2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Do you urgently need financial help because of COVID-19?  If you are not already receiving support from Ontario Works or the Ontario Disability Support Program, you can apply for emergency assistance online.

COVID-19 support for current social assistance clients

Ontario has made additional resources available to enable Ontario Works administrators and Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) staff to provide additional assistance for those currently receiving social assistance, who are facing additional costs related to the COVID-19 outbreak. This funding can be used to meet a broad range of needs, for example: cleaning supplies, non-medical transportation, food or clothing that individuals and families may require due to COVID‑19.

Social assistance recipients who are not receiving the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) are eligible for monthly payments of $100 for a single person and $200 for a family until July. Families with a youth under 18 receiving the CERB or a family member in full-time school attendance receiving the CERB may still be eligible for the benefit. Emergency benefits for COVID‑19 related expenses are the same for both programs.

People who receive the emergency benefit in March/April and who meet eligibility criteria will automatically receive the benefit in May, June and July. For new requests, Ontario Works recipients can access emergency benefits by contacting their local office. ODSP recipients can access emergency benefits by calling 1‑888‑444‑2412 or emailing ODSP.EmergencyBenefit@ontario.ca with their member ID and details of their additional costs.

Social assistance treatment of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)

We know these are unprecedented and uncertain times, especially for individuals who are receiving social assistance from Ontario Works and the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP). Recognizing the temporary and emergency nature of the new federal Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), Ontario is treating the CERB similar to earnings under both programs. Ontario will partially exempt income received under the CERB for Ontario Works and ODSP clients who were on the program prior to the COVID-19 outbreak. This approach enables existing clients to partially stack the CERB and social assistance payments, and to continue to access health and other benefits while receiving CERB.

Learn about temporary program changes during the COVID-19 outbreak for Ontario Works and the Ontario Disability Support Program.

Health and safety notice

To help ensure the health and safety of clients and staff, we are asking that clients do not visit Ontario Works or ODSP local offices at this time.

Please:

  • Stay at home
  • Call your caseworker for information
  • Sign up for MyBenefits
  • Call your caseworker to ask about receiving payments electronically through direct bank deposit

If you are told you must visit us, remember the following to help ensure everyone’s safety:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water
  • Do your best to keep at least 2 metres (6 feet) away from others
  • Cough or sneeze into your sleeve or a tissue, washing your hands after you do
  • Please delay your visit if you are unwell, you have been diagnosed with COVID-19 (Coronavirus), or you have travelled outside Canada in the last 14 days

Learn more about the coronavirus (COVID-19)

 

Overview

This link will take you to the video : Devon's story

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).

Learn more about temporary program changes during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Eligibility

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.

Applying

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.

Resources

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