Ontario Works

Receiving Ontario Works

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:

Notice: You can use your Ontario Health Card to access drug coverage under the Ontario Works Program. Beginning December 1, 2016, paper drug cards will no longer be available. If you do not have a Ontario Health Card, call your Ontario Works Case Manager at 905-546-4800. Learn more about the drug card changes English version (PDF, 353 KB) French version (PDF, 321 KB) 


Rights and Responsibilities as an Ontario Works client

The Ontario Works program strives to balance client needs with individual responsibility. Visit the Ministry of Community and Social Services website to learn more about your rights and responsibilities as an Ontario Works client.

Forms and Information for Ontario Works clients

The following information is for those who are receiving Ontario Works benefits.

Are you using a mobile device? You will need to download a free mobile app and PDF viewer to complete the fillable forms.

Information for Ontario Works clients

Social assistance in Ontario: Links to helpful resources

You will receive a 9-digit member ID and a 4-digit PIN number in two separate mailings. Both of these numbers are required to access your case file. This service is available:

Monday to Friday from 8 am to 9 pm
Saturday and Sunday from 12 noon to 5 pm
To Reset PIN: Press 1 – English instructions, Enter your 9 digit Member ID, Press 0 for the Help Desk and they will reset your PIN.

You can receive information about:

  • Most recent cheque date and amount
  • Previous cheque history (payments within the last 45 days)
  • Current overpayment balance (if applicable)
  • Case status (ongoing, suspended or terminated)

All Ontario Works monthly cheques and direct deposits will be dated and cashable for the last business day every month effective immediately. If any questions, please speak with your case manager.

Benefit Month Payment Date
(The date you receive your payment is dependent upon Canada Post and the banks)
January December 31, 2019
February January 31, 2020
March February 28, 2020
April March 31, 2020
May April 30, 2020
June May 29, 2020
July June 30, 2020
August July 31, 2020
September August 31, 2020
October September 30, 2020
November October 30, 2020
December November 30, 2020

Do not complete and sign the SOI before the 16th of each month as all income must be declared from the 16th of the previous month to the 15th of the current month. 

The SOI can be dropped off at the closest OW office or mailed to the office location indicated on the SOI. 

If you have more than two members of your family that are working, either request an additional SOI form from reception or copy the one you receive in order to record all earnings of all family members. 

If your Statement of Income is not received by the 16th of each month, or if it is not complete or correct, there may be a delay in your Ontario Works Financial Assistance.

Important: If you are not sure how to report your income, contact your Case Manager.

1. You are not required to submit a Statement of Income (SOI) if you have been advised by your Case Manager. This may occur if:

  • You do not have any income or earnings to report
  • Your income does not change on a monthly basis (Canada Pension Plan, Support payments that are the same each month, roomer or boarder income etc.)

2. You must continue, or start, to submit a Statement of Income (SOI) on the 16th of each month, if:

  • You have a new source of income (attach your income stubs to your SOI)
  • You have ongoing earnings and/or training allowances (attach your pay stubs to your SOI)
  • You have casual earnings from employment (attach your pay stubs to your SOI)
  • You have income that changes amounts on a monthly basis

Review the instructions on how to complete a Statement of Income (SOI) (PDF, 384 KB)

There are benefits available to help you pay for job start-up costs like new clothes, work boots, a haircut, tools and day care. If you have been receiving assistance for 3 months or longer, you can earn up to $200 each month without it affecting your assistance. Every dollar you earn over $200 will reduce your income support by $.50. For example - your monthly earnings is $350. You keep the first $200 without affecting your assistance. From the remaining $150, only $75 would be deducted from your income support. Speak to your Case Manager about this and other benefits that may be available to you.

Comments or Feedback on our Service

Providing excellent service is important to us. If you would like to provide comments or feedback on any of the services you have received, please send an email to [email protected] or call 905-546-2424 ext. 4156.