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I have a problem with Ontario Works. Where can I get help?
Long delays for appeal hearings
If you're appealing a decision made by OW or ODSP in 2020, your appeal hearing may not happen for a long time. People report that they're getting hearing dates from the Social Benefits Tribunal that are between 9 and 16 months in the future. We'll update this information as things change.
If you have a problem with Ontario Works (OW), you may want to get legal help to understand your rights and act on them.
If you disagree with a decision that OW makes, it’s important to get help as soon as possible.
When to get help
You may want to get legal advice if, for example, OW:
- asks for information or documents you can’t get
- asks for information you don’t think you should have to give
- asks you to do things you can’t do
- refuses to give you financial assistance
- reduces or cuts off your assistance
- says you owe them money
- makes a decision about your assistance that you don’t agree with or don’t understand
There may be things you can do. For example, you may be able to appeal to the Social Benefits Tribunal (SBT). The SBT is not part of OW and has the power to make a different decision.
Where to get help
There are community legal clinics across Ontario that provide free legal services to people with low incomes.
At these clinics, lawyers, community legal workers, and law students help people with a variety of legal problems, including problems with OW.
Clinics give legal information and advice, and can also help you appeal a decision made by OW.
A clinic may be able to help you fill out forms and prepare for a hearing at the SBT. They may also represent you at your hearing.
If you need legal help that a clinic can’t give you, they may be able to refer you to someone who can. For example, if OW has asked the police to investigate because they think you’re guilty of fraud, you might need a criminal lawyer.