Frequently Asked Questions about the Law


These FAQ's answer some of the common questions about the areas of law in which the Legal Clinic practices. They are intended to serve as an introduction only. They are not a substitute for advice from a Legal Professional.    

  • Canada Pension Plan
  • Criminal Injuries Compensation Board
  • Debtor and Creditor
  • Fired
  • Human Rights
  • Landlord & Tenant  
  • Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP)
  • Ontario Works (OW)
  • Workplace Safety and Insurance Program (WSIB)


Canada Pension Plan


What is the Canada Pension Plan disability benefit?

The Canada Pension Plan (CPP) disability benefit is a monthly payment that is available to people who contributed recently to the Canada Pension Plan while they worked, and then became unable to work at any “substantially gainful” job on a regular basis because of their disability.


How does CPP define “disability”?  

If you qualify for disability benefits from other government programs, such as the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP), or private insurers, this is not a guarantee that you'll qualify for a CPP disability benefit.


The Disability Test

      The CPP definition states that a disability has to be both “severe” and “prolonged”.

• "Severe" means you cannot do any substantially gainful job on a regular basis;

In looking at your application, CPP is supposed to consider your individual circumstances—for example, your age, work experience and education level and training, in determining whether you would be employable on a regular basis.  CPP cannot consider the fact that there are fewer jobs in your geographic area.

 • "Prolonged" means your disability is likely long continued and its duration is indefinite (your doctors can’t predict when it will end), or it is likely to result in death.


Am I eligible for the CPP-Disability Benefit?

In addition to demonstrating that your disability is both severe and prolonged, you must also have contributed to the CPP through contributions from your work.  You must show that you became disabled within the Minimum Qualifying Period which is the last period in which you made contributions to CPP in 4 out of 6 years.  For those who have made contributions for 25 years, your Qualifying Period is 3 out of 6 years.  

If you became disabled prior to 1998, different rules apply.  

If you meet the medical and contribution requirements described above, CPP-Disability entitlement can begin as early as 15 months prior to your date of application.


How do I apply?

The Application for Disability Benefits is available online at:



 You may also contact Service Canada and request that they mail you an application package.  

Toll free (Canada and the United States)

For service in English: 1-800-277-9914

For service in French: 1-800-277-9915

TTY device: 1-800-255-4786


Or, drop by any of these local offices to pick up an application package:  

Service Canada - Arnprior Site

Heritage Square, Suite 1 & 2

75 Elgin Street West, Arnprior, ON

Hours of service Monday to Friday from 8:30 am to 4:00 pm


Service Canada – Pembroke site

141 Lake Street, Pembroke, ON  

Hours of service Monday to Friday from 8:30 am to 4:00 pm


Service Canada – Renfrew site

350 Raglan Street South, Renfrew, ON

Hours of service Monday to Friday from 8:30 am to 4:00 pm


In addition to forms that you will have to complete yourself, the application package includes a Medical Report that is to be completed by your doctor.  If you have more than one doctor, take this form to the doctor who knows the most about your main medical condition(s) that make you disabled.  

If you have questions about completing the application forms, contact our legal clinic and we can provide you with assistance.


How long will I have to wait for a decision?

Service Canada states that its goal is to make eligibility decisions on at least 75 per cent of applications within 120 calendar days (4 months) from when they receive your complete application which includes the questionnaire, application and medical report.

The government may request additional information from your doctors or other medical records from hospitals.  This may delay the processing of your application.


Applicants who are terminally ill

Applicants who have a terminal illness should have their disability applications determined within 48 hours upon receipt of their application. Service Canada staff are supposed to give priority to these applications, in order to make a determination quickly so that benefit payments can start as soon as possible. There may be other benefits (survivor, children’s benefits or death benefits) which may also assist you and your family in this situation. 


What happens if I am denied a CPP-Disability Benefit?

You can request a reconsideration of this decision.  It must be done in writing, within 90 days of when you received the decision.   

The reconsideration will involve only a paper review of your file.  You may submit new medical evidence in support of your disability.  

If you have questions about requesting reconsideration, our legal clinic can help you—call us!


What happens if my reconsideration is denied?

You can then request a review to the CPP- Review Tribunal.  You have 90 days to from the date that you receive the negative reconsideration decision to write to request that your decision be appealed to the Review Tribunal.  The address is on the information that you receive with the decision.  

Our legal clinic can answer questions that you have about this process, and we may be able to represent you at your hearing before Review Tribunal.

The Review Tribunal will meet you in person and give you a chance to describe your disability and how it affects your ability to work.  The Tribunal is made up of three members: a lawyer who will chair the hearing, a health professional, and an individual from the community.  It is less formal than a Court and is meant to make you feel comfortable.  The Review Tribunal will hear your case in private.  

You may submit further medical evidence at any time before the Review Tribunal hearing.  It is best to submit the new medical evidence that supports your case as soon as possible to the Review Tribunal because Service Canada may decide to reverse its decision based on the new medical information.  

You can read more about  the Review Tribunal at their website: http://www.ocrt-bctr.gc.ca/index-eng.html

The Review Tribunal’s phone number is:  1-800-363-0076


I’ve been denied by the CPP-Review Tribunal, what can I do next?

The next stage is to request permission to appeal this decision from the Pensions Appeal Board.  You have 90 days from the date you received your CPP-Review Tribunal decision to submit what is called an “Application for Leave to Appeal to the Pensions Appeal Board”.   You may submit further medical evidence in support of your appeal.  

If you are granted permission to appeal, a public hearing will be held before three Judges.  

To read more about the Pensions Appeal Board, see their website at:http://www.pab-cap.gc.ca/index-eng.cfm

The Pensions Appeal Board’s phone number is: 1 888 640-8001  

We strongly recommend that you seek legal advice at this stage.  Our Legal Clinic may be able to represent you before the Board.  We will always provide you advice about the pros and cons of proceeding with your case.


What happens if my condition improves?

The CPP-Disability benefit is not guaranteed for life.  Service Canada may review your case from time to time. This is called a reassessment.  

If your case is being reassessed, you may be asked to provide current medical and other information to Service Canada to help complete the reassessment.  

Once all necessary information has been collected, a decision to continue or stop disability benefits is made. You will always be informed of this decision in writing.  You have the opportunity to request a reconsideration of this decision.  Your request for reconsideration must be sent to Service Canada within 90 days of receiving the reassessment decision.  Our legal clinic can assist you with this.


Can I volunteer or go to school when I am receiving the CPP-Disability benefit?

Yes. Without having any effect on your benefits, you can:

• volunteer,

• go back to school to upgrade or complete a degree, or

• participate in a re-training program.


What happens if I return to work?

If you return to work, you have an obligation to report your work to Service Canada when your employment income reaches a certain level ($4600 before taxes for 2009) in one calendar year.  This threshold changes each year.  

You will be given a 3 month work trial period beginning the month after you are found to demonstrate “regular capacity” to work.  This means that you are able to work on a regular basis and your productivity, performance and profitability would be evaluated to determine your ability to work at a “regular capacity”.  Service Canada will look at the number of hours you work per day, week, month and year, how regularly you were able to maintain your work hours, the amount you earned through work and the nature of your work.  

