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Changes to Ontario Works

Ontario health cards can be used to access drug coverage

Starting September 1, 2016, you can use your Ontario health card to access drug coverage through the Ontario Drug Benefit program.  By late fall, the Province will no longer send out monthly drug eligibility cards with your statement. Instead, your health card will be used to access coverage. The changes will affect social assistance recipients of the following programs:

  • Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP)*
  • Assistance for Children with Severe Disabilities (ACSD)
  • Ontario Works (OW)*
  • Temporary Care Assistance (TCA)

There will be a three month transition period to give clients, staff, Ontario Works delivery partners and stakeholders time to get accustomed to the new process. The paper drug eligibility card will continue to be printed for all clients during the transition period; however, clients may also begin using their Ontario health card.

As of December 1st, 2016, the paper drug eligibility card will no longer be provided to clients who have a health number recorded in the Social Assistance Management System (SAMS). The paper drug eligibility card will continue to be printed for clients with temporary health reference numbers (for individuals without an Ontario health card).

Replacement Health Cards/ID

If you lose your Ontario Works drug card or your Ontario health card, please contact your caseworker. They will be able to help you get a replacement card. Ontario health cards are free, there is no cost.

View the Province's Drug Eligibility Card changes for more information on how to get a health card and what to do if you are not eligible to apply for one. You can also visit the Province's website for more information on replacement health cards.

If you do not have a permanent address or are in need of other ID replacement (e.g., birth certificate), please contact The Bridges (Cambridge Shelter), the Kitchener Downtown Community Health Centre ID Clinic, which provides weekly appointments at St. John's Kitchen, YWCA Emergency Shelter, House of Friendship Emergency Shelter, and oneRoof.

Please speak with your caseworker if you have any questions or concerns.

Child support payments will no longer be deducted from OW benefits

The provincial government is making changes Ontario Works to ensure your children have more money to meet their needs. 

Starting February 1, 2017 child support for your children, regardless of their age, will be fully exempt as income. This means that if you receive child support payments on behalf of your child or children, they will no longer be deducted from your monthly social assistance.

What this means for parents who do not receive regular support

Parents who do not receive support regularly and have an assignment in place filed with the Family Responsibility Office will see this assignment cancelled once this change is in place.

CPP Orphan Benefits will also be exempt

As part of these changes, the government is also exempting the CPP Orphan Benefit. This means that if you receive a CPP Orphan Benefit payment, it will no longer be deducted from your monthly social assistance.

Requirement to pursue child support payments removed

As a result of this change, beginning February 2017, you will no longer be required to pursue these payments in order to qualify for social assistance. However, you still need to advise your caseworker of any child support and CPP Orphan Benefit payments that you receive on behalf of your family. This will help us collect information about how changes like this benefit people.

For more information on social assistance, visit the Ministry of Social and Community Services website. 

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