This pamphlet is for people who are applying to Ontario Works (OW) for financial assistance. Sometimes OW assistance is called “welfare”. This type of assistance is for people who need money because: they cannot find work, they are temporarily unable to work, they are earning so little that they
qualify for assistance, or they are applying to the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) and they need assistance while waiting for disability benefits to begin.
What information will I have to give when I apply for assistance?
You will have to provide information about yourself, each member of your family, and anyone else who lives with you. This information includes:
family size and ages of family members,income including pensions and
allowances, assets including money in bank accounts, registered retirement savings plans (RRSPs), registered education savings plans (RESPs), and vehicles, debts—including money you owe on credit cards, to the bank, and to other people, housing arrangements, expenses for basic needs, and
education, employment status, and employment history.
You will be asked to provide documents that relate to yourself or
the other people in your household who are included in your application, such as:
personal identification—for example, birth certificates or passports,
health cards, and Social Insurance Number (SIN) cards,immigration papers,
divorce papers, proof of school attendance, bank statements or bank records,
proof of income from any source— including employment, Child Tax
Benefit, support payments, workers’ compensation, and payments from
tenants, roomers, and boarders, information about assets—including
RRSP statements, car ownership papers, and bonds, life insurance policies,
leases or tenancy agreements, and rent receipts, mortgage agreements and statements,
other bills related to housing costs such as bills for hydro, water, gas,
property tax, and home or apartment insurance, and proof of debts—including credit card bills, student loans such as OSAP, and other loans, even if the loan is from a relative or friend.
You should not be asked for information that is not relevant to your eligibility for financial assistance. If you think the OW office is being unreasonable or asking you for information that has nothing to do with your eligibility, contact your community legal clinic
What if I have trouble getting the documents OW asks for?
You should not have to provide a document that you cannot get or that
you cannot afford to get. If you are asked to do this, ask the OW office to check the information some other way. Or ask them to pay for the cost of getting the documents.
What if someone in my household needs a special diet?
If you or other members of your household need a special diet because
of a particular medical condition, OW may have to take the cost of the diets into account:
when they decide whether you are eligible for income assistance, and
when they calculate the amount of your assistance. The amount depends
on the medical condition.
To apply for a special diet, you must use a form provided by the OW office. Ask the OW worker for the special diet application form. This form must be completed by one of the following health professionals who is licensed to practice in Ontario: a doctor, a dietitian, a registered nurse in the extended class. This kind of nurse is sometimes called a nurse practitioner.