Service Canada may then reassess your case and determine that you are no longer “disabled” and cancel your CPP-Disability benefits. If this happens and you believe that you still meet the definition of “disabled” you can appeal the decision within 90 days of receiving the decision in writing.  

Our legal clinic can offer advice if you receive CPP-Disability benefits and are considering returning to work or have returned to work.


Is my CPP-Disability Benefit considered taxable income?

Yes, your CPP-Disability Benefit is considered taxable income.  

There is a Disability Tax Credit, administered by the Canada Revenue Agency, which you may qualify for if you owe tax at the end of the year.  This credit can reduce the amount of tax you have to pay.  To make a claim, you must complete and file Form T2201, "Disability Tax Credit Certificate". It must be certified by a medical practitioner. The fact that you get a CPP disability benefit does not necessarily mean that you will qualify for the Disability Tax Credit. You can contact the Canada Revenue Agency for more information.


Will I receive any benefits for my children?

Yes, as long as you are receiving a CPP disability benefit, your children may be eligible for a children’s benefit.  If both parents are receiving CPP disability benefits, the children may be eligible for two payments each month.  

CPP pays benefits for children if they are:

• under 18 years of age. These benefits are paid to the person who has the care and custody of the children; or,

• between 18 and 25 years old and attending school on a full-time basis. This benefit is paid directly to the child.  

You must apply to obtain a benefit for each child under the age of 18.  Each child who is between the ages of 18 and 25 must fill out his or her own application form.   After 25, benefits will stop.  

When a CPP disability benefit is cancelled, any related children's benefits are also cancelled.


What happens when I turn 65?  

After age 65, you will no longer receive the CPP-Disability benefit.  You will be then automatically be eligible for and start to receive your CPP retirement pension.  

Also at age 65, you may qualify for the Old Age Security (OAS) benefit.  The amount of the OAS you will receive depends on the number of years you have lived in Canada since your 18th birthday and may be reduced if your individual income is above a certain amount.  The maximum monthly benefit under OAS in 2009 was $516.96.  

You should apply for the OAS benefit six months before you turn 65.  

Depending on the combined income of yourself and your spouse or common-law partner, you may also be eligible for the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) when you turn 65.  You have to apply for this.  

You can call Service Canada at 1 800 277-9914 (English), 1-800-277-9915 (French) or 1 800 255-4786 (TTY/TDD) to request that application kits for the OAS and/or GIS be mailed to you.


How will ODSP treat my CPP Benefit?

The Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) will count the amount you receive from CPP as income, and deduct it dollar-for-dollar from your ODSP benefits.  

If you receive CPP-Disability, and in combination with other income this makes you ineligible for ODSP benefits, you may still qualify for the ODSP health card. 

For more information on CPP Disability Benefits, see



Criminal Injuries Compensation Board


What is the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board (CICB)?

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Board is funded by the Ontario Government and provides compensation to survivors of violent crime.


Who can apply for CICB?

You can apply for CICB if you have suffered physical, mental, emotional or psychological injuries as a result of a crime of violence committed against you in Ontario.     

Usually the person who applies (“the Applicant”) is the person who directly suffered injuries as a result of the crime of violence. But if you need constant care by someone else, or are under 18, your caregiver (e.g. a parent) can apply for compensation.   

Where someone died as a result of a crime of violence, a dependant, spouse or relative may apply for compensation.  

You can also apply if you were injured while trying to prevent a crime or while assisting a police officer in making an arrest.  

The crime must have taken place in Ontario, although the victim does not have to live in Ontario.


What if the offender was not charged or convicted?

The offender does not have to be charged nor convicted.  However, if there was a criminal conviction, the CICB will take that as proof that the crime of violence occurred.    

If there is no conviction, you need to be able to show that it is "more likely than not" that the crime of violence occurred.    

In any case, you must show that it is "more likely than not" that your injuries are a result of that crime of violence, and not from some other cause


How do I apply?

You can write or phone CICB and ask for an application. You will need to provide:   

 detailed information about when the crime of violence occurred

• the name of the offender (if you know it)

• location of the crime

• if you received medical treatment or counselling


They can be contacted at:   

Criminal Injuries Compensation Board

439 University Avenue, 4th Floor

Toronto, Ontario M5G 1Y8

Telephone: (416) 326-2900 or 1-800-372-7463

Fax: (416) 326-2883


Website: http://www.cicb.gov.on.ca


The Renfrew County Legal Clinic also helps people to start an application with the CICB, if you are not able to do this on your own.


When should I apply?

Usually you need to apply within two years of the crime happening. The CICB may grant an extension of this time limit when there is a good reason (e.g. adult survivor of childhood sexual abuse, you did not know about criminal injuries compensation, or you were too badly injured).  However, if you can, you should apply within the two year period.  

If you were injured as a child, the two years does not start to run until you turn 18.   

If the criminal case is still before the courts, you should get legal advice before you apply. Normally, you would request an Application but then ask that your case be put on hold until the criminal case is over with.


Can I fill out the Application myself?

Yes, but many people find the forms difficult to complete. It is helpful to have the assistance of someone who knows how CICB works like the Renfrew County Legal Clinic.

The CICB also has three information packages, called "Application Tips", on its website, at http://www.cicb.gov.on.ca/en/tips.htm.

These packages are designed to address common questions applicants may have when completing the CICB's forms and include images of relevant forms and instructions on completion of particular sections.


What expenses or compensation will be awarded?

There are usually two types of awards – “pain and suffering” and specific expenses.   

Pain and suffering are usually the biggest part of the compensation award for cases of abuse or assault.  This amount will normally be awarded based on the extent of the emotional, physical and psychological damage.  

Specific expenses that might be covered include:   

● medical bills, including ambulance costs

● prescription and other drug costs

● funeral expenses

● lost wages (up to $50.00 per day or $250.00 per week)

● support for a child born as a result of a sexual assault

● costs of therapy and counseling and, in some suitable cases, other healing therapies including massage


How much can I be awarded?

The maximum award is $25,000 per occurrence. This maximum award is not often given. In some cases, you might be awarded periodic awards of up to $1,000 per month, which can be increased or decreased over time depending on the long-term effects of the injuries and the need for treatment.   

Awards vary depending on the severity of injuries, and most awards are under $10,000.


Could anything I did affect the amount of my award?

The CICB can take into account your behaviour if it directly or indirectly contributed to your injuries. They can also consider any other compensation or benefit paid to the victim. They might also consider whether you reported the offence promptly to police and whether you cooperated with police.


How long does this process take?

The process is quite long. It usually takes more than a year. When the case is more complicated or you have to ask for an extension, it may take more than 2 or 3 years.


These FAQ’s are adapted, with thanks, from CICB Tip Sheet, Community Legal and Advocacy Centre.


Debtor and Creditor


A collection agent is harassing me.  I can't pay the bill.  What can I do?

Collection agents are supposed to write to you about the debt before they start calling.  They are entitled to call to see if arrangements can be made for payment of all or part of the debt.  

Collection agents are not allowed to:

• Call others except to find you or confirm employment.

• Make calls on Sundays, statutory holidays or between 9 p.m. to 7 a.m.

• Make repeated or harassing calls.


The collection agent said they would take our furniture if I did not pay today.  Is it true?

