Ontario Works - Employment Assistance Program

This program supports the transition of Ontario Works participants from social assistance to employment.

Anyone who is eligible to receive financial assistance and has a requirement to participate in an employable activity is eligible to receive employment assistance.  Every employable applicant or participant must participate in employment related activities.

Throughout the transition, Ontario Works will provide employment and financial assistance for participants with requirements to participate in employment related activities in order to prepare for employment.  The participant will be required to work with a caseworker to develop an action plan, which will become their pathway to employment.  The action plan is called a Participation Agreement.  The Participation Agreement is tailored to each individual participant and may be amended after each employment step is achieved.

The Participation Agreement will contain one or more of the following employment related activities.

Employment Support

Basic Employment Assistance support may be available to you to help with your employability.  Depending on the employment activity you are currently participating in you may be eligible for the following supports:

  • Clothing/Special Equipment
  • Supplies and Services
  • Transportation
  • Tuition
  • Assessment Fees

If you require the above supports, please talk to your worker.

Basic Education and Job Specific Skills Training

If you do not have a Grade 12 education, your worker will encourage you to complete your secondary education (Grade 12 or equivalency) at an adult learning facility or attend a short-term occupational skills training course.

Your pathway to employment will be based on your present skill level and your future education requirements necessary to achieve your employment goal.  You and your worker may discuss Basic Education including programs designed to offer people opportunities to:

  • Complete secondary school education (Grade 12 or equivalency)
  • Improve language skills;
  • Upgrade literacy and numeric skills.

Please note that Basic Education does not include post secondary education.

Alternatively, you may discuss opportunities for Job-Specific Skills Training including:

  • Basic workplace skills (i.e. WHIMS, basic computer, general office procedure)
  • Short-term occupational skills-training courses (i.e. forklift operator)

Community Placement (Volunteering)

Have you ever thought of offering your services to your community, having a sociable experience and gaining skills at the same time?

A Community Participation could offer you all these amenities.  Community Participation is any unpaid community service activity under the sponsorship of communities and/or public or non-profit organizations/agencies that allows various opportunities to gain new skills that you could transfer  to other employment positions in the future.

You may be already volunteering in the community and this may be considered a self-initiated Community Participation so if you are interested in involvement of this type of employment activity talk to your worker.

Employment Placement

How about a Co-op placement that pays?  Are you returning to for a post secondary education but unsure if you have chosen the right profession?

Why not try Employment Placement.  This is an employment activity offering a chance to broaden your job skills while being paid.  This placement also offers insight into certain aspects of a desired profession before entering school or, it may present a job opportunity you never thought could be available.  If you are interested in involvement of this type of employment activity, talk to your worker.

Supports to Self Employment

Do you have a creative ability to produce goods for sale?  Then a Self-Employment activity may be of interest to you.

You can take an interest/creative talent and build a successful business.  If interested, talk to your worker about getting into the program.  Participants interested in a self-employment activity must develop a viable business plan and be willing to work towards expanding the business until they are self sufficient.

The program requirements are as follows:

  • Development and filing of a business plan within eight weeks of registration
  • Obtaining a first sale within 16 weeks of registration
  • Remaining in full compliance with income reporting and other requirements specified in the Ontario Works Act.

A Substance Abuse Recovery Program

If you are facing substance abuse or addiction issues, we offer addiction screening and a referral to a qualified addictions counsellor right at the local office.  Your participation in an approved substance abuse recovery program is the first step in participating in an employment activity.  Your anonymity and your rights will be protected at all times while you are in the program.

Learning, Earning and Parenting (LEAP)

LEAP is a program provided to parents between the ages of 16 and 21 and their children and provides a range of supports to help parents complete high school, enhance their parenting skills and prepare them to enter the workforce.  These are three elements involved in the LEAP program.

Learning: The learning element of LEAP promotes high school graduation by requiring participants to regularly attend an educational program that ultimately leads to a high school diploma.  Higher education leads to better paying jobs and more employment opportunities in the labour market.

Earning: Participants in the LEAP program are encouraged to enter into school co-op programs that allow for on the job training as well as part-time or summer employment that provides some income relief.

Parenting: The parenting and child development element of LEAP promotes children's growth and development by supporting parents to become more effective caregivers and educators.  Please ask your worker for a list of all available parenting programs and choose the program that best suits you and your child.

In addition, young parents involved in the LEAP program may be entitled to:

  • Financial assistance with school activities
  • Planned parenting activities
  • Subsidized child care
  • Transportation cost assistance, and
  • A $500 incentive upon graduation

Please talk to your worker about which of these programs you may be eligible for.

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