are your circumstances?
If you do not see details about your situation here, you may want to read about:
- Help with food, rent and other costs
- Help for people in crisis
- Employment services
- Help for people not receiving social assistance
16 and 17 year olds
If you are 16 or 17 years old, you may be able to apply for Ontario Works benefits from Employment and Social Services under special circumstances. Special circumstances include:
- your parent(s) will not or cannot support you financially and/or will not let you live at home,
- physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, or
- through no fault of your own, there is no home or financial support available from your family.
A caseworker will discuss these circumstances with you when you apply for Ontario Works. The caseworker may need to talk to your parent(s) about your situation.
If you are eligible for Ontario Works benefits you will need to:
- Keep in contact with a responsible adult. This could be a relative or close friend who is at least 21 years old. This person would be expected to:
- keep in regular contact with you,
- encourage you to attend and progress at school,
- help you with daily tasks such as budgeting and grocery shopping, and
- contact your caseworker with any concerns about your Ontario Works participation and help with resolving any problems.
Families with children
Canada Learning Bond
The Canada Learning Bond (CLB) is a free grant from the Government of Canada to help eligible families save for their children's education.
To receive the CLB, you do not need to be receiving social assistance. However you need to:
- have a child born after December 31, 2003
- have a Social Insurance Number (SIN) for yourself and your child(ren)
- be receiving the National Child Benefit Supplement (NCBS)
- open or have a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP)
You can receive $500 for your child's RESP, and depending on continued eligibility you could receive $100 per year until your child turns 15, up to a maximum of $2000. If you don't have a SIN or a RESP, our staff can help you get one.
For more information, visit www.smartsaver.org, or the Government of Canada's www.canlearn.ca page about the CLB.
Ontario Child Benefit
The Ontario government has introduced a new benefit for low-income families with children under 18. Employment and Social Services does not issue the Ontario Child Benefit.
To receive the benefit, you do not need to be receiving social assistance. However you need to:
For more information, call the Canada Revenue Agency at 1-866-458-2198
(TTY: 1-800-665-0354) or visit the Ontario Child Benefit website.
Newborn Child Allowance
This allowance is for people receiving social assistance. It helps parents buy items they need when they have a new child.
Your caseworker can issue the Newborn Child Allowance four months before the expected due date or up one year after the birth of your baby. Parents who adopt a child can also get this money.
The allowance can include up to:
- $260.00 for a crib, and
- $100.00 to help you buy other items you need for your child, such as clothing.
Pregnant women and mothers who are breast-feeding can also receive a nutritional allowance. Read more about special diet help.
Help for single parents
If you are a single parent, you may be entitled to child and/or spousal support. While receiving Ontario Works benefits, the Ontario Works Act requires you to make a reasonable effort to pursue all types of income, including support.
You can get help through the Family Support Program. This can include help with writing a private agreement, completing a court application or, if needed, locating the person who needs to pay you support.
Find out more about:
Employment and Social Services helps people who are homeless or have no fixed address. This includes:
- people who are living on the street, and may also include those who are
- leaving a hostel to go to a permanent address, or
- staying with friends/relatives until they can find an address.
If you are homeless, you can contact any Employment and Social Services office for help. A caseworker will talk to you about your circumstances when you apply for Ontario Works.
In addition to a Basic Needs Allowance, you may be eligible for help with moving and other costs when you secure housing. For more details, you can read about help with food, rent and other costs.
You can also find out about:
- finding housing – information on emergency shelters, housing help centres and the Rent Bank
- housing websites with information on affordable housing and subsidized housing
- obtaining identification
- replacing identification using the Partners for Access and Identification (PAID) program through Neighbourhood Link Support Services or Street Health
- Streets to Homes, a City program that helps homeless people living outdoors find a safer place to sleep and long-term housing
- Employment and Social Services supports for people in crisis
- websites with information to help in crisis situations – for people at risk of abuse, in need of emergency shelter, or looking for mental health support
Newcomers / immigrants
You may be eligible for Ontario Works benefits from Employment and Social Services if your immigration status is:
- Permanent resident or landed immigrant
- Refugee claimant
- Convention refugee, or
- Humanitarian and Compassionate Grounds applicant.
Visitors to Canada are not eligible for Ontario Works benefits, however in exceptional cases a Temporary Resident Permit holder may qualify.
When you apply for Ontario Works, a caseworker will need to see your original immigration papers to verify your status in Canada.
While receiving Ontario Works benefits, if you are a newcomer to Canada you may be eligible for help with start up costs for housing and necessary household items. For more information visit help with moving, arrears and more.
If you are a refugee claimant, you must apply for a work permit to be able to start a job or to apply for a Social Insurance Number (SIN) card.
To find out more about services for immigrants, visit the City of Toronto Immigration page or read about resources for newcomers.
Read more information related to immigrants who receive Ontario Works benefits from Employment and Social Services.
Persons in or leaving a hospital or jail
Employment and Social Services can help people who are in or leaving an institution. An institution could mean a hospital, addiction treatment program or jail.