Collection agents often make threats. However, they cannot seize your belongings or garnish your wages before obtaining a judgment in a court of law.  In order to get a judgment they have to serve you with a Statement of Claim, so that you will have an opportunity to enter a Defence to the claim.   

If the creditor or agent does get a judgment you still have protection for certain assets and income, including $11,300 dollars worth of household belongings, $5,650.00 worth of personal effects, $11,300 worth of tools necessary for your trade, and equity in your motor vehicle up to $5,650.00. As well, benefit payments from Ontario Disability Support Plan, Ontario Works, and Canada Pension Plan are protected, as are certain life insurance policies. Get legal advice for the details of your own situation.


How can I stop the harassment?

If the collection agent is harassing you with many calls or is rude or threatening:  

• Refuse to talk to them. Hang up the phone.  You do not have to talk to them!

• Get a complaint form from the Ministry of Consumer and Business Services. Complete the form and file it.     You can find it on their web site: http://www.cbs.gov.on.ca/mcbs, or visit the nearest Ontario Government    Information Centre.

• Write a letter to the creditor to advise them of the bad behaviour of their agent.

• Ask for the collection agent's name and license Number. (Many are unlicensed).

• If the harassment is really bad, call the police and make a complaint. The Criminal Code s. 372 prohibits   harassment.


I want to make a payment but I can't pay all the debt now.  The collection agent won't accept my offer. 

Collection agents typically demand all the money today; their commission depends on it. If the agent will not agree to your offer, try contacting the creditor directly.  If the creditor is a bank you should be able to make a payment at any branch.  

If the creditor or agent is taking you to court, or if there is already a judgment in place, you can make your payments to the court office where the judgment was obtained. This will provide a clear record of all your payments.


I made an agreement to pay and I missed a payment.  Now the collection agent says I owe all the money right away.

An agreement with your creditor or his agent is only a protection if you don't miss a payment. If you miss a payment you have broken the agreement, so only agree to what you know you will be able to pay.


How can I prove I made a payment?

Make all payments by cheque or money order.  Never pay cash. Get a receipt as well, if you can.


I feel terrible that I cannot pay my debts, but there's nothing extra after we pay the rent and food.

Remember, it is the Collection Agent's job to make you feel bad, so that you will pay, even if you cannot afford to. You must decide for yourself what you can afford to pay on the debt.



Problems with Debt

My creditor has a judgment against me. What can he do to collect?

After judgment, a creditor can require you to come to a Judgment Debtor Examination, and can enforce payment by garnishee (usually of wages) and seizure (usually personal property, including money), and by registering a writ of execution against real property (land).


Is anything I have protected from seizure?

The Execution Act provides that the debtor’s goods are protected from seizure up to the following limits.

Household Goods - $11,300 (market value)

Personal Effects - $5,650

Tools of the Trade - $11,300

     Motor Vehicle - $5,650

     Certain life insurance policies and pensions

     There are also special exemptions for farmers.

These limits are based on what the sheriff might get by seizing the goods and selling them.  Because goods at sheriff’s sales go for very little, a lot of household goods are protected.


Is there any protection for my wages?

When your wages are garnisheed the usual amount deducted and sent to the sheriff is 20% of your wages net of taxes and statutory deductions.  Either party may go to court to have the percentage changed.  If you are experiencing hardship you can ask the court to reduce the amount taken.

Some monies are protected from garnishee and seizure – for example Canada Pension Plan benefits.  Social Assistance monies are protected even when they are in the debtor’s bank account.


How can I clear the Debt?

If you have some money you may be able to come to terms with your creditor to pay in installments, or pay a lump sum to settle the debt,

If you have an agreement to pay installments and you miss a payment the settlement deal is cancelled and the creditor can again take any legal steps to collect the whole balance owing. So, only enter into such an agreement if you are sure you can make the payments.


I have too much debt.  Should I declare bankruptcy?

First consider seeing a Credit Counseling agency.  Non-profit agencies are the best bet. They may be able to negotiate an arrangement with your creditors for partial payment on all the debts.

Credit Counseling of Eastern Ontario

1300 Carling Ave Suite 209, Ottawa, ON, Canada

Phone: (613) 728-2041


If this does not solve your problems, have a consultation with a Bankruptcy Trustee, to decide if it makes sense for you.

Cost of a bankruptcy - $1,500.00 minimum fee, payable to the Trustee,  in installments.

      • Does not discharge secured debt (e.g. house mortgage, car loan that is secured with a lien).
      • Does not discharge student loans for 7 years (can request discharge after 5).
      • Does not discharge debts arising from fraud.
      • Does not discharge family support arrears.
      • Seven years on your credit rating, but you can usually start to get some credit within a year of discharge.


Small Claims Court   

I have just received a Plaintiff’s Claim?  What do I do?

Read the Claim over carefully.  Do you agree that the Plaintiff is entitled to what is asked for?  If so, you may decide not to enter a Defence at all, or you may use the Defence form to propose how you will make payment.

If you disagree with some or all of the Plaintiff’s Claim, you will need to file a Defence to Plaintiff’s Claim.  This form and all the Small Claims Court Forms, are available at the Court Office or on the Attorney General’s web site -  http://www.ontariocourtforms.on.ca/english/scc/.

You have twenty calendar days from when you were served with the Plaintiff’s Claim to file the Defence at the Court Office where the Claim was issued.  The address of the court office is at the top of the Plaintiff’s Claim.

If you were served the Plaintiff’s Claim by mail, you have a total of forty days from when it was mailed.

To file the Defence to Plaintiff’s Claim, you must provide at least two copies of the form to the Small Claims Court office.  You must pay a fee of $40.00 unless your income is low enough to qualify for a fee waiver.  Cheques are made payable to the Minister of Finance.


I have a claim against someone.  Can I sue them in Small Claims Court?

You can sue someone in Small Claims Court for money owed to you as a result of a contract or a tort (a ‘wrong’ done to you either intentionally or negligently) or for the return of personal property.

The current upper limit is $25,000.  If your claim is for more than the limit, you can list all that you believe is owing to you in your Plaintiff’s Claim, and then indicate that you abandon any amounts over the limit.


How do I start an action in Small Claims Court?

You must prepare a Plaintiff’s Claim and take it to the Small Claims Court office to be issued. It must be the Court Office in the area where the Defendant lives, or in the area where the facts that are the basis of your claim occurred. 

The cost to file a Plaintiff's Claim is $75.00. The cheque is to be made payable to the Minister of Finance.  You can ask that the fee be waived for financial reasons.

You have to take three copies of your Plaintiff’s Claim to the Court office to be issued.  You must then serve a copy on the defendant, and then complete and file an Affidavit of Service, which confirms that the Defendant was served.


What is the Small Claims Process?

After the Defendant has filed a Defence to Plaintiff’s Claim, the court will schedule a Settlement Conference.  Before the Conference the parties are to give each other a list of their witnesses and copies of any documents they want to use at the trial. The judge at the Settlement Conference will review the case and encourage the parties to settle.  The judge at the Settlement Conference can make orders about the case, including an order delivery of documents that were not provided.  The judge has the power to dismiss the claim at the Settlement Conference.

If the matter is not settled, the Plaintiff can have the matter set down for trial, paying another $100.  The court office will then set a trial date and the trial should proceed on that day.


