Can I get Ontario Works while I wait for EI?

You might be able to get benefits from Ontario Works (OW) while you wait for EI. When you apply, OW will ask about your income and assets and why you are unemployed. You may also have to prove that you have applied for EI.

Apply for OW as soon as you can. It can take a long time to find out about your EI application. So you might get OW for several weeks before you get EI.

When you apply for OW, you must sign an Assignment of Benefits form. This lets Service Canada pay OW back for the benefits you get while you are waiting for your first EI payment. It also makes sure that you do not get both kinds of benefits for the same period.

Tell the OW office as soon as you get your first EI payment.

You might get less from EI than what you get from OW. If this happens, you might still be able to get some money from OW. This means that you would still get the same amount each month as when you were getting OW on its own.

If OW refuses to give you benefits, contact your local community legal clinic for help. You must act quickly because there are strict and very short time limits to have OW review their decision.

Find out more in CLEO’s flowchart How to appeal a decision about Ontario Works (OW) at

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