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Income Support

Applying for Ontario Works Assistance - You may apply either by telephone or online.

Step-by-step instructions - Applying over the telephone

Step 1: Gather the information you and all your family members need to have before you call.

Before you call, you must have the information listed below at hand, to answer any questions:

  • First and last name.
  • Date of birth.
  • Social Insurance Number.
  • Health Card Number.
  • Full address, postal code and telephone number.
  • Accommodation information, including rent, mortgage, utilities, property taxes, etc.
  • Last source of income.
  • All money you receive now, such as: wages, pensions, baby bonus, employment insurance, child/spousal support, etc.
  • Any assets, including investments, life insurance and bank accounts.
  • Verbal consent for each adult member to allow the Region of Durham to do any Equifax (e.g. credit check) information requests.

All information shared during the telephone application is confidential.

Step 2: Call Central Intake

Local calls: 905-428-8982
Toll-free: 1-877-678-6333
Bell Relay: 1-800-855-0511

Central Intake hours: Monday to Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The person who answers the phone has been specially trained to help you. At any time during the telephone call, you may choose to discontinue. Together you will go through the information needed, and an office appointment will be scheduled with a caseworker. The telephone part of the application procedure will take approximately 20 to 25 minutes to complete.

You will also be told what you will need to bring to the interview. You must bring these papers with you!

Woman at help desk

Step 3: Go to your local office for the interview.

Note: For the protection of all community residents, all Regional offices observe a scent-reduced policy. You will be asked to refrain from wearing scented products while attending our office(s).

A caseworker will:

  • Complete the application.
  • Review the papers you were asked to bring.
  • Inform you of your rights and responsibilities under Ontario Works.
  • Help you to develop a plan to be self-supporting.
  • Give you information about the employment and financial supports available to you. 

To change or cancel your appointment call 905-428-8982 (or toll-free at 1-877-678-6333).

Contact your local office for general inquiries.

Step-by-step instructions - Applying online

Step 1: Gather the information you and all your family members need to have before you begin your online application.

Before you call, you must have the information listed below at hand, to answer any questions:

  • First and last name.
  • Date of birth.
  • Social Insurance Number.
  • Health Card Number.
  • Full address, postal code and telephone number.
  • Accommodation information, including rent, mortgage, utilities, property taxes, etc.
  • Last source of income.
  • All money you receive now, such as: wages, pensions, baby bonus, employment insurance, child/spousal support, etc.
  • Any assets, including investments, life insurance and bank accounts.
  • Verbal consent for each adult member to allow the Region of Durham to do any Equifax (e.g. credit check) information requests.

All information shared during the telephone call is confidential.

Man at help desk

Step 2: You will need a computer with internet access to complete the Online Application for Social Assistance (OASA) at
http://www.mcss.gov.on.ca/en/mcss/programs/social/apply_online.aspx


Make sure it is a convenient time to apply as the online application process takes roughly 20 minutes. If you choose to leave the site at any time prior to submitting the completed application, the information provided by the applicant will not be saved. The online process provides social assistance applicants with an opportunity to assess their potential eligibility for assistance, and complete and submit a web-based application from any computer with an internet connection, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The online application allows applicants to:

  • Anonymously pre-screen for potential eligibility for all social assistance programs: Ontario Works (including Temporary Care Assistance), Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) and Assistance for Children with Severe Disabilities (ACSD).
  • Carry over information entered during screening into the actual application for benefits.
  • Complete the online application in either English or French.
  • Track their progress throughout the application process.
  • View and print a summary of the information they have entered prior to submitting their application.
  • Use the “Appointment Assist” feature to select up to three dates and times for a verification interview.
  • Link to the Office Locator tool, which makes it easier for applicants to receive help from family members, interpreters or community agencies when completing an application.

Once your application has been submitted, you will be contacted by one of our intake staff to schedule an in-office review of your application with a caseworker. You will also be told what you will need to bring to the interview. You must bring these papers with you!

If you do not have a contact number, you may contact Central Intake to schedule an in-office review of your application with a caseworker.


Woman filling out application

Step 3: Go to your local office for the interview.

Note: For the protection of all community residents, all Regional offices observe a scent-reduced policy. You will be asked to refrain from wearing scented products while attending our office(s).

A caseworker will:

  • Complete the application.
  • Review the papers you were asked to bring.
  • Inform you of your rights and responsibilities under Ontario Works.
  • Help you to develop a plan to be self-supporting.
  • Give you information about the employment and financial supports available to you. 

To change or cancel your appointment call 905-428-8982 (or toll-free at 1-877-678-6333).

For general inquires, not related to the application process, please contact your local office.