In most cases you need to be 18 or older to qualify for Ontario Works Assistance in your own name. However, if you are 16 or 17 years old, you may be able to apply for Ontario Works benefits from Employment & 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:

  • Attend school or another full-time program. If you are a parent, a caseworker will enrol you in the Learning, Earning and Parenting (LEAP) Program.
  • 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.