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Do you know a woman who is being abused? A legal rights handbook

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What about financial assistance from Ontario Works?

You might be able to get financial assistance from Ontario Works (OW) if you have a low income or no income. Some people call this welfare.

Financial assistance is money you get from OW to help pay for things you need, like housing and food.

To apply for OW assistance, you can contact the nearest OW office. Call ServiceOntario at 1-800-267-8097 or 416-326-1234 in Toronto and give them your postal code. The TTY number is 1-800-268-7095 or 416-325-3408 in Toronto.

OW used to reduce the amount of financial assistance you got by the amount of child support you got. This has changed. Getting child support that is owed to you for any period of time on or after February 1, 2017, does not affect the amount of financial assistance that you get.

But getting spousal support does affect the amount of assistance that you get. OW reduces the amount of your assistance by the amount of spousal support you get.

OW can refuse to give you assistance or can reduce or cut off your assistance if you:

  • might be able to get spousal support, and
  • don't make "reasonable efforts" to get it.

But sometimes you might not have to try to get support, for example, if you are leaving an abusive relationship. So it is important to tell OW if you have been abused. They might also be able to help you apply for support.

For more information, see the CLEO resources Need welfare? How to apply to Ontario Works and Child support when you are on OW or ODSP and Spousal support when you are on OW or ODSP.

If you have a problem getting social assistance, contact a community legal clinic right away. Or if you are staying in a shelter, they may be able to help you.