4. Know what activities you shouldn’t have to do

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.

It's important to make sure that your Participation Agreement does not include any activities that you should not have to do.

Activities you should not have to do

Activities you should not have to do include ones that:

  • are dangerous to your health or safety or could make a medical condition worse
  • go against your personal or religious beliefs
  • go against the membership rules of a union or professional association that you belong to
  • you're not able to do because you have a learning disorder
  • stop you from looking after a family member if you're their caregiver

And if you and your spouse have children who live with you, you may not have to do activities at the same time. But this does not apply when:

  • your children are at school
  • you have child care for them

Giving proof to OW

Ontario Works (OW) will ask you to prove why you should not have to do an activity. For example, you might need:

  • a letter from a doctor
  • a letter from your religious leader
  • proof that you belong to a union or professional association, along with a document that shows the rules that members must follow

Reporting changes to OW

You need to tell OW when there are changes in your life because this might mean that you have to start doing activities that you've been excused from doing.

OW also reviews Agreements on a regular basis. So they could decide during a review that you have to start doing other activities.

If you have a problem with OW

If you don't do the activities in your Agreement, OW can cut off or reduce your assistance.

But you may be able to appeal to the Social Benefits Tribunal.

For help dealing with OW or appealing a decision, contact a community legal clinic.

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