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

OW Regs

Emergency assistance

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 of 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 dependent 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 or 35 or for income support under section 23 or 24 of Ontario Regulation 222/98 (General) made under the Ontario Disability Support Program Act, 1997.

Minimum assistance payable

63. If the amount of any payment of assistance is determined to be less than $2.50, the amount shall be $2.50.

Time and manner of payment of assistance

64. (1) Assistance shall not be paid with respect to a period of more than one month at any one time unless the payment is a retroactive calculation or made pursuant to a decision of the Tribunal or the court.

(2) Assistance shall be paid in the manner directed by the Director.


All Ontario Works Assistance payments are issued in cheque form or by Direct Bank Deposit (DBD).

It is general practice to issue allowances on a monthly basis to clients who qualify for regular ‘active’ assistance.


Ontario Works Assistance payments are calculated and produced in cheque form or issued via DBD through a centralized computer-based system.

Exceptions to this procedure include emergency payments or other payments made under extenuating circumstances which require manual or computer-based calculations and which are issued at the local office level.