Income Support and Employment Services Overview

Ontario Works helps people who are in financial need.

It offers two types of assistance:

Financial assistance, including:

  • income support to help with the costs of basic needs, like food, clothing and shelter
  • health benefits for clients and their families such as drug benefits, prescription eyeglasses and funds to assist with transportation for medical reasons, additional funds for approved medical conditions and special diets.

Employment assistance to help clients find, prepare for and keep a job that may include:

  • workshops on resume writing and interviewing
  • job counselling
  • job-specific training
  • access to basic education, so clients can finish high school or improve their language skills
  • access to computers, faxes, telephones and job bank
  • funds to cover approved employment related expenses and child care costs
  • extended Employment Health Benefits available to those who leave Ontario Works because of employment and whose employer does not offer health benefits

In most cases, a client must agree to participate in employment assistance activities in order to receive financial assistance.

Referrals and linkages are made with mental health and addiction services if deemed appropriate.

Emergency assistance is also available to people who are in a crisis or an emergency situation (e.g. people who have lost their homes, are leaving an abusive relationship and/or are worried about their safety).

NOSDA members address the needs of 16,000 most vulnerable citizens through Ontario Works cases each year and provide discretionary assistance to the ODSP caseload of over 30,000.