If you live in Ontario and are between jobs or are having trouble finding employment, the Ontario Works Act could be a great program for you.
When can you expect your funds, though?
Eligible Ontario residents can expect to receive their Ontario works payments on the last day of each month.
Below, I’ll talk a little bit more about the various Ontario Works benefits you may be eligible for, how much to expect, and the exact payment dates.
What Are The Ontario Works Payment Dates For 2023?
Here’s a complete list of all of the upcoming Ontario Works payment dates for 2023:
- Tuesday, January 31st (2023)
- Tuesday, February 28th (2023)
- Friday, March 31st (2023)
- Friday, April 28th (2023)
- Wednesday, May 31st (2023)
- Friday, June 30th (2023)
- Monday, July 31st (2023)
- Thursday, August 31st (2023)
- Friday, September 29th (2023)
- Tuesday, October 31st (2023)
- Thursday, November 30th (2023)
- Friday, December 22nd (2023)
If you want to stay on top of your Ontario Works payments, I recommend making a calendar mark on your smartphone for each of the upcoming payment dates. You can also set reminders on your phone to alert you and remind you of the money coming your way.
Ontario Works benefit payments are typically issued on the final business day of the previous month. This ensures that recipients will receive their funds in time to make their monthly rent payments. It also decreases the chance that the funds will be wasted.
The one exception to this rule is during the holidays. Around Christmastime, you should expect to receive your benefit payment a few days before Christmas. This is mostly due to widespread bank closures between Christmas and New Years. It also serves as a nice “boost” during the holiday season.
The Ontario Works Act was enacted in 1997 to provide assistance to Ontario residents who were between jobs or who were having trouble finding employment.
Eligible recipients will receive a monthly cheque providing them with a basic allowance and funds to cover living expenses.
Considering that Ontario is home to some of the wealthiest individuals in Canada, most regard this program as more than fair (and is mostly funded by taxpayers).
Ontario Works offers several different benefits to applicants, depending on their eligibility. Some just receive a basic allowance, while others receive extra benefits for healthcare or if they have dependents/children in their care.
For as long as you’re enrolled in Ontario Works, you’ll be assigned a caseworker. This individual will work with you to help you find employment. They may also review the effort that you put into searching for a job.
Ontario Works payments aren’t meant to be a long-term benefit, and the goal of the program is to help Ontario residents find gainful employment so that they can exit the program one day.
Whether you’re eligible for one, some, or all of the Ontario Works benefits, you can expect to receive your money all at once in a single payment. The various Ontario Works benefits that you could apply for include:
- Financial Assistance
- Health Benefits
- Employment Assistance
- Guide Dog Benefit
I’ll give you a quick breakdown of each of these below to help you determine whether or not you’re eligible.
1. Ontario Works Financial Assistance
This is the most common benefit for Ontario residents to receive. Ontario Works provides basic financial assistance (often referred to as your basic allowance) to recipients with the aim of helping them cover living expenses, shelter, and food.
The amount you’re eligible to receive depends on whether or not you have dependents in your care, the value of your assets, and the cost of your bills.
In addition to financial assistance, Ontario Works may also provide you with basic health benefits to cover the cost of prescription medication, dental care, vision care, medical supplies, medical transportation, and more. You can view the full list of Ontario Works health-related benefits on Ontario’s official government site.
The nice thing about Ontario Works health benefits is that your family can also take advantage of them as well. For example, your kids could receive free dental care. Additionally, Ontario Works health benefits may pay for drug and alcohol rehabilitation for eligible recipients.
Once you’re enrolled as an Ontario Works beneficiary, you’ll have access to a wide range of employment assistance programs. Some of the services that you’ll be able to take advantage of include:
- Job training
- Job counselling
- Job-related support
Your caseworker will work with you to find jobs and positions that fit your unique skill set. Alternatively, they may also help by enrolling you in programs designed to provide you with a new skill set so that you can expand your employment opportunities.
If you’re an Ontario Works recipient who has a registered guide dog, then you can get even more assistance. During the interview with your caseworker, bring your guide dog and present any registration documents that may be required to prove that your companion is, in fact, a real guide dog.
As long as everything checks out, then you’ll be given a monthly allowance to help cover the costs of dog food, veterinary care, and other essentials that your guide might require.
Ontario Works payments aren’t the same for everybody. The monthly payment amount varies, depending on factors such as:
- Your living expenses
- Children or dependants in your care
- Your age
Below, I’ll give you a quick breakdown of the Ontario Works payment amounts you can expect to receive under various circumstances. Keep in mind that these are just averages, and the actual amount may differ slightly depending on annual changes to the program and your specific case.
The Ontario Works shelter allowance is designed to help recipients cover the cost of shelter. This includes things like rent, mortgage payments, utility bills, property taxes, and more.
