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Participation Agreements and Ontario Works

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What if there are times when I cannot do the activities?

Waiting to start activities

There may be times when you do not have to start the activities in your Participation Agreement right away.

For example, if you are a single parent you can delay starting the activities if:

  • Your child has not started school yet.
  • Your child is old enough to go to school, but there is not a publicly funded school near you that offers a program for your child.

Or, you may be able to delay the activities, if you are a caregiver for a family member. You will need to have a letter from your doctor or other health‑care professional saying why you cannot do the activities.

Examples of other health‑care professionals who can write a letter are nurse practitioners, psychiatrists, and social workers.

The letter needs to explain that your family member needs your help every day, for example, because they are sick or have a disability, or they are elderly.

Being excused from activities

There are other reasons why your OW worker might excuse you from doing the activities in the Agreement.

But you need to prove why it would be very difficult for you to do any of the activities. For example, this might be true if:

  • you are a foster parent
  • you are on workers' compensation benefits
  • you are on pregnancy or parental leave
  • you are under house arrest
  • you are a victim of family violence

Your OW worker might also excuse you from doing the activities if you are taking "family caregiver leave" or "family medical leave".

These are leaves of absence from work that you take to care for or support someone who has a serious medical condition or is dying.

You need to give the OW office documents or other evidence to show why you cannot do the activities.

Reporting changes to OW

If there are changes in your life, you need to tell your OW worker. This might mean that you have to start doing the activities.

OW reviews Participation Agreements on a regular basis. So when an OW worker does a review, they could decide that you have to start doing the activities.

This could happen even if you have not had to do the activities for a long time.