I'm under 18, how can I apply for Ontario Works (Welfare)?

If you need money and are 16 or 17 years old you might qualify for Ontario Works (OW).
This type of assistance is meant to help you with your day-to-day needs like rent, food, clothing and prescription drugs.

However, you will need to visit an OW office and speak to a case worker who will review the following to determine if you quality:

  • Your parents won't let you live at home or you are in danger (physical or emotional abuse) 
  • Your parents cannot or will not support you financially
  • You are willing to enrol in a program or school approved by OW or find work (unless you have a serious medical condition or special circumstances stopping you from doing so)

Ontario Works may also require you to go to family counselling if your parents agree to participate.

Where Do I Start?

Contact your local OW office to apply for social assistance. You can find a  list of Ontario Works offices across the province at the Ministry of Community and Social Services website.
Or you can call ServiceOntario:

Toll-free: 1-800-267-8097
Toll-free TTY: 1-800-268-7095
In Toronto: 416-326-1234
In Toronto TTY: 416-325-3408

How Do I Apply?

You’ll need to visit your local OW office and have an interview with a case worker.
An OW worker will ask you for information to show that you qualify for assistance. You will also have to complete and sign a form required by OW.
You will need to bring the following to the appointment:

  • Any documents that relate to your application
  • At least one piece of identification, if possible
  • A document that proves you are in school or a training program

NOTE: Once your claim is approved, OW will not pay you the money directly. In most cases you will need to appoint a ‘trustee” (an adult of your choice who will accept the money on your behalf).

By law, OW cannot refuse to take your application. If this happens, ask to speak to a supervisor and insist that they take your application. If there is still a problem, contact your community legal clinic immediately. 

Teaser: 

<p>Are you 16 or 17 years old and not living at home? </p><p>If you need money, you may qualify for social assistance from Ontario Works. This type of assistance is mean to help you with your day-to-to needs. It helps pay for things like rent, food, clothing and prescription drugs. </p><p>However, there are rules about who can get it and what you must do to keep it.</p><p>For example,</p>