While receiving Ontario Works it is your responsibility to pursue other income and report any money you or any member of your family receives.
Each month you will receive an Income Reporting Statement in the mail. Fill out and return this statement if your family has any income. For income reporting due dates, see the Income Reporting Schedule. If you do not receive your Income Reporting Statement in the mail, you can download a blank statement to fill out and return.
Your eligibility for Ontario Works benefits is based in part on the amount and type of income you receive. Some types of income (such as Employment Insurance payments) will be deducted from your assistance amount at 100%. If you are working, your child care expenses will be considered and in most cases your earnings will be deducted at 50%.
Talk to your caseworker if you have any questions about income reporting. You can also read about benefits and other help for people who start to work, or see more details about income.
|Gifts, loans and donations
Gifts, loans and donations may or may not be deducted as income depending on a number of factors. If you receive a gift, loan or donation, talk to your caseworker.
Pursuing other income
While receiving Ontario Works benefits it is your responsibility to pursue any other income that you or your family members may be eligible for. This means that:
- If you are entitled to financial resources you must make reasonable efforts to try to obtain them.
- Your benefits may be reduced if you do not try to obtain income you are eligible for.
Income can include Employment Insurance (EI), child support and more. For other examples of income sources see Income reporting.
In some cases, help is available for you to pursue income. For example, you can get help with child support through the Family Support Program.
Your caseworker will complete an assignment form with you if an organization or individual owes you money for the same period that you receive Ontario Works benefits from Employment and Social Services. The assignment form is needed because social assistance rules do not allow someone to receive duplicate funds from more than one source for the same time period.
The assignment form allows Employment and Social Services to collect repayment either directly from the organization, or from ongoing payments you may get from the organization, until the amount of Ontario Works benefits you received is repaid.
EXAMPLE – Employment Insurance (EI)
You apply for EI in March. In April you apply for Ontario Works benefits because you need help while Service Canada is processing your EI claim.
If you are eligible for Ontario Works benefits, an assignment form will be completed. In May, Service Canada tells you that you are eligible for EI as of the date that you applied in March. The assignment means that your EI payments will begin, but will be reduced until the money you received from Employment and Social Services for April and May is repaid. When that amount is repaid, the EI payments you receive will increase.
While receiving Ontario Works benefits you must report any changes in your family, living arrangements or financial situation. Sometimes a change in circumstances means that you may be eligible for other services or additional financial benefits.
Changes in your family or living arrangements can include:
- Your address or phone number changes
- Your rent or other housing costs change
- Your child leaves or returns to school, starts work, or leaves or returns home
- The number of people in your family changes, including if you start residing with another adult
- You or a member of your family leaves Ontario for more than 7 days
Changes in your financial situation can include:
- You start a job or begin to receive any other income
- Your support payments stop
- You open or close a bank account
- Your asset situation changes (Examples of assets are life insurance, investments, vehicles and money in your bank account)
Each month you will receive a Change of Information form in the mail. Use this form or talk to your caseworker to report any changes in your situation. If you do not receive your form in the mail, you can download a blank Change of Information form.
Meeting with your caseworker
||While receiving Ontario Works benefits you will need to attend regularly scheduled appointments with your caseworker. These meetings are called Service and Support Interviews. At these meetings you and your caseworker will review your participation in an Ontario Works activity and talk about programs and supports that can help you meet your goals, as well as review your financial information.
Your caseworker will usually meet with you either at an Employment and Social Services office or at your home. You can see our information on home visits.
It is also important to contact your caseworker if:
- you begin to receive income, or your income changes
- there are any changes in your circumstances
- your caseworker requests to speak with you or arrange an appointment
- you or a family member are planning to leave the province for any period of time
- you have questions or need information on benefits or supports available to you
Participating in an Ontario Works activity
While receiving Ontario Works benefits you are usually required to participate in employment-related activities. Any other family member, 18 years of age or older, is also required to participate.
Examples of employment-related activities include:
- Pre-Employment Development programs that help you explore career options and set goals
- Skills training
- Education / Upgrading classes
- Learning, Earning and Parenting (LEAP): a program for parents aged 16 to 25
- Employment Placement
- Job search support from Employment Centres
For information about these and other activities visit Employment Services.
Your caseworker will work with you to create a plan to help you reach your employment-related goals. This plan is called a Participation Agreement. It describes what activities you will be involved in and for how long. The Participation Agreement changes as you meet your goals or as your circumstances change.
Your caseworker may excuse you from participating in an Ontario Works activity if:
- you are caring for a child who is under school age
- you are 65 years of age or older, or
- you cannot participate due to health issues.
If you have health issues talk to your caseworker. Your caseworker may ask for documentation from your doctor. If your health problem is ongoing and substantial you may want to apply to the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP). Your caseworker will provide you with the ODSP medical application package at your request.