Learn Single Parent Benefits Ontario

Benefits Available for Single Parents in Ontario

Ontario is undoubtedly a great place to live, as it has countless positive aspects that make its residents' lives enjoyable. From the amazing natural environment to the thriving economy, rich cultural experience, and even pleasant weather, it's all putting together quite an attractive picture.

However, Ontario is one of the most expensive provinces to live in Canada. Indeed, the difference in living costs between some cities can be significant. While Toronto is among the cities with the highest expenses, Ottawa, for instance, is surprisingly affordable.

For single parents, the situation may be even more complicated, and even with a competitive salary, it can sometimes be insufficient.

If you're one of the single parents living in Ontario, you know how financially demanding raising a family can be. All costs for keeping your kids healthy and safe add up! Usually to a concerning level at the end of the month.

The good news is that the government takes serious measures to offer assistance to low-income families and single parents struggling even with the basic expenses. We will go over each official program and show you precisely what you can expect to receive, whether you qualify, and the steps you need to take to apply.

Assistance for Severe Disabilities

The Assistance for Children with Severe Disabilities program was created to help families living on low or moderate-income pay for all the additional expenses their child's disability implies.

To qualify for the program, you must be a parent or legal guardian of a child younger than 18 who lives in your home and has a severe disability. The amount you can receive depends on some factors, like your family's size and net income, the level of severity of your child's disability, and the additional costs that are mandatory for ensuring they are well cared for.

After considering all these factors, the program can offer you financial assistance between $25 and $500 per month. That money can be used to cover the following expenses:

• Special clothing and shoes
• Travel expenses when you have appointments connected to your child's disability
• Parental relief
• Assistive devices, like a wheelchair, and the costs of their repairs
• Hearing aids and the necessary batteries
• Prescription medicines
• Vision and dental care

To apply for this program, you need to get an application form from the Ministry of Children, Community, and Social Services offices. Once you fill it in, send it back together with any additional documentation they may demand.

You will be assigned a Special Agreements Officer who will review your application. After it's processed, they will inform you whether you are eligible for a grant and how much you will receive.

Autism Program

The Ontario Autism Program provides support and financial assistance for children suffering from autism spectrum disorders. To qualify for the program, your child has to be younger than 18 and live in Ontario. It would help if you also had a written diagnosis of autism released by a qualified and licensed professional.

That written proof has to contain the date of the assessment, your child's date of birth and full name, the doctor's identifying information and credentials, and their statement showing that the child meets the diagnosis criteria.

If you meet all these requirements, the next step is to register your child to the program by submitting the registration form along with the documents specified in it. Each child needs a separate registration, but you won't have to renew your application in the future once you send it.

The Autism Program will create a childhood budget that you can use to pay for the necessary services and particular types of support your child needs. You can expect to receive $20,000 for every child younger than six years old and $5,000 per child if they are over six years old.

The services mentioned above can include behavioral assessments, speech-language pathology, physiotherapy and occupational therapy, training for the person who takes care of the child, respite services, travel costs, and special aids.

It's important to know that while you are on a waitlist for certain services, you can qualify for one-time interim funding to cover eligible services.

Blindness and Low Vision Program

The Blindness and Low Vision Program offers support for children born blind or living with low vision, providing specialized services up to grade 1. Eligible families will be assigned a trained support worker who will help them minimize the impact the vision impairment can have on the child's progress.

Intervention services are also available, handled by trained professionals, who will help the child develop their senses as best as possible. They will also show parents how to do their part and efficiently support the child's development. Here are the areas they will cover:

• Movement issues, like orientation
• Motor skills development
• Skills necessary in everyday activities
• Concept development
• Developing social and emotional skills
• Language and communication developing
• Maximizing residual vision
• Using all senses for development

On top of that, when your child begins attending child care or a learning center, the program will assist the staff, showing them the best ways to interact with your child and teach them.

Developmental Disabilities Program

Children with developmental disabilities or those at risk for developmental delays need special care and intervention from their first years. These are disabilities that they will have to handle their entire lives, so guidance and specialized assistance are crucial.

The Developmental Disabilities Program provides the following services:

• Respite services
• Specialized support inside the community to help these children integrate
• Residential services

As for eligibility, all children who suffer from this type of disability qualify, along with their families. All you have to do to apply is to contact the regional office in your area.

You will then be able to access the available programs. The Behavioral Management Program offers assistance to children with developmental disabilities if they also manifest behavioral issues. The Infant Development Programs focus on children under five years of age who either have a developmental disability or are at risk of developmental delay.

Healthy Babies, Healthy Children Program

The Healthy Babies, Healthy Children Program offers the necessary assistance to ensure babies and children up to six years have the right environment and the conditions they need to be healthy and develop correctly.

These are the services you can access through this program:

• Assessments and screenings meant to discover any risks your child may be facing
• Support for new parents
• The inclusion of parents into community programs that can help them raise a healthy child, like parenting programs, breastfeeding support groups, and other health-connected programs

The program is entirely free and available for pregnant women and families with small children younger than six. Your family doctor can give you the necessary information, or you can contact the local public health unit or an Ontario Early Years Centre.

