Ontario Works

The Ontario Works office is open to those requiring in-person services; however, virtual and electronic services continue to be in place. Please call the office at 519.482.8505 to make an appointment or for more information.

Ontario Works is an Ontario-wide program that provides income and employment support to people in temporary financial need. The program combines income support with employment services and has two main components:

  1. Employment Assistance: It provides opportunities for participants to engage in a variety of activities that lead to jobs or increase employment prospects.
  2. Financial Assistance: Includes funds to cover food, shelter, clothing and other household items for people who have no other means of support. The province sets the benefit rates.


Apply for Ontario Works

How To Apply

Ontario Works provides income and employment supports to people in temporary financial need.

Ontario Works now has a centralized intake process. There are two options for applying to Ontario Works. You can apply online using the Online Application for Social Assistance or by telephone.

In order to determine your eligibility for assistance, you will be asked for the following information for each family member:

  • Date of Birth
  • Social Insurance Number
  • Ontario Health Card Number
  • Address details and phone number
  • Bank account information, including branch details
  • Employment history
  • Housing information such as rent or mortgage details
  • Assets (i.e. Vehicles, RSP’s, Life Insurance, or any investments)
  • Income from earnings and other sources (i.e. child support, Canada Pension, Employment Insurance)

If you are missing some of the requested information, please inform the Service Ontario Specialized Intake Team.

By phone: To apply for Ontario Works by telephone, please call the Service Ontario Specialized Intake Team at 1.888.999.1142. Should you need immediate help the person on the phone may also direct you to other available services.

To complete the process, an Ontario Works Case Manager will contact you directly to arrange a meeting to verify all of your information. The Case Manager will explain how the Ontario Works program can help you. This includes discussing your rights and responsibilities and working with you on your future employment and support planning.


How To Apply For:

Ontario Birth Certificate. Service Ontario. Online application for Ontario birth certificate or certified copy of birth registration.

Ontario Health Card FAQs. Service Ontario. How and where to get an Ontario health card, or request changes.

Social Insurance Number Application. Service Canada. Application for first-time, replacement card, or to request changes (i.e. name).

Employment Assistance

Participation Agreements

Once the participant has been introduced to all the available employment/training activities and supports (see below) the case manager and participant develop an agreed upon employment/training plan or participation agreement. Individual employment plans are based on a participant’s background, interests and the local labour market. For some individuals, the plan might focus on education and job specific skills training. Others might be best served by getting involved in a community placement activity in order to build self-confidence, gain new skills, valuable experience and contacts for future employment. For some, the best plan may be to improve job search strategies and techniques. As each step in the plan is completed, a new step is identified and the participation agreement is updated accordingly.

Employment Supports

Employment supports provides services and activities that assist you in finding employment. You can get help with:

  • Resumes and interview skills
  • Independent job searches
  • Training or skills development
  • Academic upgrading
  • Accessing services provided in the local Huron Employment Resource Centres

Basic Education

Are you a few credits short of your grade 12? Would you like help reading and studying for your DZ license? Ontario Works employment staff can connect you to educational resources that will help you move toward sustainable employment.

Employment Placement

When you are job-ready, Ontario Works staff will refer you to the Conestoga Career Centre or Partners in Employment. These agencies can help with job referrals in your community. Finding and maintaining a job is a great achievement.

Interested in pursuing your dream of being self-employed? Ontario Works can help you start your own business, if you have an approved, well developed business plan.

Community Placement

Community Placement allows you to volunteer with non-profit and public organizations throughout the County of Huron. By volunteering, you are able to develop job-related skills, gain work experience and make contacts with persons, or organizations in your field of interest. Community Placement is a winning match for everyone. Be sure to tell your Team if you are already volunteering.

Huron County Social Services funds and coordinates a Community Garden located in Clinton, Ontario adjacent to the Jacob Memorial Building. The garden was started in 2003 as an opportunity for Ontario Works and Ontario Disability Support Program recipients and their families to get hands-on experience in a supportive work environment while saving on their food expenses. The program has now evolved into a comprehensive work placement program, which allows participants to acquire new skills, expand their existing skills and gain experience to help lead them to self-reliance and more sustainable employment income opportunities. The program includes workshops in gardening, food preparation, canning and preserving, composting, workplace communications and skills development certificate courses.

The Community Garden program runs from April-October. Recipients can register at any time during the program but are encouraged to begin as soon as they can, to get the maximum benefit from the program.

