Mr. Carre Successfully Defends Landmark Appeal for Ontario Works Benefits

Mr. Carré represented the Administrator, Ontario Works, City of Greater Sudbury in an appeal from Ms. G to the Divisional Court seeking entitlement to benefits under the Ontario Works Act.

The central issue under appeal was whether the grandmother had demonstrated a settled intention to treat the child as a child of her family. If so, the child is not eligible for benefits under the Ontario Works Program.

Ms. G was 16 years old and living with her grandmother at the time the initial decision was made that denied her benefits under the Act. The Act specifically states that a person under 18 years of age is not eligible for benefits under the Ontario Works Program if she lives with a “parent” and is not financially independent. Ms. G contested the finding of fact that her grandmother was her “parent” for the purposes of the Act. The court below made a finding of mixed law and fact that her grandmother was a “parent” as defined under the Act and that Ms. G was therefore financially dependent on her and was not eligible for benefits.

In finding that the grandmother had demonstrated a settled intention to treat Ms. G as a child of her family, the Tribunal considered a number of factors as set-out by the Supreme Court of Canada in Chartier v. Chartier, which included but were not limited to the following:

  • G lived with her grandmother for three (3) years before the hearing;
  • The grandmother bought her food and clothing; chose the grade school she attended; took care of her medical needs, including the administration of medicines; read her report cards and helped with her homework

The Divisional Court upheld the lower tribunal’s decision and dismissed the Appeal in its entirety. The full text of the decision can be found here.