Can I leave Ontario and still get OW?

2. Ask OW to approve more than 7 days

Ontario Works (OW) will cut off your if:

  • you’re away from Ontario for more than 7 days, and
  • they don’t approve you being away.

If you can, it’s best to ask OW to approve your time away from Ontario before you leave. If you didn’t ask before you left, you can ask after you come back.

When OW can give their approval

OW can approve you being away for more than 7 days for:

  • health reasons, or
  • what they call “exceptional circumstances”.

When OW decides whether to approve you being away, they also look at things like:

Health reasons

OW will approve you being away for more than 7 days for health reasons if:

  • you need to leave Ontario for medical treatment,
  • your doctor prescribes the treatment for you, and
  • your doctor asks the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) to pay for the treatment and OHIP agrees.

OW needs to see the letter from OHIP that says they agree to pay.

Exceptional circumstances

OW can approve you being away from Ontario for more than 7 days for reasons they consider to be “exceptional circumstances”. For example:

  • You need to be away because of a serious family situation. For example, a family member is sick or injured, or has died. OW may ask you for proof, such as a letter from a doctor or a death certificate.
  • You left Ontario and were not able to come back within 7 days. OW will ask you for proof that the reasons were beyond your control. These could be reasons like a serious illness or problems with travel, such as a cancelled flight.

You can also ask OW to decide that your reason for being away is an exceptional circumstance if you:

  • need to travel because of your health, and
  • can’t meet OW’s rules about health reasons.

When you ask, give OW a letter from your doctor or other health professional.

OW may not agree to do this. So, talk to a community legal clinic to find out what you can do if you don’t agree with what OW decides.

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