Upcoming Changes to Ontario Works - October 2017

Two per cent benefit increase as of October 1, 2017 for OW.

In Ontario Works, asset limits would be increased as follows as of September 2017:

  • from $2,500 to $10,000 for single individuals, and
  • from $5,000 to $15,000 for couples

Gift exemption will increase to $10,000 effective September 2017 from $6000.

In addition, the following gifts in any amount would be exempt as income and assets, which may encourage families who are able to do so to provide funds, in the form of gifts that will help their loved one find or maintain safe housing or buy a vehicle that may be necessary to participate in employment:

  • Gifts that will be applied to the first and last month's rent necessary to secure accommodation for the benefit unit; and,
  • Gifts that will be applied to the purchase of a principal residence or an exempt vehicle

Exemption of Child Support and CPP Orphan Benefit - February 2017

Effective February 1, 2017,  child support and CPP Orphan Benefit payments will be fully exempt as income for Ontario Works.

As child support payments will no longer be deducted from social assistance, this also means that:

  • Although the support is exempt it still has to be declared
  • Clients will no longer be required to pursue child support payments as a condition of eligibility for social assistance;
  • Waivers currently processed in cases where it is unreasonable for the client to pursue support payments will no longer be required; and
  • Assignments of child support to the ministry or Ontario Works delivery partners will no longer be required.

The exemption does not apply to spousal support payments.

Benefit Changes - October 2016

The following is a summary of the Ontario Works changes that will be effective October 1, 2016:

  • The maximum basic needs amount for singles will increase by $25, from $305 to $330 per month.
  • The board and lodge rate for singles will increase by $25, from $489 to $514 per month.
  • The basic needs and shelter maximums for Ontario Works families will increase by 1.5%.
  • The adults living with parents rate will increase by 1.5%. 
  • The board and lodge rate for families will increase by 1.5%;.
  • There will be no change to the maximum shelter amount for singles.

In addition, the following rates and benefits will increase by 1.5%:

  • Temporary Care Assistance
  • Dependents with Dependents rates
  • Advanced Age Allowance
  • First Nations emergency hostel services per diem (board and lodge, and personal needs allowance)
  • Remote Communities Allowance
  • Personal Needs Allowance
  • Special Boarder Allowance
  • Guide Dog Benefit
  • Budgetary requirements for residents of interval and transition homes
  • The rate table used for calculating the income charge for sponsored immigrants living with their sponsor

Provincial Changes to Drug Cards - September 2016

Beginning September 1, 2016, the paper drug card issued to Ontario Works (OW) and Temporary Care Assistance (TCA) clients will be replaced.  OW and TCA clients will be able to use their Ontario health card to access prescription medication under the Ontario Drug Benefit (ODB) program. These changes also apply to the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) and Assistance for Children with Severe Disabilities (ACSD).  A three month transition period will allow time for clients, staff, Ontario Works delivery partners and stakeholders to become accustomed to the new process. The paper drug eligibility card will continue to be printed for all clients during the transition period; however, as of December 1, 2016, the paper drug card will no longer be printed for clients with an Ontario health card number.  The paper drug eligibility card will continue to be printed for clients with temporary health reference numbers.