Social assistance programs in Canada provide financial support to individuals who are unable to cater to their basic needs without some form of income support.
In addition to income assistance, Canada’s welfare programs also include supports to help eligible individuals find and keep a job.
There are specific social safety nets for individuals who are suffering from a disability or impairment that hinders them from working and earning an income.
This article covers provincial social assistance payment dates, benefit types, and how to apply.
What is Social Assistance in Canada?
Social assistance provides income support to individuals when they have no other resources to meet their basic needs i.e., food, clothing, and shelter.
Each province and territory has its own income support programs and legislation that guides how they are implemented.
Social assistance for residents of indigenous communities is managed by Indigenous Services Canada.
In general, the amount of money you receive is dependent on your financial position (income and assets), the size of your family, and whether or not you have a qualifying disability.
Related: Minimum Wage in Canada.
Social Assistance in Ontario
Ontario Works provides financial and employment assistance to residents in financial need. ODSP provides income support to eligible individuals who have a disability.
Social Assistance Payment Dates in Ontario
The table below shows the 2021 payment dates for ODSP and Ontario Works.
|Benefit Month||ODSP Payment Dates||Ontario Works Payment Dates|
|January||January 29, 2021||December 31, 2020|
|February||February 26, 2021||January 29, 2021|
|March||March 31, 2021||February 26, 2021|
|April||April 30, 2021||March 31,2021|
|May||May 31, 2021||April 30, 2021|
|June||June 30, 2021||May 31, 2021|
|July||July 30, 2021||June 30, 2021|
|August||August 31, 2021||July 30, 2021|
|September||September 30, 2021||August 31, 2021|
|October||October 29, 2021||September 30, 2021|
|November||November 30, 2021||October 29, 2021|
|December||Not yet available||November 30, 2021|
How much is welfare in Ontario?
Your monthly income is based on your financial circumstances and household size. For example, a single person can receive $733 for basic needs and shelter allowance. A single person on ODSP receives up to $1,169 for basic needs and shelter.
How to apply for welfare in Ontario:
You can start the application online. For inquires about the program, call your local Social Assistance Office.
Learn More: Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services.
Social Assistance in British Columbia
Social welfare benefits are available in B.C. as income assistance and disability assistance. To qualify for disability assistance, you must be designated as a Person with Disabilities (PWD).
B.C. also offers income supports to Persons with Persistent Multiple Barriers (PPMB).
Social Assistance Payment Dates in B.C.
The payment dates for income assistance and PWD benefits in British Columbia are:
|Benefit Month||Income Assistance Payment Dates||Disability Assistance Payment Dates|
|February 2021||January 20, 2021||January 20, 2021|
|March 2021||February 17, 2021||February 17, 2021|
|April 2021||March 24, 2021||March 24, 2021|
|May 2021||April 21, 2021||April 21, 2021|
|June 2021||May 19, 2021||May 19, 2021|
|July 2021||June 23, 2021||June 23, 2021|
|August 2021||July 21, 2021||July 21, 2021|
|September 2021||August 25, 2021||August 25, 2021|
|October 2021||September 22, 2021||September 22, 2021|
|November 2021||October 20, 2021||October 20, 2021|
|December 2021||November 17, 2021||November 17, 2021|
|January 2021||December 15, 2021||December 15, 2021|
How Much is welfare in B.C.? You could get up to $935 per month in income assistance if you are single, or $1,358.42 per month for PWD benefits.
How to apply for welfare in B.C. You can start your application online. For inquiries, call 1-866-866-0800, or visit your local service B.C. location.
Learn more: B.C. Family and Social Supports.
Social Assistance in Alberta
Alberta offers income support to eligible individuals so they can pay for basic living costs and necessities.
If you have a permanent medical condition that limits your ability to work, you may be eligible for Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH) payments.
Social Assistance Payment Dates in Alberta
The table below highlights the payment dates for AISH and income support in Alberta in 2021.
|Benefit month||AISH Payment Date||Income Support Payment Date|
|January 2021||December 23, 2020||December 23, 2020|
|February 2021||February 1, 2021||February 1, 2021|
|March 2021||March 1, 2021||March 1, 2021|
|April 2021||April 1, 2021||April 1, 2021|
|May 2021||April 30, 2021||April 30, 2021|
|June 2021||June 1, 2021||June 1, 2021|
|July 2021||June 30, 2021||June 30, 2021|
|August 2021||July 30, 2021||July 30, 2021|
|September 2021||September 1, 2021||September 1, 2021|
|October 2021||October 1, 2021||October 1, 2021|
|November 2021||November 1, 2021||November 1, 2021|
|December 2021||December 1, 2021||December 1, 2021|
How much is welfare in Alberta? The basic living allowance for AISH recipients is $1,685 per month. For income support, a single adult may receive up to $866 per month.
