Employment Services Transformation

In February 2019, the government announced the transformation of Ontario’s employment services to make them more efficient and responsive to job seeker's needs. This is now known as Employment Services Transformation (EST).

EST is a new service delivery model that integrates social assistance employment services into Employment Ontario. This includes Ontario Works Employment Assistance which you are likely familiar with, or participating in today. As part of EST, Ontario Works will work with Employment Ontario service providers to help you find or get ready for work.

An Employment Ontario service provider helps people who are looking for a job. They can help you write a resume, build job-related skills, participate in training, and find and keep a job that makes sense for you. They may also give people resources, services, and programs they need to enter the workforce, such as disability-related supports or help gaining work experience.

What is Changing for You?

Ontario Works continues to be an employment-focused program that requires you to participate in employment activities to keep receiving financial assistance each month.

All employment assistance activities will now be offered through Employment Ontario. This means Ontario Works will continue to meet you where you are at and help you in different areas of your life such as connection to community supports or life skills that will help you to enter the workforce. This also means that your participation requirements have expanded to include participation in services, programs, and resources that will bring you closer to being ready for a referral to Employment Ontario.

When you are ready, Ontario Works will refer you directly to Employment Ontario. Once your referral has been accepted, your Employment Ontario and Ontario Works case worker will work together to support both your employment and personal goals.

You must participate in employment activities with Ontario Works and Employment Ontario to stay eligible for your financial assistance. Your participation will be supported and monitored by your Ontario Works case worker with the help of your Employment Ontario case worker.

What’s Next?

Over the coming months, you will be contacted by your case worker and invited to complete a Common Assessment and Action Plan. These are two new case management tools under EST that will help assess your needs and create a plan that will best support you.

Common Assessment - What is it?

The Common Assessment is a questionnaire that helps to understand how best to support you. You will be asked a series of questions about you and your situation. The purpose is to identify areas of service that might be helpful to you.

Together with your case worker, you will create a plan that suits you best and supports you on your road to independence. You will talk about your ultimate goals, then take steps backwards to see how to help support you to get there. You will also look at overcoming things that are standing in the way of your goals.

(The answers to your Common Assessment will not impact your eligibility.)

How it Helps?

The answer to these questions will help us understand your life circumstances and together create goals that you want to work towards. Once you have identified your goals your case worker can support you with benefits and community referrals and work together with you to achieve them.

This questionnaire might be updated again in the future to ensure it is the most up to date information and to track progress, change in circumstance, and to determine what supports/referrals are appropriate at that time.

What is an Action Plan?

An Action Plan is a plan that keeps track of your activities and supports with Ontario Works. The Action Plan is replacing the Participation Agreement, and is linked to the Common Assessment questions. They are personalized plans that create goals and actions that will support your journey to employment.  

How an Action Plan Helps?

An Action Plan tracks the client’s goals, areas where support may be required, and connections with community agencies in a way that enables the client to know exactly where they are in achieving stability in their lives.

As part of the Action Plan the client will identify goals that will work toward a referral to employment supports.

There is no time frame for the referral to employment- however it is the end goal. The Action Plan will focus on the client’s needs and support them on their road to independence.

What is Employment Ontario?

As you move through the Action Plan there will be a time when you will be ready to participate in
employment supports. At that time a referral will be made to Employment Ontario. Employment Ontario are the employment experts and can help you get the training, skills and experience you need to achieve your goals. You will have an employment case worker who can assist you at every step of the way.

When you’re ready to be referred, you can expect things like resume writing assistance, interview skills development, employment counseling, and other supports to help you reach your employment goals. Our three local Employment Ontario Offices are:

Canadian Career Academy
92 Bridge Street
Carleton Place Ontario

Community Employment Services
40 Sunset Blvd, Suite 102 in The Factory
Perth, Ontario

Ontrac Employment Resource Services 
52 Abbott Street North, Unit 2
Smiths Falls, ON


Please Note:

Everyone's situation is different. The information here is intended as general guidance only. It is not meant to provide a full description of the Ontario Works program or to tell you if you qualify for the program. To get a better understanding of how the Ontario Works program may be able to help you,  please contact us directly.

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