Legislation

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

Ontario Works Regulations

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,

(i) a dependent child of the applicant or recipient or of his or her spouse, or

(i) a dependent adult of the applicant or recipient or of his or her spouse, or

(b) a spouse 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;

1 (1) “sole support parent”, with respect to an applicant, recipient or dependant, means a person with one or more dependants and no spouse included in the benefit unit.

1 (1) “spouse”, in relation to an applicant or recipient, means,

(a) a person, if the person and the applicant or recipient have together declared to the administrator or to the Director under the Ontario Disability Support Program Act 1997 that they are spouses.

(b) a person who is required under a court order or domestic contract to support the applicant or recipient or any of his or her dependants.

(c) a person who has an obligation to support the applicant or recipient or any of his or her dependants under section 30 or 31 of the Family Law Act, whether or not there is a domestic contact or other agreement between the person and the applicant or recipient whereby they purport to waive or release such obligation to support, or

(d) a person who has been residing in the same dwelling place as the applicant or recipient for a period of at least three months, if,

i.the extent of the social and familial aspects of the relationship between the two persons is consistent with cohabitation, and
ii.the extent of the financial support provided by one person to the other or the degree of financial interdependence between the two person is consistent with cohabitation.

1 (2) For the purpose of the definition of “spouse” sexual factors shall not be investigated or considered in determining whether or not a person is a spouse.

Interpretation

2 (1) For the purposes of the Act and the regulations, a person is a dependent adult, in relation to an applicant or recipient if,

(a) the applicant or recipient or the spouse included in the applicant’s or recipient’s benefit unit is the person’s parent;

(b) the person resides in the same dwelling place as the applicant or recipient;

(c) the person is 18 years of age or older;

(d) the person is not financially independent as determined under subsection (2); and

(e) the person has not been determined to be a person with a disability under the Ontario Disability Support Program Act, 1997 or a member of a prescribed class under subsection 4 (1) of Ontario Regulation 222/98 (General) made under that Act.

(2) A person is financially independent if,

(a) the person resides with a person who would be his or her spouse if the person were an applicant or recipient or the person has resided with such a spouse at any time in the past;

(b) the person is eligible as a sole support student under the Ontario Student Assistance Program or has been so eligible at any time in the past;

(c) there have been one or more periods totalling at least two years in which,

(i) the person’s net monthly income, as determined by the administrator, other than the income from support paid to or on behalf of the person, has been greater than the maximum amount of income assistance provided for a single person,

(ii) the person’s basic needs and shelter have been provided for by a source other than the person’s parent or an institution,

(iii) the person has received social assistance as a recipient, or

(iv) the person has not resided in the same dwelling place as his or her parent after his or her 18th birthday;

(c. 1) the person is no longer attending school, as defined in subsection 1(1) of the Education Act, or receiving instruction at home or elsewhere for the purpose of clause 21 (2) (a) of the Education Act and five years have elapsed since the person’s last day of school or since the person ceased to receive instruction at home or elsewhere, as the case may be;

(c. 2) the person has received a diploma from a college of applied arts and technology or a degree from a university or other institution with degree-granting authority;

(c. 3) the person has lawful custody of his or her child, or has had lawful custody or his or her child in the past; or

(d) in any month,

(i) the person’s assets exceed the maximum amount of assets permitted for a single person under section 38, or

(ii) the person’s net monthly income, as determined by the administrator, other than income from support paid to or on behalf of the person, is greater than the maximum amount for income assistance provided for a single person.

Persons Living With Parents

11 (1) A dependent adult is not eligible for income assistance on his or her own behalf.

(2) A person who is a dependent adult or a dependent child and who has a dependent child may apply for income assistance on behalf of the dependent child but is not eligible for income assistance on his or her own behalf.

(3) A person who resides in the same dwelling place as his or her parent is not eligible for income assistance on his or her own behalf unless he or she is financially independent within the meaning of subsection 2 (2).

(4) A person to whom subsection (3) applies and who has a dependent child may apply for income assistance on behalf of the dependent child.

Budgetary Requirements In Other Special Cases

44 (2) The budgetary requirements for an applicant or recipient who is a sole support parent to whom subsection 11 (2) or (4) applies or is a sole support parent who is a dependant under the Ontario Disability Support Program Act, 1997 shall be equal to the sum of the following amounts:

1.An amount for dependants of the dependant determined in accordance with the following Table:

Number of Dependants of the Dependant Maximum Amount
1 $366
2 $419
3 $479
4 $537
5 or more $568

 

5.Subject to subsection (6), for the month in which the administrator receives an application for a special diet allowance and is satisfied that a member of the benefit unit requires a special diet allowance because of a medical condition set out in Schedule 1 to Ontario Regulation 564/05 (Prescribed Policy Statements) made under the Act and for each succeeding month, up to and including the month in which the administrator requests a new application and a reassessment of the requirement for a special diet allowance, an amount that is the lessor of, for each member of the benefit unit,

i.the sum of the amounts determined by the administrator in accordance with Schedule 1 to Ontario Regulation 564/05, and
ii.$250.

