Stop the Clawbacks

on Ontario Works and ODSP

Let OW and ODSP recipients keep more of their money

Clawbacks on earned income and other benefits take money out of people's pockets and trap them in a cycle of poverty.

Explore the Hard Truths of Hunger and learn what can be done to eliminate the need for food banks.

By the numbers

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Ontario Works benefits are clawed by back 50% of every dollar earned through work after the first $200 per month.

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of food bank visitors in Ontario rely on Ontario Works or ODSP as their primary source of income.

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ODSP and Ontario Works benefits are clawed back by 100% for every dollar received through programs like Employment Insurance, CPP, or WSIB.

High clawbacks create a poverty trap

Low benefit rates for Ontario Works (OW) and the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) combined with high clawbacks from other sources of income create barriers that trap recipients in a cycle of poverty.

Earned Income

Currently, OW recipients that are working can only keep their first $200 earned. Every dollar above that is clawed back by 50 cents, acting as an additional high "tax" that disincentivizes earning more.

Example: Angela is on OW and receives $733 through the program. She gets a job and earns $1,200 that month. $500 is taken off what she receives from OW. Her total monthly income would be $1,433.

We recommend: Aligning these rules to match ODSP, which allows recipients to keep the first $1,000 earned without penalty.

Under these proposed rules, Angela would only have $150 taken off from OW. Her total income for the month would now be $1,783.


OW and ODSP recipients who are owed payments from Employment Insurance (EI), Canada Pension Plan (CPP), and WSIB see these payments clawed back 100%. This prevents recipients from benefiting from all the supports that are available to them and ultimately, accessing the income needed for their basic needs.

Example: Charlie is on ODSP and normally get $1,308 through the program. He receives $1,132 through CPP-Disability from his years of working. $1,132 is taken off his ODSP cheque, so his total income for the month remains at $1,308.

We recommend: Exempting EI, CPP, WSIB  from clawbacks.

Under these proposed rules, Charlie would keep the full amount from CPP-Disability and ODSP, and would have a total income of $2,440.

Canada Disability Benefit

The federal government has passed legislation to create a framework for a Canada Disability Benefit (CDB). If the CDB is clawed back from social assistance 100% like other benefits currently are, then people on social assistance will be no better off than they were before.

We recommend: While the federal governments goes through the design process for the CDB to determine who is eligible and how much they will receive, we are urging the Government of Ontario to commit to not clawing back the CDB from social assistance payments.

Take Action

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Tell your MPP to stop the clawbacks for social assistance recipients on earned income and benefits like EI, CPP, WSIB, and the upcoming Canada Disability Benefit.

Learn More

You can learn more about what is driving hunger and poverty in Ontario and our recommendations for change by clicking the links to the right.