Ontario is expanding access to existing Emergency Assistance under the current provisions of Ontario Works. This is available to people with limited income, assets or credit including those who live in poverty, are homeless or unemployed. This extra social services relief funding will help protect the health and safety of most vulnerable populations.
Province is providing additional $200 million directly to individuals and families in financial crisis, including those who are not able to access Employment Insurance (EI) to cover needs such as food costs, rent, medicine and other essential services during the coronavirus pandemic.
Changes to Ontario’s Emergency Assistance Program in response to COVID-19 include the following:
- Suspending the rule that limits emergency assistance provision to only once in a six-month period for individuals and families affected by COVID-19; and
- Allowing people to receive emergency assistance for longer (48 days) without submitting a full Ontario Works application.
Those who are already on Ontario Works or Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP), tourists and visitors are not eligible.
Individuals can apply for this assistance online at Ontario.ca/community or through local Ontario Works offices.
“Protecting our most vulnerable is an absolute priority, as the COVID-19 crisis continues to develop,” said Todd Smith, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services. “We’re expanding access to temporary emergency assistance so that individuals who have no other means of financial support can stay safe and healthy.”
Important Official Notice
If you are directly affected by the COVID-19 because you are sick or quarantined and you have not yet applied for EI benefits, please submit your application before contacting us. This will allow us to better serve you and prevent delays in establishing your claim.
If you have already completed the application for EI sickness benefits whether you are sick or quarantined and would like to have the one-week waiting period waived, call the new toll-free phone number below. It is important to note that no other request will be actioned on this phone line. We will take action only for sick or quarantined clients affected by the COVID-19 for which the application for sickness benefits has been filed.
- Telephone: 1-833-381-2725 (toll-free)
- Teletypewriter (TTY): 1-800-529-3742
Notice on visiting Service Canada offices if you are sick: If you are experiencing symptoms such as cough, fever, difficulty breathing or you are in self-isolation or quarantine, do not visit or enter any Service Canada office. As an alternative, you may access our services online or by calling 1-800 O-Canada.
For more information about COVID-19 Emergency Benefits and how to apply go to: