Ontario Works office hours may have changed. Please contact your Ontario Works office to find their revised business hours. Offices may also be working with reduced staff. Please be patient as staff do their best to assist you, answer calls and respond to inquiries. For everyone’s health and well-being, please avoid going to an Ontario Works office unless asked to do so.

Key information for clients

You will continue to receive your monthly Ontario Works payment. If you usually pick up payments from your Ontario Works office, contact your office for instructions.

You do not need to drop off an income report in person. You may use the MyBenefits online service, mail, email, or call the office. Payments will not be suspended if the report is late.

Payments for Special Diet Allowance, or health or other recurring benefits expiring will be extended and a new form is not required.

If you need a new health benefit such as diabetic supplies or glasses for a child, or other assistance, contact your local office. If you can’t get in to see a healthcare practitioner, we will help you complete the relevant form.

Emergency benefit

Ontario Works recipients who have additional expenses related to the COVID-19 outbreak and who don’t receive Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) income (with some exceptions), are eligible for monthly payments of $100 for a single person or $200 for a family until July 2020. Families with a youth under 18 receiving CERB or a family member in full-time school attendance receiving CERB may still be eligible for the benefit. If you received the emergency benefit in March or April and meet eligibility criteria, you will automatically receive the benefit in May, June and July. For new requests, contact your Ontario Works office with your name, member ID and your additional expenses. Please allow 15 days for new requests to be processed.

Applying for ODSP

Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) applications continue to be processed during this time. If you think you are eligible for ODSP, please advise your Ontario Works office. They will do their best to help you have an ODSP application completed by your healthcare practitioner.

Appeals and reviews

If you disagree with a decision and want to ask for an internal review, the timeline for asking is suspended during the emergency period.

Some decisions can be appealed to the Social Benefits Tribunal (SBT) after seeking internal review. You must still request an internal review to appeal.

For questions about an SBT appeal, contact the SBT at 1-800-753-3895 (toll free), 1-800-855-0511 (TTY), or visit sjto.gov.on.ca/sbt

Treatment of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)

For Ontario Works recipients, CERB payments will be treated in a similar manner to employment earnings.

If you are receiving the CERB, you should report this income. You can do this using phone, fax, mail or email where available.

For existing Ontario Works recipients granted before March 1, 2020, CERB payments will qualify for a partial exemption: the first $200 and 50 per cent of each additional dollar received in a month will be exempt.

If you qualify for the CERB partial exemption but become financially ineligible for Ontario Works financial assistance due to the CERB, you will not lose access to health benefits – you will remain on social assistance, at a nominal amount, to ensure continued access to benefits and case management supports.

For new and recent Ontario Works applicants granted assistance on or after March 1, 2020, CERB payments will be deducted dollar-for-dollar when determining eligibility for social assistance and when assessing the first three months of entitlement.

Please do not contact Ontario Works to apply for the CERB. For information on eligibility for CERB or to apply visit: Canada Emergency Response Benefit.

Treatment of the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB)

For Ontario Works recipients, CESB payments will be treated in a similar manner to employment earnings.

If you are receiving CESB you should report this income. You can do this using phone, fax, mail or email where available.

For existing Ontario Works recipients granted before May 1, 2020, the CESB will be fully exempt for adult students in full-time secondary or postsecondary studies and students under 18 years of age. For adult part-time postsecondary students and recent postsecondary graduates, the CESB will be partially exempt; the first $200 and 50 per cent of each additional dollar received in a month will be exempt.

Existing Ontario Works recipients who become financially ineligible for Ontario Works financial assistance while receiving the CESB will not lose access to health benefits – you will remain on social assistance, at a nominal amount, to ensure continued access to benefits and case management supports.

For new and recent applicants granted assistance on or after May 1, 2020, the CESB will be deducted dollar-for-dollar from social assistance payments when determining eligibility for social assistance and when assessing the first three months of entitlement. After the three-month qualifying period, the CESB will be partially or fully exempt. This dollar-for-dollar deduction will not apply to students who are under 18 or full-time adult secondary students.

Please do not contact Ontario Works to apply for the CESB. For information on eligibility for the CESB and how to apply: visit Canada Emergency Student Benefit.

Additional resources

  • Receiving payments by cheque? Consider switching to direct bank deposit (DBD) payment or a reloadable payment card (RPC). Contact your Ontario Works office to find out what option is available to you.
  • Want to know more about your Ontario Works payment or benefits? Visit Ontario.ca/mybenefits or use the Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system. Contact your Ontario Works office for help getting set up.
  • Want more information about the provincial response to COVID-19? Visit Ontario.ca/covid19