Healthy Smiles Ontario

Low-income families that cannot cover dental care costs for their children can benefit from the Healthy Smiles Ontario program. Free dental care is available for children up to 17 years old if they are eligible.

The Healthy Smiles program covers the costs for routine check-ups and cleaning, cavity fillings, x-rays, scaling, extractions, and emergency treatments.

Your children will be automatically enrolled in the program if they already benefit from Temporary Care assistance or Assistance for Children with Severe Disabilities, or if your family benefits from Ontario Works or Ontario Disability Support.

The other eligibility requirements are that your child must be under 17 years of age, they must live in Ontario, and that your family meets the income requirements from the table below:

Number of dependent children in the household

Family's net income

1 child

Under $24,129

2 children

Under $25,956

3 children

Under $27,782

4 children

Under $29,608

5 children

Under $31,434

6 children

Under $33,261

7 children

Under $35,087

8 children

Under $36,913

9 children

Under $38,739

10 children or more

Under $40,566 (Add $1,826 for each additional dependent child to calculate the income level)

The coverage period is of one year or until the child turns 18. To apply for the program, you need to enroll your child by mail or online. When you start filling in the application, you will need the child's date of birth, a current Ontario address, your Social Insurance Number, and your taxes filed for the previous year.

You also have to print a Consent form, sign it, and send it to Healthy Smiles Ontario within 30 days. After the enrolment, your child's dental card will come in the mail.

Infant Hearing Program

If your child has hearing issues, it's crucial to find out as early as possible, and the Infant Hearing Program helps through screenings and support services. With this program, all newborns will benefit from hearing screening, they will be assessed to check for permanent hearing loss, and those who are at risk will be monitored. If necessary, the program also provides language development assistance.

For most babies, the screening test shows there is nothing wrong with their hearing. However, if the doctor considers that more tests are necessary, or if the screening was not completed, they will go through a full hearing assessment. Suppose the results show that your baby has permanent hearing loss; you will receive support in understanding this condition and accessing the available services. You also will be referred to the local hearing programs.

Ontario Child Care Tax Credit

The Ontario Child Care Tax Credit is refunded to help parents cover the cost of childcare and support families living on a low income.

The CARE tax credit will be calculated according to the following factors:

• Your family income, based on the numbers used for the Child Care Expense Deduction
• Your eligible child care costs

The amount you can receive is calculated as follows: your eligible child care costs multiplied by the credit rate. In the table below, you will see how the credit rate is estimated:

Family Income

Rate Calculation

Examples – Family Income

Examples – CARE Tax Credit Rate (percent)

Under $20,000




Between $20,000 and $40,000

75% minus 2p.p.* for every $2,500 over $20,000



Between $40,000 and $60,000

59% minus 2p.p. for every $5,000 over $40,000



Between $60,000 and $150,000

51% minus 2p.p. for every $3,600 over $60,000



Over $150,000




*p.p. meaning percentage points

Ontario Child Care Subsidy

The Ontario Child Care Subsidy receives combined funding from the Ontario government, municipal governments, and First Nations communities. The goal of the program is to help families with low-income pay for qualified child care.

Your family is eligible for the program if your child is younger than 13 years, but the age limit can go up to 18 years for children with special needs. Apart from the age requirement, your child has to attend one of the following:

• A licensed child care facility (it can be a center, home-based, or you can use in-home services)
• A 'children's recreation program.
• A camp
• A before-and after-school program controlled by the school board

The amount you can get for child care is calculated according to your family's adjusted net income. You can determine your net income by taking the amount of your net income from line 236 of the Canada Revenue Agency personal income tax form and subtracting the Universal Child Care Benefit payments, which aren't relevant to the child care subsidy.

The funds for these free subsidies come from the Ministry of Education. To apply, you need to contact the local Consolidated Municipal Service Managers (CMSMs)/District Social Services Administration Boards (DSSABs), or the local band office administrator, for First Nations.

Ontario Disability Support Program: Income Support

People living with a disability can benefit from the Ontario Disability Support Program, which can provide them with financial assistance. The funds they offer can be used for basic expenses, like food and shelter.

To be eligible for the program, you must meet the following conditions:

• You must be over 18 years old
• You must be an Ontario resident
• You must face financial problems
• You must have a disability that matches this program's definition or be part of a Prescribed Class

The definition of a person with a disability, according to the ODSP Act, is as follows:

• Someone who has a substantial mental or physical impairment, either continuous or recurrent, which the doctor expects to last more than a year
• The person's impairment causes severe restrictions in terms of ability to work, self-caring, and participating in community life
• An approved health care professional has established the impairment, how long it's expected to last, and the restrictions that it causes

Financial need, in general, can be a bit relative, but as far as this program is concerned, it means the costs of your family's basic expenses are greater than your income and assets. An ODSP caseworker will review your situation and determine the correct amounts. To do that, they will ask you to show documents that illustrate the essential costs of your household, as well as any money entering your home and the assets the family members own.

