Author Site Reviewresults

6.6. Incarceration


Ontario Works Effective Date: July 1, 2009
Topic: Calculating Assistance Replaces: November 1, 2004
Subject: Incarceration Policy No. H.6.6.



Authority OW Act: Sec. 2, 7 & OW Directives: Sec. 6.12 

Applicants/Participants are not eligible for Ontario Works during their incarceration. If the incarcerated person is a family member, his/her portion of the basic allowance will be deducted from the family budget. The shelter may or may not be issued depending on the circumstances as noted below.


  1. If the participant is a single person, the overpayment must include the shelter portion unless the participant is released in the same month. Shelter portions are part of the overpayment for the month the participant is incarcerated but are allowed in full for the month of release. 
  1. The overpayment will not include the day of incarceration or the day of release, i.e. the overpayment is to be calculated using the day after the participant was incarcerated and the day prior to release. If the case is being terminated, the day of termination will be the date of incarceration. 
  1. Only the basic allowance portion will be considered an overpayment if the participant is paying shelter costs when serving an intermittent sentence (i.e. weekends).
  1. In a board and lodging situation, if a shelter amount can be determined, a portion of the assistance may be provided to cover the shelter amount in the month of release. If this cannot be determined, the monthly assistance is prorated based on the period of time the person is in the community. 
  1. If the applicant or recipient is a member of a benefit unit, the individual is removed from the budget for the benefit unit for the entire period of incarceration. Upon release, the individual would be reinstated into the benefit unit for the purposes of calculating assistance.

Note: When a member is being removed from the budget as the result of an incarceration, the overpayment must be input using the ‘other income’ category on the income and expense list page