I cannot go to court on the day that is set.  What do I do?

If you fail to show up you may have your case decided against you in your absence.  Ask the other party to agree to an adjournment.  Advise the Court office of your need to adjourn and send them the written consent of the other party. 

I got a letter in the mail from a lawyer for one of my creditors.  There is a “Plaintiff’s Claim” enclosed, but it is set in a court far away, and there are no details in the “Reasons” part of the claim.  What do I do?

Some lawyers acting for large companies send out form letters with what looks like a completed Plaintiff’s Claim to try to intimidate the person receiving the letter into paying.  These dummy Plaintiff’s Claims have no claim number and typically say they are started in the jurisdiction where the lawyer works, not where the Defendant lives.  There are no details in the “Reasons” section,

If you wonder if the Claim is real, get legal advice.


I just got a Copy of a Judgment against me.  I did not know that I was being sued.  What do I do?  

If you did not get actual service of the Plaintiff’s Claim, or Notice of the Trial Date, you can bring a Motion to the court to set aside the Judgment and have a trial.  You must not delay in doing this. 


What help can I get from the Legal Clinic?


The Renfrew County Legal Clinic can advise you on your Claim or Defence.  If you qualify financially, we can provide ongoing support, including drafting the reasons for your claim or defence, serving the claim, and advising you on what to do at the Settlement Conference and at Trial.  We can help you draft a Motion to Set Aside a Default Judgment. In some cases we will provide full representation.


Small Claims Court Offices in Renfrew County:



297 Pembroke Street East,

Pembroke, ON K8A 3K2

613 732-8581


Renfrew (open Friday)

315 Raglan Street South, Box 386,

Renfrew, ON K7V 4A6

613 432-3193




I lost my job.  It’s a union shop.  Who can help me?

If you are represented by a union, only they can take on the employer through the grievance procedures.  You cannot sue the employer yourself in court.  

If you believe your union has really failed to help you, you can file a complaint to the Ontario Labour Board (www.olrb.gov.on.ca ) saying that the union failed in its duty to provide fair representation.


I believe that my human rights were denied.  What can I do?

A Human Rights Issue arises when there is discrimination on basis of handicap, race, sexual harassment, etc.

Human rights issues can be raised in union grievances, court and tribunal process or in a compliant to the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal.


I was not in a union.  I believe I was terminated without cause.  Should I make a claim to the Department of Labour or should I sue?

You can make a claim with the Employment Standards Branch of the Department of Labour (www.labour.gov.on.ca/es) if you believe your employer has breached the provisions of the Employment Standards Act, including failing to give you the legally required notice of dismissal, or pay in lieu of notice.

Suing in a court for wrongful dismissal may mean a much larger award, because the common law often finds that there is a longer notice period than in the Employment Standards Act.  If you do file a claim with Employment Standards and then decide you want to sue, you must withdraw the claim within two weeks. You should not delay in getting advice.


Does Ontario’s Employment Standards Branch deal with all claims?

Some areas of employment come under the Canada Labour Code:

• banks

• marine shipping, ferry and port services

• air transportation, including airports, aerodromes and airlines

• railway and road transportation that involves crossing provincial or international borders

• canals, pipelines, tunnels and bridges (crossing provincial borders)

• telephone, telegraph and cable systems

• radio and television broadcasting

• grain elevators, feed and seed mills

• uranium mining and processing

• businesses dealing with the protection of fisheries as a natural resource

• many First Nation activities

• most federal Crown corporations

• private businesses necessary to the operation of a federal act

To make a claim you will have to contact the Federal Government’s Labour Program (http://www.hrsdc.gc.ca/eng/labour/employment_standards/index.shtml). Your right to sue in a court is the same.


If I sue can I get my job back?

A court will not order your employer to take you back.  If the court finds you were dismissed without cause and without due notice, it may give you judgment for pay in lieu of notice, and sometimes will award other damages as well. An arbitrator in a union grievance may order you reinstated, and the Human Rights Tribunal can also do this.



Human Rights


What is discrimination?

Treating someone unfairly may be discrimination if the unfair treatment is because of one of the characteristics or grounds listed below.


Characteristics or Grounds

Some Examples

  • Race; Colour
  • Unfair treatment because you are black.
  • Ancestry
  • Unfair treatment because your background is Polish.
  • Place of origin
  • Unfair treatment because your background is Polish.
  • Citizenship
  • Unfair treatment because you were born in a country other than Canada.
  • Ethnic origin
  •  Unfair treatment because you are Aboriginal.
  • Creed (religion)
  • Unfair treatment because you are Muslim.
  • Receipt of social assistance (housing only)
  • Refused rental accommodation only because you receive social assistance.
  • Sexual orientation
  • Unfair treatment because you are gay.
  • Marital status
  • Unfair treatment because you are not married.
  • Family status
  • Unfair treatment because you have children.
  • Record of offenses (employment only, must have been pardoned)
  • Fired because you had a criminal record, but you have a pardon for it.
  • Age
  • Unfair treatment because you are too old or too young.
  • Disability
  • Unfair treatment because you have a mental or physical difficulty.
  • Sex
  • Unfair treatment because you are pregnant.


Discriminatory treatment includes:

Denying someone a benefit, excluding someone from an opportunity, and/or imposing a different obligation on someone because of a characteristic listed above.

Discrimination can happen even if the employer, landlord or service provider does not mean to discriminate. It can also be discrimination if, for example, an employer, landlord or service provider fails to consider the special needs of an employee, tenant or customer where their needs are linked to one of the 7 characteristics in the Ontario Human Rights Code.


Where do I file or respond to a Ontario Human Rights Complaint?

The Human Rights Tribunal (“Tribunal”) of Ontario is responsible for all claims of discrimination filed under the Ontario Human Rights Code. You may print the forms and sign them or complete them online and file them electronically. 

Contact Information for the Tribunal:

Toll Free : 1-866-598-0322

TTY (Toll Free): 1-866-607-1240

Fax (Toll Free): 1-866-355-6099



Are all complaints dealt with by the Human rights Tribunal of Ontario?

If you have a Human Rights Complaints about federal government departments and agencies, Crown corporations, banks, airlines, and other federally regulated employers and service providers then you have to file your Complaint with the Canadian Human Rights Commission. If you're not sure whether your complaint is against a "federally regulated" organization, contact the Renfrew County Legal Clinic or the Canadian Human Rights Commission. (CHRC)  

This process is different then the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario and it is posted on their website at www.chrc-ccdp.ca.  

Contact Information for the Canadian Human Rights Commission in Ottawa:  

Telephone: (613) 995-1707

TTY: (613) 947-1070

Fax: (613) 995-3484


How long do I have to make a Human Rights Complaint?   

You only have one year from the last incident of discrimination to file a Human Rights Complaint with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario or the Canadian Human Rights Commission.


How do I file a complaint with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario?

Complaints must be made using the Tribunal Application forms. The forms must be physically or electronically signed. All of the forms are located at the following internet address:

  • www.hrto.ca/NEW/application/newappforms  

Guides are also available online to assist you in completing the forms.

  • www.hrto.ca/NEW/application/newapps  

You may submit/ send your Application to the Tribunal only once. You may choose to do this online by clicking “submit”, by faxing it or mailing it to the Tribunal. The Tribunal will serve a copy of your Complaint on the other party, otherwise called the Respondent.