To establish the exact financial situation of your family, the caseworker may need to contact third parties. For that reason, you will also have to give them your written consent to disclose and verify your information.

You won't know with certainty if you are eligible until your caseworker tells you so. But you can get a general idea of your chances by using the online application for social assistance.

Once your financial need has been established, you can apply in three ways: in person or by phone, by contacting the local ODSP office, or online, with the application we mentioned above. You will then have a personal meeting with your caseworker, during which they will ask you to read and sign a few extra documents.

If you qualify, you will benefit from the following:

• Health benefits
• Disability-related benefits
• Employment incentives and benefits

The last part is applicable when you become able and want to work. The program can cover costs for training, child care, extended health coverage, and the transition from the program to being employed.

Ontario Low-Income Individuals and Families Tax (LIFT) Credit

The Low-income Individuals and Families Tax Credit provides families living on a low income with a non-refundable tax credit of up to $850. The credit became effective in January 2019, and you can claim it when filing your tax return.
If you want to determine your LIFT credit, you must take the following two steps:

• You must determine the maximum amount, which can be $850 or 5.05% of employment income, whichever is lower
• Bring down the amount calculated above by 10% of the adjusted income. But keep in mind that the income you consider must be the greater of the following: adjusted individual income over $30,000, or adjusted family income over $60,000

The amount resulted after the second step will have to be limited to the taxpayer's Ontario Personal Income Tax otherwise payable.

As for eligibility, you need to be a Canadian resident and live in Ontario at the end of the year to file the tax return.

You cannot qualify for this tax credit if you are in one of the following situations:

• You have no Ontario Personal Income Tax payable
• You don't receive any employment income
• Your adjusted individual net income is over $38,500
• Your adjusted family net income is over $68,500
• You were imprisoned for more than six months during that year

Ontario Works

The Ontario Works program can help you when you are unemployed and trying to find a job. Despite your best efforts, employment can be harder to find than your financial reserves allow you. So, this program will help you with the essential expenses while you continue to look for a job.

To qualify for the Ontario Works program, you must meet the following conditions:

• You must be over 16 years old
• You must live in Ontario (not just visiting)
• You have no money to cover the basic expenses for you and your family

Ontario Works offers two types of support. On the one hand, you can receive financial aid to pay for food, clothes, shelter, and basic medical expenses for you and your family. On the other hand, you will also receive help in finding the job you need so much.

That means that you will take part in workshops to develop your abilities and learn how to draft an efficient resume; you will go through job training and counseling to help you find a type of work you can perform well.

The amount you can receive depends on each applicant's exact situation, but you could get $733 per month and additional sums for benefits and your family members.

You can apply for Ontario Works online, and it takes about 20-30 minutes. You only have to submit one application both for you and your family members. They will have to be present and provide their I.D., like social insurance number, OHIP card, birth certificate, tax returns, banking data, and immigration papers, if necessary.

This is the information you will have to provide on you and your family:

• Names, dates of birth, and status in Canada
• Your address
• The minimum costs for your household
• Email addresses of all family members older than 18 years
• The total monthly income and your family's assets
• Additional expensed (child care, for instance)
• Your bank account information, so you can benefit from direct deposit

After submitting your application, you will have a caseworker's verification meeting, who can ask for additional information and documents. Within four business days from the meeting, they will inform you whether you were approved and how much you can receive, and when to expect the first payment.

You will then have another meeting with them to help you create an efficient strategy to find a job and participate in activities that can help you reach your goal.

Key Takeaways: Single Parent Benefits in Ontario

The benefits listed above are one more piece of proof that Ontario is a great place to live. Even if you aren't one of the high-earning employees, or if, for whatever reason, your income has been reduced drastically, the government has many resources ready to help you.

As a single parent, you are even more aware of the difficulties that may appear in raising children with limited funds. But, as you can see, the single parent benefits Ontario authorities offer are quite varied, and the amounts you can receive can make a difference.

If one of your children has a disability or some special health requirements, additional funds are available to help you cover those expenses. And if you go through a truly challenging period, you know you can rely on assistance, at least as far as the basic living costs are concerned.

Still, despite all the help these programs offer, the challenges you face can sometimes be too hard to handle. As helpful as these benefits can be, they are limited. So, when unexpected costs appear, and it's crucial to cover them immediately, you need an alternative source of money.

In such cases, when it's imperative to get a certain amount as soon as possible, loans in Ontario are a valid option. Private lenders like iCASH will offer a borrowing experience quite different from the traditional loans you may use. You can get up to $1,500 to use for your urgent expenses.

Online lenders are a great option because they make the entire process straightforward and comfortable. You will know immediately if you qualify, and once you sign the contract, the money will be available that same day. Since these loans are designed to help as many people as possible, there is no minimum credit score or collateral requirement. It's merely a back-up plan you can turn to when the situation is too complicated, and even the benefits prove to be insufficient.