Ontario Works


Ontario Works is a program that provides financial and employment assistance to people in financial need. In order to receive employment assistance you must first qualify for financial assistance. Eligible participants receiving assistance through Ontario Works engage in a wide range of employment assistance activities, in order to prepare, find and maintain employment.  Every person has the right to apply for assistance and to have an application taken.

If you are in temporary financial need, Ontario Works can provide you with money and help you find a job.

To be eligible to receive help from Ontario Works, you must:

  • live in Ontario
  • need money right away to help pay for food and housing costs, and
  • be willing to take part in activities that will help you find a job.

Qualifying for Financial Assistance 

If you are in financial need, you may apply by:

Online Application:  The Online Application is available 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, in either English or French. You can access the online application from the comfort of your own home or from any public access computer.  The information exchanged is secure.  The flyer: A Few Easy Steps to Online Application for Social Assistance may help you complete the Online Application.  The Online Application has two (2) stages.  The first is a screening stage that will tell you if you may be eligible in the programs.  The second stage is a verification appointment at the local office.

Telephone Application:  Call the local office at 519-631-9350 or toll free at 1-800-265-4362.  When prompted by the automatic message, please select Option 3.  The first available operator will take the required information to begin your application for financial assistance.

Read our Mission Statement

For more information please visit the Ministry of Community and Social Services website or read our FAQs

The St. Thomas-Elgin Ontario Works Department administers a variety of services to residents of the City of St. Thomas and the County of Elgin.

Please see the full list of services that we offer


Ontario Works Connection Communication Newsletters

Community Connections St. Thomas & Elgin County

Territory and History

The Social Services Departments of the City of St. Thomas and The County of Elgin were amalgamated on January 1, 1999 to form the present day St. Thomas-Elgin Ontario Works Department. The City of St. Thomas was designated the Service Manager and delivers programs through the Ontario Works Department to both the City and the County. Ontario Works is the only City department that services both City and County.

The County of Elgin stretches approximately 160 km along the north shore of Lake Erie with the City of St. Thomas at the centre of the county.  The County is bordered on the east by the County of Norfolk, on the west by the Municipality of Chatham-Kent and on the north by the City of London. The County of Elgin is composed of the following:  The Municipality of West Elgin, The Municipality of Dutton/Dunwich, The Municipality of Central Elgin, The Municipality of Bayham, The Town of Aylmer, The Township of Malahide and The Township of Southwold.  The City of St. Thomas remains a separated city within Elgin County.