Ontario Works and home based education

Information for homeschooling families applying for government assistance from Ontario Works (OW), and OW recipients wishing to start homeschooling.

Am I allowed to homeschool my child while I am on Ontario Works?

Yes, but it does not exempt you from your obligations to meet the usual OW requirements: get training, look for work, be available for work, accept work. That means you will have to have childcare arrangements in place if your child is too young to stay at home alone while you are fulfilling your OW obligations.

What does the Law say?

The Ontario Works Act 1997 and its Regulations do not explicitly address the issue of school attendance for a recipient’s dependent children. The General Regulation states:

2.(3) For the purposes of the Act and the regulations, a child is a dependent child, in relation to an applicant or recipient, if,

  • (a) the applicant or recipient or the spouse included in the applicant’s or recipient’s benefit unit is the child’s parent;
  • (b) the child resides in the same dwelling place as the applicant or recipient; and
  • (c) the applicant or recipient or the spouse included in the benefit unit,
    • (i) receives a payment under section 122.61 of the Income Tax Act (Canada) in respect of the child or a determination has been made under that Act that he or she is eligible to receive a payment under that section, including if he or she receives or is determined eligible to receive the payment as a shared-custody parent, or
    • (ii) is the parent with primary care and control of the child or is a parent who shares physical custody of the child on an approximately equal basis in a month as determined by the administrator, if subclause (i) does not apply and subject to subsections (3.1) and (3.2)

Directive 3.9, Dependent Children states that,

A child who is under the age of 18 and who lives with a parent who receives or is eligible to receive the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) on behalf of the child, or (where the CCB criterion does not apply) is responsible for the primary care and control of the child, or shares custody of the child as determined by the Administrator, is included in the benefit unit as a dependent child.

Full text of the Act, Regulations and Policy Directives

Ministry website