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.

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 child 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

Speak to your caseworker to apply for this benefit. You will be asked to provide proof of the advance child care cost.

Read the policy for child care start-up costs.

Newborn Child Allowance

People on Ontario Works can receive money to help buy items for a new child, such as a crib or clothing.

How to Apply

To apply please speak to your caseworker. You will need to provide proof of the expected due date, birth date or adoption date of the child.

The Newborn Child Allowance can be issued up to four months before the expected arrival of the child or up to one year following the birth or adoption of a child.

After Applying

Up to $260 can be issued to buy a crib, and up to $100 can be issued to buy items that are required for the child (for example, clothing or bedding).

Read the policy for Newborn Child Allowance.

Pregnancy/Breast-feeding Nutritional Allowance

People receiving Ontario Works who are pregnant or breast/chest-feeding may qualify for a Pregnancy/Breast-feeding Nutritional Allowance to help with the costs of their nutritional needs. The amount is $40 per month ($50 per month if lactose intolerant). This amount can begin during pregnancy and continue until the child is 12 months old.

How to Apply

Let your caseworker know if you are pregnant or breast/chest-feeding. This nutritional allowance can start:

  • when a health professional has confirmed your pregnancy or that you need a lactose intolerant diet while breast/chest-feeding, or
  • you have told the caseworker that you are breast/chest-feeding.

These health professionals can confirm the pregnancy or that you need a lactose intolerant diet while breast/chest-feeding:

  • Physicians (doctors)
  • Registered nurses in the Extended Class
  • Registered dieticians, and
  • Registered midwives or Traditional Indigenous Midwives.

If breast/chest-feeding is not possible, you may qualify instead for a special diet to support meeting your baby’s nutritional needs.

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.

Temporary Care Assistance

Ontario Works Temporary Care Assistance can be paid to an adult who is temporarily caring for a child who is not their own, if the child is in financial need.

The child must live with the adult and the adult cannot have a legal obligation to support the child.

Who Can Apply

The adult who is providing temporary care for the child can apply for assistance on behalf of the child.

A child is in the temporary care of an adult when:

(a) the child is to live for a short term with the adult;

(b) the child is expected to return to live with his or her parent(s) at the earliest opportunity; and

(c) no parent or other person with a legal obligation to support the child is able to care for the child.

A child may need temporary care for a variety of reasons. For example, the parent(s) may be temporarily unable to support the child because of special circumstances such as the parent having to be in hospital for an extended period of time. Or, the parent may be deceased or whereabouts unknown.

How to Apply

An application for Temporary Care Assistance is based on the amount of income and assets available to the child, not to the adult who is temporarily caring for the child. For further application details, please see Ontario Works Assistance information.

After Applying

The monthly amount of Temporary Care assistance issued is $274 for the first child and $224 for each additional child. The child may also qualify for other health-related benefits such as Special Diet Allowance and coverage for prescription medication.

The adult must report any changes in the child’s income, assets or circumstances.

While Receiving

The adult must apply for all sources of income/funds that might be available to the child.  Please see the Ontario Works Assistance information for further details about receiving Ontario Works Assistance.

You can also look at the policy and procedures for Temporary Care Assistance.

Transition Child Benefit

Most families on social assistance with children under 18 also receive the monthly Ontario Child Benefit (OCB). Parents on Ontario Works not yet receiving OCB payments may temporarily receive the Transition Child Benefit (TCB).

The maximum TCB per child is $230 per month. The amount you receive depends on how much OCB you get.

Who Can Apply

Families on Ontario Works with children under 18 can receive this benefit if:

  • you are not receiving OCB
  • you are receiving less than the maximum available OCB

How to Apply

You do not need to apply for this benefit. If you meet the requirements, it will be added to your monthly Ontario Works payment.

After Applying

Your caseworker will tell you to file your income tax return or to apply for OCB. While you are waiting for OCB payments to start, you will receive TCB.

While Receiving

You must try to get and/or continue to get OCB while receiving the Transition Child Benefit. In order to get OCB, you have to file your income taxes. Your caseworker may ask you to show what you are doing to get these benefits. If you are not eligible for OCB, you may continue to receive TCB until your situation changes.

You should report any changes to your family situation that may affect your TCB amount (such as a newborn baby).

When OCB payments start, you may receive a lump sum payment that covers the months you waited. If you received TCB for the same period, your Ontario Works payment(s) may be reduced up to a maximum of three months or until you have repaid the duplicate amount.

You will still be eligible for Ontario Works in the months that you are repaying your TCB, if there are no other changes in your situation.

Learn more about the Ontario Child Benefit

Read related policies and procedures about the Transition Child Benefit.

Services through the Family Support Program help Toronto parents on Ontario Works Assistance access support and find services that improve family finances and quality of life.