I Was Refused Ontario Works, What Should I Do?

If your request was denied by Ontario Works (OW), you will receive a letter called a Notice of Decision.

This letter tells you the reasons justifying the decision. It may be that the OW staff have determined that you are not eligible. For example, if OW staff assumes that you live with your parents, it will judge you inadmissible. If you are 16 or 17 years, you will only be eligible for OW in "certain situations". If OW staff believes that your situation is not in this category, it will refuse your request. 

Can I appeal the decision? Yes. If you do not agree with the reasons for refusal, you can appeal the decision.

How can I appeal the decision? The appeal process has two steps:

1) Step One Internal Review

You must first request an internal review. You will have up to 30 days after receiving the letter to make this request. If it is too late, you can still apply, but there is no guarantee that it will be approved.

  • Your request for a review must be in writing. There are two ways you can do this.complete the Request for Internal Review Form [PDF] or
  • write a letter

For more information on what this letter should contain, consult the website of the Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services

2) Step Two – Social Benefits Tribunal

They will send you a written decision on the internal review. If you did not agree with this decision, you can appeal to the Social Benefits Tribunal.

The Social Benefits Tribunal only hears appeals on certain cases. You have to file your appeal within 30 days of the completed Internal Review.

How to make an appeal to the Social Benefits Tribunal?

  • You will have to complete an Appeal Form
  • Send the completed Appeal Form to the Social Benefits Tribunal

For more information on how to send this form, consult the website of the Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services

You could also consult the website of Community Legal Education Ontario (CLEO) or contact a Community Legal Clinic (CLC) to get help.