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Ontario Drug Benefits: ODB

The Ontario Drug Benefit (ODB) Program covers most of the cost of 4,400 prescription drug products, some nutrition products and some diabetic testing agents. The list of products covered by the ODB program is called the "Formulary". Some products listed on the Formulary will only be funded in limited circumstances and/or for a limited duration in time.

As well, under special circumstances the Exceptional Access Program may cover most of the cost of an additional 850 prescription drug products that are not on the Formulary for people in the ODB Program. Your doctor must apply on your behalf. Approval must be given by the ministry before a drug will be funded by the program if it is not on the Formulary.

To qualify, an Ontario doctor or other authorized prescriber must prescribe the drugs and you must buy them from either:

  • an accredited Ontario pharmacy OR

  • an Ontario doctor who is licensed to sell prescription drug products and is linked to the ministry’s Health Network System.

Eligibility Information

You are eligible for ODB program benefits if you live in Ontario, you have a valid Ontario health card and at least one of these statements applies to you:

  • I am 65 years of age or older

  • I live in a Long-Term Care Home or a Home for Special Care

  • I am enrolled in the Home Care program

  • I have high drugs costs relative to my income and am registered in the Trillium Drug Program

  • I receive social assistance through Ontario Works or the Ontario Disability Support Program.

Ontario’s Drug Plans: How much do I pay?

Under the Ontario Drug Benefit (ODB) Program, ODB eligible recipients may be asked to pay some portion of their eligible prescription drug product cost. Fees for people in the Trillium Drug Program (TDP) are calculated differently than the fees for other people in the ODB program.

For most of the ODB program (excluding the TDP)

The chart below sums up what you may be asked to pay. The amount you pay depends on your income.

  • If you are: /Then you will pay: A single senior (aged 65 or older) with a yearly net income of $16,018 or more / The first $100 of your prescription drug costs. This is called your "deductible." AND Up to $6.11 each time you fill a prescription covered under ODB. This is called your “co-payment” A senior couple with a combined yearly net income of $24,175 or more

  • If you are: / Then you will pay: A senior whose yearly net income is lower than $16,018 / Up to $2 each time you fill a prescription covered under ODB. A senior couple whose combined yearly net income is less than $24,175

  • Updated Information: Effective August 1, 2016:

  • A single senior (aged 65 or older) with a yearly net income of more than $19,300

  • A senior couple with a combined yearly net income of more than $32,300

Registered with:

  • Ontario Works or the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) or

  • living in a Long-Term Care Home or Home for Special Care or

  • receiving Home Care services.

If you are a senior you can apply to qualify for the lower ODB fees. If you don’t apply, you will have to pay the higher fees.

To get an application kit for the Seniors Co-Payment Program:

  • ask at your local pharmacy, OR

  • call 1-888-405-0405, OR

  • download the Co-Payment Application for Seniors and Guidebook.

The Trillium Drug Program: TDP

The TDP helps people who have high prescription drug costs relative to their household income. It covers all drugs approved under the Ontario Drug Benefit (ODB) program. For drug products that are not on the list of approved ODB products, your doctor may apply for special approval through the Exceptional Access Program (EAP).

Eligibility Information

  • You have a valid Ontario health card

  • You live in Ontario

  • You are not covered under ODB as:

    • a senior over 65 years of age

    • someone who receives financial help through Ontario Works or the Ontario Disability Support Program

    • a resident of a Long-Term Care home or Home for Special Care

    • someone who receives Home Care Services

  • You don't have private health insurance or your private insurance does not cover 100% of your prescription drug costs.

What costs will I pay?

Under the TDP, you will pay two different fees each year:

  • You will pay a set amount of your prescription drug costs each year. This amount is called your "deductible." The amount of your deductible is based on your household income. For most people, it equals about 4% of your household’s total net income. Net income is the amount of money you have to live on after you pay your taxes.
    The deductible you have to pay is split into four equal amounts over the year starting on August 1st. You pay your deductible by purchasing ODB approved prescription drug products at your pharmacy. Once you have purchased enough of these products to equal the amount of your deductible, then the ODB program pays for most of the cost of your drugs.

  • After you pay your deductible, you pharmacist may ask you to pay up to $2 for each prescription that the ODB program covers. This amount is called a “co-payment”.