Should I agree to mediation?  

Mediation is voluntary which means both parties must agree to mediation. It is confidential. You are allowed to have a legal representative with you in mediation. The mediator is hired by the Tribunal to try and settle some or all of the issues raised in the application. If settlement is reached, then it is binding on the parties.  Do not settle any other claims you may have without first receiving legal advice.


What happens if mediation is unsuccessful or the other party does not agree to mediation?  

If you are not able to resolve all of the issues in the complaint then the Tribunal will schedule a Hearing date. You have up until the Hearing starts to settle the complaint. 


Who can I ask for advice?  

You may contact the Renfrew County Legal Clinic, the Human Rights Legal Support Centre, a private lawyer, or a licensed paralegal for legal advice or assistance.   

Renfrew County Legal Clinic

Local: (613) 432-8146

Toll Free: 1-800-267-5871  

Human Rights Legal Support Centre is located in Toronto. However, they provide service to all of Ontario.

Toll Free: 1-866—625-5179

TTY Toll Free: 1-866 612-8627



Landlord and Tenant

 Landlord and Tenant Law in Ontario  

Am I protected by the Residential Tenancies Act (“RTA”)?

The RTA applies to most rental housing in Ontario. Contact the Renfrew County Legal Clinic if your situation is not identified in the list below.  

Examples of when the RTA may apply:  

1. You rent an apartment, mobile home, or a house;  

2. You rent the site that your mobile home or land lease home sits on;  

3. You are a roomer or boarder and do NOT share a kitchen or bathroom with the owner or close family member of the owner;  

3. You live in a “care home”, for example a retirement or rest home.  


Examples of when the RTA may not apply:  

1. Certain kinds of student housing;  

2. Temporary rehabilitation centres;  

3. Temporary stays at hotels, motels, or seasonal housing;  

4. You share a kitchen or bathroom with the owner or a close family member of the owner;  

5. You are living in a place that is suppose to be used for business.  


If my tenancy agreement is not in writing is it still legal?  

Yes. An oral agreement is legally enforceable so be sure that you are clear about what you are agreeing to. However, some conditions in your agreement may not be enforceable such as “no pets allowed.” If you have any questions get legal advice.  

Landlords are required to give new tenants a brochure from the Landlord and Tenant Board called “Information for New Tenants.” This brochure tells you about the Landlord and Tenant Board and about your legal rights and responsibilities. This brochure is located on the Landlord and Tenant Board website at:  



I do not really know who my landlord is. How can I find out?  

Your landlord is required to give you their legal name and address. You do not have to pay rent until that information is provided to you. However, as soon as your landlord gives you their legal name and contact information, you are required to pay any rent that you withheld. 


Can I be evicted in the winter?  

Yes. The Landlord and Tenant Board may make an order evicting anyone in the winter so long as the proper process has been followed and the reason for the eviction is recognized under the RTA.


Can my landlord evict me if I complain about noise or a repair problem?  

Your landlord cannot evict you simply because you are enforcing your rights under the RTA. There are specific grounds listed in the RTA that may result in an eviction order from the Landlord and Tenant Board. Some examples of grounds for eviction are:  

1. Rental arrears;

2. Substantial interference or harassment of another tenant and possibly the landlord;

3. Illegal act;

4. Impairment of safety; 

5. Landlord or their immediate family member, or care giver personally requires your rental unit;

6. Demolition or extensive repairs that require a building permit and vacant possession of the rental unit;

7. Wilful damage to the rental unit.   

Your landlord can only evict you by obtaining an order from the Landlord and Tenant Board. An order evicting you can only be enforced by the Sheriff. The police cannot evict you.


I received a notice that says I must move out. Is this an order? Do I have to move out by the termination date on the notice?   

No. You do not have to move out by the termination date in the notice. All of the notices to terminate or end a tenancy are located on the Landlord and Tenant Board website. Your landlord is required to use one of these notices because they contain important information about your rights. Read your notice carefully.


What happens if I do not move out after I receive a Notice of Termination?  

If you do not move out your landlord may file an application with the Landlord and Tenant Board requesting your eviction. A Hearing at the Landlord and Tenant Board will be scheduled and you will receive a Notice of Hearing. Your landlord cannot evict you without an order from the Landlord and Tenant Board.  

There is a process that your landlord must follow when trying to evict you. If your landlord has not followed the process correctly, you may not be evicted. Therefore, it is important that you keep all of the notices you receive and any other documentation given to you by your landlord. Be sure to write down the date you received the notice.


I have asked my landlord to repair my rental unit and little or nothing has been done. What do I do?  

You need to put your request for repairs in writing. Put your name, address and date on the letter. List all of the repairs that need to be done. Also, state when you first told your landlord about the repairs and give your landlord two weeks to correct the problems. Keep a copy of the letter for yourself as you may need it later as evidence. You can mail, fax, drop off your letter or personally hand your letter to your landlord. You do not have to send it by registered mail.


It has been at least two weeks since I gave my landlord a letter stating my repair problems and nothing is being done. What is the next step?  

You can decide to bring an application against your landlord to the Landlord and Tenant Board. If you choose this option you need to take photographs and have them developed in time for your Hearing. If you have witnesses you need them to attend the Hearing. A letter from them is not good enough.  

You may also decide to contact your local building and/or health inspectors as well as the Electrical Safety Authority. They are free. You must notify your landlord of the repair problems in writing before requesting an inspection. An inspector or the Electrical Safety Authority may make an order requiring your landlord to correct some and possibly all of the problems. They cannot order that you be compensated.  

If your community does not have a municipal inspector you need to contact the Investigations and Enforcement Unit and lay a complaint. They can hire an inspector to come to your unit to do an inspection. All inspectors are free of charge.  

Investigations and Enforcement Unit Contact Information:  




I have no heat. My landlord disconnected my heat source or has not turned it on yet and it is September. What can I do?  

You have the right to have sufficient heat meaning a minimum of 20 degrees Celsius throughout your rental unit. Some communities have municipal bylaws requiring a minimum temperature of more than 20 degrees Celsius.  

You can contact the Investigations and Enforcement Unit and they will speak to your landlord on your behalf and try and get your landlord to agree to turn the heat on.  

You can purchase temporary space heaters to heat your rental unit and file an application against your landlord. Keep your receipts for the Hearing and ask for your money back. 


My landlord refuses to do the repairs I have requested. Can I withhold my rent?   

No. If you decide to make an application to the Landlord and Tenant Board about maintenance and repair issues in your rental unit or complex, you may also request an order allowing you to pay your rent into the Landlord and Tenant Board trust account while you wait for your Hearing. You will need to file a separate form requesting this. You must have “special circumstances” to be given permission to do this by the Landlord and Tenant Board.


My landlord enters my unit whenever he or she wants to. Are they allowed to do this?  

No. The RTA is very clear about when your landlord is allowed to enter your unit or rental property. In most circumstances, your landlord is required to give you at least 24 hours written notice of their intention to come into your rental unit unless you consent to their entry. The notice is to be in writing, state the reason for the entry and the time of the entry between the hours of 8:00am and 8:00pm.


