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Video transcript

Ontario Works helps people who are in financial need. It offers two types of assistance:

  • Financial assistance, including:
      • income support to help with the costs of basic needs, like food, clothing and shelter
      • health benefits for clients and their families
  • Employment assistance to help clients find, prepare for and keep a job. This assistance may include:
      • workshops on resume writing and interviewing
      • job counselling
      • job-specific training
      • access to basic education, so clients can finish high school or improve their language skills

In most cases, a client must agree to participate in employment assistance activities in order to receive financial assistance.

Emergency assistance is also available to people who are in a crisis or an emergency situation (e.g. people who have lost their homes, are leaving an abusive relationship and/or are worried about their safety).


To be eligible for Ontario Works you must:

  • live in Ontario
  • be in financial need (your household doesn’t have sufficient financial resources to meet basic living expenses)
  • be willing to make reasonable efforts to find, prepare for and keep a job (unless you have specific circumstances that temporarily prevent you from doing so, such as an illness or caregiving responsibilities)

Other adult members of your household must also agree to participate in employment assistance activities.


You can start the application process either online, by phone or in person.

Once you’ve started the process, an Ontario Works caseworker will contact you to schedule an in-person meeting.

You will be asked to bring specific documents to the meeting, so that the caseworker can verify:

  • your personal information
  • information about members of your household
  • your household’s financial needs
  • your household’s income and assets

During your meeting, you will be asked to sign several forms, including a consent form that gives the Ontario Works office permission to access information about you from other government programs or organizations (e.g., Ministry of Transportation, Employment Insurance, Equifax Canada).

The Ontario Works office will use the information you provide, along with the information from other organizations, to determine if you qualify for assistance.

A decision will be made within four business days from when you first contacted the office, as long as you have provided all of the required information and completed the application.


This link will take you to policy directives that are used by Ontario Works offices to help ensure fair and consistent service across the province.

Source law

Ontario Works is governed by the Ontario Works Act and