum. These costs will be charged to the tax account.
  5. 5.  Approved applicants are responsible for all legal costs associated with the deferral. Legal costs typically relate to title searches, as staff may conduct an annual title search on the property. All costs will be charged to the tax account.

Repayment of deferred water utility accounts

The deferred water account balances shall become due and payable at the earliest of the following dates:

  1. When the applicant(s) no longer meet eligibility criteria such as income;
  2. When the property is sold or transferred;
  3. Upon the death of the applicant, unless the applicant is survived by a spouse who continues to qualify for deferral (The water deferral cannot be transferred to the estate of deceased owner(s);
  4. When the total cumulative amount of deferred taxes and water and sewer charges, plus fees and interest, exceeds 40 per cent of the assessed value of the property.

How to apply

Applicants must complete and submit an application along with the supporting documentation to apply for the deferral program. Included in the application is a waiver providing the City of Ottawa, Revenue Services access to personal information.

There are a number of ways to apply for low-income seniors and low-income people with disabilities under the deferral program:   

  1. Print a copy of the application 
  2. Contact us by e-mail at taxdeferralprogram@ottawa.ca
  3. Send your request in writing to the
    City of Ottawa,
    Revenue Services,
    100 Constellation Drive, 4th floor East,
    Ottawa, ON K2G 6J8
    Attn: Water Utility Bill Deferral Program
  4. Send your request by fax to 613-580-2457
  5. Drop in to 100 Constellation Drive 4th floor East
  6. Telephone us at 613-580-2740 (TTY 613-580-2401) Transactions will be recorded for training and verification purposes

Returning the application form

Please make sure the property address and water account/customer number  are written on all correspondence.

Once the form is filled out, return,mail or deliver to:

  • City of Ottawa
    Revenue Services
    100 Constellation Drive, 4th floor East,
    Ottawa, ON K2G 6J8
    Attn: Water Deferral Program
  • by fax to: 613-580-2457, Attn: Water Deferral Program
  • by email at taxdeferralprogram@ottawa.ca 

An acknowledgment letter will be mailed to you, upon receipt of your application.  After our office reviews your application for eligibility a letter of either approval or denial into the program will be mailed to your attention.

Tax Deferral Program is also available.

Last updated: April, 2019

Ontario disability support program

If you have a disability and need help with your living expenses, you may be eligible for the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP).

ODSP offers:

  • Financial assistance to help you and your family with essential living expenses
  • Benefits, for you and your family, including prescription drugs and vision care
  • Help to find a job and advance your career

Apply for ODSP

To apply for ODSP, visit the provincial Ministry of Community and Social Services website or call the ODSP office at 613-787-3951.

It sometimes takes several months to find out if you can get ODSP. If you cannot wait for help, you can apply for immediate financial help through the Ontario Works program.

Essential Health and Social Supports (EHSS) program

The Essential Health and Social Supports (EHSS) program helps Ottawa residents who cannot afford to pay for items or services needed to maintain their housing and for health items that are not available through other programs. EHSS may help to pay for things like:

  • Urgent dental care and dentures
  • Eye exams and glasses
  • Fuel/gas/hydro arrears, deposits and reconnection fees
  • Rent arrears and deposits
  • Assistive Devices Program (ADP) 25% consumer contribution
  • Bathroom aids
  • Surgical and diabetic supplies
  • Cremations and burials

Who can get EHSS?

If you receive or earn a low income and have limited savings, we may be able to help. If you are receiving Ontario Works or ODSP, you should talk to your case worker. A case worker must first approve your application. The City of Ottawa will not pay for an item or service that has already been purchased.

Financial support – Ottawa Hand in Hand

If you are already a participant in a community or social service agency program, if you are an individual or family with a low-income or a family member with a disability, you may qualify for the Ottawa Hand in Hand recreation and culture fee support program.

Step 1: Print the application form [ PDF - 546 KB ] at home, or pick one up at most staffed recreation facility or at a Client Service Centre.

Step 2: Complete the application form.

Step 3: Bring the completed application form to your local recreation or cultural facility. A supervisor will review the application for approval. Applications can only be approved at a recreation or cultural facility.

  • Residents of all ages are eligible.
  • Residents are encouraged to apply as early as possible before the program registration period.
  • Each qualifying individual, or member of a family, is eligible for an annual amount of fee support ($175 per person).
  • Applicants are encouraged to pay a minimum of 25 per cent of the program cost.
  • A parent or guardian can transfer all, or a portion of their Ottawa Hand in Hand fee support entitlement to a child or children in their household.

