If you do not have enough money for food and housing and are in financial need, you can apply for Ontario Works assistance online.

You can also apply by calling 1-888-999-1142.


Ontario Works provides money for food, shelter and other costs to people in financial need who meet the eligibility criteria.

Financial Assistance may include money for food, shelter, clothing and other household costs, the cost of prescription medications, and other help with health costs.

If you are in an emergency or crisis situation, you might be eligible for Emergency Assistance, which will provide you with immediate, but temporary, financial support instead of ongoing financial support like Ontario Works. If you are eligible for Emergency Assistance, the amount you get will depend on your specific situation. In most cases you will not get more than what you would get on Ontario Works.

Toronto delivers this provincial social assistance program according to the Ontario Works Act. Les services sociaux et d’emploi de Toronto (Toronto Employment & Social Services) offrent des services en français.

Application Options for Ontario Works or Emergency Assistance

Online Application

The online application for Ontario Works is available 24/7 and is mobile-friendly. It takes 20 to 30 minutes to complete your application, and you must have an e-mail address to apply online. Please submit one application that includes you along with any immediate family members who live with you.

If you require short-term financial support and are experiencing a crisis, apply online for Emergency Assistance.

If you are in Ontario under the Canadian-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel, you can apply for temporary financial support through Emergency Assistance online, or by calling 416-338-8888 (select option 7).

If you have no fixed address, please use the address of the nearest Employment & Social Services office to complete your application.

Tips for Applying Online

When you apply online you will have the option to open a MyBenefits account. Using MyBenefits can help make your application for Ontario Works faster and easier. You’ll be able to:

  • Save and resume your application
  • Submit required documents online
  • Track the status of your application
  • Receive email updates about your case
  • Send and receive messages about your application

Phone Application

To apply by phone, the Province’s Social Assistance Contact Centre at 1-888-999-1142 (TTY:1-800-387-5559) Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m., excluding holidays.

In some cases, your call may be transferred to staff at the City of Toronto who will complete your application over the phone.

For example, City of Toronto staff will complete the application if you are:

  • under the age of 18
  • an adult providing temporary care for a child who’s in financial need and is not your dependent
  • in an emergency situation in immediate need (homeless or pending eviction in less than 7 days, victim of abuse or disaster, etc), or
  • in need of an interpreter

Staff from the Province of Ontario and the City of Toronto work together to make sure all applications are processed as quickly as possible.

Application Follow Up Appointment

You will be contacted by a caseworker to follow up on your application. You will be required to provide documents in person at your local Toronto Employment & Social Services office within 30 days of your application to determine if you qualify for ongoing financial assistance and to identify any additional supports you may need. You will need to bring your spouse and any dependents over the age of 18 with you to the in-person appointment.

Additional Details

  • before you start your application, it will be helpful to review the list of documents you may need
  • to determine your eligibility for Ontario Works/Emergency Assistance, you will be asked to provide personal and financial information about yourself and each family member included in your application
  • the office you will receive assistance from is determined by your postal code

Reapplying for Assistance

If you were receiving Ontario Works benefits in Toronto and your file was closed within the past 6 months, call your previous caseworker or 1-888-999-1142 to reapply.

Do You Need an Interpreter?

If you do not speak English or French you will need an interpreter when you call to apply. If you have an interpreter, both of you will need to speak to the staff person. For help finding an interpreter, visit 211Toronto.

If you were unable to provide your own interpreter, Toronto staff will access an interpreter service when you call over the phone to support you in completing your application. During this call they will gather some information and then set up an appointment at one of our local offices. If you are unable to make arrangements for an interpreter for this in-person appointment, we will connect with one over the phone. Staff will provide you with information about available interpreter services for your future contacts with us.

The interpreter needs to meet the following criteria:

  • be fluent in English or French and the language of the person in need of translation services
  • be 18 years of age or older
  • not be a third party with the potential for conflict of interest or the potential to financially gain from the person applying for Ontario Works/Emergency Assistance such as a sponsor, ex-spouse or landlord.

Information for interpreters:

  • upon contact either in-person or by phone, the caseworker will explain the requirements for interpreter services
  • the person applying for Ontario Works/Emergency Assistance will need to provide consent for an interpreter to assist with translation during their appointment
  • interpreter must agree to provide identification and contact information

When an interpreter is needed, both the person applying and the interpreter will be asked to complete an Interpreter Consent to Disclose Information form.

Ontario Works Assistance

To qualify for Ontario Works assistance in Toronto, you must be:

  • living in Toronto and have status in Canada
  • aged 18 or over (16/17 if special circumstances exist, such as abuse or if there is no home/financial support available)
  • in financial need (your household doesn’t have enough money to meet basic living expenses)
  • willing to make reasonable efforts to find, get ready for or keep a job (unless you have medical or special circumstances that stop you from being able to do so).

