|Updated November 2012|
This section is an excerpt from the Ontario Works Act, 1997 prescribed by the Province of Ontario.
1 (1) "dependant" in relation to an applicant or recipient, means,
(a) a person who resides in the same dwelling place and who is,
(b) a spouse who is absent from the dwelling place of the applicant or recipient if the absence is for a reason other than a breakdown in the relationship with no reasonable prospect of reconciliation;
1 (1) "sole support parent", with respect to an applicant, recipient or dependant, means a person with one or more dependants and no spouse included in the benefit unit.
1 (1) "spouse", in relation to an applicant or recipient, means,
(a) a person, if the person and the applicant or recipient have together declared to the administrator or to the Director under the Ontario Disability Support Program Act 1997 that they are spouses.
(b) a person who is required under a court order or domestic contract to support the applicant or recipient or any of his or her dependants.
(c) a person who has an obligation to support the applicant or recipient or any of his or her dependants under section 30 or 31 of the Family Law Act, whether or not there is a domestic contact or other agreement between the person and the applicant or recipient whereby they purport to waive or release such obligation to support, or(d) a person who has been residing in the same dwelling place as the applicant or recipient for a period of at least three months, if,
1 (2) For the purpose of the definition of "spouse" sexual factors shall not be investigated or considered in determining whether or not a person is a spouse.
2 (1) For the purposes of the Act and the regulations, a person is a dependent adult, in relation to an applicant or recipient if,
(a) the applicant or recipient or the spouse included in the applicant's or recipient's benefit unit is the person's parent;
(b) the person resides in the same dwelling place as the applicant or recipient;
(c) the person is 18 years of age or older;
(d) the person is not financially independent as determined under subsection (2); and
(e) the person has not been determined to be a person with a disability under the Ontario Disability Support Program Act, 1997 or a member of a prescribed class under subsection 4 (1) of Ontario Regulation 222/98 (General) made under that Act.
(2) A person is financially independent if,
(a) the person resides with a person who would be his or her spouse if the person were an applicant or recipient or the person has resided with such a spouse at any time in the past;
(b) the person is eligible as a sole support student under the Ontario Student Assistance Program or has been so eligible at any time in the past;(c) there have been one or more periods totalling at least two years in which,
(c. 1) the person is no longer attending school, as defined in subsection 1(1) of the Education Act, or receiving instruction at home or elsewhere for the purpose of clause 21 (2) (a) of the Education Act and five years have elapsed since the person's last day of school or since the person ceased to receive instruction at home or elsewhere, as the case may be;
(c. 2) the person has received a diploma from a college of applied arts and technology or a degree from a university or other institution with degree-granting authority;
(c. 3) the person has lawful custody of his or her child, or has had lawful custody or his or her child in the past; or
(d) in any month,
11 (1) A dependent adult is not eligible for income assistance on his or her own behalf.
(2) A person who is a dependent adult or a dependent child and who has a dependent child may apply for income assistance on behalf of the dependent child but is not eligible for income assistance on his or her own behalf.
(3) A person who resides in the same dwelling place as his or her parent is not eligible for income assistance on his or her own behalf unless he or she is financially independent within the meaning of subsection 2 (2).
(4) A person to whom subsection (3) applies and who has a dependent child may apply for income assistance on behalf of the dependent child.
44 (2) The budgetary requirements for an applicant or recipient who is a sole support parent to whom subsection 11 (2) or (4) applies or is a sole support parent who is a dependant under the Ontario Disability Support Program Act, 1997 shall be equal to the sum of the following amounts:
|Number of Dependants
Of the Dependant
|5 or more||
44. (3) The budgetary requirements for an applicant or recipient who resides in the same dwelling place as a person who is his or her parent or the parent of his or her spouse included in the benefit unit shall be equal to the sum of the following amounts:
|Basic Needs Rate Table|
|No. of Dependants
Other than a Spouse
18 Years or Older
|For each additional dependant:|
|add $159 if the dependant is 18 years of age or older,|
or $0 if the dependant is 0-17 years of age.
(4) The budgetary requirements set out in subsection (3) do not apply to a person who is an applicant or recipient if he or she meets any one of the following criteria:
(5) Despite the determination that a person is financially independent within the meaning of subsection 2 (2), the person may elect to be considered not financially independent if he or she would, but for his or her election under this subsection, have his or her budgetary requirements determined under subsection (3).
