What can Ontario Works say that I have to do to find a job?

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) has rules about who can get and what you must do to keep getting it.

You usually have to do things that are supposed to help you:

  • get ready for a job
  • get a job as soon as possible

You and an OW worker are supposed to agree on what activities will help you.

The Participation Agreement

The activities you have to do are listed in a Participation Agreement.

The Participation Agreement is part of your application for financial assistance. See Step 1.

Who does not have to sign a Participation Agreement

You don't have to sign a Participation Agreement if:

What happens if you have a disability

OW expects you to make “reasonable efforts” to do the activities in your Participation Agreement.

If you have a disability, you should only have to do activities that you're able to do.

If your disability is not going to last very long, OW might excuse you from all of the activities in your Agreement for a short time. For example, if you have a broken leg, this might be for a few weeks.

You need to get proof from a doctor or other health professional if you need to be excused from:

  • of the activities for a longer time
  • some of the activities that OW says you have to do

You can give OW a letter from the doctor or other health professional or have them fill out the OW form called Limitations to Participation. You can get this from the OW office.

Other health professionals who can write a letter or fill out the Limitations to Participation form include:

  • nurse practitioners
  • psychiatrists
  • social workers

Applying for income support

If you have a disability that's likely going to last a year or more, you may want to apply for from the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP).

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