Emergency Assistance

If you do not qualify for Ontario Works, you might qualify for temporary financial help through Emergency Assistance if you live in Ontario (not as a visitor or tourist), are in a crisis or emergency and do not have enough money for things like food and housing.

For example, a crisis or emergency includes situations where you:

  • have been affected by COVID-19
  • are being evicted from your home
  • are in or are leaving an abusive relationship
  • are worried about your safety
  • have emergency authorization to be in Canada for humanitarian reasons
    • this includes Ukrainian migrants arriving or remaining in Canada under the Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel pathway (CUAET).

You are not eligible if you are getting assistance from Ontario Works or the Ontario Disability Support Program.

The monthly amount of assistance someone can receive from Ontario Works depends on family size, housing costs and income.

Read about monthly Ontario Works amounts that show the maximum monthly amounts for basic needs, shelter and board and lodging.

View the monthly Ontario Works Payment Schedule and the Ontario Works Rate Chart.

The Ontario Works Act and Regulations set the social assistance rates.

Find out about your payment status and details, view your letters, and report income and address changes online through MyBenefits. It’s secure, easy to use and available 24/7! Try it on your smart phone, tablet or computer.


The following topics or services may be helpful while you are receiving Ontario Works Assistance.

Other Ontario Works Benefits You May Receive

Beyond the monthly Ontario Works amount, Ontario Works provides other supports for child and family, housing, employment and health.

See below a list of additional Ontario Works benefits available to those eligible:

Type Name Description
Child & Family Support/

Employment Support

Money for Child Care When Starting Work or Training – Child Care Start-Up Benefit People on Ontario Works may receive money to pay one month of childcare in advance if this is required to start work or begin an employment assistance activity such as training.
Child & Family Support Money for Young Parents Pursuing Education – LEAP Benefits The Learning, Earning and Parenting (LEAP) Program helps young parents on Ontario Works complete high school, get job ready and improve parenting skills through its three elements: Learning, Earning Parenting.
Child & Family Support Money While Caring for Someone Else’s Child – 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.
Child & Family Support Money While Waiting for the Ontario Child Benefit – 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).
Child & Family Support Newborn Child Allowance Money to help buy items for a new child, such as a crib or clothing.
Housing Support Emergency Housing Help – Housing Stabilization Fund (HSF) The Housing Stabilization Fund (HSF) provides money for emergency housing needs to people receiving financial assistance through Ontario Works or income support through the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) in the city of Toronto. HSF is intended to prevent homelessness and help obtain and retain housing.
Housing Support Money for Home Energy Conservation Supplies  People on Ontario Works may receive a one-time payment of up to $50 to reimburse the cost of home energy conservation supplies.
Housing Support Money to Buy Smoke Alarms and Carbon Monoxide Detectors Homeowners receiving Ontario Works Assistance may receive a one-time payment to buy smoke alarms or carbon monoxide detectors.
Employment Support Money for Employment-Related or Training Costs – Employment Related Expenses People on Ontario Works may receive money for employment and school-related costs. This money can help with transportation and other related expenses.
Employment Support / Health Support Help With Health Costs when Leaving Ontario Works – Extended Employment Health Benefit 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 payments from Ontario Works.
Employment Support Money When Starting Part-Time Employment – Other 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.
Employment Support Money When Starting Full-Time Employment People on Ontario Works may receive money to help cover costs related to starting full-time employment.
Health Support Dental Coverage Dental coverage is available for children whose parents receive Ontario Works or Temporary Care Assistance.

Adults who receive Ontario Works eligible for emergency dental treatments.

Families receiving Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) are eligible for specific dental services.

Health Support Eyeglasses and Eye Exams People who receive Ontario Works may receive help to buy eyeglasses.
Health Support Funeral Expenses Coverage for basic funeral expenses may be provided on behalf of deceased Toronto residents who do not have enough money in their estate to cover these costs.
Health Support Medical Supplies and Devices People receiving assistance from Ontario Works or the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) and other low-income Toronto residents may receive help to pay for medical supplies, equipment and devices.
 Health Support Medication People on Ontario Works automatically qualify to have the cost of their prescription medications covered
Health Support Support for Seniors -Advanced Age Item People on Ontario Works who are 65 years of age or older will receive an additional monthly amount to help cover the costs of personal needs due to advanced age.
Health Support Coverage for Guide Dogs People on Ontario Works may receive money towards the care and feeding costs of a certified guide, hearing or service dog.
Health Support Medical Transportation People on Ontario Works may receive money for transportation costs to attend medical appointments.
Health Support Special Diet People on Ontario Works may be able to receive money to cover the additional cost of food required for specific medical conditions.
Employment Support Ontario Works Training Programs People on Ontario Works may qualify for a variety of training programs.