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Service & Benefit Finder

 

Ontario Works provides money for food, shelter, child care, medical expenses and other costs to people in financial need.

People who are eligible for Ontario Works receive a monthly amount, and may qualify for additional amounts or programs including the benefits listed below.

Want to learn more? Read about Ontario Works Assistance, including how to apply.

Explore Jobs at the City to learn of current opportunities to work for the City of Toronto.

Employment Benefits Available from Ontario Works

Child Care Start-Up Benefit

People on Ontario Works may receive money to pay one month of child care in advance if this is required to start work or begin an employment assistance activity such as training.

If your child care provider is asking you to pay fees in advance, the Child Care Start-Up Benefit can help you with one month’s child care costs. The maximum benefit amount for informal care (unlicensed) is $600 per child. There is no maximum benefit amount for licensed day care. This benefit is available once in a 12-month period.

Who Can Apply

People on Ontario Works can apply for this benefit.

How to Apply

Apply now for Ontario Works and speak to your caseworker. You will be asked to provide proof of the advance child care cost.

Read related policies and procedures about child care start-up costs.

People leaving Ontario Works because they are starting work or getting other income may continue to receive help with health costs for a period of time after they stop receiving monthly Ontario Works payments.

This can include:

  • coverage of medication costs under the Ontario Drug Benefit Program
  • Dental services and help with eyeglasses for children (and, in some cases, for adults)
  • Help with medical transportation costs
  • Help paying for medical supplies and special devices

Extended Employment Health Benefit

If you leave Ontario Works because of employment earnings, you may be eligible for the Extended Employment Health Benefit.

Who Can Apply

This benefit is for people who are leaving Ontario Works due to employment income. Your eligibility will depend on whether your employer covers your health benefits.

How to Apply

Speak to your caseworker if your file will be closing due to employment.

While Receiving

This is an ongoing benefit for up to 12 months.

Drug costs

For the first six months following the end of your Ontario Works payments, your medication costs will be covered under the Ontario Drug Benefit Program using your Ontario health card. If you continue to have medication costs, you should apply for coverage through the Trillium Drug Program. Ask your caseworker if you need help paying the Trillium Drug Program deductible.

Other medical benefits

For 12 months following the end of your Ontario Works payments, the cost of other medical benefits may be covered. Provide your caseworker with proof of what is required and how much it costs.

Read related policies and procedures about the Extended Employment Health Benefit.

Extended Health Benefit

If you leave Ontario Works because of other income, you may be eligible for the Extended Health Benefit.

Who Can Apply

This benefit is for people who are leaving Ontario Works due to income. Your eligibility will depend on the cost of the medically-based items you need and the amount of your income and assets.

How to Apply

Speak to your caseworker if your file will be closing due to income.

While Receiving

If you require a medical item within the first month of leaving Ontario Works, provide your caseworker with proof of the item you need. Your caseworker will let you know if you are eligible for coverage. If your file has been closed for longer than one month, you can apply for coverage through Toronto’s Hardship Fund.

Read related policies and procedures about the Extended Health Benefit.

LEAP Program

The Learning, Earning and Parenting (LEAP) program helps young parents on Ontario Works through its three elements:

Learning – to encourage young parents to attend an educational program leading to a high school diploma or equivalent

Earning – to promote the development of employment skills leading to job readiness

Parenting – to support young parents in improving parenting skills

Who Can Apply

Parents 16 or 17 years-old receiving Ontario Works will automatically be started in LEAP. Parents 18 to 25 years-old who have not completed high school can choose to participate in the program.

How to Apply

If you are a 16 or 17 year-old parent receiving Ontario Works, your caseworker will automatically start you in LEAP. If you are an 18 to 25 year-old parent and have not completed high school, speak to your caseworker.

While Participating

LEAP participants have access to childcare in order to take part in program activities such as:

  • Learning: High school, alternative education programs, a General Education Development (GED) program or adult upgrading
  • Earning: Part-time work, summer employment, a job search program, apprenticeship, co-op education, job shadowing or volunteering
  • Parenting: Parenting classes, Public Health programs, Early Years Centres, family resource programs, parent/child recreation programs or life skills classes

Each parent participating in LEAP receives $233 per month in addition to your monthly Ontario Works benefits. Upon successfully completing the program, each parent will receive $500 to pay for further education for yourself or your child(ren).

