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6.7. Short Term Substance Abuse


Ontario Works Effective Date: July 1, 2009
Topic: Calculating Assistance Replaces: November 1, 2004
Subject: Short Term Substance Abuse Policy No. H.6.7.



Authority OW Act: Sec. 2, 4, 6, 7 & OW Directives: Sec. 6.10 

Ontario Works legislation permits people in residential substance abuse treatment programs to continue to be eligible for shelter assistance up to three months.  


When an applicant or participant enters a substance abuse treatment program the Case Manager may approve shelter assistance in order to maintain an individual’s community residence until completion of the treatment. It is for a maximum of 3 full continuous months of assistance. 

Note: Month of admission and month of discharge not counted towards the three continuous months.  

To be eligible for shelter assistance during treatment a participant must have: 

  • treatment in the residential substance abuse program approved as a participation activity; 
  • verifiable shelter expenses.

In situations where a member of the benefit unit enters a residential program for the treatment of substance abuse (that provides room and board without charge), retains community accommodation, and has financial commitments related to that accommodation, the full amount of income assistance is issued for the first three full calendar months of residence in the facility.

In situations where a member of the benefit unit enters a residential program for the treatment of substance abuse and is not retaining community accommodation, the amount of assistance issued is set at or reduced to PNA of $125 per month, unless other non-exempt income exceeds this amount.

When determining the budgetary requirements after three months for a person residing in a facility that provides room and board without charge to the person, we may consider the anticipated length of stay and plans to return to the principal residence, as well as the financial commitments in the community. A period of not more than six months in total is the suggested provincial policy guideline for providing a shelter amount to maintain an existing community residence.

As treatment is considered an approved participation activity, mandatory medical travel or E.R.E. funds may be available for transportation costs associated with the treatment if the participant is not eligible for the Northern Health Travel Grant.