Ontario Works

Help with food, rent and other costs

Help with food, rent and other costs

 

Employment and Social Services provides help with food, rent and other costs under the Ontario Works program. To find out about eligibility for social assistance, visit: Applying for Ontario Works in Toronto.

Food and shelter amounts

While receiving social assistance, the amount you will receive will depend on your circumstances such as your family size, housing costs and income. The Ontario Works Act and Regulations set the social assistance rates.

Employment and Social Services will help with: 

  • basic needs – items such as food, clothing and personal needs
  • shelter – housing costs such as rent, mortgage payments, utilities like gas and hydro, and more
  • room and board – if your rent money also includes your meals

The tables below show the maximum monthly basic needs and shelter amounts. To see how much you may receive, add these two amounts together.

For example, a single person with no children would receive up to:

   $330 Basic Needs Allowance
+ $376 Shelter Allowance
= $706 Total allowance for one month

PLEASE NOTE: 

Low-income families with children under 18 years of age must ensure that they have filed their income taxes to be assessed for the monthly Ontario Child Benefit.

If you are receiving Ontario Works while this benefit is being processed, you may be temporarily eligible for the Transition Child Benefit from Ontario Works.

*

Basic Needs Amounts

 

Number of children / dependent adults*

Amount

Single Person No children

$330

1 child 17 years or under

$347

1 dependent adult 18 or older

$599

2 children 17 years or under

$347

1 child 17 years or under, and 1 dependent adult 18 or older

$599

2 dependent adults 18 or older

$750

Couple No children

$476

1 child 17 years or under

$476

1 dependent adult 18 or older

$627

2 children 17 years or under

$476

1 child 17 years or under, and 1 dependent adult 18 or older

$627

2 dependent adults 18 or older

$794

For each additional child / dependent adult:

  • add $0 if the child is 17 years or under
  • add $168 if the dependent adult is 18 or older

*Dependent adults are children 18 and older who rely on financial help from a social assistance recipient. For more information see: dependent adults and dependent children.


Employment and Social Services issues the Shelter Allowance based on:

  • your family size, and
  • your housing costs, up to the legislated maximum in the table below.

EXAMPLES:

  • A single person paying $300 in rent will receive a $300 Shelter Allowance.
  • A couple with one child paying $680 in rent will receive $672, the maximum Shelter Allowance for a family of three.

Shelter Amounts

Family size

Monthly Maximum
Shelter Allowance

1

$376

2

$619

3

$672

4

$729

5

$786

6 or more

$814

 

Room and board

Employment and Social Services issues some people the Board and Lodging Allowance instead of the Basic Needs and Shelter Allowances based on their living situation. You will receive the Board and Lodging Allowance if your rent money also includes your meals. This is also known as paying for room and board.

The amount you receive is based on your board and lodging cost, up to the maximum rate given in the table below. In addition to this amount, you will also receive a Special Allowance of $67.

EXAMPLES:

  • A single person paying $514 for room and board will receive a $514 Board and Lodging Allowance, plus the $67 Special Allowance, for a total of $581.
  • A couple with one child 17 or under, paying $725 for room and board will receive the $724 Board and Lodging Allowance, plus the $67 Special Allowance for a total of $791.

Board and Lodging Amounts

 

Number of children / dependent adults*

Maximum
Amount

Special Allowance

Total

Single Person

0

$514

 

 

 

 

$67

 

$581

1 child 17 years or under

$633

$700

1 dependent adult 18 or over

$724

$791

2 children 17 or under

$703

$770

1 child 17 years or under, and 1 dependent adult 18 or over

$794

$861

2 dependent adults 18 or over

$840

$907

3 children 17 years or under

$768

$835

2 children 17 years or under, and 1 dependent adult 18 or over

$859

$926

2 dependent adults 18 or over, and 1 child 17 years or under

$905

$972

3 dependent adults 18 or over

$942

$1009

 

Number of children / dependent adults*

Maximum
Amount

Special Allowance

Total

Couple

0

$663

 

 

 

 

 