The landlord can only enter for these reasons with written notice:  

1. To repair or replace or do work in the unit;  

2. To allow a possible mortgagee or insurer to view your unit;  

3. To allow a qualified inspector to inspect the unit as required for the Condominium Act;  

4. For a reasonable inspection of the unit to determine whether it is in a good state of repair;  

5. To allow a potential purchaser to view the unit;  

6. For any other reason for entry specified in the tenancy agreement.  


Your landlord is required to make a reasonable effort to inform you that he or she will be entering your unit to show it to a prospective tenant. This notice does not have to be written.  

Your landlord is ONLY allowed to enter a unit without notice if it is an emergency, you consent to the entry or if the tenancy agreement requires the landlord to clean your unit.


When can my landlord increase my rent?  

Your landlord is only allowed to increase your rent on a yearly basis (once every 12 months). Your landlord should use a notice of a rent increase form provided by the Landlord and Tenant Board otherwise the notice may not valid. You are entitled to receive a minimum of 90 days written notice of the increase.  

The notices are located on the Landlord and Tenant Board website at:  

  • www.ltb.gov.on.ca/en/Forms/STEL02_111311.html


How much can my landlord increase my rent by?  

Generally, your landlord is only allowed to increase the rent by the guideline amount. The guideline increase for 2012 is 3.1%. That means if your rent is $800.00 your rental increase would be $24.80.  

Past guideline increases are located on the Landlord and Tenant Board website at:

  • www.ltb.gov.on.ca/en/Key_Information/246696.html


My landlord refuses to give me rent receipts. What do I do?  

Your landlord is required to give you rental receipts. A piece of paper with the date, the amount paid for rent and the signature of the person receiving the rent is an acceptable rent receipt.  

Never pay your rent in cash without immediately receiving a rent receipt. If you pay your rent by a cheque or a money order then your cashed cheque or money order is proof of payment. If you cannot pay your rent by cheque or money order then inform your landlord that you will pay your rent as soon as the receipt is ready.


My lease is ending. Do I have to sign another lease or move out?  

No you do not have to move out or sign another lease. When your lease ends your tenancy automatically becomes a month to month tenancy.   


How much notice do I have to give my landlord before I move out?  

The minimum notice periods to end your tenancy are as follows:  

  • Lease agreement where you agreed to rent the unit for a specific period of time (ie. one year) A minimum of 60 days (2 months) notice is required prior to the end of your lease agreement in order to terminate your tenancy. 

Example: Lease ends on June 30, 2012. You must give your written termination notice to your landlord no later then May 1, 2012 if you want to move out on June 30, 2012.  

  • No lease agreement. Rent paid on a monthly basis. A minimum of 60 days (2 months) notice is required prior to you terminating your tenancy.  Example: You want to move out August 31, 2012. You must give your landlord written notice that you are terminating your tenancy no later then June 1, 2012.   
  • Daily or Weekly tenancy. A minimum of 28 days written notice is required prior to you terminating your tenancy.


If your landlord consents to a shorter notice period then you better have that consent in writing. Always notify your landlord in writing that you are terminating your tenancy and keep a copy for yourself. In your notice include today’s date, your name, the address of your unit and the date your tenancy will end.


I am having difficulty paying my rent this month. Can I apply my last month’s rent deposit towards this month’s rent?  

No. Your last month’s rent deposit can only be used for your last month’s rent. However, you are entitled to interest in the same amount as the guideline increase on your last month’s rent deposit.


How much of a security deposit am I required to pay?  

In Ontario, security or cleaning deposits are illegal charges. Landlords are not allowed to charge them. If you paid one you are entitled to your money back.


How long do I have to make a claim at the Landlord and Tenant Board against my current or former landlord?  

Generally, you have one year from the last incident to make a claim against your landlord at the Landlord and Tenant Board.


Where do I find application forms for the Landlord and Tenant Board?  

The Landlord and Tenant Board website has application forms and instructions on how to complete the forms. They are located under “Tenant Applications.” Beside each application are instructions on how to complete the form.  You may file more then one application against your landlord.  

The Application Forms are located at the following website:

  • www.ltb.gov.on.ca/en/Forms/STEL02_111308.html  

The Landlord and Tenant Board website also has Frequently Asked Questions, Brochures by Topic, Filing An Application and other materials that may be of assistance to you:

  • www.ltb.gov.on.ca


Who can I ask for advice?  

You may contact the Renfrew County Legal Clinic, a private lawyer, or a licensed paralegal for legal advice or assistance.  

Duty counsel is available the day of your Hearing to assist tenants only. 


Ontario Disability Support Program


What is the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP)?

The Ontario Disability Support Program provides assistance to the people living in Ontario who are in financial need and meet the test for disability or are members of certain groups (like those who receive CPP disability benefits).   

The ODSP test for disability:

a) you have a substantial physical or mental health problem that is expected to last a year or more, and

b) your health problem substantially limits your ability to work, look after yourself, or carry out normal daily activities at home or in the community.**  

As well, to qualify you cannot have income above a certain amount.  The amount depends on your family size and housing costs.  Income from other sources like CPP disability or retirement benefits, Workplace Safety and Insurance Board benefits, and Old Age Security are counted as income for deciding whether you can get ODSP.


What is the difference between ODSP and Ontario Works?

The main difference is that you receive more money from ODSP than from Ontario Works.  

If you are the person with a disability, you are not required to sign a participation agreement with requires you to find work, go to school, volunteer, etc.  Other adults in your household may be required to sign a participation agreement.  

You are allowed to keep more assets (like cash, savings, RRSPs) with ODSP than with Ontario Works.  For example, a single person on ODSP is allowed to keep $5,000 in assets before they are disqualified.  A single person getting Ontario Works benefits is only allowed to keep $572.00 in assets.  Some assets (like your home or your car) are “exempt” and do not count as assets.  

Both programs offer other benefits like drug coverage, special diet allowance and moving allowance.


For more information on Ontario Works, see our FAQ page “Ontario Works”


What is the difference between ODSP and Canada Pension Plan disability benefits?

ODSP and CPP are two different types of disability benefits.  People who are found eligible under each program can receive benefits from each at the same time, but the money received from CPP disability benefits is deducted from your ODSP benefits.


Some of the differences are outlined in this chart:


Ontario Disability Support Program

Canada Pension Plan Disability Benefits

  • Money comes from the Ontario Government
  • Money comes from the Government of Canada
  • Maximum amount starting from $1042 per month for a single person.
  • Maximum amount $1126.76 per month in 2010 paid to the disabled person, but the average amount received is about $800.00 per month.
  • Additional amount of $214.85 per dependant child is also payable (if both parents are receiving CPP - disability benefits, two amounts may be received).
  • Amount received based on family income, number of people in the home, and housing costs
  • Amount received based on flat rate and an amount based on contributions to CPP while working.
  • There is a set amount as well for each dependent child.
  • No income tax payable on the amount received.
  • Income tax payable on the amount received.
  • Additional benefits available like drug card, dental, vision, moving allowance, special diet allowance.
  •  No additional benefits.
  • Automatically considered "disabled" if you are receiving CPP disability benefits - you can apply for and receive ODSP benefits if you qualify financially.
  • Must meet the CPP Disability test separately even if you qualify for ODSP benefits in order to receive CPP benefits.
  • Cannot receive benefits if you are absent from Ontario for more than 30 days (with some exceptions like health-related reasons with approval from ODSP).
  • Can receive CPP benefits while residing anywhere in the world.


