Application for Assistance Legislation

This section is an excerpt from the Ontario Works Act, 1997 prescribed by the Province of Ontario.

Ontario Works Regulations

16. (1) An application for basic financial assistance shall be made to the administrator for the geographic area in which the applicant is ordinarily resident.

18. (1) An application for income assistance, other than an application related solely to temporary care assistance, shall include a participation agreement for the applicant and for his or her spouse included in the benefit unit.

(2) The administrator may also require other dependants included in the benefit unit to complete a participation agreement.

20. (1) An application for basic financial assistance and all accompanying forms shall be signed by the applicant and the applicant’s spouse included in the benefit unit.

(2) The application and all accompanying forms shall also be signed by other dependants if the administrator so requests.

(3) The application is not complete until the application and all accompanying forms, agreements and consents have been completed and signed and have been provided, together with any required verification of information, to the administrator.

(4) A responsible person may make an application on behalf of an applicant or sign an application on behalf of an applicant or the spouse of an applicant if the applicant or spouse is unable to make or sign the application by reason of disability.

21. If within one year before applying for basic financial assistance, an applicant had previously applied for basic financial assistance or income support under the Ontario Disability Support Program Act, 1997, the administrator may accept the previous application and supporting documentation as a new application for basic financial assistance and may require additional information to make the application complete and up to date.

Emergency Assistance Legislation

OW Act

2. In this Act, “emergency assistance” means assistance provided to help with basic needs and shelter on an emergency basis;

5. Basic financial assistance includes,

(a) income assistance provided for purposes of basic needs and shelter;
(b) benefits; and
(c) emergency assistance.

9. Emergency assistance may be provided in accordance with the regulations to or for the benefit of a person who meets the prescribed conditions.

Ontario Works Regulations

16. (2) An application for emergency assistance may be made in a geographic area other than the geographic area in which the applicant is ordinarily resident if, in the opinion of the administrator, the applicant cannot reasonably make the application in the geographic area in which he or she is ordinarily resident.

22. In determining the eligibility of an applicant who applies for basic financial assistance, the administrator shall make or cause to be made an enquiry into the living conditions and the financial, employment and other circumstances of the members of the benefit unit.

23. (1) Within one month after first finding an applicant eligible for income assistance, the administrator shall meet with him or her for the purpose of enquiring into the living conditions and financial, employment and other circumstances of the members of the benefit unit.

(2) Subsection (1) does not apply under the circumstances provided for by the Director.

56. (1) If an applicant requires assistance because of an emergency, emergency assistance may be paid for a period of not more than one-half a month and thereafter assistance shall only be paid after an application for income assistance has been made under Part II.

(2) The administrator may provide emergency assistance under this section if the administrator is satisfied that,

(a) the applicant does not have enough money or assets and is unable to obtain credit necessary to provide for the basic needs and shelter needs for his or her benefit unit; and
(b) a failure to provide the emergency assistance will result in danger to the physical health of a member of the benefit unit or in one or more dependant children being unable to continue to reside with his or her parent who has requested the emergency assistance.

(3) The administrator shall determine the amount of emergency assistance payable.

(4) Emergency assistance shall not be provided to or on behalf of a person subject to a period of ineligibility for income assistance under section 32, 33, 34, 35 or 36.

Application for Assistance


Employment and Social Services Division processes all applications for assistance. An application may be initiated either by telephone contact or in person at the appropriate local office.

Application for assistance consists of two mandatory parts which determine client’s eligibility for financial and employment assistance and two mandatory forms:

  • Part 1 Application for Assistance Form -Financial Assistance to determine the financial circumstances or budgetary needs of the applicant and;
  • Part 2 Participation Agreement – Employment Assistance to determine participation requirements and employment activities for all adult applicants and benefit unit members;
  • A Consent to Disclose and Verify Personal Information;
  • A Consent to Disclose and Verify Information (Canada Revenue Agency); and
  • A Rights and Responsibilities Form.


  • An application for assistance should be processed in the name of the person determined to be the Head of Family. The Head of Family is a person who has been;
    1. traditional economic head, or
    2. deemed as such at the family’s discretion.

The final decision should rest with the client who should have a good understanding of the policy and procedural issues surrounding the subject of Head of Family.

  • Applicants are interviewed to assess immediate need and entitlement.

Emergency Assistance


An assistance that may be granted for a period not exceeding 16 days for situations deemed to be an “emergency”. Applicants requesting emergency assistance do not have participation requirements. Emergency assistance is not issued during any period of ineligibility for social assistance.

Emergency assistance is not provided more than once in a six month period, except in the case of women entering an interval or transition home for abused women.

If further assistance is needed, all mandatory forms and other supporting documentation are required.


Please refer to Procedure section of Application for Assistance above.