$67

$730

1 child 17 years or under

$724

$791

1 dependent adult 18 or over

$761

$828

2 children 17 or under

$782

$849

1 child 17 years or under, and 1 dependent adult 18 or over

$819

$886

2 dependent adults 18 or over

$854

$921

3 children 17 years or under

$840

$907

2 children 17 years or under, and 1 dependent adult 18 or over

$877

$944

2 dependent adults 18 or over, and 1 child 17 years or under

$912

$979

3 dependent adults 18 or over

$947

$1014

For each additional child / dependent adult of a sole support parent:

  • add $65 to the maximum amount if the child is 17 years or under
  • add $115 to the maximum amount if the dependent adult is 18 or over

For each additional child / dependent adult of a two parent family:

  • add $58 to the maximum amount if the child is 17 years or under
  • add $96 to the maximum amount if the dependent adult is 18 or over

*Dependent adults are children 18 and older who rely on financial help from a social assistance recipient. 

 

Help with housing costs

While receiving social assistance you may be eligible for benefits that help in certain housing situations.

The Housing Stabilization Fund (HSF) meets meets the emergency housing needs of Toronto residents who receive assistance from Ontario Works (OW) or Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP).

 

Home energy conservation and safety costs

Employment and Social Services may help with home energy conservation and safety costs.

You may be eligible for help paying for:

  • minor home repairs to conserve energy and water,
  • a smoke alarm/smoke detector, and
  • a carbon monoxide detector

Minor home repairs to conserve energy and water

A one-time benefit of up to $50 is available to reimburse the cost of items such as:

  • caulking
  • sealing or weather-stripping for doors and windows
  • insulation for hot water pipes and hot water tanks, and
  • flow restrictors for shower heads.

To be eligible, you must receive Ontario Works and:

  • be responsible for paying the bill for the specific utility
  • not pay for these costs as part of your monthly rent, and
  • provide receipts for the purchase of items that will help conserve the utilities you pay for (such as fuel, water, or electricity)

Smoke alarms/smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors

You may qualify for help to buy a smoke alarm/smoke detector and a carbon monoxide detector. The following costs can be reimbursed:

  • up to $25 per family for a smoke alarm/smoke detector, and
  • up to $50 per family for a carbon monoxide detector.

To be eligible you must:

  • receive Ontario Works
  • own your home, and
  • provide receipts for these items.

Landlords are responsible for providing smoke alarms/smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors for their rental units.

 

Ontario Child Benefit (OCB)

The Ontario Child Benefit is a provincial program to help all low income families in Ontario provide for children under the age of 18 years.

The Ontario Child Benefit is issued to eligible families each month, along with their Canada Child Benefit (CCB). Read about the Ontario Child Benefit amounts.

How do you receive the Ontario Child Benefit?

Your eligibility for the Ontario Child Benefit is based on the number of children in your family under age 18 and your family net income as reported on your income tax return.
To be eligible to receive the Ontario Child Benefit you must:

  • be a resident of Ontario
  • be a primary caregiver (as defined by Canada Revenue Agency) for one or more children under the age of 18 years
  • file your income tax return
  • register your children for the Canada Child Benefit
  • have a net income below the Ontario Child Benefit income levels

The Canada Revenue Agency will automatically review your eligibility for this benefit once your (and your spouse's) income tax return is assessed and you have registered for the Canada Child Benefit.

If you are receiving Ontario Works, and you are not receiving the maximum Ontario Child Benefit amount, you may be temporarily eligible for the Transition Child Benefit.

For more information about:


 

Transition Child Benefit

Most families with children under the age of 18 who are receiving social assistance should also receive the monthly

Ontario Child Benefit (OCB).

If you are receiving Ontario Works you may be eligible for the Transition Child Benefit:

  • while you are waiting to receive the OCB
  • if you are not eligible for the OCB, or
  • if you are receiving less than the maximum OCB amount.

Employment and Social Services may issue the Transition Child Benefit on a temporary basis in place of the Ontario Child Benefit. If you receive a lump sum OCB payment covering months when you received the Transition Child Benefit, your Ontario Works payment will be reduced for one month.

The maximum Transition Child Benefit amount per child is $230 per month.

 

For more information about:


 

Other benefits

For information about other benefits and supports you may be eligible for while receiving social assistance, visit:

 


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