How much will I receive on ODSP?

The amount you receive from ODSP depends on how many people are in your benefit unit (your household) and what your housing costs are. The benefit is made up of two parts – basic needs (for food, clothes, telephone, etc) and shelter. You will also receive a drug card to allow you to purchase most prescription drugs for a $2.00 fee.


Here are some examples of the maximum amount a household might receive:  



Basic Needs



Single Person

$ 578

$ 464


One parent, one child under 12~

$ 721

$ 714


Couple (one disability)

$ 838

$ 714


Couple (both disabled)





~ this does not include the Ontario Child Benefit amount that would also be paid to the parent during the month.  

If you or someone in your household needs a special diet because of a particular medical condition, there may be some additional money available for that.  Ask your ODSP worker for a special diet application form if this applies to you.  

If you need money to move or to maintain your present housing, you may qualify for the Community Start Up and Maintenance Benefit (CSUMB) once in a 24 month period.  The maximum available is $799 for singles or couples and $1500 for families with dependent children.  


Can I own a house or a car and receive ODSP?  

Yes you can own a house.  You will have to provide ODSP with a copy of your deed and mortgage documents.  

You can also own a car of any value.  A second car valued at $15,000 or less can also be owned if it is necessary for someone else in the benefit unit to maintain employment outside the home.


Can I work while I receive ODSP benefits?  

Yes, you are allowed to receive work income and ODSP benefits at the same time.  However, half of the amount you receive after deductions (your net income) from work will be deducted from your ODSP benefits.   There are also many benefits and deductions available from ODSP to encourage you to work.  You must report all your earnings to ODSP each month.   

For more information on this, please see the pamphlet “Working and the Ontario Disability Support Program” from CLEO at:



How do I apply for ODSP benefits?

If you are in immediate financial need, you should apply for Ontario Works first by calling (613) 732-2601.  If you qualify, you can receive Ontario Works while waiting for the decision on your disability application.  

If you are already receiving Ontario Works (OW) your worker can provide you with a disability application, called a Disability Determination Package (DDP). This DDP has two parts, one to be completed by a medical professional (usually your family doctor) and one part to be completed by you (if you chose).  Both parts are then sent to the Disability Adjudication Unit (DAU) in Toronto for a decision about whether or not you meet their test for disability.


People who are not eligible for Ontario Works, or who don’t apply for Ontario Works, can phone or go directly to the Ministry of Community and Social Services offices in Pembroke or Renfrew to get an application form.  

Pembroke office  

77 Mary Street, Pembroke ON

(613) 735-1073

Renfrew office

450 O’Brien Road, Renfrew ON

(613) 433-9846


You will have an initial interview with an intake worker.  If you are financially eligible, you will receive a DDP.  If the intake worker decides you don’t qualify because your income or assets are too high, you should receive a letter in writing from the ODSP office saying why you are turned down.  You can appeal this decision.  See What if I am turned down for ODSP? (below)  

After you receive the DDP forms, you have 90 days to get them completed and sent to the Disability Adjudication Unit. You may be able to get an extension of time so that you can submit your forms after 90 days, but you have to ask for an extension from the Disability Adjudication Unit.  

If you have questions about applying for ODSP, please contact our legal clinic.


What is the Disability Adjudication Unit?  

This is the department of the Ministry of Community and Social Services (MCSS) that decides whether or not you meet the test for disability set out in the Ontario Disability Support Program Act.


What if I am turned down for ODSP?  

If the local office decides that you are not financially eligible or the Disability Adjudication Unit decides that you do not meet the test for disability, you should receive a letter from them stating this.  You MUST request an Internal Review IN WRITING if you disagree with the decision within 30 days of when you receive the decision.  You can fax, mail or deliver your internal review request to the office that sent you the decision letter.   Keep a copy of your letter.  

The Renfrew County Legal Clinic helps people with their internal review letters, so please contact us as soon as possible if you receive a decision you do not agree with.


What if I miss the 30 day time limit to request an internal review?  

If you miss this 30-day deadline, you may ask for an extension of time with reasons why you were late, but it is up to MCSS to decide if they are going to agree to extend the deadline.  If you have missed your deadline to request an internal review, contact our legal clinic for help in requesting an extension of time.  

You must request an Internal Review in order to be permitted to appeal the decision to the Social Benefits Tribunal.   


What if the decision does not change after the internal review is done?  

If you still disagree with the decision after the internal review is done, you can usually appeal to the Social Benefits Tribunal (SBT).  Normally, you have 30 days to appeal.  Again, if you miss this deadline, you can ask for an extension of time and give reasons why you were late.  You cannot appeal a decision after one year.  

You must file out a special appeal form to file an appeal at the Social Benefits Tribunal.  We have these forms at the Legal Clinic or you can find them at the SBT website at http://www.sbt.gov.on.ca/Asset40.aspx

Keep a copy of your appeal and any other documents you send to the SBT.  


What is the Social Benefits Tribunal?  

The Social Benefits Tribunal (SBT) is independent from MCSS and will consider the written evidence in your case and then hear you describe your disability in person at a hearing. The SBT Member will then decide whether you meet the disability definition set out in the law.  

The SBT would also be the Tribunal to decide whether or not you financially qualify for ODSP if that is the decision you are appealing.  

Our legal clinic can assist you with submitting your appeal to the SBT and fax it from our office.  We can also give you legal advice on how strong your case is and in many cases we can represent you at the Tribunal hearing.   

Please contact us for free legal advice on appealing to the SBT as soon as possible after receiving your internal review decision.


Can I send further medical evidence with my internal review or my appeal?  

Yes, if it relates to a medical condition you had at the time of the decision denying you ODSP benefits. It will often increase your chance of winning your appeal if you submit further medical evidence from your doctor or a specialist.


** This is an explanation of the definition for disability from the CLEO pamphlet “Disability benefits in Ontario: Who can get them How to Apply”.  To view this and other CLEO pamphlets, please go to: 



Ontario Works


What is “Ontario Works”?

The Ontario Works program pays an allowance at the beginning of the month for day-to-day needs. It helps pay for things like rent, food, clothing and prescription drugs. It used to be called General Welfare.  

The amount you get depends on how many people are in your “benefit unit” (usually family members living in the same place).  


Who can get Ontario Works?  

Ontario Works (OW) is designed for people who are unemployed and looking for work, or who are working but are still in financial need.  

Ontario Works also provides benefits to people who are unable to work because they are sick or disabled. Usually these people have applied for ODSP and are waiting for a decision.   

Those applying for Ontario Works must be in financial need, based on their family income and assets. Unless they have a serious medical condition, all the adults in the benefit unit must also look for work, go to school, volunteer, etc.


What if I am under 18 but not living with my parent(s)?

People who are 16 and 17 year olds may be eligible for Ontario Works if they can show that their parent(s) will not allow them to live at home or it is not safe for them to live at home.  

Ontario Works can make you got to family counselling if your parents agree to participate. You will also have to go to school or a training program that Ontario Works approves unless you have a serious medical condition or other problem that makes this impossible.  