Anyone currently receiving assistance is eligible for the program. Those wanting to inquire about the program can call direct to Huron County Social Services 519.482.8505 or 1.888.371.5718. If you are already assigned to a team, ask for Team 501 or Team 502 and they can assist you with your inquiry.

Learning, Earning and Parenting (L.E.A.P.)

Learning, Earning and Parenting is a program for young parents, ages 16 to 24. Through this program, you can work to complete your high school education, prepare for employment and improve your parenting skills. Additional supports are available to help you attend the program. Upon successful completion of LEAP, you become eligible to receive an educational bursary.

Employment & Additional Benefits

Earnings Exemptions

If you have been in receipt of Ontario Works for three months or more, finding employment greatly increases your monthly income. A 50% exemption rate will apply to all earnings from employment. This means that if you earn $500, only 50% of the net income, will be deducted from your Ontario Works entitlement.The Full Time Employment Benefit

If you obtain full time employment (30 hours plus per week) you may be entitled to this benefit. The maximum benefit available is $500 and can be used for expenses related to starting full time employment such as transportation, work clothing/uniforms or safety equipment.

The Other Employment and Employment Activities Assistance Benefit

You may receive additional money when you start a new part time job (less than 30 hours per week) and/or employment assistance activity to help with expenses you may be facing such as transportation, work clothing/uniforms or safety equipment.

Employment Supports

Additional money may be available to cover expenses that you may be facing in your job search or while participating in employment activities.

Community Start Up and Maintenance Fund

If you have secured full time employment that requires you to relocate in order to accept or maintain the job, there may be some assistance available to offset your moving costs. The maximum benefit available is $799 for a single/couple and $1500 for a family in a 24 month period.

Extended Employment Health Benefits

If your income exceeds the Ontario Works rate and you no longer qualify for assistance, you may be entitled to Extended Employment Health Benefits. Anyone who exits OW due to employment may be provided health benefits for a transitional period of up to six months or until the employer offers health benefits, whichever comes first.

Child Care Assistance

Financial assistance is available to help cover the cost of Home Child Care, Child Care Subsidy or municipal recreational program while eligible parents/guardians are involved in employment, job searching, education or training.

Drug Coverage

A drug card is provided each month while you are receiving income support.

Dental and Vision Care for Children

All children of parents who are in receipt of social assistance are eligible for basic dental and vision care.

Diabetic and Surgical Supplies

The cost of diabetic supplies such as blood glucose monitors, lancet, syringes and test strips, as well as various surgical supplies and dressings can be covered.

Medical Transportation

Costs associated with travelling to attend medical appointments can also be covered.

Special Diet

Where there is a special need, costs related to a special diet (as prescribed by an approved health professional) can be covered.

Pregnancy Nutritional Item

A monthly allowance is issued for the term of pregnancy to meet nutritional needs and assist in the healthy prenatal development of the baby.

To find out if you are eligible or if you wish to request any of these additional benefits, please speak to your case manager. In most instances, items only need to be requested over the phone, however, on occasion you may need to provide written confirmation of the need.


Mandatory Special Necessities (MSN) Benefit Request. (PDF) County of Huron: Ontario Works, 2011. For Ontario Works recipients in need of medical transportation or medical supplies.

Medical Travel Mileage Form. (PDF) County of Huron: Ontario Works, 2012. For Ontario Works recipients incurring travel costs to attend medical appointments.

Financial Assistance

Pathways to Self-Sufficiency

Pathways to Self-Sufficiency is a joint project supported by Social Services and the Health Unit. Pathways is an emergency program that helps low-income families and individuals in Huron County when they are most in need. The aim of the program is to reduce child poverty, promote attachment to the workforce, and prevent homelessness.

What help may be available?

  • Emergency childcare
  • Emergency dental
  • Emergency heat
  • Emergency housing
  • Emergency hydro
  • Emergency rent
  • Emergency transportation
  • Eyeglasses
  • Limited assistance with cost of prosthetic items

Do you qualify?

Depending on your income, you may be eligible for Pathways when you are faced with a sudden change in your finances.

How much will Pathways pay for?

Depending on what item you are requesting, Pathways may pay up to $750 per calendar year for rent, heat or housing or up to $500 per calendar year for health related items. Sometimes this will not be enough to cover the cost of your request. We will connect you to other agencies and programs, and will suggest other places to try for help.

How do I get help from Pathways?

You can fill out the Pathways application form here.

