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

OW Act

7. (3) No person is eligible for income assistance unless,

(a) the person is resident in Ontario;

OW Regs

4.(1) A person is eligible for assistance in the geographic area in which he or she is ordinarily resident.

(2) A transient or homeless person shall be deemed to reside in the geographic area in which he or she applies for assistance.

7. (1) A person who resides in an institution that provides for the person’s basic needs and shelter is not eligible for assistance.

(2) Subsection (1) does not apply with respect to,

(a) a person who resides in a nursing home or an interval or transition home for abused women;

(b) a patient in a hospital;

(c) a person who receives emergency hostel services; or

(d) a member of the benefit unit, who, with the prior approval of the administrator, resides in a facility for the purpose of participating in a residential substance abuse recovery program for a period not exceeding 3 months.

8. A person is not eligible for assistance while the person,

(a) is detained in a lawful place of confinement; or

(b) is on temporary absence, parole or probation or serving a conditional sentence and is residing in a community residence funded in whole or in part by the Ministry of the Solicitor General and Correctional Services or Correctional Service Canada.

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.


Residence at a specific address in the municipality is not a requirement of eligibility.

Assistance to a transient or homeless person cannot be refused because he or she does not have a conventional “dwelling place” or a fixed address in the municipality.

Eligibility will be based on an assessment and verification of income, assets and identification, as well as legislation and policy requirements specific to case circumstances.

Being homeless or transient should not be the sole criteria for granting assistance, nor should it be the sole criteria for refusing assistance.

However, in assessing eligibility, it must be recognized that a crisis situation based on individual circumstances, may require special consideration in determining appropriate service delivery.

Assistance may be granted to help in securing an address.

Persons residing in an emergency hostels are not eligible for a personal needs allowance provided directly, as social assistance hostel operators are to provide board, lodging, and cash or in-kind services.

The provision of assistance to relocate to another municipality is not appropriate unless the administrator determines it is in the applicant’s best interest.

Visitors to Canada who are not pursuing status are not eligible for assistance. Refer to Immigrants policy.