If you are temporarily in hospital and need financial support, Employment and Social Services may be able to help. This help includes money for housing costs if you live in Toronto.
Your eligibility for social assistance will depend on your financial situation and how long you expect to be in hospital. A caseworker will come to the hospital to complete the application if you apply for Ontario Works.
|Addiction Treatment Program
If you are participating in an addiction treatment program, Employment and Social Services may be able to help. If it is a full-time residential program you can ask for help with:
- paying for rent or room and board if the facility charges for you to stay there, or
- paying your usual housing costs, if the facility does not charge you to stay there.
Your eligibility will depend on your financial situation and how long you expect to be in the program.
If you are participating in a part-time addiction treatment program, you can ask about getting help with medical transportation costs. This help is available whether you are attending a day/evening program, a methadone treatment program or Alcoholics/Narcotics Anonymous meetings.
Generally, people who are incarcerated in a provincial or federal prison are not eligible for Ontario Works benefits from Employment and Social Services. If you are receiving benefits and you go to jail, your file may be suspended or closed.
If you are leaving prison, you can apply (or re-apply) for Ontario Works benefits. A caseworker will see if you are eligible based on your financial and living situation. You may need to show your release papers. If you are finding new housing, you may be eligible for help with moving.
If you consider yourself to be a person with a disability, you can begin the medical application process for the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) before you are released.
For information on eligibility for Ontario Works, visit: Applying for Ontario Works in Toronto.
Persons over 60 years of age
If you apply for Ontario Works in Toronto and are over 60 years of age, a caseworker may ask if you are receiving any other types of government assistance. Below is a list of income sources for older people. Some of them are only for people who are 65 years of age and older.
If you have substantial health problems, you can apply to the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP). You can also get help with health costs.
If you are 65 years of age or older, you are eligible for the Advanced Age Item. This is a $38 monthly benefit that is added to your Ontario Works payments from Employment and Social Services.
For information on housing, health services and more, visit the Toronto Seniors Portal. The Toronto Housing Portal also has information on housing for seniors.
Persons temporarily caring for a child
IIf you are looking after a child who is under 18 and needs financial help, you can apply for Temporary Care Assistance. You may be eligible for help if:
- the child is living with you,
- you do not have a legal obligation to support the child (for example, you are not his or her natural or adoptive parent),
- the child is expected to return to live with his or her natural or adoptive parent at the earliest opportunity,
- no parent or other person with a legal obligation to support the child is able to care for the child, and
- you are not receiving payments for the child under the Child and Family Services Act.
Eligibility for Temporary Care Assistance is based on the child’s financial situation. This includes looking at available income and assets. You will not be asked about your personal financial situation.
The Temporary Care Assistance rate for one child is $250 per month. For each additional eligible child, the rate is $202 per month. The child may also be eligible for:
Persons with disabilities
There is help available for people with disabilities who need supports to take part in Ontario Works activities. The Disability Access Fund helps cover costs such as the need for large print materials or sign language interpreter services for people receiving Ontario Works benefits.
People who are deaf, deafened or hard of hearing can call the TTY line at 416-392-2823 for information about Ontario Works benefits from Employment and Social Services.
There is extra money available while on Ontario Works benefits for people with a medical condition who have a certified trained guide dog. The guide dog allowance is $75 a month for the routine care and feeding of the dog.
Other government resources that help persons with disabilities include:
Spouses and adult children of people receiving ODSP
If you are a spouse or adult child (18 years and older) of someone receiving Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) assistance, Employment and Social Services can help you with employment services and supports. You can participate in a variety of activities that can lead to a job or help you become more job-ready.
You may get extra money to help with work-related costs if you start a new job. ODSP helps with this benefit.
If you are involved in employment activities you may get extra money to help with employment and school costs. Employment and Social Services helps with these benefits.
You can also read about your rights and your responsibilities such as participating in an Ontario Works activity.
You can download a brochure with more information about Ontario Works at Employment and Social Services.
| If you are a student who is applying for or already receiving Ontario Works benefits from Employment and Social Services, special conditions may apply to you. These conditions can include eligibility rules, income reporting procedures and benefits you can ask for.
If you are attending a post-secondary school, your eligibility for benefits will depend on:
- whether you are a full-time or part-time student,
- whether you are receiving a student loan, such as the Ontario Student Assistance Plan (OSAP), and
- whether you are applying for social assistance on your own or with other family members.
Normally, a full-time post-secondary student who is applying as a single person is not eligible for Ontario Works benefits. For more information about social assistance, visit: Applying for Ontario Works in Toronto.
|Income reporting procedures
In some cases, Employment and Social Services does not deduct secondary school students’ earnings from Ontario Works payments. This includes when children of people receiving Ontario Works benefits are working and attending full-time secondary school. Click for more information on income reporting.
If you are a student who is receiving Ontario Works benefits, you may be eligible for help with employment and school costs. If you are a parent between 16 and 25 years of age, and you have not finished high school, read about the Learning, Earning and Parenting (LEAP) program.
For more information, read about education and upgrading.