Rights & Responsibilities
During your application for assistance you will hear about your rights and responsibilities related to receiving Ontario Works Assistance. The highlights of these rights and responsibilities are below.
Toronto Employment & Social Services: Ontario Works Rights & Responsibilities Video
The above video provides an overview of the Ontario Works Assistance Rights and Responsibilities form.
Vidéo portant sur le formulaire Droits et responsabilités (Ontario au travail) par les Services sociaux et d’emploi de Toronto (version française)
Ce vidéo vous fournira d’importants renseignements au sujet des droits que vous détenez et des responsabilités vous incombant lorsque vous bénéficiez d’une aide du programme de travail.
Toronto Employment & Social Services is committed to service excellence and our staff are here to help you understand your rights and responsibilities.
Everyone has the right to apply for Ontario Works. When applying for or receiving Ontario Works benefits, you have the right to:
- bring someone with you any time that you meet with your caseworker. This person can be anyone you would like to have there
- be notified in writing about any eligibility or financial decisions
- request a review if you disagree with a decision that is made
Employment and Social Services staff will not share your information unless the staff member is discussing relevant information with an approved person, according to specific legislation. If a member of the public requests information about your case, they must provide Employment and Social Services with signed permission from you.
Employment and Social Services protects the privacy of individuals under:
- the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, and
- the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
You or your legal representative can access copies of the following documents from your case file by contacting your caseworker:
- Application for Assistance
- Appointment Request Form
- Consent to Disclose and Verify Information
- Direct Bank Deposit Authorization
- Participation Agreement/Outcome Plan
- Resume and covering letter
- Rights and Responsibilities Form
If you would like access to information that is not shown here, a formal request to access information must be made to Toronto’s Corporate Information Management Services.
For further details contact your caseworker, or call Employment and Social Services’ Client Services Issues Management Unit at 416-392-2956.
While receiving Ontario Works benefits you must report any changes in your family, living arrangements or financial situation.
While receiving Ontario Works it is your responsibility to pursue other income and report any and all money you or any member of your family receives.
Each month you will receive a Statement of Income in the mail. Fill out and return this statement if your family has any income. For income reporting due dates, see the Income Reporting Schedule.
Examples of income sources include:
- Employment or training income
- Support income (child or spousal)
- Employment Insurance (EI)
- Rental income
- Federal income benefits such as Old Age Security, Guaranteed Annual Income Support (GAINS) or Guaranteed Income Supplement
- Medical/sick Benefits or Insurance Benefits such as Worker’s Compensation (WSIB)
- Canada Pension Plan, Survivors Benefits or pension earnings
- other income/benefits
Your eligibility for Ontario Works benefits is based in part on the amount and type of income you receive. For example:
- Some types of income (such as Employment Insurance payments) will be deducted from your assistance amount at 100 per cent.
- Other types of income (such as child support) will not be subtracted from your assistance at all.
- If you are working, your child care expenses will be considered and in most cases your earnings will be deducted at 50 per cent.
Gifts, Loans and Donations
Gifts, loans and donations may or may not be deducted as income depending on a number of factors. If you receive a gift, loan or donation, talk to your caseworker
Pursuing Other Income
While receiving Ontario Works benefits it is your responsibility to pursue any other income that you or your family members may be eligible for. This means that, if you are entitled to financial resources you must make reasonable efforts to try to obtain them.
Your benefits may be reduced if you do not try to obtain income you are eligible for:
Income can include Employment Insurance (EI), child support and more.
In some cases, help is available for you to pursue income. For example, you can get help with child support through the Family Support Program.
Your caseworker will complete an assignment form with you if an organization or individual owes you money for the same period that you receive Ontario Works benefits from Employment and Social Services. The assignment form is needed because social assistance rules do not allow someone to receive duplicate funds from more than one source for the same time period.
The assignment form allows Employment and Social Services to collect repayment either directly from the organization, or from ongoing payments you may get from the organization, until the amount of Ontario Works benefits you received is repaid.
Example – Employment Insurance (EI)
You apply for EI in March. In April you apply for Ontario Works benefits because you need help while Service Canada is processing your EI claim.
If you are eligible for Ontario Works benefits, an assignment form will be completed. In May, Service Canada tells you that you are eligible for EI as of the date that you applied in March. The assignment means that your EI payments will begin, but will be reduced until the money you received from Employment and Social Services for April and May is repaid. When that amount is repaid, the EI payments you receive will increase.
Changes in your family or living arrangements can include:
- Your address or phone number changes.
- Your rent or other housing costs change.
- Your child leaves or returns to school, starts work, or leaves or returns home.
- The number of people in your family changes, including if you start residing with another adult.
- You or a member of your family leaves Ontario for more than seven days.
Changes in your financial situation can include:
- You start a job or begin to receive any other income.
- Your support payments stop.
- You open or close a bank account.
- Your asset situation changes. (Examples of assets are life insurance, investments, vehicles and money in your bank account.)
Each month you will receive a Changes Report form in the mail. Use this form or talk to your caseworker to report any changes in your situation.
Meeting with Your Caseworker
While receiving Ontario Works benefits you will need to attend regularly scheduled appointments with your caseworker. At these meetings you and your caseworker will review your service plan and talk about programs and supports that can help you meet your goals, as well as review your financial information.
Participating in an Ontario Works Activity
While receiving Ontario Works benefits you are usually required to participate in employment-related activities. Any other family member, 18 years of age or older, is also required to participate.
Examples of employment-related activities include:
- Training Programs
- Education / Upgrading classes
- Learning, Earning and Parenting (LEAP): a program for parents aged 16 to 25
- Job search support from Employment Centres
Your caseworker will work with you to create a service plan to help you reach your employment-related goals. The service plan describes what activities you will be involved in and for how long. The plan changes as you meet your goals or as your circumstances change.
Your caseworker may excuse you from participating in an Ontario Works activity if:
- you are caring for a child who is under school age
- you are 65 years of age or older, or
- you cannot participate due to health issues.
If you have health issues talk to your caseworker. Your caseworker may ask for documentation from your doctor. If your health problem is ongoing and substantial you may want to apply to the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP). Your caseworker will provide you with the ODSP medical application package at your request.