What is Ontario’s Emergency Assistance Program?

On March 23, 2020, the Ontario government announced an expanded Emergency Assistance program that's being run through Ontario Works (OW).

The emergency program is not for people who are already on OW or ODSP.

It's for people affected by COVID-19 and includes:

  • stopping for now the rule that says people can get emergency assistance only once in a six-month period, and
  • letting people get emergency assistance for 48 days rather than 16, without having to complete a full OW application.

Emergency assistance helps people who are in a crisis or emergency situation. It covers needs such as food, rent, medicine, informal childcare, and other services.

The amount you get depends on your situation. In most cases you will not get more than what you would get on OW.

Who is eligible

You may qualify for the emergency program if you:

  • live in Ontario
  • are in a crisis or emergency situation, for example you:
    • have been affected by covid-19
    • are being evicted from your home
    • are worried about your personal safety
    • are in or leaving an abusive relationship
  • don't have enough money for things like food and housing

How to apply

You can apply for emergency assistance online or through local Ontario Works offices. Keep in mind that OW offices may not be open.

A worker at your local OW office will review your application. You will be contacted within 4 business days. You may be asked for more information like copies of bills or other documents.

If your application is approved, you will be issued a payment right away. If you provided your bank information, you will get a direct deposit within 2 business days. Otherwise you will receive a cheque in the mail in about 7 business days.

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