Ontario Works

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Assistance through Ontario Works

Updated August 7, 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 or toll free at 1-855-999-8729.

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 and Ontario Disability Support Program recipients who have been directly impacted by COVID-19 may be eligible to receive the new Discretionary Emergency Benefit effective August 1 , 2020. This is a one time payment to assist with additional costs related to COVID-19. Recipients must not currently be in receipt of Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) income (with some exceptions). Medical verification that a member of the benefit unit has been directly impacted is required. You may be eligible for up to $100 for a single person and $200 for a family. For new requests, contact your Case Manager or the City’s Ontario Works Special Supports Program Office at 905-546-2590.

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:

Ontario Works provides temporary financial and employment assistance, also known as social assistance, for people who are in financial need. 

How to apply

Step 1: Documentation

You will need information from a number of documents to complete an application. It's a good idea to get these documents together before you start. Review list of documents you will need to complete the online application

Application options

Apply online

Service available 24 hours, 7 days a week, in English or French.
Eligibility may take 15 minutes and another 20 to 30 minutes for the application. You will receive a call within three business days to book an in-office appointment.

Please call our office within three days of completing the application If you do not:

  • receive a confirmation number once you have submitted your online application
  • provide a phone number with your application

You can reach us at 905-546-4800 and press option 3 when prompted.

Apply by phone

You can call our office at 905-546-4800 and press option 3 or call toll free at 1-855-999-8729. Service available Monday to Friday, 8:30 am to 3:30 pm, in English or French.

Step 2: In-office appointment to verify application

An in-office appointment is necessary to complete the application process. During the appointment, you will be expected to provide required information, complete and sign the application and all accompanying forms. You will need to bring your spouse (if you have one) and any children who are 18 or older to the appointment and all supporting documents used to complete the application. If you are not physically able to come to the in-office appointment, please advise us and we will make other arrangements with you.