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Social Assistance for Newcomers

Our settlement program workers receive many requests from clients who urgently need financial help, especially now during COVID-19 pandemic.

Ontario Works (OW) provides temporary assistance towards the costs of housing and basic expenses for those who are not working or earning a very low income. It offers Financial assistance, Employment assistance and Emergency assistance available to people who are in a crisis or an emergency situation.
The law provides a list of who is not eligible for Ontario Works, yet it is not always clear who is eligible for assistance.

The Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) is a provincial income support program available in Ontario for those who meet the definition of “a person with a disability” according to ODSP legislation, as well as demonstrating financial need. Recipients receive monthly shelter and basic needs amounts, and have access to a range of other benefits and entitlements.

To help clients with eligibility clarification and present the social assistance program updates, Yan Gu from LSP program in collaboration with Regini David from West Scarborough Community Legal Services hosted online workshop this month on Understanding extra benefits and updates for OW and ODSP.

The webinar covered the following topics:
– Overview of the OW and ODSP programs
– Changes to OW and ODSP government benefits due to Covid-19
– Social assistance and people with precarious immigration status

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