January 2018

Legislative authority

Sections 2, 3, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 74(1) and (4) of the Act.
Sections 2, 13, 14, 40, 47.2, 55, 57(5), 57.1, 57.2, 58, 58.1, 58.3 and 59 of Regulation 134/98.

Audit requirements

Adequate documentation is on file to support the issuance of mandatory and discretionary benefits, and benefits are provided only to benefit unit members who meet the eligibility criteria.

Benefits do not exceed the maximum allowable amount where applicable, and are issued in accordance with any established time periods.

Application of policy

Basic financial assistance includes mandatory and discretionary benefits.

Mandatory benefits are provided to all eligible Ontario Works recipients and/or members of their benefit unit.

Discretionary benefits are provided on a case-by-case basis at the discretion of the Administrator to:

  • persons in receipt of assistance under the Ontario Works Act, 1997, including children on whose behalf Temporary Care Assistance (TCA) is being paid
  • persons in receipt of income support under the Ontario Disability Support Program Act, 1997
  • a member of a prescribed class, such as a person in receipt of Assistance for Children with Severe Disabilities (ACSD)

The amount provided for discretionary benefits is determined by the Administrator.

Mandatory benefits

Ontario Works recipients, spouses and any dependents may be eligible to receive the following mandatory benefits:

  • Health benefits:
    • prescription drug coverage
    • vision care for dependent children and children in temporary care
    • dental care for children aged 17 years and under whose families are residing in a First Nations community (including children in temporary care*)
    • diabetic supplies, surgical supplies and dressings
    • medical transportation costs $15 and over
    • consumer contribution for assistive devices and eligibility assessment under the Assistive Devices Program (ADP)
    • batteries and necessary repairs for mobility devices
    • routine eye examinations once every 24 months (ages 20-64)
    • extended health benefits
  • Guide Dog Benefit
  • Full-time Employment Benefit
  • Other Employment and Employment Assistance Activities Benefit
  • Advance (up front) child care
  • Transition Child Benefit


  1. Effective January 1, 2018 prescription drug coverage for individuals aged 24 and under who have an Ontario health card is provided by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care through the OHIP+ program. Individuals aged 24 and under who do not have an Ontario health card will continue to use monthly drug cards issued by a designated Ontario Works delivery partner.
  2. Effective January 1, 2016 dental benefits for dependent children aged 17 and under whose Ontario Works is being delivered by a Consolidated Municipal Service Manager or District Social Services Administration Board are provided by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care through the Healthy Smiles Ontario Program. Dependent children whose Ontario Works is being provided by a designated First Nations Ontario Works delivery partner will continue to have access to mandatory dental benefits under Ontario Works.

Discretionary benefits

The following discretionary benefits may be provided to eligible recipients:

  • Health-related:
    • dental care for adults
    • vision care for adults
    • prosthetic appliances
    • funerals and burials
    • heating payments and payments for low-cost heating energy conservation measures
  • Non-health-related:
    • vocational training and retraining
    • travel and transportation that is not for health-related purposes
    • moving expenses
    • any other special service, item or payment authorized by the Director

Benefit reference chart

The chart below identifies the directives that contain more detail on specific benefits:

Mandatory benefits

Drug coverage7.2: Health benefits
Dental coverage for dependent children residing in First Nations communities7.2: Health benefits
Vision care for children7.2: Health benefits
Eye examinations (ages 20-64)7.2: Health benefits
Diabetic and surgical supplies7.2: Health benefits
Travel and transportation for medical purposes7.2: Health benefits
Extended health benefits7.3: Extended health benefits
Assistive devices, batteries and repairs7.8: Assistive devices

Mandatory benefits

Full-time employment benefit7.4: Employment/participation benefits
Other Employment and Employment Assistance Activities Benefit7.4: Employment/participation benefits
Advance (up front) child care7.4: Employment/participation benefits
Transition Child Benefit7.6: Transition Child Benefit
Guide Dog Benefit7.7: Other benefits

Discretionary benefits

Dental care for adults7.2: Health benefits
Vision care for adults7.2: Health benefits
Prosthetic appliances7.2: Health benefits
Child care to attend a medical appointment7.2: Health benefits
Energy and water conservation measures7.5:: Housing-related benefits
Funerals and burials7.2: Health benefits
Vocational training7.4: Employment/participation benefits
Moving expenses7.5:: Housing-related benefits
Travel and transportation7.7: Other benefits
Special services, items and paymentsDirective
Health-related7.7: Other benefits
Non-health related7.7: Other benefits
Housing-related7.5:: Housing-related benefits