Application Information

  • ask at your local pharmacy, OR

  • call 1-800-575-5386, OR

  • download the Application for Ontario Drug Benefits and A Guide to Your Application (Ontario Drug Benefit).

For More Information

Call Service Ontario, Info line at 1-866-532-3161

  • In Toronto, 416-314-5518

  • TTY 1-800-387-5559

  • In Toronto, TTY 416-327-4282

Ontario Works: OW

If you are in temporary financial need, Ontario Works can:

  • provide you with money, and

  • help you find a job.

Eligibility Information

  • live in Ontario

  • need money right away to help pay for food and housing costs, and

  • be willing to take part in activities that will help you find a job.

If you qualify, Ontario Works can provide you with:

  • Financial assistance to help you cover the costs of your basic needs (e.g. food) and housing costs, and

  • Employment assistance to help you prepare for and find a job.

You may also receive health benefits for yourself and your family, including drug and dental coverage. Additional benefits may also be available to you.

How we assess your eligibility

We look at two aspects when we assess your eligibility:

  • your financial situation, and

  • your willingness to take part in activities to find a job.

When you apply to Ontario Works, you will need to give us information about your:

  • family size

  • income

  • assets, and

  • housing costs.

Ontario Works staff will use this information to decide if you are financially eligible.

Other help you may receive

If you qualify for Ontario Works, you may also be eligible to receive a variety of other benefits such as:

  • prescription drug and dental coverage

  • eyeglasses

  • diabetic supplies

  • moving or eviction costs

  • employment-related costs

In order to find a local OW office

Office finder

Ontario Works

Ontario Works is a province-wide social assistance program. “Welfare” is an older term for social assistance. Employment and Social Services delivers the Ontario Works program in Toronto according to the rules in the Ontario Works Act.

The program includes Employment Services and Financial Assistance.

Employment Services provide options for people to engage in a variety of activities that lead to jobs or help them become more job-ready.

Employment and Social Services has Employment Centres in communities across Toronto to help with employment related opportunities.

Financial Assistance includes money for food, shelter, clothing and other household costs for people who meet the financial and program criteria. The Province sets the financial assistance amounts.

Financial Assistance may include:

  • money for food, shelter, clothing and other household costs

  • a monthly drug benefit card to help pay for medication, and

  • other help with health costs such as dental services, eyeglasses and help with transportation for medical reasons.

See more information about benefits and supports.

How to apply

If you live in Toronto, your eligibility for Ontario Works benefits will be assessed during either a telephone application or an online application. If it appears that you qualify, you will need to attend an in-person interview.

Telephone application

  • When you call one of the application phone lines, a caseworker at the Application Centre will take your information over the phone. In order to determine your eligibility, a caseworker will ask you to provide personal and financial information about yourself and each family member included in your application. This phone call takes about 30 - 45 minutes.

  • If you appear to qualify for benefits, the caseworker at the Application Centre will schedule an in-person interview for you at an Employment and Social Services office. The caseworker will tell you what information to bring and where the office is.

*NOTE:
If you are not physically able to come to the Employment and Social Services office, tell the caseworker. The caseworker may be able to make other appointment arrangements for you.

Application Phone Lines

The Application Centre is open Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. It is closed on weekends and public holidays. The wait time is generally shorter between 8:30 - 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 - 4:30 or 6 p.m.

To apply for Ontario Works by telephone, find your postal code in the chart below and call the appropriate application phone line.

The TTY line for persons who are deaf, deafened or hard of hearing is 416-392-2823.

