As the cost of living rises, there is the need for a social assistance program to provide support to low-income and middle-income Ontarians as well as Ontarians struggling to find jobs. Ontario Works is one such social assistance program.
As one of the main welfare pillars in Ontario, Ontario Works is designed to provide support to families and individuals in need to help them cover the costs of necessities like food and shelter, and also find job opportunities.
What Is Ontario Works?
Ontario Works is a social assistance program sponsored and funded by the provincial government of Ontario. The program offers non-taxable financial assistance to eligible low-income or moderate-income earning Ontario residents to help them cover the costs of living essentials like food and shelter.
The program is administered monthly by the Ministry of Children, Community, and Social Services and provides employment assistance to unemployed Ontarians and health benefits to its recipients.
Ontario Works Payment Dates For 2023
If you're eligible for Ontario Works, you will receive your monthly benefit payment for each benefit month on the last business day of the previous month.
The 2023 Ontario Works payment dates are:
|December 30, 2022
|January 31, 2023
|February 28, 2023
|March 31, 2023
|April 28, 2023
|May 31, 2023
|June 30, 2023
|July 31, 2023
|August 31, 2023
|September 29, 2023
|October 31, 2023
|November 30, 2023
Ontario Works Benefits You Might Receive
Ontario Works provides various benefits to each eligible recipient. It offers financial assistance to Ontarians in need of finances, health support, as well as job opportunities.
Ontario Works Financial Assistance
The Ontario Works financial assistance program is aimed at providing temporary financial support to eligible recipients to cover the costs of basic living expenses, including food and shelter.
To ensure that you are qualified for Ontario Works' financial assistance benefits, you need to be financially eligible.
The Ontario Works amount you may be eligible to receive is dependent on your income, assets, the cost of necessities as well as your family size. You can find more information about eligibility in the tables below.
Ontario Works Employment Assistance
The Ontario Works employment assistance program is designed to help recipients of Ontario Works, who are job seekers, find and keep jobs. Ontario Works offers assistance in the form of job counselling, job training, basic education, and other job-related support.
To receive support from Ontario Works employment assistance, you must participate in employment-related activities.
Ontario Works Health Benefits
Depending on your circumstances, you and your family members may be qualified to receive health coverage for prescription drugs and other health-related costs. Ontario Works offers the following health benefits coverage to recipients and their families:
- Prescription drug coverage: This covers the cost of prescription drugs that are listed in the Ontario Drug Benefit Formulary.
- Dental health coverage: If you have children who are 17 years or older, they will be enrolled to receive dental care from the Healthy Smiles Ontario dental care program. For adults, the Ontario Works program will provide coverage for their dental care.
- Vision care coverage: Ontario Works also provides coverage to help pay for your and your children's vision care expenses. The program also offers coverage for expenses like prescription eyeglasses, as well as eyeglass repairs. Under the Ontario Works vision care coverage, you and your children may also undergo regular eye examinations if you have a health condition that affects your eye health.
Ontario Works will also provide coverage for routine eye examinations every 24 months.
- Coverage for medical supplies: This covers the costs of medical supplies like blood glucose monitors, syringes, and other supplies you may have a prescription for.
- Coverage for medical transportation: If you need to attend medical rehabilitation or counselling appointments over long distances, Ontario Works provides coverage for the transportation costs incurred.
- Coverage for assistive devices: If you qualify for the Assistive Devices Program, you may get financial help to cover the costs of health equipment. The Ontario Works may help with some of the costs not covered by the Assistive Devices Program, such as the cost of batteries and repairs of assistive devices like wheelchairs.
- Extended health benefits: This health benefit is designed for people who have high health costs but no longer qualify for Ontario Works due to their income.
Ontario Works Guide Dog Benefit
This benefit is available for Ontario Works recipients who have certified guide dogs. The Ontario Works Guide Dog benefit provides financial aid to assist in caring for your dog.
Ontario Works Eligibility Requirements
To be eligible for Ontario Works you must:
- be at least 16 years old.
- be in financial need. That is you and your family lack enough money to cover the costs of your living expenses.