Feel free to reach out to Pathways by contacting Huron County Social Services and asking to speak to the Pathways Case Manager. People receiving Ontario Works (OW) or Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) assistance should also call Huron County Social Services and speak directly to staff.

What should I expect when I call?

We are here to help! A Pathways staff person will take your information to see if the program can help you. They may also put you in touch with other community and government resources.

If you have any questions or would like to know more about Pathways to Self-Sufficiency please call Huron County Social Services at 519.482.8505 or Toll Free 1.888.371.5718.

Emergency Assistance

COVID-19 Emergency Assistance

Has there been a change in your household due to COVID-19?

If you need help paying for food and housing and are not already on Ontario Works or ODSP, you can apply for COVID-19 Emergency Assistance.

Learn more or apply for COVID-19 Emergency Assistance here.

Short-term Emergency Assistance

You may qualify for short term emergency assistance if you live in Ontario (not a visitor or tourist), are in a crisis or emergency situation, and do not have enough money for things like food and housing. Examples of a crisis or emergency situation may include:

  • the risk of being evicted from your home
  • safety concerns, such as being in or leaving an abusive relationship

To learn more contact Huron County Social Services:

519.482.8505 or 1.888.371.5718 ext. 4501

or by email owteam501@huroncounty.ca

Apply for Short-term Emergency Assistance here.


What is WILOW?

The County of Huron provides eligible Ontario Works clients and their family members with a free, confidential, short-term counselling support program for personal, family and work-related problems.

Wellness in Life for Ontario Works (WILOW) is operated by an external provider, LifeWorks (formally Shepell). It is available 24 hours, 7 days a week, 365 days a year to provide immediate access to qualified professionals.

Users are offered a variety of convenient ways to contact and chat with a professional counsellor or inquire about and book confidential appointments.

WILOW can be used anytime you need it; for everyday challenges or more complex issues with no cost to you or your family.

There is no cost to use WILOW. This benefit is provided to eligible Huron County Ontario Works clients and their eligible family members – spouses, partners, adult dependents and dependent children.

Visit workhealthlife.com to learn more or to access this counselling program with LifeWorks.


What kinds of service does WILOW offer?

Professional counselling is provided by a wide range of confidential delivery options:

  • In-person sessions
  • Sessions over the telephone
  • Video counselling sessions
  • Online chat (First Chat) available on your computer or mobile device
  • Online written exchange (E-Counselling) where you can exchange written messages with a counsellor using a secure online portal
  • My EAP a mobile device application to provide support anytime, anywhere
  • Self-guided information articles and information on a variety of health and wellness topics

When you first access WILOW, you will receive help to determine which of these options is right for you based on your issue, learning style, schedule and more.

WILOW provides you with support and information to help you with challenges including:

  • Addictions Anger management
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Self-esteem
  • Stress assessment, goal setting and action planning

Who provides the counselling?

This counselling support program is operated by an external provider, LifeWorks. They are fully accredited by the Council on Accreditation (COA), which uses rigorous criteria to ensure high counselling delivery standards.

LifeWorks is the largest Canadian-based provider of Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) services.

Is this service confidential?

Your privacy is guaranteed. To use any of the online services there is no software to install, and all counselling sessions are hosted with fully secure data transmission and storage.

LifeWorks encryption software and clinical practices ensure your information is protected. Users are required to enter their private login credentials each time they access E-Counselling, My EAP, Video Counselling, or the workhealthlife.com website.

No information that would identify an individual using this service will be shared. Ontario Works will never know you or an eligible family member have accessed the counselling services unless you choose to tell them.

Register for WILOW

How do I register & what does it cost?

There is no cost to use WILOW. This benefit is provided to eligible Ontario Works clients and their eligible family members spouses, partners and dependent children.

You must be an eligible registered user in order to access WILOW. Registration is easy and only takes a few minutes.

  • Step 1: Visit the website workhealthlife.com
  • Step 2: Click on the Register link in the top right corner of the screen.
  • Step 3: In the “Please tell use your organization” search field type Wellness in Life for Ontario Works. Then click the Search button.
  • Step 4: From the list of matching companies found during the search process click on the Huron County Wellness in Life for Ontario Works link.
  • Step 5: Complete the registration form. Then click the Submit button.

Upon completing this registration you have created a profile for yourself. The next time you wish to use WILOW you can use the Log In link to access the available support services online.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply for Huron County Ontario Works?

