Ask Us About...Ontario Works

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Ontario Works is a provincially-funded program designed to help people achieve sustainable employment and financial independence in our communities.

We provide financial assistance through monthly support payments to help with the costs of basic needs like food, clothing, and shelter, and we can provide health benefits for clients and their families.

Ontario Works also provides employment assistance such as access to workshops, counselling, training and education to help people find, prepare for, and keep a job.

*Please note that this project is intended to answer general questions only. We will not respond to questions related to personal or individual cases and ask that you contact the Social Services Department at 519-271-3773 ext. 200 so that an appropriate staff can connect with you directly to address your inquiry.


Ontario Works is a provincially-funded program designed to help people achieve sustainable employment and financial independence in our communities.

We provide financial assistance through monthly support payments to help with the costs of basic needs like food, clothing, and shelter, and we can provide health benefits for clients and their families.

Ontario Works also provides employment assistance such as access to workshops, counselling, training and education to help people find, prepare for, and keep a job.

*Please note that this project is intended to answer general questions only. We will not respond to questions related to personal or individual cases and ask that you contact the Social Services Department at 519-271-3773 ext. 200 so that an appropriate staff can connect with you directly to address your inquiry.

CLOSED: Thank you for asking your questions. We have grouped the questions together and answered them below. For further information, you can visit the City of Stratford website: www.stratford.ca, or call our office at the number above.

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    Can someone be working and still be eligible to receive Ontario Works?

    4 months ago

    Yes. Someone can be working and still get financial assistance from Ontario Works as long as they report their earnings on a monthly basis. However, the amount of money someone earns can affect the amount of assistance they receive. When calculating assistance, the first $200 is exempt as income and the remaining 50% of net earnings are deducted from their overall entitlement. 

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    Can a person access Ontario Works while they are waiting for Employment Insurance (EI)?

    4 months ago

    Yes. While an individual is waiting for EI to process their payment, they are eligible to apply for Ontario Works assistance until they receive their first Employment Insurance payment. All Ontario Works benefits received during this waiting period will be paid back to Ontario Works once EI becomes in pay. This is done through a process called an Assignment of Benefit, and requires an applicant to complete and sign a form. The funds received from OW, that duplicate the time period in which EI payments are being received, is paid back directly to the office issuing the Ontario Works funds. If these funds are not paid back through the Assignment of Benefit process, an overpayment is established in the applicant’s file. This money must be paid back, even if their file with Ontario Works has closed.

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    What if a person doesn’t have an address. Are they still eligible for Ontario Works?

    4 months ago

    Yes. Someone would still qualify for the Basic Needs portion of Ontario Works even if they don’t have a permanent address as long as they meet the other eligibility requirements. Mail can be held at the Ontario Works office for those without a permanent address if they are not able to use another address (e.g. of a family member). 

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    Aside from providing financial and employment assistance, what else does Ontario Works help with?

    4 months ago

    Ontario Works can also provide people who are eligible, and their dependents, with health benefits that include things like prescription drug coverage, vision and dental care and medical supplies. 

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    Can someone own a house or a car, or have savings and still be eligible for Ontario Works?

    4 months ago

    Ontario Works does limit the amount of assets a person can have in order to qualify for financial assistance. The term ‘asset’ means money (income and savings) but also other things someone owns (e.g. house, car, business items). Asset limits depend on the size of the household applying for Ontario Works. The asset limit for a single applicant is $10,000, while a couple’s asset limit is set at $15,000. Each additional child in their family unit would increase this limit by $500 per child.

    However, there are some items that are not counted in this asset limit including; a home (if it is the applicant’s primary residence), one vehicle, or an investment that is locked-in and inaccessible (such as some types of life insurance plans).


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    Is there a limited amount of time someone can be on Ontario Works?

    4 months ago

    No. Although this program is intended to provide financial assistance to people on a temporary basis, there is no limit to the amount of time someone can receive Ontario Works as long as they are complying with the rules and expectations that come with receiving assistance (for example, participating in employment related activities). 

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    If a person is not able to work due to a disability, would they still be able to access Ontario Works?

    4 months ago

    If someone cannot work due to a disability, they may be eligible for the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP). If someone requires financial assistance immediately, Ontario Works may be able to support them while they are waiting for approval for ODSP. Ontario Works staff can also assist people with the application for ODSP.


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    What accountability measures does Ontario Works have in place to ensure that the program is assisting those who are eligible?

    4 months ago

    Ontario Works puts a number of measures in place to help make sure the program is assisting only those who qualify and are in need of it. When someone applies for Ontario Works they are required to provide information about themselves to make sure they are eligible to receive income assistance. This includes submitting documentation that verifies their income, assets and living arrangements before the file is approved. Recipients’ eligibility is checked on an ongoing basis and they are expected to report any changes in circumstance or income that may impact how much money they receive. Ontario Works also has processes in place to complete audits of ongoing Ontario Works files, investigate suspected fraud and recover money from recipients who are not entitled to it.