Cost of medical supplies

Low-income individuals and social assistance recipients can get help with the cost of medical supplies. For information on how to apply for short-term help call 311.

Assistive Devices Program (ADP)

  • Helps any Ontario resident who has a valid Health Number and a physical disability that will continue for six months or longer
  • Pays for basic supportive devices – such as wheelchairs, hearing aids and medical supplies

Costs covered by ADP

  • Pays for 100 per cent of the approved cost, if you receive financial assistance from Ontario Works or Ontario Disability Support Program
  • If you are not receiving financial assistance, ADP pays 75 per cent of the cost of items such as artificial limbs, orthopedic braces, wheelchairs and breathing aids
  • Contributes a fixed amount for adult hearing aids and breast prostheses
  • Finances the cost of needles and syringes for diabetic seniors as well as ostomy and incontinence supplies through an annual grant

NOTE: There are limits and restrictions in all device categories. For example, the repair and replacement of damaged or stolen items is not covered by ADP.

How to apply

Apply for basic support equipment such as wheelchairs, hearing aids and other equipment for independent living by:

  1. A physician, or a therapist recognized as an ADP authorizer must complete your application form.
  2. Social Services must approve your application before you can purchase equipment from the approved vendor.
  3. Get your doctor or therapist to follow up with Social Services.

Help if you can't pay the difference

Private insurance companies, service clubs and charitable organizations such as the March of Dimes, and Easter Seals may be able to help you cover additional costs. Social Services can help you when all other options are exhausted.

More information

  • If you are receiving ODSP (Ontario Disability Support Program), call 613-596-2035.
  • If you are receiving financial assistance from Ontario Works, contact your Case Coordinator.
  • Low-income residents can apply for help by calling 3-1-1 between 8:45 am and 4 pm
    • Select 1 for service in English or 2 for service in French
    • Select 4 for Community and Social Services

TTY Line 1-800-855-0511

Prescription drugs

There are two programs to help you pay for prescription drugs: the Ontario Drug Benefit program and the Trillium Drug Program.

Ontario Drug Benefit program

You qualify if you are:

  • Receiving financial assistance through Ontario Works or Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP)
  • 65 years of age or older
  • A resident of a long-term care facility or a home for special care
  • Receiving professional services under the Home Care program
  • A Trillium Drug Program recipient

Trillium Drug program

You qualify if:

  • You are a low-income individual or family
  • Your insurance covers only a portion of your drug costs
  • Most, but not all, prescription drugs are covered. Your doctor can apply to the Ministry of Health to request that a drug be covered.
  • There is usually a minimal pharmacy fee of $2 for each prescription.
  • Some seniors and Trillium Drug Program recipients must pay a certain deductible for their own prescriptions. This amount varies according to your family size and income. If you can't afford the deductible, the City will look at your financial situation and needs to determine if you are eligible for extra help.
  • You must provide receipts for all paid prescriptions.

How to apply:

  • For the Ontario Drug Benefit program, your coverage is automatic if you are receiving financial or residential assistance.
  • Seniors contact their pharmacist.
  • For help paying the deductible for Ontario Drug Benefit or Trillium Drug Program, low-income residents can apply for help by calling 3-1-1 between 8:45 am and 4 pm:
    • ​​Select 1 for service in English or 2 for service in French
    • Select 4 for Community and Social Services
    • Bell Relay TTY 1-800-855-0511

Dental health for older adults

The following dental care is available in the community free of charge for older adults:

  • Dental screening where a dental hygienist will look in your mouth using a tongue depressor. The hygienist can identify urgent dental needs and may help you find treatment
  • Fluoride varnish application
  • Dental health information
  • Denture cleaning at some locations

To find the closest location, date and time, use the monthly calendar and follow these steps:

  1. Use the "Advanced Search" tool
  2. Enter the keyword "dental" 
  3. Select "search"

Emergency dental care

Limited emergency dental care may be available for older adults. Call 3-1-1 to apply for Essential Health and Social Supports. If your application is approved, an Ottawa Public Health dental clinic will provide you with emergency care.

Dentures

Limited denture benefits may be available for older adults. Call 3-1-1 to apply for Essential Health and Social Supports. If your application is approved, an Ottawa Public Health dental clinic will give you an appointment for a denture assessment.

Keep your teeth for life

Keep a healthy mouth and find tips for good dental habits

Keep Your Teeth for Life [ PDF - 173 KB ]