OW & ODSP Presentation

(posted: April 29 2018)

Presentation to Ontario Regional Council

April 2018 Spring Annual General Meeting

Ontario has 2 social assistance programs to help eligible residents of Ontario who are in financial need.
One is Ontario Works and the other is the Ontario Disability Support Program.

This provincial assistance program is delivered according to the Ontario Works Act. The Employment and Social Services Offices issue the financial benefits. Ontario Works helps people who are in temporary financial need. The program offers both financial and employment assistance. OW provides money for food, shelter and other costs to people in financial need who meet the eligibility criteria.
Financial assistance may include money for food, shelter, clothing and other household costs, the cost of prescription medications and other help with health costs. OW also provides employment assistance which may include options to help people find jobs or become more job ready, money for training and other employment related expenses. The monthly amount of assistance one can receive depends on family size, housing costs and income.

  • Living in Ontario and have status in Canada
  • Aged 18 or over (16/17 if special circumstances exist such as abuse or if there is no home or financial support available)
  • In financial need
  • Willing to make reasonable efforts to find, or get ready for or keep a job
  • It's important to note that people not eligible for social assistance benefits may qualify for one-time help with medical costs
Eligibility for OW assistance will be assessed during either a telephone application or an online application. If it appears the person qualifies, he will need to attend an in-person interview at an OW office. The office one will receive assistance from is determined by a person's postal code.
A homeless person can apply by calling 416-338-8888 or simply walk into any Employment and Social Services Office to apply.
One can also apply for OW online at any time...google Toronto Employment and Social Services. After you have completed answering all the questions and have submitted your application online, you will need to attend an in-person interview where you will meet with your caseworker to sign the application forms and learn more about the program. Usually this in-person appointment takes place at your local Employment and Social Services Office. If you're not able to physically come to the office, other arrangements can be made.

  1. Identification
    Birth certificate
    Social Insurance Number
    Ontario Health Card
    Immigration Document - record of landing, PR card
  2. Income
    Pay stubs
    Copies of pay cheques
    Employment Insurance Stubs
    Details about support payments or other income
  3. Assets
    updated bank books
    RRSP documents
    Life insurance documents
    vehicle ownership documents
    property ownership documents
  4. Accommodation
    Rent receipt
    Landlord information
    Mortgage papers
    Utilities & heating cost
    Condo maintenance fees

Within 4 days of providing all needed documents, you'll be told whether or not you qualify for assistance and for how much. You will be assigned a caseworker who will be your primary contact while you receive assistance.

Medication, subsidy for recreation programs, child care, money for training costs or employment or school related costs, special diet, funeral expenses, eye exams and eye glasses, dental coverage.
There is also the Housing Stabilization Fund - which provides money for emergency housing needs to people receiving financial assistance through Ontario Works.

Anyone with a disability and needing help with living expenses may be eligible for ODSP.
ODSP offers 2 types of support just like the OW.
  • Income Support - financial assistance provided each month to help with the costs of basic needs - food, clothing, shelter. Also include benefits like drug coverage and vision care for clients and their eligible family members.
  • Employment Supports - services and supports to help clients with disabilities find and keep a job and even advance their careers.

To qualify for ODSP income support, a person must be
  • at least 18 years old
  • be an Ontario resident
  • be in financial need
  • meet the program's definition of a person with a disability

A person is considered to be in a financial need if the cost of the household's basic living expenses are more than the household's income and assets (as determined by your ODSP caseworker)
When you apply for income support, a caseworker will ask you for specific documents that show
  • your household's housing and shelter related costs
  • any money coming into your household, as well as the value of assets belonging to members of the household.
The caseworker will also need your signed consent to disclose and verify personal information. This allows ODSP office to contact third parties and gather additional information needed to determine your eligibility for income support.
Only a caseworker can decide if you're financially eligible for ODSP.

  • You have a substantial mental or physical impairment that is continuous or recurrent, and is expected to last one year or more
  • Your impairment directly results in a substantial restriction in your ability to work, care for yourself or take part in community life
  • Your impairment, its duration and restrictions have been verified by an approved health care professional

The application process can be started either online, by phone or in person. Once you've started the process, a caseworker will contact you within 5 days to schedule an in-person meeting. You will be asked to bring specific documents to the meeting so that the caseworker can verify
  • your personal information
  • information about members of your household
  • your household's housing costs and other shelter related costs
  • your household's income and assets
The ODSP office will use the information provided along with information from other organisations, to determine if you qualify financially for income support.

A decision notice will be sent to you within 15 business days of your meeting with a caseworker.
If you're found to be financially eligible for income support, you will then be given a Disability Determination Package for part 2 of the application process for you and your health care provider to fill out. Specialized Ministry staff - Ministry of Community & Social Services will review the completed package to determine if you meet the program's definition of a person with disability. If yes, here comes ODSP.

If found to be financially ineligible, and you disagree with the decision, you will have 30 days to submit a request for an internal review and this is the first step in appealing a decision.

money in bank accounts
Property other than the house you live in
vehicle other than the main vehicle you drive
Trust funds

the house you own and live in
necessary household & personal items such as furniture and clothing
your primary vehicle
Pre-paid funerals

For a single person, the limit is $40,000
For a couple, it is $50,000
In terms of assisting someone who probably needs support, we actually can. The case worker will only need the individual's consent to have another person around or speak for them.
211 is a good resource to use too. It is your community connection. It provides information about human services - health, social and community services from any level of government and other service providers. It connects you with an information specialist who can provide information and referrals 24 hours a day.
311 provides residents, businesses and visitors with easy access to non-emergency city services programs and information 24 hours a day. From Outside Toronto, dial 416-392-city (2489).

Presentation by: Funmi Olagesin, Housing Worker, Toronto Central Council