- be an Ontario resident, not a visitor or tourist.
- have assets within the acceptable asset thresholds.
- be willing to participate in employment-related activities.
Ontario Works Payment Amount
If you are eligible for Ontario Works, you will receive your payments every month. The Ontario Works amounts you may be eligible for will be in two parts: basic needs allowance and shelter allowance.
The benefit amount you may be eligible to receive is dependent on the cost of living expenses, your income, and assets as well as your family size.
Basic Needs Allowance
This covers the costs of food, clothing, and other essentials. The amount you are eligible to receive is based on:
- The number of people in your family.
- The age of your family members.
Depending on these factors, the amount you might be eligible to receive is as follows:
|Number of children aged 17 years or under
|Number of dependent adults aged 18 years and above
|The amount received by a single individual
|The amount received by a married couple
For each additional child aged 17 years or under, you do not get any extra amount. However, you will receive an extra amount of $175 for each additional dependent adult aged 18 years and above.
The shelter allowance portion of the Ontario Works provides financial aid to cover the costs of rent, mortgage payments, utility bills, condo fees, home insurance premiums, property taxes, and other shelter-related costs.
The amount you may be eligible to receive is based on your family size and the actual costs of your housing up to a maximum amount.
Based on these factors, the amount you may be eligible to receive is as follows:
|Number of Family Members
|Maximum Monthly Shelter Allowance
|6 or more
Board And Lodging Allowance
The board and lodging allowance is available to recipients who receive food and shelter from the same source. The amount received depends on:
- your family size and
- the age of your family members.
If you are under a board and lodging arrangement, the amount you may receive if you are single is as follows:
|Number of children 17 years and under
|Number of dependent adults 18 years and above
|Amount received for board and lodging
|Total amount received
If you have a spouse, the amount you may be eligible to receive is as follows:
|Number of children 17 years and under
|Number of dependent adults 18 years and above
|Amount received for board and lodging
|Total amount received
If you are a single parent, you get an extra $69 for each additional child aged 17 years or under and an extra $120 for each additional dependent adult aged 18 years or older.
Ontario Works Application Process
The application process for Ontario Works takes about 20 to 30 minutes and you can apply online on the Ontario Works page. You will need to apply only once for yourself and your family members living with you.
To complete the application you will need your:
- Social Insurance Number (SIN).
- Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) cards.
- Immigration papers, if any.
- Birth certificate.
- Tax returns
- Banking information.
Once you have all these documents ready, you can follow the stages below to complete the application.
Here, you'll be asked to fill in your and your family members' personal information such as your full legal names, addresses, dates of birth, Canadian status, email addresses (where applicable), total income and assets, shelter costs, other living expenses as well as your banking information.
When you have filled in the necessary information, you can apply.
After you have submitted your Ontario Works application, a caseworker from your local office will review your application and contact you within four business days of submitting your application, not including weekends and holidays, to schedule an appointment.
After setting up an appointment with your caseworker, you will meet with your caseworker to verify your application. You may be asked to provide more information on the documents you submitted in your application.
You will also sign a consent form allowing Ontario Works to verify the information you provided from other government organizations.
Once you've provided your caseworker with all the information needed to verify your application, your caseworker will contact you within four business days to tell you if you have been approved for Ontario Works assistance, and how much you may be eligible to receive.
However, if Ontario Works determines that you are not eligible to receive financial aid, you can request within 30 days that the application be reviewed again.
Here, your caseworker will get in touch with you to set up a meeting to develop a plan for you to involve yourself in employment-related activities. If you have a situation such as an illness or caregiving duties, that might prevent you from participating in these activities, you may be allowed to opt-out of them.
Ontario Works: Is It Taxable?
The Ontario Works program offers a non-taxable benefit payment. The benefit amount you receive is not included as taxable income when filing your tax returns and you do not owe taxes deductible from the Ontario Works income you receive.
However, you must ensure that you file your income tax and benefits returns every year to ensure that you keep receiving your benefit payments.
Ontario Works Payment Disbursement
You can choose to receive your Ontario Works payments by direct deposit, mail, or by reloadable payment card.
