Ontario Works

Apply for Emergency Assistance

Assistance through Ontario Works

Updated June 5, 2020

During the COVID-19 crisis, current Ontario Works clients will continue to receive their scheduled payments. Clients can access Ontario Works COVID-19 key information from the Ontario government.

Individuals may continue to apply for income assistance and emergency assistance through the Online Application for Social Assistance (OASA) or by calling the City of Hamilton Ontario Works office at 905-546-4800.

To access information about your OW case, report income and change your address online, visit ontario.ca/MyBenefits.

These additional funding and supports are also available during the COVID-19 pandemic:

Ontario Works recipients who have additional expenses related to the COVID-19 outbreak and who do not currently receive Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) income (with some exceptions) are eligible for monthly payments of $100 for a single person or $200 for a family until July 2020. Families with a youth under 18 receiving CERB or a family member in full-time school attendance receiving CERB may still be eligible for the benefit. If you received the emergency benefit in March or April and meet eligibility criteria, you will automatically receive the benefit in May, June and July. For new requests, contact your Case Manager or the City’s Ontario Works office at 905-546-4800 with your name, member ID and your additional expenses. 

Examples of these expenses include:

  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) required for hospital or clinic visits, e.g. for dialysis, doctors’ appointments for an ongoing health related issue
  • Cleaning supplies for those who have a family member diagnosed with COVID-19
  • Delivery costs for food, medical or other essential supplies for recipients or families who are self-isolated or quarantined
  • Travel costs (e.g. taxi) to pick up food staples, medical or other essential supplies for recipients who are avoiding public transit

The benefit will be provided based on specified needs identified by the client.  

Emergency assistance is available to individuals who have lost their job and/or are in urgent need of financial help because of COVID-19. Individuals who do not already receive support from Ontario Works or the Ontario Disability Support Program can apply for emergency assistance online or call the City’s Ontario Works office at 905-546-4800 to request an application.

Individuals who have lost their job due to the COVID-19 outbreak may be eligible for the federal Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) or Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB). Please do not contact Ontario Works to apply for the CERB. For information on eligibility or to apply, visit Canada Emergency Response Benefit.

There are many types of financial support available to help individuals and families experiencing challenges due to COVID-19. A COVID-19 Virtual Assistant is available online to help you find more information on what financial supports are there for you from the Government of Canada.

Learn more about Financial Supports for Individuals

Helpful Links:

About Emergency Assistance

If you are in an emergency situation and you live in Ontario, you might be eligible for emergency assistance.

If you are eligible for emergency assistance, the amount you get will depend on your specific situation. In most cases you will not get more than what you would get on Ontario Works.

For example, you may get:

  • approximately $733 for a month if you are a single person and need help paying for food and shelter
  • more if you have children
  • up to 48 days of support depending on your specific situation

If you think you will need assistance for a month or more, you can apply for Ontario Works online or by calling your local office..


You may qualify if you live in Ontario (not a visitor or tourist), are in a crisis or emergency situation, and do not have enough money for things like food and housing. For example, a crisis or emergency includes situations where you:

  • have been affected by COVID-19 
  • are being evicted from your home
  • are in or are leaving an abusive relationship 
  • are worried about your safety

You are not eligible if you:

  • already receive assistance from Ontario Works or the Ontario Disability Support Program


You can apply online or by calling 905-546-4800.