Participation Agreement

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Who decides?

You do, with your Case Worker. Both you and your Case Worker develop you Participation Agreement. You will take part in an assessment of your previous work history, your skills, your education and other factors that relate to your job searching. Please note that every case plan must include job searching. You will receive further information on what activities are available to you and why you might take part in them. It is very important to understand the purpose of each activity. For example, if you have good skills but have no recent work experience, you may need and want to take part in a community participation placement in order to get some work experience. Once your assessment is complete and once you have heard all of the options, a Participation Agreement will be developed between you and your Case Worker. You should take part in this as much as possible because this plan will be a condition of your assistance. You will be expected to present your plan on how you will prepare for employment and move off social assistance. Your Case Worker will ensure that the plan meets our guidelines on what is reasonable and acceptable. The mandate of Ontario Works is to move people back into paid employment as quickly as possible. Once an agreement is developed, you will be asked to sign a Participation Agreement. This agreement states that you will take part in the chosen activities and that your assistance will be based on whether you are participating reasonably. Your agreement is meant to be reasonable set of steps that will help you reach employment. Please be sure that you understand if before you sign. If at any time, your circumstances change and you feel that a change in your agreement is necessary, please contact your Case Worker.

What if I do not want to take part?

Ontario Works Employment Assistance is a mandatory program for all employable people. That means that if you are physically and mentally capable of working, you must take part. You will sign an agreement with your Case Worker on what activities suit your needs and situation best. Once signed, we base your eligibility on that agreement. If you do not comply with it and do not have a reasonable excuse for not doing so, you risk cancellation of your financial assistance. When a problem is recognized, you will be notified in writing and will have some time to correct the problem. If the situation is not remedied, you will be advised that your assistance is being cancelled. At that point, you have ten days to respond or correct the problem. If there is no change, your assistance will be cancelled. If you disagree with our decision or any other decision we make regarding your assistance, you have the right to appeal it further. Of course, the best thing would be to work with your Case Worker to fix the problem as soon as possible so we can all avoid having to go through the cancellation of assistance.

Who must participate?

Under the Ontario Works Act and Regulations, every employable person must participate in Ontario Works including:
  • single people
  • couples with or without children
  • dependant adults
  • people pending Employment Insurance
  • single parents
Your participation may be deferred temporarily if you
  • have a temporary medical condition and can provide a completed medical form from your doctor
  • if you are caring for a family member who is disabled, ill, or a senior with documented special needs
  • if you are a single parent with a child who is not yet school age
  • if you qualify for pregnancy or parental leave (up to 15 weeks).

Who is exempt from participation?

You do not have to participate at all if you are:
  • disabled
  • a senior
If you fall into one of the above categories, you do not have to participate, but you may if you wish. Please discuss this with your Case worker.