Learn more: Alberta Income Support Program.
Related: Alberta Seniors Benefit Program.
Social Assistance in Manitoba
The social assistance program (Employment and Income Assistance – EIA) in Manitoba is divided into three categories:
- EIA for single parents
- EIA for persons with a disability
- EIA for general assistance
Manitoba EIA Payment Dates
EIA payments through direct deposit are available on the following dates:
|Benefit Month||MB EIA Payment Date|
|February 2021||January 27, 2021|
|March 2021||February 24, 2021|
|April 2021||March 29, 2021|
|May 2021||April 28, 2021|
|June 2021||May 27, 2021|
|July 2021||June 28, 2021|
|August 2021||July 28, 2021|
|September 2021||August 27, 2021|
|October 2021||September 28, 2021|
|November 2021||October 27, 2021|
|December 2021||November 26, 2021|
|January 2022||December 29, 2021|
How much does social assistance pay in Manitoba? A single adult could receive the monthly payments below depending on their circumstances (combined with federal benefits):
- EIA General Assistance: $796
- EIA Single Parent: $948
- EIA Persons with Disability: $1,093
How to apply for welfare in Manitoba: You can start your application for EIA benefits online. For inquiries, call 204-948-4000 (Winnipeg) or 1-855-944-8111 (toll-free).
Learn more: MB Employment and Income Assistance.
Related: Manitoba Income Tax Rates.
Social Assistance in Saskatchewan
Saskatchewan offers a number of financial assistance programs including:
- Saskatchewan Employment Supplement (SES)
- Saskatchewan Assistance Program (SAP)
- Saskatchewan Income Support (SIS)
- Saskatchewan Assured Income for Disability (SAID)
- Transitional Employment Allowance (TEA)
The SIS program replaces SAP and TEA which are phased out in 2021.
Saskatchewan Social Assistance Payout Dates
The payment dates for Saskatchewan Income Support and Saskatchewan Assured Income for Disability program are:
|Benefit Month||SAID Payment Dates||SIS Payment Dates|
|January 2021||December 30, 2020||December 30, 2020|
|February 2021||January 28, 2021||January 28, 2021|
|March 2021||February 25, 2021||February 25, 2021|
|April 2021||March 30, 2021||March 30, 2021|
|May 2021||April 29, 2021||April 29, 2021|
|June 2021||May 28, 2021||May 28, 2021|
|July 2021||June 29, 2021||June 29, 2021|
|August 2021||July 29, 2021||July 29, 2021|
|September 2021||August 30, 2021||August 30, 2021|
|October 2021||September 29, 2021||September 29, 2021|
|November 2021||October 28, 2021||October 28, 2021|
|December 2021||November 29, 2021||November 29, 2021|
How much does social assistance pay in Saskatchewan? For a single person on SIS, the monthly combined basic and shelter benefit is $810 – $860. SAID benefit rates vary depending on your location (from $931 – $1,064 for a single adult).
How to apply for welfare benefits in Saskatchewan: You can submit an application online. For inquiries, call 1-866-221-5200.
Learn more: Saskatchewan Family and Social Support.
Related: Saskatchewan Tax Brackets and Rates.
Social Assistance in Quebec
Social assistance programs in Quebec include the Social Assistance Program and Social Solidarity Program.
The Social Assistance Program provides “last-resort” financial support until you can re-enter the workforce.
The Social Solidarity Program provides financial assistance to individuals who suffer from severe physical or mental conditions that limit their ability to work.
Social Assistance Payment Dates in Quebec
Welfare benefits in Quebec are paid on the following dates in 2021:
- February 1, 2021
- March 1, 2021
- April 1, 2021
- April 30, 2021
- June 1, 2021
- June 30, 2021
- July 30, 2021
- September 1, 2021
- October 1, 2021
- November 1, 2021
- December 30, 2021
How much does social assistance pay in Quebec? For a single adult who is eligible for the Social Assistance Program and has no limited capacity for employment, the basic benefit is $708 per month. If they have a temporary limited capacity for employment, they receive $848.
For a single adult who is eligible for the Social Solidarity Program, the total monthly benefit is $1,111.
Additional benefits may apply depending on your situation.
How to apply for welfare benefits in Quebec: You can check your eligibility online and complete the application forms. For inquiries, call 514-873-4000 (Montreal) or 1-877-767-8773 (toll-free).
Learn more: Quebec Social Assistance and Social Solidarity.
Social Assistance in Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia’s Employment Support and Income Assistance offers eligible individuals money for basic needs, special needs, and support for getting a job.
