There are many financial and food assistance programs in Waterloo Region for you to access if needed. You must apply to receive help from these programs.

Your settlement worker can provide you with information to help you access financial and food assistance programs that you are eligible for in Waterloo Region.

Financial assistance

Ontario Works

Ontario Works provides financial help to people in need. If you need temporary financial help, Ontario Works can provide:

  • Emergency financial assistance
  • Money for food, shelter, clothing, and other household items
  • Monthly Ontario Drug Benefits card to cover prescribed medications
  • Help finding a job

Contact the Region of Waterloo Community Services to apply.

Employment insurance

You may be eligible for Employment Insurance (EI) if you have worked for a certain period in Canada. Employment insurance provides short-term financial help to unemployed Canadians while they look for work. Employment insurance can also provide benefits to people who are sick, pregnant of caring for a newborn or adopted children or caring for a seriously ill family member. You should apply for employment insurance as soon as you stop working.

Visit the Government of Canada for more information and to apply for Employment Insurance.

Tax credits and benefits

You may be eligible for tax credits or benefits from the government, such as:

  • Canada Child Benefit (CCB): Tax-free monthly payment to eligible families to help them with the cost of raising children under 18 years of age
  • GST/HST Credit: Tax-free quarterly payment that helps people with lower incomes to cover all or part of the federal or provincial sales taxes they pay
  • Working Income Tax Benefit: Refundable tax credit for individuals and families with lower incomes.

Help for students

The Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) offers grants and loans to eligible students.  It also provides information on other loans, grants, bursaries and scholarships. Private organizations also offer grants and loans to cover training or education.

Help for seniors

There are many programs that provide financial help to seniors. For some programs, you have to have paid into them as a worker in Canada to be eligible. These include:

Other financial help

Other financial assistance programs in in Ontario include: provides a list of local assistance programs.

Food assistance

There are a number of options to help you find affordable and healthy food. Food banks can typically give you free food supplies that last for two or three days.

View a list of emergency food programs in Waterloo Region and search for a list of local food assistance programs.

Visit to learn more about how to find low-cost, healthy food.


Kitchener-Waterloo Multicultural Centre

102 King Street W, Kitchener ON

YMCA Immigrant & Employment Services

800 King Street W, Kitchener ON
258 Hespeler Road, Cambridge ON

KW Phone: 519-579-9622

Cambridge Phone: 519-621-1621

Email YMCA Immigrant & Employment Services