3. Learn about community placements

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.

Ontario Works (OW) may say that you have to do a , as one of the activities in your Participation Agreement.

Community placements are sometimes called “community participation” or “voluntary placement”. Some people call it “workfare”.

Where you can do a community placement

People in community placements work at non‑profit, community, or public organizations, such as:

  • schools
  • daycare centres
  • food banks
  • libraries
  • community centres

If you have an idea for a community placement, you can ask your OW worker about it. And if you're already doing volunteer work, you can ask if your volunteer hours can be a community placement.

How long you can spend at a community placement

A community placement is usually no more than 6 months long. But it can be up to 12 months long if it's:

  • part of a plan to give you training on specific job skills, or
  • the best way to help you get a job as soon as possible.

If you finish a placement, you may be able to stay on and do another placement at the same organization. But you'll have to do different things and learn different skills.

There's a limit to the number of hours that OW can ask you to spend at community placements. They can't be more than the number of hours you'd have to work at minimum wage to earn the amount you get from OW each month.

And when you're doing a community placement, the most time you can spend there is:

  • 8 hours in a day, and
  • 44 hours in a week.

And you can't spend more than 70 hours at community placements in a month.

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