Family Benefits in Ontario

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Approximately 1.2 million people in Ontario live in low-income households, according to a 2019 study. This number has been getting bigger during the COVID-19 pandemic, and low-income families’ purchasing power is becoming smaller as inflation creeps in. Consequently, these families need financial support to meet their everyday needs, including food, shelter, clothing, education, and more.

Fortunately, Ontario residents can access financial assistance for various needs from several family welfare and benefits programs. The federal government, Ontario provincial government, and several NGOs run welfare programs that offer various types of financial aid.

Are you struggling to meet your family’s financial obligations? This article is a comprehensive guide on various family benefits and welfare programs for low-income families in Ontario. Read on to find out about how and where you can find the help you need.

Family Benefit Programs in Ontario

Children with Special Needs

It can be exceedingly difficult raising children with special needs. Fortunately, Ontario residents can get access to dozens of programs designed to help such kids. These programs offer a mix of direct funding as well as services.

Here is an overview of several useful programs for children with special needs:

Program Type of Benefit Description
Ontario Autism Program Health This program is designed to educate families raising kids diagnosed with autism on how to relate better with them.
Some of the benefits available include free autism assessments and information kits for newly diagnosed kids.
It also provides financial assistance and resources to families with children with Autism spectrum disorders.
Student Nutrition Program Nutrition This program is designed to help low-income families feed their children.
The program operates across schools and sites across Ontario and is open to all children and youth.
Indigenous Healthy Babies Healthy Children Health This program is exclusively available to the indigenous community.
It is designed to educate women about pregnancy while offering support for their prenatal and postnatal phases.
Kids Help Phone Mental Health offers professional counseling services to children and youths.
Kids can contact the program via phone, web posts, and live chat to share their thoughts and feelings.
helps kids battle mental issues such as depression and anxiety.
Assistance for Children with Severe Disabilities Health designed to aid low- and moderate-income families with all of the additional costs related to their child with a disability.
Eligible applicants can receive upt0 $25 - $500 per month to meet various expenses for a child with a disability
Blindness and Low Vision program Optical assists children who were born blind or have low vision.
offers customized and interventional assistance to children until they join the first grade.
Developmental Disabilities Program Health Provides special care and intervention to children at risk of developmental delays or those with developmental disabilities.
Designed to offer respite services, residential provisions, and specialized support for qualifying applicants
Healthy Babies, Healthy Children Program Health Provides the necessary help to ascertain that newborns and children up to the age of six have suitable conditions and environment to grow and develop properly
Healthy Smiles Ontario Dental Designed to provide low-income families with free dental care for children below 18 years
Children who benefit from the Ontario Disability or Ontario Works Support, Assistance for Children with Severe Disabilities, or Temporary Assistance Disability Programs automatically enroll in this program
Infant Hearing Program Hearing The program enables all newborns to undergo a medical assessment to check for permanent hearing loss
Eligible applicants receive professional support in understanding this condition, access to available services, and language development
Ontario Disability Support Program Health Provides financial assistance, health benefits, employment incentives, and benefits, as well as disability-related benefits to those living with disability over the age of 18 years
Qualifying applicants can use the benefits for basic expenses like shelter, clothing, and food


Ontario Child Care Subsidy

The Ontario Child Care Subsidy program receives funding from the First Nations communities, local governments, and the provincial government. The program assists low-income families in paying for appropriate daycare.


If your child is under 13 years, your family is eligible for the program. However, for children with exceptional needs, the age restriction will be 18. Your child must attend one of the following, in addition to the age requirement:

  • A licensed daycare center. It can be a home-based, learning center, or simply use in-home services.  
  • A camp
  • A leisure program for children
  • A schoolboard-controlled before- and after-school program


Qualifying applicants can receive funding based on their household’s adjusted net income. The amount received is determined by removing the Universal Child Care Benefit payments from line 236 of the Canada Revenue Agency personal income tax form, which do not apply to this social assistance program. The Ministry of Education provides the cash for these no-cost subsidies.


To apply for this program, First Nation communities must contact the local band office administrator while other categories can contact the Consolidated Municipal Service Managers (CMSMs)/District Social Services Administrations Board (DSSABs).

Ontario Child Care Tax Credit

The Ontario Child Care Tax Credit program is designed to assist parents in covering the expenses of childcare and to help low-income families. The CARE tax credit (Childcare Access and Relief from Expenses) is based on the following factors:

  • Your household's net income, based on the Child Care Expense Deduction figures
  • The expenses of qualifying childcare

The amount a family is entitled to is determined by multiplying your qualified daycare expenditures by the credit rate.


