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Ontario Works (OW)

Ontario Works is a program that provides basic financial and employment assistance to people in need. The County of Simcoe Ontario Works Department delivers this program to eligible Simcoe County residents.


Basic Financial Assistance

Applicants who qualify for Ontario Works Assistance can receive money to help cover the cost of basic needs (food, clothing, etc.) and shelter expenses. The amount of money they are eligible to receive depends on:

  • Family size
  • Age of dependents
  • Income
  • Assets
  • Shelter expenses


Employment Assistance Activities

As a condition of initial and continued eligibility for assistance, all employable adults must participate in one or more employment assistance activities. Ontario Works employment assistance helps people to become and stay employed, and includes employment activities such as:

  • Job search support services
  • Employment information session
  • Community participation (i.e. activities that allow people to contribute to the community and improve their employability)
  • Employment placement and job retention services
  • Supports for self-employment development
  • Referral to basic education
  • Young parenting program (Learning, Earning and Parenting, or LEAP)
  • Literacy and job-specific skills training
  • Screening for substance abuse and referral to assessment and treatment if necessary

The appropriate mix of employment assistance activities depends on the experience, skills, circumstances, and needs of individual applicants or participants and the realities of the local labour market. The amount of time a participant needs to engage in activities designed to help him or her increase employability and obtain sustainable employment will vary.


How to Apply

You can apply for social assistance online or by telephone.  

  • Visit the Ontario Works section of the County of Simcoe website to learn how to apply for social assistance online.
  • To apply by telephone contact the County of Simcoe Integrated Services Unit at (705) 722-3132 or if you live in the Beeton area (905) 729-4514 and follow the auto attendant prompts. has more information about how to apply for social assistance available in multiple languages.

To learn more about local programs and services in Simcoe County, dial 211
or visit .

211 is a free, 24/7 information line with interpretation services in over 150 languages. TTY service is available at 1-888-435-6086.
To have your organization added to the 211 database, contact Community Connection 211 .