- Direct Deposit: This is the quickest, easiest, and most secure method of receiving your payments. This is usually the preferred option as it allows your funds to be available to you on the due dates.
- By Mail (Cheques): If you choose to receive your Ontario Works payments by mail you might receive your funds at an earlier or later date, depending on the mail service in your area.
- Reloadable Payment Card: This option is available to recipients who do not have bank accounts to receive direct deposits. The reloadable payment card functions like a debit card. Every month, your Ontario Works payments will be loaded onto the card and you can withdraw the money at any ATM point or use it for your online transactions.
Working And Earning When On Ontario Works
All eligible recipients of Ontario Works and their family members above 18 years must participate in employment-related activities to help them find and keep jobs.
Your caseworker will help you develop a plan geared towards improving your skills and helping you find and keep a job.
Once you start working, you will be required to report your monthly earnings in the Statement of Income form that you will get with your Ontario Works cheque or direct deposit statements monthly even when you do not earn anything during the month.
You will be required to report your gross pay, which is the amount you receive before all deductions, including taxes, are made, and your net pay, which is the amount received after all deductions, including taxes, are made.
If you're earning money from a job, you will still receive Ontario Works for the first three months in a row after which Ontario Works will deduct $0.5 from your Ontario Works benefit amount for every $1 you earn on your job.
Transition Child Benefit
You may also be eligible for the Transition Child Benefit if you already receive assistance from Ontario Works.
You can be eligible to receive the Transition Child Benefit if you:
- have children that are under 18 years old.
- are not a recipient of the Ontario Child (OCB) or the Canada Child Benefit (CCB).
- are receiving less than the maximum payable amount of the Ontario Child Benefit (OCB) for your child or children.
- are waiting for your monthly Ontario Child Benefit (OCB) payment to start.
The amount you may be entitled to receive is dependent on how much you receive from the Ontario Child Benefit (OCB) and the Canada Child Benefit (CCB).
You do not need to apply to receive the Transition Child Benefit if you already receive the Ontario Works benefit. If you're qualified, you will receive it automatically.
Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP)
The ODSP is a social assistance program sponsored by the Ontario government and issued by the Ministry of Children, Community, and Social Services to low-income and middle-income earning Ontarians with disabilities.
If you're a recipient of the Ontario Works, you may also be qualified for the ODSP.
The ODSP is designed to provide income support, employment support, and health benefits to eligible individuals who are unable to work as a result of certain medical conditions or disabilities.
To be eligible for the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP), you will be assessed to meet both the financial requirements and the disability requirements.
You can be eligible for the ODSP if you:
- are at least 18 years old.
- are an Ontario resident.
- meet the ODSP definition of a disabled person.
- are legally allowed to work in Canada.
If you're eligible for ODSP income support, you may receive a maximum amount of $1,169 per month, depending on your situation.
The provincial government of Ontario provides different social assistance programs to help Ontarians in need. The Ontario Works is one such program targeted at low-income and moderate-income earning Ontarians to provide financial aid to help them cover the costs of living expenses as well as find and keep a job. To keep receiving these benefits, Ontarians should ensure that they file their annual income tax and benefit returns every year.
Ontario Works Payment Dates FAQs
What day does Ontario Works get deposited?
Ontario Works payments are deposited on the last business day of the previous month. Cheques are sent by mail and may arrive at an earlier or later date depending on the mail service in your area.
How much money do you get on welfare in Ontario?
You can get a maximum amount of $733 per month for basic needs and shelter if you are single.
How much money can I have in my bank account on Ontario Works?
You can have a maximum amount of $10,000 in your bank account if you are single and a maximum amount of $15,000 in your bank account if you have a spouse.
Can you travel while on Ontario Works?
Yes, you can. However, you should not travel for more than seven days. If you travel for seven days or less, Ontario Works will not cut off your benefit payments.
Will Ontario Works pay for dentures?
Yes, Ontario Works will pay for dentures as well as any dental services for you and your family members under its dental coverage. The dental coverage also covers the costs of dental repairs and reclines.