Ontario Works

Work experience


Co-operative education

Several co-operative education (co-op) programs are available through the Toronto District School Board's Adult Day schools to help adults get work experience.  These free programs can help you:

  • get Canadian employment experience,
  • apply your skills in a workplace setting,
  • learn business communication skills,
  • develop the skills and knowledge needed to become confident in the workplace, and
  • get current references from actual employers.

Co-op programs are unpaid and generally take 18 weeks to complete.  Many programs are geared towards helping newcomers get Canadian work experience.  These programs include an in-school component with secondary school credits. 

The following Toronto District School Board Adult Day schools offer co-op programs:

If you are receiving Ontario Works while taking part in a co-op program, you may be eligible for help with costs such as transportation and clothing.


Internship programs

Internship programs are paid positions that run for 4 to 12 months. These programs are generally for:

  • youth
  • graduates of Canadian secondary or post secondary schools with little or no employment experience, or
  • newcomers who need Canadian workplace experience.

The following links provide information on internship programs:

You can also read about Bridging Programs that may give you a chance to earn credits and gain work experience in specific fields.


Job Incentive Program

The Job Incentive Program offers work-based learning opportunities in the Toronto Public Service for Toronto residents who receive OW (Ontario Works) or ODSP (Ontario Disability Support Program).

Program highlights:

  • placements can run from 3 to 6 months
  • placements can vary between 25 and 70 hours per month
  • participants are eligible for a financial benefit of $250/month during the placement


Mentoring programs

Free mentoring programs are designed to link skilled newcomers to Canada with experienced professionals. Mentors provide job search advice and support to help ease newcomers into the Canadian job market.

For more information on mentoring programs for newcomers, visit:

Newcomers can also participate in bridge training programs through The Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration.



Volunteering can help you get employment-related experience, learn new skills and meet people who may help with career opportunities.

If you are thinking about volunteering or looking for a place to volunteer, you may want to consider:

  • what skills you want to learn,
  • what your employment goals are, and
  • how much time you have to volunteer. 

For help finding a place to volunteer, go to an Employment Centre or see the following websites:

If you are receiving Ontario Works or ODSP benefits you may be able to participate in the Job Incentive Program or have your volunteer activity approved as an Ontario Works activity to receive help with costs. However, to be assessed for extra financial benefits, here are some things you should know:

  • Your volunteer activity should support your employment goal.
  • Volunteering must be with a non-profit organization.
  • The maximum number of hours for volunteering is 70 per month.
  • Volunteer activities are approved for up to six months; however this may be extended in some circumstances.
  • In most cases, you must be at least 18 years of age.

To be assessed for extra financial benefits, you can obtain a Volunteer Details form from your caseworker. You can ask the agency to fill it out and give your caseworker the completed form for review.

For more information, talk to your Ontario Works caseworker or your ODSP income support worker, or go to an Employment and Social Services Employment Centre.

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