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 – December 2019)

Collection period: January 2003 – December 2019


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

A new longitudinal analytical file is available featuring information on OSAD recipients and various annual income, tax and benefit data.

The available microdata contain de-identified client-level administrative information from the social assistance programs: Ontario Works (OW) and Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) for the period January 2003 to December 2019. The following tax-derived files are also available for the recipient population:

  • T1 Family File subset (1998 to 2019),
  • T4 Statement of Remuneration (1998 to 2019),
  • T4E Statement of Employment Insurance and Other Benefits (1998 to 2019), and
  • T5007 Statement of Benefits (1998 to 2019).

If required for approved analytical projects, subsequent linkage keys would allow mapping of the Ontario IA tax analytical file as described above to one other type of data source at a time among the following:

Census: 2016 Census of Population Long form
Employment: Record of Employment, Employment Insurance Status Vector
Immigration: Longitudinal Immigration Database
Health: Discharge Abstract Database, National Ambulatory Care Reporting System, Canadian Cancer Registry, Ontario Mental Health Reporting System Database, Vital Statistics – Death Database
Education: Postsecondary Student Information System, Registered Apprenticeship Information System

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