The province also has a Disability Support Program.
Nova Scotia Income Assistance Payment Dates
|Benefit Month||Cheque Delivery Dates|
|March 2021||February 24, 25, 26|
|April 2021||March 29, 30, 31|
|May 2021||April 28, 29, 30|
|June 2021||May 27, 28, 31|
|July 2021||June 28, 29, 30|
|August 2021||July 28, 29, 30|
|September 2021||August 27, 30, 31|
|October 2021||September 28, 29, 20|
|November 2021||October 27, 28, 29|
|December 2021||November 26, 29, 30|
|January 2022||December 29, 30, 31|
|February 2022||January 27, 28, 31|
How much does income assistance pay in Nova Scotia? A single adult receives up to $686 per month for the standard household rate. A single adult who is eligible for the Disability Support Program (DSP) receives up to $850/month for the standard household rate.
How to apply for welfare in Nova Scotia: You can apply for income assistance at your local office or call 1-877-424-1177.
Learn more: Nova Scotia Department of Community Services.
Related: Sales Taxes by Province.
Social Assistance in New Brunswick
The Social Assistance Program in New Brunswick provides financial help to residents who are unable to meet their basic needs.
It includes basic social assistance benefits and extended benefits for individuals with a qualifying disability.
New Brunswick Welfare Payment Dates and Amounts
Direct deposit payments are made on the first day of each month.
If the first day falls on a weekend or holiday, the payment is made on the last business day of the previous month.
How much does social assistance pay in New Brunswick? A single adult receives $564 monthly under the Transitional Assistance Program. For a single adult who has a long-term disability under the Extended Benefits Program, the amount is $697/month.
How to apply for welfare in New Brunswick: Contact the Department of Social Development at 1-833-733-7835.
Learn more: NB Social Assistance Program.
Related: New Brunswick Tax Brackets and Rates.
Social Assistance in Newfoundland and Labrador
Eligible residents of NL receive income support benefits including basic and non-basic financial supports.
The basic benefit caters to daily needs (food, utilities, clothing, etc.) and shelter (rent or mortgage).
Social Assistance Payment Dates and Amounts in NL
Income support benefits are generally issued twice a month and may vary depending on your circumstances.
Payments occurs by direct deposit or you can receive a cheque by mail.
How much does income support pay in NL? A single individual gets up to $534 for basic income, plus up to $372 for shelter, and extra amounts for fuel supplement or any special needs.
How to apply for income support in NL: You can call the following numbers based on your location:
- Avalon region: 1-877-729-7888
- Central region: 1-888-632-4555
- Western region: 1-866-417-4753
- Labrador: 1-866-449-3144
Alternatively, you can contact 1-877-292-4205 TTY for all regions.
Learn more: Newfoundland and Labrador Income Support.
Social Assistance in Prince Edward Island
The Social Assistance Program in PEI provides income support to individuals and families who are unable to pay for basic necessities.
Residents living with disabilities may be eligible for AccessAbility Supports.
Social Assistance Payment Dates and Amounts in PEI
The 2021 payment dates for social assistance in Prince Edward Island are not available online.
The amount of money you receive depends on your financial situation, family size, and whether you own a home or are renting.
How to apply for welfare in PEI: Contact the Social Assistance Program toll-free at 1-877-569-0546.
Learn more: PEI Social Assistance Program.
Social Assistance in Nunavut
Eligible Nunavummiut can apply for Social Assistance Benefits at their local Income Assistance Office.
A single person gets a monthly basic allowance ranging from $682 to $782 depending on their location.
For inquiries, call:
- Qikiqtani: 867-473-2615 (1-800-567-1514)
- Kivalliq: 867-645-5040 (1-800-953-8516)
- Kitikmeot: 867-983-4032 (1-800-661-0845)
Learn more: Nunavut Income Assistance.
Social Assistance in Yukon
Yukon Social Assistance program is governed by the Social Assistance Act.
To apply, you must set up an intake appointment with a social worker at a Social Assistance Office.
Individuals who are eligible for social assistance may also be eligible for the Yukon Supplementary Allowance which is $250 per month.
For inquiries, call 867-393-5674.
Learn more: Yukon Legal and Social Supports.
Social Assistance in the Northwest Territories
Northerners can apply for the Income Assistance Program if they are 19 years or older, have a serious financial need, and participate in productive choice (unless exempt).
You can submit an application at a ECE Service Centre in your region (Beaufort Delta, Dehco, North Slave, South Slave, and Salitu).
For general inquiries about Income Security Programs, call 867-767-9355 or 1-866-973-7252 toll-free.
Learn more: NWT Income Assistance Program.