The amount you’ll receive depends on how many people in your family are living in the residence, the size of the residence, and your average monthly payments for shelter expenses.
Here’s what you can expect to receive for your Ontario Works shelter allowance:
|Number of Dependants Living With You||Allowance Cap|
|1 (including yourself)||$390|
As you can see, the shelter allowance that you’ll receive is far from enough to cover all of your monthly shelter expenses. However, the amount can certainly help by reducing your liability and reducing your costs.
Then again, if you’re single, living very frugally, and renting out a tiny room in an inexpensive town, then $390 might be able to cover your rent costs.
In addition to a shelter allowance, Ontario Works also affords you a basic needs allowance. This amount is designed to help you cover the cost of essentials like food, fuel, personal hygiene items, and transportation costs.
Here’s what you can expect to receive, depending on your circumstance:
|Number of Dependents Under 17 Living In-Home||Number of Dependents Over 18 Living In-Home||Allowance Cap For Single Recipient||Allowance Cap For Married Couples|
Although the majority of Ontario Works recipients either rent or own a home, the program also includes an allowance for individuals who have a board and shelter arrangement. In these arrangements, the recipient and their family receive food and shelter from the same place.
Some examples could be:
- Living with a friend or family member
- Living in a “halfway house”
- Staying at an extended-stay hotel that offers free meals
In these cases, Ontario Works applicants will be eligible for an amount ranging between $533 and $980 (depending on how many dependents are living with them), as well as an additional amount of $71 to help compensate their hosts for meals and hospitality.
You can view the full chart on the city of Toronto’s government website.
Ontario Works is designed to help lower-income individuals and families who are experiencing financial hardship. In many of these cases, the applicant is unemployed or unable to find steady employment.
Here are some of the basic eligibility requirements to be considered for Ontario Works benefits:
- You must show that you’re in financial need
- You must be at least 16 years old
- You must be a full-time resident of Ontario
- You must show proof that you’re trying to find employment
- Your total asset value must fall below the maximum threshold (i.e., you can’t receive benefits if you’re living in a $1 million home)
The total amount of your Ontario Works benefit payments will be disbursed to you on the last business day of the month. Even though the benefit amounts are calculated separately, it will all come as one payment, which makes it easy to account for.
You can receive your Ontario Works benefits in one of the following ways:
- Direct deposit into your bank account
- A reloadable payment card (similar to the Koho prepaid debit card I’ve mentioned before)
- Mailed paper cheque to your primary residence
Thankfully, any benefit payments you receive as an Ontario Works beneficiary do not count as taxable income. You don’t have to report the payments on your taxes or worry about having to pay back taxes on the amount.
Applying for Ontario Works
Here are the steps to apply:
- Online Application: You can start the application process online. Visit the Ontario Works section of the Ontario.ca website, and follow the instructions to complete the application. You’ll need to provide detailed information about your finances and living situation, as well as personal information for yourself and anyone else in your household.
- Interview: After you submit your online application, a caseworker will contact you to schedule an interview. This is usually done over the phone, but may also be in person at an Ontario Works office. During the interview, you’ll discuss the information you provided in your application, as well as your employment history and job search efforts. You’ll also learn about the rights and responsibilities you have while receiving Ontario Works benefits.
- Agreement: If you are eligible, you will need to agree to participate in specific employment activities in order to receive benefits. This is often called a “Participation Agreement”. This might include things like job search activities, job skills training, or volunteer work.
- Benefits: If your application is approved, you’ll receive a monthly benefit, which includes money for food, clothing, and other necessary costs, and also covers some of your housing costs.
How Long Can You Be On Ontario Works?
Ontario Works is designed to be a temporary form of financial assistance for individuals who are in financial need. There’s no set limit on the length of time a person can receive Ontario Works assistance. However, it’s important to understand that Ontario Works is not meant to be a long-term solution.
The program’s primary goal is to help recipients find employment and become financially self-sufficient. To facilitate this, recipients are usually required to participate in employment assistance activities as part of their eligibility for benefits. These activities could include job searches, skills training, or education programs.
Recipients must also regularly report to their caseworker, providing updates on their employment situation, income, and other aspects of their financial status. If a recipient’s situation changes — for example, they find employment or their income increases — their eligibility for Ontario Works may be affected, and their benefits may be reduced or ended.
That being said, the length of time a person can be on Ontario Works can vary greatly depending on the individual’s circumstances. For example, individuals who have a disability and are unable to work may receive benefits for a longer period of time.
If you ever forget the exact Ontario Works payment dates, just remember this – they always come on the last business day of the month.
The only exception to this rule is during December, when they’re disbursed on the last business day before the Christmas holiday.
Are you an Ontario Works recipient? Are you struggling to find gainful employment?
If so, then freelancing online could be a perfect fit for you. Keep on reading to see my guide to getting started as a freelance worker in Canada next!