You can begin the application process for Ontario Works using the Online Application, in person at our office, or over the phone by calling 1.888.999.1142. 

Can you tell me if my cheque has been issued?

The Interactive Voice Response (IVR) System provides you with fast and easy access to information about your Social Assistance file over the telephone, toll free. You can use this system to find out the amount and date when your most recent cheque was issued. IVR can be accessed from anywhere in Ontario using a touch-tone telephone to call: 1.800.808.2268. Remember to have your identification number (member ID) and personal identification number (PIN) ready.


Who do I contact If I move, or find a job?

If you are a recipient of Social Assistance, you must report any changes in your circumstances. This includes moving to a different residence, or starting a new job. Call your local Ontario Works office at 519.482.8505 or 1.888.371.5718. Staff are available to take this information from you and answer any questions you may have.


Why don’t I get the same amount of assistance as someone else?

The amount of money you receive from Ontario Works will vary depending upon your circumstances, such as family size, income, assets and shelter costs, such as rent. Visit the Ontario Works office or call 519.482.8505 or 1.888.371.5718; the staff will be happy to explain the calculation of your assistance.

Who do I call if I think my neighbour is committing welfare fraud?

The Welfare Fraud Hot Line number is available for the public to report suspected cases of Ontario Works or Ontario Disability Support Program fraud. Callers will be asked for the name and address and, if possible, the phone number of the person who may be cheating. Suspected cases may be reported by telephoning 1.800.394.7867.

Additional FAQs about Ontario Works are available from the Ministry of Community and Social Services.

Information about the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP), including FAQs about ODSP, are available from the Ministry of Community and Social Services.

Helpful Links

Live Job Board

The Centre for Employment and Learning live job board is an employment website that provides a list of a wide variety of jobs within Huron County:



MyBenefits is an online service available 24/7 to Ontario residents who receive Ontario Works (OW) or Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP):


With MyBenefits, you can:

  • Report income, address/shelter costs, or phone number changes
  • See past payments
  • See the overpayment balance
  • See your letters and receive email notifications when new letters are available for viewing
  • View your profile information (e.g. phone number, email, household members)

If you have an email address on file and have your member ID you can create an account for MyBenefits.

Creating Your Account for MyBenefits is Easy

  • Creating your account for MyBenefits is a quick and easy, two-step process.
  • Confirm your identity when you visit Ontario.ca/MyBenefits for the first time:
  • Enter your 9 digit member ID
  • Enter the email address that you have on your file and press ‘Next’
  • A message will be sent to your email with an activation link. Click the link within 30 minutes to confirm your identity.
  • This will take you back to Ontario.ca/MyBenefits, where you will be prompted to enter your date of birth to finish the process.
  • You do not need to do this step again in the future!
  • Set up your user name and password to access your information. You have two choices to sign-in to your account:
  • login with an email address and password of your choice using the ‘My Ontario Login’ or,
  • you can log in with the same username and password as your online banking using ‘Securekey Concierge’
  • Follow the prompts to create your account. This is the way you will sign-in to MyBenefits for all future visits.

Create your account now! Ontario.ca/MyBenefits

Having trouble signing in? You can call toll free for technical help at 1.888.999.6130.

For more information, speak with your caseworker.

Ontario 211

Ontario 211 is a free, confidential, province-wide helpline that simplifies finding support and community services for Ontario residents and an online database of services in Ontario:


Rental Search

The following rental search links will help you in finding a rental unit:

County of Huron Housing Services

Housing Services provide a range of funding support services to provide affordable housing options throughout the County of Huron:


  • pdf
    Authorization for Direct Bank Deposit
  • pdf
    Pathways Application Form 2021
  • pdf
    Employment Travel Mileage Form
  • pdf
    Mandatory Special Necessities Benefit
  • pdf
    Medical / Travel Mileage
  • pdf
    Rental Information Request Form
  • pdf
    Request for Internal Review
  • pdf
    Income Reporting Statement
  • pdf
    Child Care Calendar - Income Reporting
  • pdf
    Child Care Calendar - Non-Income Reporting

Contact Information

Should you have any questions or concerns relating to any aspect of Ontario Works, please contact:

Huron County Ontario Works
77722D London Road, RR 5
Clinton, Ontario N0M 1L0 (Get directions)

Phone: 519.482.8505
Toll Free: 1.888.371.5718
Fax: 519.482.1632

Email: OWTeam501@huroncounty.ca

Hours: Monday – Friday 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.