OW wants proof of something I can’t give them. What can I do?

Beware of scams

People have been getting phone calls with a pre-recorded message telling them their Ontario Works account has been deleted.

This is a scam to trick you into sharing your personal information. If you get a call like that, hang up the phone. You can report these calls to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501.

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 that are between 9 and 16 months in the future. We'll update this information as things change.

Ontario Works (OW) can ask you for information and documents to prove that you qualify for .

OW must be clear and specific about what they want.

And the information and documents that they say you have to get must relate to:

  • whether you qualify for assistance
  • the amount of assistance that you should get

See Step 1 for examples of what OW may ask you for.

If you can’t get what OW asks for

You should not have to give OW documents that you:

  • can't get for reasons that are out of your control
  • can't afford to get

For example, you don't have the money to pay bank fees to get your financial records.

Or someone else, like a former spouse, has documents that you need and they won't give them to you.

If you don’t give OW what they ask for

OW might refuse your application for assistance if you don't give them what they ask for.

If you're already getting assistance, OW may give you less or cut off your assistance. If this happens, they may send you a letter saying they're “suspending” some or all of your assistance until you give them what they asked for.

Getting help

You may want to get help from a community legal clinic if:

  • you don't understand what OW wants
  • you think OW is being unfair
  • you think OW is asking for information they can't require you to give them

And if OW refuses to give you assistance, or reduces or cuts it off, a community legal clinic may be able to help you.

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