6.For the month in which an approved health professional confirms that a dependant of the dependant is pregnant and for each succeeding month up to and including the month in which the pregnancy ends, and subsequently, if the dependant of the dependant is breast-feeding, for each succeeding month up to and including the month in which the infant is 12 months of age, a nutritional allowance equal to,

i.$50, if an approved health professional confirms that the person requires a non-dairy diet, or
ii.$40, otherwise.

44. (3) The budgetary requirements for an applicant or recipient who resides in the same dwelling place as a person who is his or her parent or the parent of his or her spouse included in the benefit unit shall be equal to the sum of the following amounts:
1. An amount determined in accordance with the following table:

 

Basic Needs Rate Table
No. of dependants other than a spouse Dependants
18 years or older
Dependants
0 – 17 years
Recipient Recipient and spouse
0 0 0 $343 $494
1

0

1

1

0

$360

$623

$494

$652

2

0

1

2

2

1

0

$360

$623

$781

$494

$652

$826

For each additional dependant:
add $175 if the dependant is 18 years of age or older,
or $0 if the dependant is 0-17 years of age.
The amount attributable to a dependent child shall be reduced by 50 per cent where budgetary requirements for the child were reduced under section 44.2.

3.For the month in which an approved health professional confirms that a member of the benefit unit requires a special diet because of a medical condition set out in Schedule 1 to Ontario Regulation 564/05 and specifies the medical condition and for each succeeding month, up to and including the month in which the administrator requires reconfirmation of the requirement for a special diet, an amount that is the lesser of, for each member of the benefit unit,

i.the sum of the amounts determined by the administrator in accordance with Schedule 1 to Ontario Regulation 564/05, and
ii.$250.

4.$71 (Special Boarder Allowance).
5.For the month in which an approved health professional confirms that a member of the benefit unit is pregnant and for each succeeding month up to and including the month in which the pregnancy ends, and subsequently, if the member of the benefit unit is breast-feeding, for each succeeding month up to and including the month in which the infant is 12 months of age, a nutritional allowance equal to,

i.$50, if an approved health professional confirms that the person requires a non-dairy diet, or
ii.$40, otherwise.

(4) The budgetary requirements set out in subsection (3) do not apply to a person who is an applicant or recipient if he or she meets any one of the following criteria:

  1. The parent with whom the person is living is in receipt of a payment under Part II of the Old Age Security Act (Canada) or a payment under the Ontario Guaranteed Annual Income Act.
  2. The person, or the spouse of the person, rents or owns the dwelling place in which he or she and the parent reside.
  3. The person establishes to the satisfaction of the administrator that he or she is required by the parent to pay for shelter in order to continue to reside in the dwelling place of the parent.

(5) Despite the determination that a person is financially independent within the meaning of subsection 2 (2), the person may elect to be considered not financially independent if he or she would, but for his or her election under this subsection, have his or her budgetary requirements determined under subsection (3).

Participation in Employment Assistance Activities

27(1) Subject to subsection (2), every participant is required to participate in one or more employment assistance activities in accordance with sections 28 and 29.

(2) The administrator shall temporarily defer the requirement under subsection (1) with respect to a participant who meets at least one of the following criteria:

1. The participant is a sole support parent with at least one dependent child for whom publicly funded education is not available.
2.The participant is a sole support parent with at least one child for whom,

i.temporary care assistance is being received, and
ii.publicly funded education is not available

Highlights

A sole support parent, over 18 years of age, living in his or her parents home will have eligibility for social assistance and the calculation of budgetary requirements based on whether,

  • he or she meets the requirements of financial independence, and
  • he or she meets an exception to the “living with parents” rule.

If not residing with parents, applicants or participants do not require a determination of financial independence.

If residing with parents, applicants or participants do require a determination of financial independence. The caseworker will then determine eligibility for assistance based on whether the applicant or participant is considered to be financially independent or a dependent adult.

Determining Financial Independence

A determination of whether a person is financially independent is completed for all applicants 18 years of age and older who are living with their parents.

An applicant is determined to be financially independent if one or more of the following criteria is met:

  • he or she resides with a spouse or have resided with a spouse at any time in the past;
  • he or she is eligible as a sole support student (i.e. is self-supporting or independent) under the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) or have been so eligible at any time in the past;
  • there has been a cumulative period of at least two years in which one, or any combination of the following has occurred: ◦he or she has had a monthly income, other than child support, that is greater than the maximum income assistance for a single person
    • his or her basic needs and shelter have been provided by a source other than his or her parent(s) or an institution;
    • he or she has received social assistance separate from his or her parent(s); or
    • he or she has lived away from the parental home after his or her 18th birthday.
  • a period of five years has passed since he or she ceased attending secondary school or receiving satisfactory instruction at home;
  • he or she has received a degree from a degree granting institution (i.e., university) or a diploma from a college of applied arts and technology; or
  • he or she is a parent who has, or has had, custody of their child.

