The Ontario Social Assistance Database (OSAD)


The Ontario Social Assistance Database (OSAD) contains client-level administrative data that supports the administration of the two social assistance programs in Ontario—the Ontario Works program and the Ontario Disability Support Program. The OSAD is a comprehensive source of income support data on the Ontario social assistance client population and contains information used to determine eligibility for social assistance, benefits amounts, duration on social assistance as well as characteristics of this client population. The database is managed by Statistics Canada on behalf of the Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services.

The OSAD was created as part of a pilot project that is in line with the Ontario Open Government initiative that is working towards creating an open and transparent government; in particular, supports efforts to:

  • explore opportunities to improve access to Ontario social assistance data by the research and academic community;
  • obtain relevant research to support evidence-based policy decisions and program development; and,
  • improve engagement with the academic community.

The OSAD will enable conducting a broad range of analyses including understanding of disability, incentives to work and employment outcomes, understanding potential effects of social assistance on various demographic sub-groups as well as examining long-term dependency on social assistance.

Reference period: Monthly data (January 2003 – October 2014)

Collection period: January 2003 – October 2014


  • Welfare programs
  • Population and demography
  • Labour market and income
  • Education, training and skills
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