5. Tell OW if you can’t follow your Participation Agreement

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) can excuse you from activities in your Participation Agreement if you can't do them.

If you can’t start the activities right away

If you're a , you can delay starting the activities if your child:

  • has not started school yet
  • is old enough to go to school, but there's no publicly funded school near you that offers a program for your child

If you're a caregiver for a family member, you may be able to delay doing the activities.

You need a letter from your doctor or other health professional saying why you can't do the activities.

The letter must explain why your family member needs your help every day. For example, they're sick or have a disability, or they're elderly.

If there are other reasons you can’t do the activities

OW might excuse you from doing the activities for other reasons.

But you need to prove why it would be very difficult for you to do the activities.

For example, this might be true if:

  • you're a foster parent
  • you're on workers' compensation benefits
  • you're on pregnancy leave or parental leave
  • you're under house arrest
  • you're a victim of family violence

OW might also excuse you from doing the activities if you're:

You need to give OW documents or other to show why you can't do the activities.

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 Participation Agreements on a regular basis. So they could decide during a review that you have to start doing the activities.

Changing the Agreement

If you can't do the activities in your Agreement, you need to ask OW if you can make changes.

You must work out the changes with your OW worker. Your worker puts these changes in writing and you sign that you agree with them.

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 if you disagree with a decision by OW, you may be able to appeal to the . To appeal, the first thing you have to do is write to the OW office that made the decision and ask for an .

After you've asked for an internal review, you can appeal to the Social Benefits Tribunal.

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

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