27(1) Subject to subsection (2), every participant is required to participate in one or more employment assistance activities in accordance with sections 28 and 29.
(2) The administrator shall temporarily defer the requirement under subsection (1) with respect to a participant who meets at least one of the following criteria:
A sole support parent, over 18 years of age, living in his or her parents home will have eligibility for social assistance and the calculation of budgetary requirements based on whether,
If not residing with parents, applicants or participants do not require a determination of financial independence.
If residing with parents, applicants or participants do require a determination of financial independence. The caseworker will then determine eligibility for assistance based on whether the applicant or participant is considered to be financially independent or a dependent adult.
A determination of whether a person is financially independent is completed for all applicants 18 years of age and older who are living with their parents.
An applicant is determined to be financially independent if one or more of the following criteria is met:
If financial independence has been met, the applicant or participant may apply for social assistance in his or her own right:
Financially independent adults living with parents who meet one or more the exceptions to the "living with parents" rule will have their budgetary requirements determined according to family size and actual shelter costs. Budgetary amounts will be based on sections 41 and 42 (2) or section 44 (1) of the regulations, as appropriate.
A person who has been determined to be financially independent may elect to have their budgetary requirements determined as a dependent adult.
If the financially independent adult elects to have their budgetary requirements determined as a dependent adult, they will be included in the parental benefit unit if the parents are in receipt of assistance.
A sole support parent, under the age of 18 years of age, living at home with his or her parents is considered a "dependent child" and is not eligible for assistance in his or her own right. A minor sole support parent who is a dependent child cannot meet the criteria of "financial independence". A minor sole support parent may apply for assistance on behalf of his or her dependent child(ren).
A dependent child has no eligibility in his or her own right. Eligibility for social assistance depends on his or her parent's eligibility.
Legislation allows for a dependent child who has a dependent child to apply for income assistance on behalf of the dependent child while not being eligible for income assistance in his or her own right.If parents are not in receipt of social assistance (or are not eligible for social assistance)
A financially independent adult who has a dependent child may apply for assistance in his or her own right or "elect" to remain a dependent adult and apply for income assistance on behalf of the dependent child.
The sole support parent caseload represents a diverse population presenting multi-faceted needs and issues. It is imperative that all staff are aware of these needs and exercise sensitivity and discretion during the service planning process.
Sole support parents are considered mandatory participants with the exception of:
Sole support parents, with at least one dependent child (or child for whom temporary care assistance is being received) and publicly funded part-time or full-time education is not available, are considered to be categorically deferred from mandatory participation in Ontario Works. They can voluntarily participate in any of the Employment Assistance activities.
All clients with mandatory requirements are expected to fully participate in Ontario Works (OW). However depending on individual circumstances, there may be reasons for a temporary deferral or restrictions on full participation in OW.
Reasons for client circumstance deferrals or restrictions on full participation may include:
The presence of these factors/barriers have a direct impact on the well being of the children and the stabilization of the family unit. A family unit in any one or a combination of situations, may be vulnerable, at risk and unable to function or interact within the community. The family unit may need additional supports, such as medical intervention, agency involvement etc, to help ease and deal with the difficulties experienced by the family members.
Documentation and verification from a third party, such as a medical professional, agency counsellor, Children's Aid Society (CAS) etc, are required when assessing the appropriateness of a restriction or deferral based on a fragile family situation. The caseworker should document in SDMT Note individual circumstances used to support the decision for a deferral or restriction (Director Approved Exception - Client Circumstance) from full OW participation. The Participation Agreement Review (PAR) should focus on assisting the client in obtaining or accessing the necessary supports to resolve any issues preventing him or her from fully participating in the OW program.
The length of time of a deferral or a restriction will vary with each case depending on individual circumstances.
Sole support parents under the age of 25 years may have requirements under Learning, Earning and Parenting (LEAP).
All mandatory OW participants must comply with all program requirements in order to maintain eligibility for social assistance. However, given the special circumstances and complexity of the sole support parent group, the caseworker should document any issues of non-compliance and discuss with a Supervisor, Direct Program (SDP).
There is a legislative requirement to pursue all available resources including family support and maintenance.Operating principles: