Social assistance or welfare programs are an important part of the benefits provided by Government at all levels in Canada.
These welfare programs were set up to provide financial support to individuals and families in need. The supports are generally available as monthly payments to cover the cost of basic needs like good, shelter and clothing.
But they also provide employment support to those that are able to work through trainings, upskilling and other employment-related support programs.
Disability assistance are also provided, usually through a stand-alone welfare program in each province and territory.
Like many benefits in Canada, each province and territory have their own different social assistance programs, with varying eligibility criteria, application process, rates and so on.
In this post, we’ll provide an overview of the main social assistance programs provided by provincial and territorial governments across Canada, their payment dates, how much you can receive and how to apply.
Social Assistance in Alberta
Alberta offers several welfare and social assistance programs to its residents. But the main social assistance program in the province is Alberta Income support.
Alberta Income Support provides a monthly benefit that covers basic expenses like food, clothing and shelter to individuals and families in need.
Additional welfare programs are available to those with long-term disability through Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH) and to lower to modest income families through Alberta Child and Family Benefit program.
Eligibility for Alberta Social Assistance
The eligibility for Alberta social assistance program is based on age, residency, financial need and the ability to work.
Beneficiaries must be 18 years old or older and live in Alberta.
Financial need is fulfilled if your income is lower than the support payments you would receive, can not cover your basic needs, your asset value is below the set threshold and so on.
Social Assistance Payment Dates in Alberta
The payment dates for the two main social assistance programs in Alberta, AISH and Income Support, are shown below:
|Benefit Month||Income Support Payment Dates||AISH Payment Dates|
|January 2021||Dec 29, 2020||Dec 29, 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|
Alberta Child and Family Benefit is paid quarterly and the payment dates for 2021 are: February 26, May 27, August 27 and November 26.
Social Assistance Amount & Application in Alberta
Alberta Welfare amounts: AISH beneficiaries can receive up to $1,685 per month in benefits. In addition, they may also qualify for several other benefits including the child benefit of $200 per month for the first child, and $100 for additional children.
A single adult that is expected to work can receive up to $745 as welfare payments in Alberta, while those with barriers to full employment can get up $866.
How to Apply for Social Assistance in Alberta: The first step to applying for welfare in Alberta is by filling an application online or on paper. Afterwards, you’ll meet with a support worker to go over your eligibility.
It takes about 2 weeks to process Alberta Income Support, though it can be as short as 2 days for those with emergency needs.
Social Assistance in British Columbia
British Columbia’s social assistance programs are primarily administered through its Income Assistance and Persons With Disability (PWB) programs.
BC Income Assistance is available to people in need with no other way or resources to support themselves, while PWD is the disability assistance program.
Eligibility for BC Social Assistance
Obviously, you must be a British Columbia resident to be eligible for BC welfare program.
Also, your income (if you’re working) must be below what you need to cover your basic needs. You may also qualify if you’re out of work or not working because of a disability.
Social Assistance Payment Dates in British Columbia
Also called welfare Wednesday in British Columbia, the social assistance payment dates for Income Support and disability in 2021 are:
|Benefit Month||Income Assistance Payment Dates||PWD 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 2022||December 15, 2021||December 15, 2021|
The payment for January 2021 was paid on December 16th, 2020.
Social Assistance Amount & Application in BC
BC Social Welfare Amount: Income assistance pays a support rate and a shelter allowance. A single person can receive a maximum of $935.
For disability assistance, a single person can expect to receive up to $1,358.42 in financial support with gradual increases as the family unit size increases.
How to apply for social welfare in BC:
If you meet the eligibility conditions, you can apply for welfare in BC through the online My Self Serve service. Be ready to provide your ID and that of your family, information about your bank account, rent and so on.
Even if you’re not eligible for Income assistance, you may qualify for the hardship assistance.
Learn more: BC PWD Payment Dates
Social Assistance in Ontario
Ontario Works is a welfare benefit that covers the cost of living for those in needs and supports them in finding a job. ODSP provides financial and employment support to people with disabilities.
Additional benefits are provided through Ontario Trillium Benefit, a benefit that is made up of 3 credits: Northern Ontario Energy Credit, Ontario Energy and Property Tax Credit and Ontario Sales Tax Credit.
Eligibility for Ontario Social Assistance
Ontario residents that are 16 years and above can apply for Ontario works. However, visitors and tourists are ineligible.
Also, your monthly income is not enough to cover your family’s basic needs like food, shelter and clothing.
For ODSP, there must be a disability except where the applicant is a member of a prescribed class.
Ontario Social Assistance Payment Dates
The welfare or social assistance payments in Ontario for 2021 are provided in the table below for Ontario Works and ODSP.
|Benefit Month||Ontario Works Payment Dates||ODSP Payment Dates|
|January||December 31, 2020||January 29, 2021|
|February||January 29, 2021||February 26, 2021|
|March||February 26, 2021||March 31, 2021|
|April||March 31, 2021||April 30, 2021|
|May||April 30, 2021||May 31, 2021|
|June||May 31, 2021||June 30, 2021|
|July||June 30, 2021||July 30, 2021|
|August||July 30, 2021||August 31, 2021|
|September||August 31, 2021||September 30, 2021|
|October||September 30, 2021||October 29, 2021|
|November||October 29, 2021||November 30, 2021|
|December||November 30, 2021||Yet to be determined|
Ontario Trillium Benefits are paid earlier in the month between 8th to 10th in general.
Social Assistance Amount & Application in Ontario
Ontario Welfare Amounts: The monthly payments cover basic needs and shelter. A single person can receive up to $733 under Ontario Works or up to $1,169 for disability benefits under ODSP.
Additional benefits may be available for employment-related costs, medical supplies, prescription drugs and so on.
How to apply for social assistance in Ontario:
If you’re eligible for either welfare assistance programs in Ontario, you can start an application online.
Your eligibility will be assessed during the application review stage and you’ll be required to meet with a caseworker to complete the process.
You should be contacted within 4 business days for Ontario Works, but it can be up to 15 days for ODSP.
Social Assistance in Quebec
The two main social welfare programs in Quebec are Social Assistance and the Social Solidarity programs.
Both programs are similar, but they are designed for different groups of people.
The Social Assistance Program provides financial assistance to individuals and families that need help and who have the capacity to work. It pays a monthly benefit amount and help them find work.
Social Solidarity Program on the other hand, is for single adults or families where one or more adults have severely limited capacity for employment.
Eligibility for Quebec Social Assistance
Quebec residents that are 18 years and above with income and assets that is not able to cover their living expenses are eligible for the social assistance programs.
Those below 18 can also apply if they’re married, previously married or have a dependent child.
To be eligible for the Social Solidarity Program, applicants must have a mental or physical condition that limits there ability to work.
Welfare Payment Dates in Quebec
The social assistance payment dates in Quebec for 2021 are:
|Benefit Month||Quebec Social Assistance Payment Dates|
|February||February 1, 2021|
|March||March 1, 2021|
|April||April 1, 2021|
|May||April 30, 2021|
|June||June 1, 2021|
|July||June 30, 2021|
|August||July 30, 2021|
|September||September 1, 2021|
|October||October 1, 2021|
|November||November 1, 2021|
|December||December 30, 2021|
Social Assistance Amount & Application in Quebec
How much is welfare benefits in Quebec? A single adult can receive a total benefit of $708 under the Social Assistance Program if they have no limited capacity for employment.
Those with temporary limited capacity will receive the extra temporary limited capacity allowance of $140 for a total of $848 per month.
Eligible single adults for the Social Solidarity Program can receive a higher amount starting at $1,111. An additional amount of $290 is paid to those that have been on solidary welfare benefit for 66 out of the 72 preceding months.
How to apply for social assistance in Quebec
The first step is to check your eligibility for welfare benefits. Next, you can fill the forms and call 1 877 767-8773 if you need any help.
Social Assistance in Manitoba
Manitoba’s social assistance program is available through Employment and Income Assistance Program (EIA).
It supports Manitobans with financial need and no resources to support themselves and their family and help them get a job where applicable.
The benefits are available under 3 different categories: EIA for General Assistance, EIA for Single Parents and EIA for Persons with Disabilities.
EIA covers the cost of basic needs and ongoing medical costs. Rent Assist is also provided to pay for shelter, utilities, and rent.
Eligibility for Manitoba Social Assistance
The eligible age is generally 18 to 65.
You must also show you have a financial need. This is assessed by comparing your income to your family’s needs.
Also, your financial assets will be checked against the set limits. For example, the allowable cash or liquid asset you can have is $4,000 per person up to a maximum of $16,000 per family.
Social Welfare Payment Dates in Manitoba
The Manitoba EIA payment dates for 2021 are shown in the table below:
|EIA Benefit Month||EIA Payment Dates|
|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|
|February 2022||January 27, 2022|
|March 2022||February 24, 2022|
|April 2022||March 29, 2022|
Note that these are the general dates. You can work with your caseworker on a payment schedule that works for your unique situation.
Social Assistance Amount & Application in Manitoba
How much can you receive as welfare in Manitoba?
The monthly benefit includes EIA, Rent Assist and the Federal Benefit. How much you receive is based on your family’s need compared to your available financial resources, i.e. your income and assets.
A single person can receive between $796 and $1,093 depending on the EIA category:
- EIA General Assistance: $796 per month
- EIA Single Parent: $948 month
- EIA Persons with Disability: $1,093 per month
New applications can be started online or by visiting a local EIA office across Manitoba. For more information about the program, you can call 204-948-4000 if you’re in Winnipeg or the toll-free number 1-877-812-0014.
Social Assistance in Saskatchewan
Social welfare benefits are available in Saskatchewan for those in need, unemployed and with low income.
These programs are administered through Saskatchewan Income Support (SIS), Saskatchewan Assured Income for Disability (SAID), Saskatchewan Employment Supplement (SES), Saskatchewan Assistance Program (SAP), Transitional Employment Allowance (TEA).
SAP and TEA stopped accepting new applications in July 2019. New applicants will have to apply to Saskatchewan Income Support (SIS) or SAID.
Existing beneficiaries continue to receive benefits but both programs would wind down by summer of 2021.
Social Assistance Payment Dates in Saskatchewan
The welfare dates for Saskatchewan Income Support (SIS) and Saskatchewan Assured Income for Disability (SAID) programs in 2021 are:
|Benefit Month||SIS Payment Dates||SAID Payment Dates|
|January||December 30, 2020||December 30, 2020|
|February||January 28, 2021||January 28, 2021|
|March||February 25, 2021||February 25, 2021|
|April||March 30, 2021||March 30, 2021|
|May||April 29, 2021||April 29, 2021|
|June||May 28, 2021||May 28, 2021|
|July||June 29, 2021||June 29, 2021|
|August||July 29, 2021||July 29, 2021|
|September||August 30, 2021||August 30, 2021|
|October||September 29, 2021||September 29, 2021|
|November||October 28, 2021||October 28, 2021|
|December||November 29, 2021||November 29, 2021|
Income assistance cheques are mailed out a few days earlier to ensure they get to beneficiaries on time. But the fastest and most convenient payment option is direct deposit.
Social Assistance Amount & Application in Saskatchewan
How much does welfare pay in Saskatchewan?
Saskatchewan Income Support pays both a basic benefit and a shelter benefit. The basic benefit for adults is $350 for those within the northern administrative district, and $285 otherwise.
A single adult can also get up to $575 as shelter benefit if they live in Saskatoon or Regina, or $525 for other parts of the province.
For Saskatchewan disability benefits paid through SAID, single adults can receive between $931 and $1,064 depending on where they live in the province.
Single adults receiving the modified living benefit (board and room or room only) can get up to $805.
