Absence from Ontario
This section is an excerpt from the Ontario Works Act, 1997 prescribed by the Province of Ontario.
Who receives income assistance
7. (1) Income assistance shall be provided in accordance with the regulations to persons who satisfy all the conditions of eligibility under this Act and regulations
Eligibility for income assistance
7. (3) No person is eligible for assistance unless,
(a) the person is a resident of Ontario
(b) the budgetary requirements of the person and any dependants exceed their income and their assets do not exceed the prescribed limits, as provided for in the regulations;
(c) the person and the prescribed dependants provide the information and the verification of information required to determine eligibility including,
(i) personal identification information, as prescribed,
(ii) financial information, as prescribed, and
(iii) any other prescribed information; and
(d) the person and the person’s dependants meet any other prescribed conditions relating to eligibility.
7. (4) A participant and any prescribed dependants may be required as a condition of eligibility for basic financial assistance to,
(a)satisfy the community participation requirements;
(b)participate in employment measures;
(c)accept and undertake basic education and job specific skills training; and
(d)accept and maintain employment.
1. (1) “dependant” in relation to an applicant or recipient, means,
(a) a person who resides in the same dwelling place and who is,
(i) the spouse of the applicant or recipient,
(ii) a dependent child of the applicant or recipient or of his or her spouse, or
(iii) a dependent adult of the applicant or recipient or of his or her spouse, or
(b) a spouse or same sex-partner who is absent from the dwelling place of the applicant or recipient if the absence is for a reason other than a breakdown in the relationship with no reasonable prospect of reconciliation;
Absence from Ontario
5. (1) A person who is absent from Ontario for a period greater than seven days is not eligible for assistance unless the absence has been approved by the administrator as necessary for reasons of health or necessary because of exceptional circumstances.
(2) For the purposes of subsection (1), an absence is necessary for reasons of health if,
(a) the purpose for the absence is to receive necessary medical treatment outside of Ontario that is prescribed by a physician; and
(b) the medical treatment is an out of province or out of country insured service under the Ontario Health Insurance Plan, as verified in accordance with subsection (3).
(3) For the purposes of clause (2) (b), the person shall provide a letter from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care verifying that he or she is approved for the insured service under the Ontario Health Insurance Plan.
With the introduction of the Ontario Works Act (OWA) and Regulations, in order to maintain eligibility, all clients, spouses and dependents, are to discuss with their caseworker any leaves from the province for a period greater than (7) days. All circumstances regarding the absence must be taken into consideration when reviewing the client’s situation. Where the client’s absence from the province is not considered appropriate, the client may not be eligible for social assistance and his/her assistance may be reduced or cancelled.
Persons receiving financial assistance from Toronto Employment and Social Services (TESS) must be residents of the City of Toronto and be able to meet the ongoing eligibility and participation requirements of Ontario Works (OW).
All clients are to be advised of the policy regarding Absence from Ontario. The Rights and Responsibilities form specifically addresses their responsibility in this regard. Clients are responsible to advise the caseworker of any plans preferably before leaving the province. If this is not possible, clients are expected to advise the caseworker on their return to Toronto. They are also responsible to maintain receipts and verification where possible.
Absence which is less than Seven Days
An absence of less than seven days (7) does not require approval. Certain situations, such as family health matters, funerals, approved OW activities, etc., may warrant an absence. Social assistance may not be affected during these absences.
Absence in Excess of Seven Days
A person who is absent from Ontario for a period greater than seven days is not eligible for assistance unless the absence is approved and deemed necessary for reasons of health or exceptional circumstances.
Reasons of health are limited to necessary medical treatment outside the province or out of country that is prescribed by a physician and is covered by the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) Out of Province or Out of Country Health Services. Clients will need to provide a letter from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care confirming that the out of province or out of country service is insured by OHIP to their caseworker.
In order to maintain OW eligibility, all clients, spouses and dependants are to discuss with their caseworker any leaves from the province for a period greater than seven days. All circumstances regarding the absence are taken into consideration when reviewing the client’s situation. Where the client’s absence is not considered appropriate, this may affect his or her OW eligibility and result in cancellation or reduction of assistance.
Toronto Employment and Social Services recognizes that people may experience personal situations which may require them to be absent from the province for a period of time. Also, reasons related to the client’s Participation Agreement (PA) and achievement of his or her employment goals may, on occasion, take the client out of Ontario. It may be necessary to consider the client’s option to research and pursue employment opportunities outside the province.
Any absence should not jeopardize the ability of the participant to commence, or continue in, an OW approved participation activity. Depending on the individual circumstances, a temporary deferral may be the most appropriate service planning option.
Clients who do secure employment in another province may be eligible for Other Employment and Employment Assistance Activities Benefit or the Full-Time Employment Benefit.
The client must provide an explanation for the absence and verification may be requested. If he or she cannot provide verification (e.g., ticket stubs, accommodation receipts etc.), a self-declaration or a written statement of fact completed, signed and dated by the client may be accepted.
In situations where assistance has been reduced or cancelled, the client must request that his or her benefits be reinstated. At that time, the client must meet all eligibility and participation requirements of OW.