Acceptable Documentation That Will Help Determine Financial Independence

  • Record of Employment (ROE), pay stubs, letters from employers, OSAP Assessment Summary, tax returns etc. or
  • Where independent verification is not available, self-declaration is acceptable.

Financial Independence HAS Been Met:

Calculating Assistance For Financially Independent Adults (Sole Support Parents)

If financial independence has been met, the applicant or participant may apply for social assistance in his or her own right:

  • If there is no exception to the “living with parents” rule, his or her budgetary requirements are Basic Needs plus $71. There may also be eligibility for a special diet and/or the pregnancy nutritional allowance.

Exceptions to “Living With Parents” Rule

Financially independent adults living with parents who meet one or more the exceptions to the “living with parents” rule will have their budgetary requirements determined according to family size and actual shelter costs. Budgetary amounts will be based on sections 41 and 42 (2) or section 44 (1) of the regulations, as appropriate.

“Election” Provision

A person who has been determined to be financially independent may elect to have their budgetary requirements determined as a dependent adult.

If the financially independent adult elects to have their budgetary requirements determined as a dependent adult, they will be included in the parental benefit unit if the parents are in receipt of assistance.

Calculating Assistance For A Dependent Child Who is a Sole Support Parent

A sole support parent, under the age of 18 years of age, living at home with his or her parents is considered a “dependent child” and is not eligible for assistance in his or her own right. A minor sole support parent who is a dependent child cannot meet the criteria of “financial independence”. A minor sole support parent may apply for assistance on behalf of his or her dependent child(ren).

A dependent child has no eligibility in his or her own right. Eligibility for social assistance depends on his or her parent’s eligibility.

If parents are not in receipt of social assistance

(or, are not eligible for social assistance)

  • the dependent child is not eligible.

If parents are in receipt of social assistance

  • the dependent child is added to the parental benefit unit.

Legislation allows for a dependent child who has a dependent child to apply for income assistance on behalf of the dependent child while not being eligible for income assistance in his or her own right.

If parents are not in receipt of social assistance (or are not eligible for social assistance)

  • the dependent child is not eligible, only his or her dependent child is eligible.
  • application is taken in name of dependent child on behalf of his or her dependent child.
  • the dependent child may be eligible for assistance with the costs of a special diet.

If parents are in receipt of social assistance

  • the dependent child is added to the parental benefit unit.
  • application is taken in name of dependent child on behalf of his or her dependent child.
  • the dependent child may be eligible for assistance with the costs of a special diet.

A financially independent adult who has a dependent child may apply for assistance in his or her own right or “elect” to remain a dependent adult and apply for income assistance on behalf of the dependent child.

General Eligibility Criteria

Participation Requirements

The sole support parent caseload represents a diverse population presenting multi-faceted needs and issues. It is imperative that all staff are aware of these needs and exercise sensitivity and discretion during the service planning process.

Sole support parents are considered mandatory participants with the exception of:

  • sole support parents with at least one dependent child, or, a child in temporary care for who publicly funded education is not available.

Sole support parents, with at least one dependent child (or child for whom temporary care assistance is being received) and publicly funded part-time or full-time education is not available, are considered to be categorically deferred from mandatory participation in Ontario Works. They can voluntarily participate in any of the Employment Assistance activities.

All clients with mandatory requirements are expected to fully participate in Ontario Works (OW). However depending on individual circumstances, there may be reasons for a temporary deferral or restrictions on full participation in OW.

Reasons for client circumstance deferrals or restrictions on full participation may include:

  • lack of adequate child care arrangements;
  • fragile family situation; or
  • primary caregiver for a family member.

The presence of these factors/barriers have a direct impact on the well being of the children and the stabilization of the family unit. A family unit in any one or a combination of situations, may be vulnerable, at risk and unable to function or interact within the community. The family unit may need additional supports, such as medical intervention, agency involvement etc, to help ease and deal with the difficulties experienced by the family members.

Documentation and verification from a third party, such as a medical professional, agency counsellor, Children’s Aid Society (CAS) etc, are required when assessing the appropriateness of a restriction or deferral based on a fragile family situation.

The length of time of a deferral or a restriction will vary with each case depending on individual circumstances.

Sole support parents under the age of 25 years may have requirements under Learning, Earning and Parenting (LEAP).

Non-Compliance with OW Participation Requirements

All mandatory OW participants must comply with all program requirements in order to maintain eligibility for social assistance. However, given the special circumstances and complexity of the sole support parent group, the caseworker should document any issues of non-compliance and discuss with a Supervisor, Direct Program (SDP).

Support

There is no legislative requirement to pursue child support in order to be eligible for social assistance.

Child support payments are not deducted from social assistance payments.

Spousal support payments, which are different than child support payments, are deducted from social assistance payments.

Clients do need to advise their caseworker of any child and/or spousal support payments that they may receive.

Employment & Social Services will provide assistance to clients in their pursuit of spousal support and who voluntarily want to pursue child support through the Family Support Program.

Family support workers are available in every Toronto Employment & Social Services office to help clients with support issues and to provide information. Clients can speak to their caseworker or call the Family Support Program directly at 416-338-3800.