The first three digits of your Postal Code Application phone line
M1 M1N 416-392-3213
M1K, M1L, M1M, M1P, M1R 416-392-2725
M1C, M1E, M1G, M1H, M1J 416-397-1771
M1B, M1S, M1T, M1V, M1W, M1X 416-397-1010
M2 M2H, M2,J M2K, M2L, M2M, M2N, M2P, M2R 416-392-2811
M3 M3B, M3H 416-392-2811
M3A, M3C 416-392-3421
M3J, M3K, M3L, M3M 416-397-0185
M3N 416-397-9451
M4 M4A, M4B, M4C, M4J, M4K 416-392-3421
M4E, M4L, M4M 416-392-3213
M4G, M4H, M4N, M4P, M4R, M4S, M4T, M4V, M4W 416-397-5100
M4X, M4Y 416-392-5100
M5 M5A, M5B, M5C, M5E, M5S 416-392-5100
M5G, M5H, M5J, M5K, M5L, M5T, M5V, M5W, M5X 416-392-2635
M5M, M5N, M5P, M5R 416-397-5100
M6 M6C, M6G 416-397-5100
M6A, M6B, M6E, M6L 416-397-0185
M6M, M6N 416-392-6242
M6H, M6K, M6R 416-397-7900
M6J 416-392-2635
M6P, M6S 416-397-0330
M8 M8V, M8W, M8X, M8Y, M8Z 416-397-0330
M9 M9L, M9M 416-397-9451
M9R, M9V, M9W 416-392-6405
M9N, M9P 416-392-6242
M9A, M9B, M9C 416-397-0330

A toll free number (1-888-465-4478) is available for long distance calls.
If you do not speak English or French you will need an interpreter when you call to apply. For help finding an interpreter, visit 211Toronto.

In-person interview

  • A caseworker from an Employment and Social Services office finalizes your application during an in-person interview. This interview usually takes place at your community-based Employment and Social Services office. If you have a spouse or dependant 18 years or older living with you, they also need to attend the interview. The information you provided during the telephone interview or online application will be reviewed and verified.

  • This caseworker will tell you about your Rights and Responsibilities

  • You (and your spouse and dependent over 18 if applicable) will be asked to sign the application form and other required forms based on your situation.

If you are homeless, you may call the Application Centre or you can go to any Employment and Social Services office to apply.

Ontario Disability Support Program: ODSP

ODSP income support helps people with disabilities who are in financial need pay for living expenses like food and housing. It also provides health benefits like drug and dental coverage.

ODSP is a program of last resort. This means that you need to look for help from every other source before turning to ODSP for financial help. These sources can include money from:

  • a job

  • the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB), and

  • the Canada Pension Plan Disability benefit (CPP-D).

If you still need help paying for living expenses and medical costs, ODSP may be able to help you.

Eligibility Information

  • are 18 years of age or older

  • live in Ontario

  • are in financial need, and

  • are a person with a disability as defined under the ODSP Act.

Most applicants must go through a process to determine if they meet the program’s definition of a person with a disability.

Under the ODSP Act, a “person with a disability” is a person with a substantial physical or mental impairment that is continuous or recurrent, and is expected to last a year or more.

In addition, the physical or mental impairment must directly result in a substantial restriction in the person’s ability to:

  • work

  • take care of him or herself, or

  • take part in community life.

The impairment(s), its duration, and the restriction(s) must also be verified by an approved health care professional.

Application Information

You can call or visit your local ODSP office. You can also start your application online. If you apply online you will still need to come into your local office to continue the application with a caseworker. Applying online can help you find out if you are eligible for ODSP, as well as other social assistance programs.
To start an online application, visit

For more information, please contact your local ODSP or Ontario Works office. To find contact information for your local office and learn more about ODSP visit

For general questions, please call ServiceOntario at:

  • Telephone: 1-888-789-4199

  • Teletypewriter (TTY):1-800-387-5559

Social Housing-Rent-geared-to income Housing

Rent-geared-to-income (RGI) housing is subsidized housing. The rent is based directly on the tenant's income, usually 30 per cent of the gross monthly household income. If you receive social assistance, the rent charges are based on the rent benefit set by the Ontario government, rather than 30 per cent of the gross monthly income.

Social Housing

RGI housing subsidies are most often available in publicly-owned social housing, but are also available in co-operative, non-profit and private housing.

Eligibility Information

  • All household members must have legal status in Canada, and must not have an enforceable deportation, departure, or exclusion order.

  • At least one household member must be 16 or older and able to live independently.

  • No household member with charges of fraud due to misrepresenting income in the last two years.

  • If any member of the household owes money to a social housing provider in Ontario, they must attach a copy of the written payment plan agreement signed by the provider.

Application Information

If you are interested in applying for subsidized housing, where your rent will be based on 30 per cent of your household income, you need to complete an application form.
Toronto Housing application