When you receive financial assistance from the Ontario Works, you have both rights and responsibilities.

You and adult members of your family must agree to participate in activities that will help you find and maintain employment, meet with your caseworker and provide information as required.

You also have a right to receive decisions in writing and to ask for an internal review if you disagree with a decision.

Your rights

An interview

You can ask to meet with us, either online or in person. You may bring someone with you when you meet with your caseworker or when you visit one of our offices. You can bring anyone you choose.

A decision in writing

We will write to tell you of any decisions we make and our reasons for making them.

A chance to have decisions reviewed

If you do not agree with a decision in your case, you can ask for an internal review of the decision.

Benefits that are available (if you are eligible)

In addition to your monthly Ontario Works financial assistance, you and your family may be eligible for other benefits including prescription drug coverage and help with costs when participating in activities to help you find a job.

Your responsibilities

Attend interviews

You must meet with your caseworker regularly, either in person or online. They will meet with you to review your participation and activities to help you find a job. They will review your financial information every 24 months.

Look for work and becoming job-ready

You and any adult family members 18 years of age and older must take part in activities that will help you find a job. These can include many different types of activities, including learning new skills.

Keep receipts and statements

You may need to show proof of income and expenses, such as receipts and statements for:

  • rent or mortgage payments
  • housing costs, such as hydro, water, and heating
  • income tax assessments and returns
  • pay stubs
  • child care costs
  • other expenses that Ontario Works reimburses you for

Tell us about your income and other money received

You need to tell us about any income or other money that you or anyone in your family receives, or if there are any changes in your or your family’s income, for example:

  • income from employment or training
  • income from child or spousal support
  • income from Canada Pension Plan (CPP) benefits
  • income from Worker Safety and Insurance Benefits (WSIB) or Employment Insurance benefits
  • money received from family, including gifts
  • money received from a windfall such as an inheritance or lottery
  • student grants
  • money received from OSAP and other loans

You can report earnings online using MyBenefits or the Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system. Remember to provide your nine-digit member ID, which you can find on your monthly statement.

You can also report your earning by filling out the income reporting statement you receive each month with your Ontario Works financial assistance payment.

Tell us about your assets

You need to tell us about any assets that you or your family have. You also need to tell us if the value of an asset changes or if you or your family get new assets.

Assets include:

  • money in bank accounts
  • property or real estate that you own
  • trust funds
  • investments such as Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs), stocks, and bonds
  • cars and other vehicles

You can report assets by contacting your caseworker through MyBenefits, by phone, by mail, or in person. Remember to provide your nine-digit member ID, which you can find on your monthly statement

Report when something changes in your life and in your family

You need to tell us about any change in your or your family’s situation, for example:

  • you move, or have changes to your living arrangement
  • your housing costs change
  • you have any family changes (for example, someone moved out, finished school, had a new baby, or new person is living in the home)
  • you start working or attending post-secondary school
  • you or someone in your family are admitted to hospital or any other institution
  • you or someone in your family is being detained in custody
  • you have changes in your or your family’s income (for example, Employment Insurance (EI), received any cash gifts, CPP)
  • you or another family member is leaving Ontario for more than seven days

You can report changes to your personal circumstances online through MyBenefits, or by phone or mail. Remember to provide your nine-digit member ID, which you can find on your monthly statement.

For more information, please contact your local Ontario Works office.

Try to find other sources of income

You must try to get any money or support that you or someone in your family may be entitled to or eligible for. Examples include:

  • Ontario Child Benefit
  • support from a sponsor or co-signer
  • CPP - Retirement or Disability benefits
  • EI benefits
  • WSIB benefits

If you do not make a reasonable effort to get this money or support, then your financial assistance payments may be suspended. For example, applying for a benefit you may be eligible for, such as Employment Insurance, is considered a reasonable effort.

Repay any overpayment

An overpayment is money that you received that you were not eligible to receive.

You are responsible for repaying an overpayment, even after you leave Ontario Works.

If you have an overpayment while you are receiving financial assistance from us, then we will make deductions from your monthly financial assistance payments until you repay all the money that you owe.

Report honestly

You must honestly report the income, assets and living arrangements of you and your family.

Employment assistance

Employment assistance can help your family member prepare for and find a job.

Learn more about employment activities that are part of Ontario Works.