Important: Change to the way social assistance recipients access Ontario Drug Benefits

As we reported in our summer newsletter (page 6), the Ontario government is changing the way that people who receive OW, ODSP, and Assistance for Children with Severe Disabilities (ACSD) access their Ontario Drug Benefit (ODB) program benefits. The ODB program coverage is not changing.

Starting in September 2016, people who receive social assistance will be able to use their Ontario health card for their ODB benefits.

Beginning in the late fall of 2016, people who receive OW, ODSP and ACSD will no longer receive monthly drug eligibility cards.

People who are eligible for an Ontario health card but do not already have one, have not renewed their card or have lost it, should apply as soon as possible to get or replace their health card. Information about renewing or applying for an Ontario health card is at

Anyone who receives social assistance but who is not eligible for an Ontario health card needs to contact OW, ODSP or ACSD to ask to continue to receive a monthly drug card. Immigration status is a common reason why an ODSP or OW recipient would not be eligible for an Ontario health card. Canadian citizens, permanent residents, and accepted refugees are all eligible for an Ontario health card. People with other types of immigration status may not be eligible for an Ontario health card, for example: refused refugees, and, people who have applied for permanent residence on humanitarian and compassionate grounds whose applications have not yet received approval in principle. People living with HIV can contact us for free legal advice about immigration issues and eligibility for an Ontario health card.

You can find more information, including a poster and pamphlet, on these government websites:

If you are living with HIV in Ontario and have questions, please contact us for free legal advice.  

Ontario’s community legal clinics provide free legal services to people across Ontario. You can contact your local community legal clinic:

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