How to apply for social assistance in Saskatchewan
You can apply for Social assistance in Saskatchewan using one of these 3 options:
- online by creating a Saskatchewan account
- over the phone by calling Social Services at 1-866-221-5200 or TTY: 1-866-995-0099
- visiting the Social Services Office that is closest to you.
Social Assistance in Nova Scotia
The social assistance programs in Nova Scotia are administered by the Department of Social Services through the Employment Support and Income Assistance (ESIA) program.
ESIA is made up of 2 different programs:
- Nova Scotia Income Assistance for basic needs and special needs like emergency dental care, pharmacare and others
- Employment Support Services that provide the skills and experience needed to get a job
There’s also the Disability Support Program that provides disability benefits to eligible Nova Scotians and the Poverty Reduction Credit.
Social Assistance Payment Dates in Nova Scotia
The welfare or income assistance payment dates in Nova Scotia are:
|Benefit Month||Income Assistance Payment 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, 30|
|November 2021||October 27, 28, 29|
|December 2021||November 26, 29, 30|
|January 2022||December 29, 30, 31|
|February 2022||January 27, 28, 31|
Nova Scotia Poverty reduction credit payments are issued out quarterly in April, July, October and January. Check here to learn more about poverty cheque dates.
The welfare benefits can be mailed as cheque or deposited to your bank account if you’re enrolled for direct deposit.
Social Assistance Amount & Application in Nova Scotia
How much does social assistance pay in Nova Scotia?
A single adult with no children can receive up to $686 per month if they rent or own, or $608 if they’re in a board arrangement. Those that qualify for the enhanced Standard Household Rate Enhanced can receive $950 per month.
For the Disability Support Program, the standard rate is $850 per month for a single adult that rents or own, or $508 if they board.
How to apply for welfare in Nova Scotia
Eligible Nova Scotians can visit a local Department of Community Services office or call the intake team at 1-877-424-1177 to apply for income assistance.
You’ll be required to provide your social insurance number (SIN), photo ID, bank account statements, copy of lease, utilities bills and receipts etc.
Social Assistance in New Brunswick
New Brunswick residents that are unable to meet their basic needs can apply for financial assistance through the Social Assistance Program.
The income assistance provides a monthly benefit that covers food, rent, clothing, utilities and, where applicable, prescription drugs, childcare, transportation and so on.
Persons with Disabilities can also access the New Brunswick Disability Support Program and housing assistance.
Social Assistance Payment Dates in New Brunswick
Welfare benefits are paid on the first day of each month in New Brunswick. If it falls on a weekend or holiday, the income assistance payments will be deposited on the last business day of the previous month.
For 2021, the social assistance payment dates for New Brunswick are:
|Benefit Month||NB Social Assistance Payment Dates|
|February||February 1, 2021|
|March||March 1, 2021|
|April||April 1, 2021|
|May||April 30, 2021|
|June||June 1, 2021|
|July||June 30, 2021|
|August||July 30, 2021|
|September||September 1, 2021|
|October||October 1, 2021|
|November||November 1, 2021|
|December||December 1, 2021|
Social Assistance Amount & Application in New Brunswick
New Brunswick welfare benefit amounts: Effective May 2020, a single person can receive $697 per mouth under the extended benefits program. Transitional assistance program pays lower and starts at $564 per month.
How to apply for welfare social assistance in New Brunswick:
To apply, check here for information about the documents and identification you’ll need to provide for yourself and other family members.
Get the documents ready and call the screening and intake line at 1-833-733-7835. If you’re assessed to be eligible for income assistance, you’ll be scheduled to meet with a case worker.
Social Assistance in Prince Edward Island
The social assistance program in PEI is administered by the Department of Social Development and Housing.
It assists eligible PEI residents with the cost of food, shelter, basic dental, medications, glasses and so on.
