The provincial government is launching a new, easy to use, online application and streamlined process to apply for social assistance, providing critical financial supports to those affected by COVID-19. These advancements are being prototyped in Hamilton, York Region, Chatham-Kent, District of Parry Sound, Durham, Greater Sudbury, and County of Renfrew. The centralized intake process will process applications more quickly and reduce time-consuming paperwork for caseworkers, giving them more time to support their clients and help them get back to work.

“We know COVID-19 is continuing to have a significant economic impact on people, and that many Ontarians face the possibility of longer-term unemployment,” said Todd Smith, Minister of Children Community and Social Services. “Providing critical supports for people in need more quickly is our top priority. By modernizing the system we can make the application process easier for people to use, while easing the administrative burden on our caseworkers so they can spend more time with clients.”

The first phase of the prototype includes a mobile-friendly online application, automated assessment to process applications more quickly and a streamlined process for social assistance applicants to confirm their identity online, reducing the need for applicants to come into a physical office during the pandemic.

Over 750 Ontario Works applications have been successfully submitted through the new centralized intake process since the prototypes were launched on November 2, 2020, provincial officials said. Caseworkers spend approximately 15 per cent of their day processing social assistance applications.

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