October 2017

6.10: Persons in Residential Programs for the Treatment of Substance Abuse

Legislative Authority

Section 2, 4, 6 and 7 of the Act.
Sections 1(1), 2, 7, 25, 26, 47.1 and 58.3 of Regulation 134/98.

Audit Requirements

Adequate documentation is on file to support the issuance of assistance to persons in residential programs for the treatment of substance abuse.

Documentation to support a decision about the maintenance or reduction of assistance is on file.

Application of Policy

Applicants or recipients who reside in a facility for the purpose of participating in an addiction treatment program, and who satisfy all eligibility requirements, including participation requirements, may receive:

  • an amount for basic needs and shelter (to maintain an existing community residence) where room and board without charge are provided by the facility; or
  • the Ontario Works board and lodging rate where room and board are charged by the facility.

Addiction treatment may be an employment assistance activity only where the delivery agent has been approved by the Director, Ontario Works as an Addiction Services Initiative (ASI) site. Applicants or recipients participating in addiction treatment where delivery agents have not been approved by the Director to deliver the ASI must meet their participation requirements unless the Administrator has approved a temporary deferral based on exceptional circumstances (e.g., to enable voluntary addiction treatment).

Administrators in First Nations and northern communities have the discretion to exercise flexibility when approving employment activities and/or expenses based on cultural and geographic considerations in order to support employment outcomes for clients.

In situations where a member of the benefit unit enters a residential program for the treatment of substance abuse (that provides room and board without charge), retains community accommodation, and has financial commitments related to that accommodation, the full amount of income assistance is issued for the first three full calendar months of residence in the facility.

In situations where a member of the benefit unit enters a residential program for the treatment of substance abuse and is not retaining community accommodation, the amount of assistance issued is set at or reduced to $146 per month, unless other non-exempt income exceeds this amount.

If, during the stay in the residential program, the recipient changes community accommodation (e.g., gives up accommodation, changes from renter to boarder or lodger, etc.) the shelter allowance provided will reflect the change and an amount for basic needs will continue to be provided (adult member of the benefit unit only).

For applicants/recipients, spouses or dependent adults who continue to reside in the residential program for the treatment of substance abuse after three months, the Administrator may reduce income assistance to an amount no less than $146 per month, but the Administrator is not required to do so.

When determining the budgetary requirements after three months for a person residing in a facility that provides room and board without charge to the person, the Administrator may consider the anticipated length of stay and plans to return to the principal residence, as well as the financial commitments in the community. A period of not more than six months in total is the suggested provincial policy guideline for providing a shelter amount to maintain an existing community residence.

If an applicant or recipient is residing in a residential program for the treatment of substance abuse that receives funding for room and board from the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care (MOHLTC), the applicant or recipient is not eligible for assistance for board and lodging from Ontario Works. If MOHLTC does not provide funding for room and board, the applicant or recipient may be eligible for assistance for board and lodging from Ontario Works.

See attached Appendix for example scenarios.

Appendix

The following chart identifies sample scenarios to which the policy concerning residential addiction treatment programs can be applied to Ontario Works.

Scenario

Application of Policy

1. An applicant or recipient resides in a residential addiction treatment facility that provides for their room and board without charge to the person.

Recipients residing in residential addiction treatment facilities that provide for their room and board without charge are not eligible for financial assistance for board and lodging from Ontario Works.

These recipients are eligible for an unreduced amount for basic needs and shelter (to maintain an existing community residence) for the first three months of residency. After three months, their budgetary requirements may be reduced to an amount no less than $146 per month if not provided by the MOHLTC.

2. An applicant or recipient resides in a residential addiction treatment facility that does not provide for their room and board.

Recipients residing in residential addiction treatment facilities that do charge for their room and board are eligible to receive an amount for board and lodging, as long as all other conditions of eligibility, including participation requirements, are met.

These recipients are not eligible to receive a shelter amount to maintain their community accommodation.

3. A recipient is residing in an addiction treatment facility beyond three months and the facility charges for room and board.

Recipients that reside in addiction treatment facilities (that charge for room and board) beyond three months are eligible for board and lodging, as long as all other conditions of eligibility, including participation requirements, are met.

These recipients are not eligible to receive a shelter amount to maintain their community accommodation.

4. A recipient wants his/her participation in a residential addiction treatment program to be the only employment assistance activity on his/her approved Participation Agreement.

Administrators for delivery agents that have been approved by the Director, Ontario Works as an ASI site may approve participation in a residential addiction treatment program as the sole employment assistance activity on the Participation Agreement. Recipients participating in ASI should be encouraged to participate in other employment assistance activities that will help them move towards the goal of employment.

Applicants or recipients participating in addiction treatment in delivery agents that have not been approved by the Director for ASI must meet their participation requirements unless the Administrator has approved a temporary deferral based on exceptional circumstances (e.g. to enable voluntary addiction treatment).

Non-ASI sites may not approve participation in an addiction treatment program as an employment assistance activity.