How the Ontario Works funeral assistance program works
For low-income earners and families that need assistance with paying for a funeral in Ontario, there is a program at Ontario Works that can help.
The Ontario Works program is a provincial government program that helps Ontario residents with temporary financial needs. The program's mandate covers finding sustainable employment and achieving self-reliance, but its program extends to end-of-life costs and can help fund a person's funeral.
For families of low-income earners that have died, this can provide much-needed financial support, as the cost of a funeral by some measures can be the third most significant purchase a person (or their family) needs to afford in their life.
The deceased person's family can apply to the program, and on approval, the cost of a funeral, including cremation or burial, is covered.
Social assistance funding for funeral costs
The recommended maximum amount that Ontario Works will fund for funeral and burial or cremation costs is $2,250. However, an Ontario Works caseworker can exceed this guideline at their discretion using additional cost-sharing mechanisms available to them.
What is covered by Ontario Works funeral financing?
The Ontario Works (OW) program will pay for the following expenses for a funeral:
- Transportation of remains. Ontario Works will pay for the transfer of the body for cremation, burial, or for a traditional funeral service.
- Burial plot. OW will pay for the purchase of a burial plot. If the deceased person already owns a plot, the local municipal Employment and Social Services office will pay to open and close the grave.
- Cremation services. OW will pay for cremation, including a standard cremation urn. It also covers the cost of scattering the remains in a cemetery or a burial in a pre-owned plot.
- Urn or casket. The OW program will pay for a basic urn or casket.
The available funeral funding excludes the cost of grave markers, as required by a cemetery.
Who is eligible for Ontario Works funeral funding?
If the deceased person was already receiving support from Ontario Works or Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP), an eligible family member can contact Eirene, and our team will guide you in your application to Ontario Works to authorize payment for funeral costs.
If the deceased person was not already a client of either Ontario Works or ODSP, their family (that has a financial need) can still apply at an Ontario Works office as they may be approved for funeral funding under the program guidelines.
Anyone residing in Ontario can apply and eligibility is based on financial need. You should not enter into a contract with a funeral company before applying for Ontario Works funeral funding.
What happens when you apply for funeral funds from Ontario Works
When you apply, an Ontario Works caseworker will reach out to you and work to examine the financial situation of the deceased person and their spouse at the time of death to determine eligibility for available funding.
Approval is dependent on the deceased's financial standing and takes into account insurance policies and assets. Once you receive approval from Ontario Works, you should contact us to complete the arrangement.
Please ensure that the application is made through the region that the deceased person lived.
Advise your funeral provider about a social assistance funded funeral
It is important to advise the funeral provider you are going to use (like Eirene) that you are seeking a social assistance funded funeral to pay for final arrangements. The funeral company will work with the Ontario Works program on your behalf once you qualify.
How to contact your local Ontario Works office
To start the process, you will need to contact your local Ontario Works office. However, a company like Eirene can help you with this process, so be sure to reach out to our team (we are available 24/7 via phone and email - click here) first to get help and guidance on how to proceed if you have questions.
We are available to work with you to help you apply for funding in the Ontario Works program or to any program that you may be eligible to apply for.
You can find the correct Ontario Works phone number using the following page that contains Ontario Works office contacts.
For the Ontario Works offices that serve indigenous communities, you can find the correct office contact information here.
Need help from our funeral experts at Eirene?
Do not hesitate to reach out to our team at Eirene. We can help guide you on what programs are available to fund a funeral. We can also answer any questions about funeral planning. We are here to help, so be sure to contact us at 647-424-3408 (we are available 24 hours per day, 7 days per week) or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More funeral financial assistance resources
To learn more about funeral financial assistance programs in Ontario and Canada, please click here to see what available funeral financial assistance programs you might qualify for.