If you are 16 or 17 and are a single parent, you will have to participate in a program that will help you finish high school, learn job skills or increase your parenting skills.  

You cannot receive the money yourself. Those under 18 require a trustee to accept the OW money on their behalf.


How much will I receive on Ontario Works?  

The amount you receive from Ontario Works depends on how many people are in your benefit unit (your household). The allowance is made up of two parts – basic needs and shelter. You will also receive a drug card to allow you to purchase most prescription drugs for a $2.00 fee.

Here are some examples of the maximum amount a household might receive:



Basic Needs



 Single person 




One parent, one child under 12**









**this does not include the Ontario Child Benefit amount that would also be paid to the parent during the month.


What other benefits can I get?  

If you and/or someone in your household needs a special diet because of a particular medical condition, there may be some additional money available for that.  Ask your Ontario Works worker for a special diet application form if this applies to you.

The cost of transportation to medical appointments and other things may also be covered.


Can I own a house or a car and receive Ontario Works?  

Yes, you can own a house. You will have to provide Ontario Works with a copy of your deed and mortgage documents.  

You can also own a car that is valued at $10,000 or less. A second car valued at $10,000 or less can also be owned if it is necessary for someone in the benefit unit to find or maintain their employment.


Does Ontario Works provide emergency money?  

Emergency assistance may be available in a few situations, but the most that a person can receive is two weeks’ worth of benefits. Ontario Works will only provide emergency assistance if you have a short-term need; for example, if you had a house fire, but income coming in within 2 weeks.  

If you are going to need financial help for a longer time than two weeks, you will usually be asked to apply for ongoing Ontario Works benefits rather than for emergency assistance.


How do I apply for Ontario Works benefits?

Ontario Works must take an application if they are asked. They cannot refuse to take your application.

The application process in Renfrew County has two steps:


        1. You call 613-732-2601 which is the Pembroke Ontario Works office and press 3 to apply for financial assistance – this gets you through to an intake person who asks you some questions to tell you if it looks like you are going to be eligible.
        2. If it appears that you qualify, an “in person” appointment is made at the office closest to you to complete the application. During this interview you may be asked for additional information and you will sign all of the forms. This is a good time to ask any questions you may have.


Where are the offices in Renfrew County?



100 Madawaska Blvd.



Deep River

100 Deep River Rd.




1 John St




141 Lake St.




450 O’Brien Rd.



Can I bring someone with me when I’m meeting with an Ontario Works worker?

Yes, you can bring someone that you choose with you. It is always helpful to have someone with you who can help you understand what is being asked of you. Some people bring a friend or a relative.  

The Legal Clinic has a volunteer program called the Community Witness Program which can provide someone to go with you to an Ontario Works meeting. Please call the Clinic if you want someone to go with you. This person will not be providing you with legal advice nor making any decision for you.


What if I don’t want to sign something?

You should not sign any document that is blank or that you don’t understand or agree with. If you have any questions about what you are being asked to sign, call the Legal Clinic for advice before signing.


What if I am turned down for Ontario Works or my benefits are cancelled or reduced?

Ontario Works must give you a decision to refuse, reduce, or cancel benefits in writing. If you don’t get a decision in wiring, you should ask your worker for a letter.

You have the right to appeal these decisions. The first step is always to ask for an internal review. The means someone else at Ontario Works will look at the decision made by the worker to see if they agree with it.


How do I ask for an Internal Review?

You ask for an internal review by sending a letter to Ontario Works within 30 days after receiving the decision letter. If you need help with this letter, you should call the Legal Clinic for help. Do this as soon as possible. Keep a copy of your letter.

 You should receive another letter after the internal review is done.


What if I miss the 30 day time limit to request an internal review?

If you miss the 30 day time limit to ask for an internal review, you can still ask for an internal review but you also need to ask for an extension of time, explaining why you were late. It is up to Ontario Works to decide if they are going to agree to extend the 30 days.  If they say no, you cannot go any further with your appeal.


What if the decision does not change after the internal review is done?

If you still disagree with the decision after the internal review is done, you can usually appeal to the Social Benefits Tribunal. Normally, you have 30 days to appeal. Again, if you miss this deadline, you can ask for an extension of time and explain why the appeal is late.

You must fill out a special Appeal Form to file an appeal to the Social Benefits Tribunal. We have these forms at the Legal Clinic.

You should contact the Legal Clinic for help with your appeal. We can help you complete the appeal form and fax it in for you from our office. We can also give you legal advice on how strong your case is and, in many cases, we can represent you at the Tribunal hearing.



Workplace Safety Insurance


I was injured at work but the employer does not want me to make a claim to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board.  Should I do it?

Yes. If there is any chance that your injury will result in any lost time or require any medical attention, it must be reported by law, and you should make sure the claim is made. Otherwise you may not get any benefits when you need them.

If your employer does not file the claim you can do it yourself within six months of the accident or disablement.  You can find the form (Form 6) on the Board’s website: www.wsib.on.ca.


The WSIB cut off my benefits.  What can I do?


First, get it in writing.  You need a written decision in order to object to it.

Once you have a written decision, send in a letter to the WSIB saying 'I object to your decision of  (date)'.  Do not delay.  Most WSIB decisions must be objected to within 6 months, but some of them, those relating to “not co-operating” in Return to Work with your employer, or with a Labour Market Re-entry Plan, give you only 30 days!  Usually, the WSIB will tell you at the end of the letter the date you have to appeal by (the letters are double-sided).

If the time for objecting has past but you believe the decision is wrong, you should still talk to a legal advisor.

Get a copy of your WSIB file.  If you object, one will be sent to you with an objection form.  If there is no decision you can object to now, you can still get your file just by asking for it under 'Freedom of Information.'

When you get the file, keep it safe! Do not mix it up or write on it.  Your representative will need to see it just as it comes from the WSIB. Make your notes on separate sheets or Post-it notes.

See a legal advisor to have your file reviewed.  If you are a union member, you may get help and representation from your union.  If you are not a member of a union now, you can ask the Office of the Worker Advisor to look at your file. Their services are free. Or you can contact the Renfrew County Legal Clinic.


Should I be objecting to a decision by the WSIB?

If there is any chance that the decision will hurt you now or in the future, send in a letter objecting to it right away. Once you have done this, you can proceed with your objection any time in the future if you choose to do it.


I can’t get any service from the Board.  The Claims Manager is rude to me. Nothing is happening on my file.  What can I do?

You should try to resolve the matter by talking to the Claims Manager.  If that does not work, talk to the Manager. If there is still no resolution, you can contact the Board's Fair Practices Commissioner.  She is like an Ombudsman, and can help sort out procedural problems.


Where can I get information about Worker's Compensation? 

The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board Web site (www.wsib.on.ca) has lots of information for workers, including their Policy Manual, which explains the principles they apply in making decisions.

The web site of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal (www.wsiat.on.ca ) explains the appeal process with the Tribunal, and has a database of Tribunal decisions which may give you an idea how they would look at your case.

The Office of the Worker Advisor (www.owa.gov.on.ca) also has a useful web site.

And if you have a question, contact the Legal Clinic for advice.


© 2008 Renfrew County Legal Clinic


 Renfrew County Legal Clinic