Social Assistance Payment Dates in Prince Edward Island
The welfare or social assistance payment dates in Prince Edward Island for 2021 are:
|Benefit Month||PEI Social Assistance Payment Dates|
|January||January 29, 2021|
|February||February 26, 2021|
|March||March 31, 2021|
|April||April 30, 2021|
|May||May 31, 2021|
|June||June 30, 2021|
|July||July 30, 2021|
|August||August 31, 2021|
|September||September 30, 2021|
|October||October 29, 2021|
|November||November 30, 2021|
|December||December 31, 2021|
The benefits are paid on the last working date of each month
Social Assistance Amount & Application in PEI
How much does welfare pay in PEI? The amount you can get is determined on a case-by-case basis by comparing your income to your needs. Your monthly income, number of children, housing costs and so on are considered.
How to apply for PEI social assistance:
You can call the PEI toll-free number (1-877-569-0546) to learn more about the program, whether you qualify and how to apply.
Social Assistance in Newfoundland and Labrador
Welfare benefits are provided in NL through the Income Support Program.
It includes a basic benefit that covers living expenses including shelter, and non-basic benefits for private childcare, eye exams and prescription glasses, medical supplies and so on.
Persons with Disabilities may also be eligible for several income assistance benefits and measures .
Social Assistance Payment Dates in Newfoundland and Labrador
Income assistance payment dates in Newfoundland and Labrador are issued on the 1st and 16th of each month for those with recurring payment.
|Benefit Month||NL Welfare Payment Dates|
|January 2021||January 1st & 16th|
|February 2021||February 1st & 16th|
|March 2021||March 1st & 16th|
|April 2021||April 1st & 16th|
|May 2021||May 1st & 16th|
|June 2021||June 1st & 16th|
|July 2021||July 1st & 16th|
|August 2021||August 1st & 16th|
|September 2021||Sept 1st & 16th|
|October 2021||October 1st & 16th|
|November 2021||November 1st & 16th|
|December 2021||December 1st & 16th|
The payment dates will change if they fall on a weekend or holiday.
For those that are not enrolled for direct deposits, their cheques will be mailed out a few days earlier to ensure they receive the cheques by 1st and 16th.
Recipients of one-off or non-recurring financial assistance will have their benefit deposited in their bank account once their application is approved.
Social Assistance Amount & Application in NL
How much is welfare benefit in NL? Single adults can receive up to $323 or $534 depending on whether they stay with relatives or maintaining their own household.
Additional benefits are paid to cover shelter, fuel and special needs. The rent or mortgage amount is up to $372 per month, and those living in coastal Labrador can receive the Cost of Living Allowance of $150 per month.
How much to apply for social assistance in NL:
Applications can be started over the phone by calling the toll-free number of the Department of Immigration, Skills and Labour for your region.
Your eligibility will be assessed, and the appropriate forms sent to you via mail to be completed and sent back.
Alternatively, you can download the forms and mail them to the Document Processing Unit.
Check here for the toll-free numbers for your region and the application forms.
Social Assistance in Yukon
Welfare benefits are available to Yukon residents through its Social Assistance program.
It helps eligible individuals and families to cover the cost of their basic needs such as food, clothing, shelter and clothing.
How much does social assistance pay in Yukon?
Additional benefits can be received by older people through the Senior’s low-income supplement that pays $10 to $253.25 each month. Or Yukon Supplementary Allowance of $250 per month.
You can apply for the Yukon social assistance online or by visiting one of the social assistance offices.
Social Assistance in Northwest Territories
The Income Assistance Program in Northwest Territories is available to those with financial needs that are higher than their income.
Eligible Northerners may also receive NWT Senior Citizen Supplementary Benefit (SCSB), Senior Home Heating Subsidy (SHHS), Student Financial Assistance (SFA) and NWT Child Benefit.
To apply, you’ll be required to complete an income assistance application and provide supporting documentations including about your finances.
The completed forms are to be submitted to your local ECE Service centre.
Financial assistance is available to Nunavut residents that need help through the Income Assistance Program.
The welfare program is meant to be a “last resort” for those with no other resources to support themselves.
Your monthly allowance depends on the number of people in your family and where you live (municipalities). An eligible single adult can receive between $682 and $782.
To apply, contact the Ministry of Family Services through the regional offices. You can get the numbers here.