4. Learn about claiming child-care expenses

Can I work and still get financial assistance from Ontario Works?
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4. Learn about claiming child-care expenses

If you have to pay for child care so you can go to work, you might be able to claim child-care expenses. You do this when you report your earnings to Ontario Works (OW). This could mean that you get to keep more of your monthly financial assistance.

OW has rules about claiming expenses for child care and how much you can claim.

When you can’t claim

You can’t claim child-care expenses if:

  • A family member who is part of your household provides child care.
  • Someone who has a legal duty to support the child, such as a parent, provides child care.
  • You get money from another source to pay for your child care, for example, money from your local government, which is called a “fee subsidy”. But if you get less than what you pay for child care, you can claim the difference.

If you live with your child’s other parent

If you live with your child’s other parent, the general rule is that you can’t claim child-care expenses if only one of you is working.

But you can claim them if your child’s other parent can’t look after their child because they’re doing activities OW wants them to do to get a job.

How much you can claim

The amount you can claim depends on who you get child care from.

If your child-care provider is: You can claim:
  • licensed, for example, a daycare centre, nursery school, or daycare agency
  • the full amount you pay
  • an Extended Day Program, which is provided by school boards for kindergarten children before and after school
  • the full amount you pay
  • not licensed, for example, friends, neighbours, or others who provide child care in their homes, after‑school programs, parks and recreation programs, or camps
  • the amount you pay, up to $600 a month for each child

Getting money right away to pay for child care

If you have to pay for child care when you’re starting a job or training program, you might be able to get money from OW. This is called an “Advance (Up Front) Child Care Payment”.

The most you can get as an Advance (Up Front) Child Care Payment is the amount of child-care expenses you can claim in one year. That amount depends on the type of child-care provider you use. The rules about that are in the table above.

If OW gives you an Advance (Up Front) Child Care Payment, you can’t claim child-care expenses that you pay for with that money.

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Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services
Reviewed: June 14, 2018

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