To qualify for the Ontario Child Care Tax Credit program, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Qualifies for the Child Care Expense Deduction
  • Have a household net income of $150,000 or less
  • Be a resident of Ontario at the closing of the tax year


Under this program, qualifying families can receive a maximum of 75% of their child care costs. These may include expenses arising from services provided by camps, homes, and childcare centers. In particular, families can qualify for up to:

  • $6,000 for each child under seven years 
  • $3,750 for every child between 7 and 16 years 
  • $8,250 for each kid with a severe impairment

The Ontario Child Care Tax Credit is computed as a percentage of the amount you deduct for child care. The Child Care Expense Deduction provides tax relief for qualifying child care expenses on both a provincial and federal level. In addition, the amount received can qualify for a credit top-up, which is computed as a 20% increase in the credit limit.


To apply for the Child Care Tax Credit program, you complete and submit your tax return forms attached to a completed copy of the Schedule ON479-A, Ontario Childcare Access, and Relief from Expenses (CARE) Tax Credit. For application purposes, you must keep receipts for child care costs paid over the year.


Low-Income Worker’s Tax Credit Program

Also known as the Low-Income Individuals and Families (LIFT) Tax Credit, this non-refundable credit program eliminates or decreases your personal income tax in Ontario, except the Health Premium program in Ontario. The social assistance program came into effect in 2019 and is claimable when filing your tax returns.


The credit is available to low-income taxpayers as well as those recieving minimum pay. Eligible applicants must:

  • Reside in any Canadian territory or province from the beginning of the current tax year
  • Have employment income
  • Reside in Ontario by the close of the current tax year
  • Have personal income tax dues in Ontario
  • Your family's annual adjusted income must be less than $68,500
  • Your annual adjusted net income must be less than $38,500
  • Not have served a prison sentence within the year


The highest credit you may get from this program is 5.05 percent of your total gross earnings or $850, whichever is less. The maximum funds payable is then decreased by 10% of the higher of the following:

  • Over $30,000 in adjusted personal net income
  • Over $60,000 in adjusted household net income

If any of the following apply to you, you may be eligible for a decreased credit, which includes:

  • An annual personal adjusted net income ranging from $30,000 to $38,500 
  • A family's adjusted net income ranging from $60,000 to $68,500

With no additional sources of income, a single worker working full-time for minimum wage  and making approximately $30,000 will:

  • obtain tax relief of $850
  • Have no liability to pay any individual income tax in Ontario

If you make over $30,000, you will get below $850 in tax relief, or none at all.


Applying for this program is relatively easy and fast. Eligible applicants only need to claim this credit when they file their annual Personal Income Tax and Benefit Return. The Low-Income Individuals and Families Tax Credit appears on the tax return.

Ontario Works Program

Despite your best efforts, finding work before your cash reserves run out might be challenging. Luckily, the Ontario Works Program is ready to assist you with your essential expenses.  When you file your personal Income Tax and Benefit Return every year, you can claim it. The Low-Income Individuals and Families Tax Credit appears on the tax return.


Applicants can qualify for this program if they meet the following criteria:

  • Older than 16 years old
  • Reside in Ontario
  • You and your family are unable to meet your fundamental needs due to a lack of funds


Ontario Works provides two forms of assistance. Depending on your eligibility, you and your family can receive cash assistance to help pay for shelter, food, clothing, and essential medical expenditures. You will also find assistance to get the employment that you so much require.

In turn, this means you will attend seminars to improve your skills and learn how to write an effective résumé. You will also receive career training and coaching to assist you in finding work that you will enjoy.

The amount you get from this program is determined by the applicant's specific circumstances. You might, however, receive $733 each month in addition to other advantages for you and your family.


You may apply for Ontario Works by filling out an online application. One application is adequate for you and your family. Some of the information you will have to provide on you and your family include:

  • Full names, Date of Birth of individual members, and Canadian status
  • OHIP Card number
  • Social Insurance Numbers
  • Tax returns
  • Birth certificates
  • Residing address
  • Email addresses of family members over 18 years
  • Bank account details for direct cash deposits
  • Family assets and total household income per month
  • Minimum household costs
  • Additional costs in the home, like childcare

After submitting the online application, there will be a verification appointment with a caseworker. They will let you know whether you were accepted, how much you may get, and when you can anticipate your first payment within four business days after the meeting. You will also get another meeting to assist you to develop an effective job-search plan and engaging in programs that will enable you to achieve your objective.


Low-income families do not have to bear the financial burden of getting through their everyday lives alone. Additional resources are available to assist you in covering costs if one of your children has a handicap or special health needs. If you are going through a really trying time, you know you can count on help, at least in terms of basic living expenses and if these programs aren't quite enough to cover expenses you can still apply for a loan in Ontario with us for as much as $1,500.

The family benefits programs discussed above are accessible to all legal residents in the province. They are also relatively easy to access if you meet the set requirements. You can also explore the family benefits programs available countrywide here.