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Accessing Social Assistance and Income Security Programs

I am a refugee claimant under 18 years old in Canada on my own and I have no money. How do I get income support?

If you are 16 or 17 and not receiving help from a Children’s Aid Society, you can apply for for income help from the Ontario Government through a program called Ontario Works, or OW. To apply for OW, you can call 1-888-465-4478. Ask for an interpreter if you don’t speak English

If you are under 16 and are living with a relative or community member, that person can apply to Ontario Works for some money to support you. They can only do this if they have a low income and are also eligible for Ontario Works themselves. You and they should call 1-888-465-4478 to apply.

If you are living in a foster home or receiving the support of a Children’s Aid Society (CAS), talk to your social worker to see what income support they can give you.

What does Ontario Works pay for?
• Ontario Works gives money for you to pay for rent, food, clothing and other basic needs. It is not a lot of money, so you will have to be very careful with how you spend it.
• As of 2023, a single person on OW received $733 per month. You might get some extra money for things like school supplies or medical needs.
• If you do not have enough money to pay for rent and food, you can look for help from community organizations like a food bank. Go to this website to learn about food banks.

Can I get a job?
If you are under 18, you can work in Ontario. But you are not allowed to work during school hours if you have not graduated from high school.

Read more about your rights to income assistance on this website.