November 2017

1.5 - Exceptional Circumstances for Issuing Paper Cheques

Summary of Policy

The Director has the authority to direct how income support is paid to individuals who are receiving ODSP.
ODSP income support may be paid by:

  • direct bank deposit (DBD);
  • reloadable payment card (RPC); or
  • paper cheque.

DBD is the preferred method of payment for ODSP, followed by RPC. Individuals are paid by paper cheque only in exceptional circumstances.

Legislative Authority

Section 53 (4) of the ODSP Regulation

Summary of Directive

In most cases, people receive ODSP income support payments by DBD or RPC.

DBD and RPC are easy-to-use and convenient for the majority of people receiving ODSP. Paper cheques are still available for those who are unable to use DBD or RPC.

Intent of Policy

To clarify that ODSP income support is to be paid through DBD and RPC unless individuals have a valid reason for receiving payment by paper cheque.

Application of Policy

During the ODSP application or eligibility review processes, ministry staff discuss the available methods of payment and explain the benefits of using DBD or RPC.

Individuals who are able to open and maintain a bank account are encouraged to enroll in DBD. With DBD, social assistance payments are electronically deposited into the individual’s bank account. Individuals can then access money in their accounts.

Individuals who are unable to open or maintain a bank account may use an RPC. This card is similar to a debit card, but is not attached to a bank account. Social assistance payments are electronically loaded onto a card that is used with a Personal Identification Number to withdraw money from Automated Teller Machines (ATM), and make point-of-sale or online purchases.

Individuals who are unable to use either DBD or RPC due to exceptional circumstances may receive ODSP payments by paper cheque.

Exceptional Circumstances for Using Paper Cheques

The Director may approve using paper cheques to individuals who:

  • do not have access to an ATM or bank branch within a reasonable distance of their home to allow for use of a bank/debit card;
  • have limited access to shops and businesses in their area with point-of-sale bank/debit card reader machines;
  • have a disability that prevents them from using a bank/debit card;
  • are unable to open a bank account because they do not have acceptable identification documents;
  • are living in a situation that does not allow for DBD or RPC, e.g., group home or institution;
  • are living on a First Nations reserve and are unable to participate in DBD;
  • have a trustee that is unable to participate in DBD (e.g., trustee cannot open or maintain a bank account jointly with the individual). Note: RPC is currently not available for individuals with trustees.

In limited cases, other exceptional circumstances may be approved by the Director.

Related Directive

1.1 Applications