Additional funds are available to help pay for school supplies and activities, tutoring and other program-related costs.

Read related policies and procedures about 16 & 17 year olds.

Employment Assistance Activities Benefit

People on Ontario Works may receive money when beginning an employment-related activity such as training, or starting self-employment or part-time work.

Up to $253 can be issued in a 12-month period to cover expenses such as licensing fees, clothing or equipment if you are starting:

  • an employment assistance activity such as training
  • employment (less than 30 hours a week)
  • self-employment

Who Can Apply

People on Ontario Works are eligible for this benefit if they are:

  • starting an employment assistance activity such as training
  • changing an employment assistance activity with different responsibilities or shifting from job training to work experience
  • starting part-time employment or approved self-employment
  • changing employment with a current or new employer where duties are quite different than the previous job
  • starting full-time employment (30 or more hours a week) after being on Ontario Works for less than 3 months in a row

If you are starting or increasing your work hours to full-time employment (30 or more hours a week), speak to your caseworker about the Full-Time Employment Benefit if you have been on Ontario Works for at least 3 months in a row.

How to Apply

Speak to your caseworker to apply for this benefit.

Read related policies and procedures about the Employment Assistance Activities Benefit.

Full-Time Employment Benefit

People on Ontario Works may receive money to help cover costs related to starting full-time employment.

Up to $500 can be issued in a 12-month period to cover job-related costs such as clothing, transportation, tools or special equipment.

Who Can Apply

People on Ontario Works who are starting full-time employment (30 or more hours per week) or increasing their total work hours to 30 hours or more per week from working at one or more jobs can receive this benefit. In order to receive this benefit they must have been on Ontario Works for at least three months in a row.

If you are starting full-time employment, speak to your caseworker about Money for Health Costs When Leaving Ontario Works.

If you are starting part-time work or self-employment, speak to your caseworker about the Employment Assistance Activities Benefit.

How to Apply

Speak to your caseworker to apply for this benefit.

Read related policies and procedures about the Full-Time Employment Benefit.

People on Ontario Works in Toronto may qualify to take a skill training or employment program to learn new skills, explore careers, prepare for employment or learn about self-employment.

Investing in Neighbourhoods Program

The Investing in Neighbourhoods (IIN) Program offers meaningful and rewarding paid jobs at non-profit organizations for people on Ontario Works in Toronto.

IIN positions:

  • pay a minimum of $14 per hour
  • range between 21 and 30 hours per week
  • can be no longer than 52 weeks

Who Can Apply

People who receive Ontario Works in Toronto can apply for IIN jobs.

How to Apply

Available IIN positions are listed in Toronto Employment & Social Services’ Employment Opportunities System (EOS). You need to register with EOS and submit your resume through this online system. If needed, your caseworker can help you prepare your resume. You can also visit one of our Employment Centres for assistance.

After Applying

Qualified candidates will be referred to participating non-profit community organizations. If your skills, knowledge and experience match the employer’s requirements, an interview may be arranged.

While Receiving

Depending on your income and family size, you may still qualify for some level of ongoing Ontario Works assistance. Your caseworker will continue to work with you to issue the funds you qualify for. All your earnings must be reported on your monthly Statement of Income, and a portion of your earnings will be deducted from your regular Ontario Works payment.

If you have any problems or concerns with the agency while you are working there, your caseworker will help you resolve them.

Job Incentive Program

The Job Incentive Program (JIP) offers volunteer placements with the City of Toronto for residents who receive assistance from Ontario Works or the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP).

Volunteer placements:

  • can run from three to six months
  • can vary between 25 and 70 hours per month
  • may be eligible for additional financial benefits

Who Can Apply

People on Ontario Works or ODSP can apply for JIP placements.

How to Apply

  1. Visit a Toronto Employment & Social Services (TESS) Employment Centre and speak with staff.
  2. Register with TESS’ Employment Opportunities System.
  3. View the JIP opportunities and apply online for those that interest you.

After Applying

If your application is screened in, you will be contacted regarding next steps.

While Receiving

Participants are eligible for $250 per month during a volunteer placement.