Can I get OW if I own property or other things?

2. Learn about money OW does not count as assets

Ontario Works (OW) has rules about how much you’re allowed to have in and to qualify financially for .

But there are some types of assets that OW does not count. These are called “exempt” assets.

Step 1 talks about property and belongings that OW does not count. Below are examples of money and payments that are exempt assets.

You may want to get legal advice to find out whether something you own might be an exempt asset.

Examples of money and payments that OW does not count

OW does not count:

  • money you get when you sell a property, if you’re using that money to buy a home
  • registered education savings plans (RESPs) for family members
  • registered disability savings plans (RDSPs)

Assets you have as a student

There are times when OW does not count money that a student gets as a loan or grant or that they earn at work or in a training program.

Some settlements, awards, and benefits 

OW does not count:

  • money from the settlement of an Aboriginal land claim
  • payments you get because of certain government agreements, such as payments to residents of some institutions for people with developmental disabilities
  • money you get because of a lawsuit or claim, such as criminal injuries compensation, if it’s $50,000 or less and is for “pain and suffering”
  • benefits for non-economic loss from the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board, that are worth $50,000 or less

Gifts of money for certain things

OW does not count money that someone gives you:

  • to use as first and last month’s rent because you need a place to live
  • to help buy a home for you to live in
  • to help buy a car that’s an exempt asset

But you should use the money:

  • within 12 months if you use it to buy a home
  • within 6 months if you use it to buy a car or pay first and last month’s rent

If you don’t do this, OW counts the money as income in the month you get it and as an asset in the months after that.

You can ask OW to give you more time. You need to explain why you need it. If they refuse, get legal advice.

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