Our Ontario Works Services

Ontario Works (OW) used to be called “General Welfare Assistance”.   If you have little or no income, you may qualify for assistance from Ontario Works. OW helps people in financial need pay for living expenses, like food and housing and give them support in finding a job.

Our Clinic offers information, advice and representation if you have been denied OW or your benefits have been suspended or terminated. We can advocate on your behalf with OW to challenge and appeal decisions and can represent you at the Social Benefits Tribunal. We can also assist you with any issues with particular benefits, like the special diet benefit.

Who is eligible for OW assistance?

OW is designed to assist those who do not have the means to manage without assistance.  OW has both an income and an asset test and if for:

  • those who cannot find work or are temporarily unable to work
  • those who are earning so little that they qualify for assistance
  • those who are applying for disability benefits from the province (Ontario Disability Support Program: ODSP) and require assistance while going through the application process

OW will only pay benefits from the date you apply.  It is therefore important to apply as soon as you may require assistance.

Participation Agreement

You will not be granted OW benefits until you sign a Participation Agreement.  OW will require you to provide information and perform tasks as set out in that agreement.

If OW benefits are denied or terminated (Appeals)

If you are denied Ontario Works or your benefits have been suspended or terminated, you should appeal. We can assist you with the request for an Internal Review (IR) and an appeal to the Social Benefits Tribunal (SBT).  You only have 30 days to request an IR and 30 days to appeal to the SBT.

You should contact us as soon as you receive a written decision that your benefits will be affected or if OW stops sending you benefits. 

The amount and type of benefits that you and your family can receive from OW are based on maximums that are set by the size and needs of your family.  Benefits that can assist with drugs, special diets and other needs can be covered. You can obtain further general legal information about your rights and obligations under OW by accessing the Your Legal Rights website.