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

OW Regs

Treatment of Earnings

49. (1) The following rules apply with respect to the treatment of earnings:

8. If a person’s normal income is reduced because he or she is engaged in a labour dispute, that person shall be deemed to be in receipt of income from employment equal to the amount being received from that source in the month before that person’s income was affected by the dispute.

9. If paragraph 8 applies, strike pay up to the amount deemed as income under that paragraph shall not be included as income.


Any person who is on STRIKE or LOCKED OUT may apply for Ontario Works assistance and have an application completed. Applicants will be deemed as retaining the same level of income they were receiving prior to the strike or lock out.

A person voluntarily taking employment in a union shop has given the union the right to bargain and to withhold or withdraw services. The effects of a strike called by the union are the result of an agreement to abide by a union decision. Not working because of participation in a labour dispute is not therefore considered unemployment due to circumstances beyond their control.

A person locked out of employment by the employer is still an employee of the company and therefore not available for other employment.

Participants who were eligible for “top-up” assistance prior to any labour dispute will remain eligible for the same level of assistance they were entitled to receive prior to the dispute.


Verification of income received prior to the dispute is to be submitted. Only the “top-up” amount will be issued based on earnings prior to the strike or lock out. Stipends paid to employees while on strike are not charged as income.

A person involved in a labour dispute, who terminates employment and is willing to satisfy all participation requirements, may be eligible for Ontario Works.

Verification of termination of employment is required. Participants must attempt to contact the company’s human resources to obtain written confirmation or provide a copy of the Record of Employment. An affidavit may be completed if other verification cannot be obtained.

The applicant must apply for other sources of income, such as Employment Insurance.

Child care costs are not applicable while the individual is involved in a labour dispute since they would be considered a strike or lock-out related expense, and not a work related expense. However, if a person voluntarily terminates employment and is a participant in Ontario Works they may be eligible for child care costs.

In exceptional and extenuating situations, assistance may be issued on an emergency basis for a maximum of 2 weeks. Each situation must be reviewed and approved by a Manager.