Ottawa’s Hand in Hand Program

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The Hand in Hand Program is a resource for City of Ottawa residents and their families who are on a tight budget. This resource encourages residents to take part in different cultural and recreational programs throughout Ottawa. Each member of the family can receive $165 per year toward a variety of programs offered at the Ottawa’s community centres. This includes, but is not limited to, programs such as sports, day camps, gymnastics, dance, first aid courses, and learning new languages. This resource is available to residents of all ages.

The application form can be picked up at any of the city’s community centres. The form is one page, front and back, and needs to be filled out and returned to the community centre with proof of income. People applying for the Hand in Hand Program need to fill out their names, a phone number, address, and date of birth for every member in the family. The family member applying for the program will sign and date the form. For proof of income, paperwork from many different sources can be provided, such as: Ontario Works, Ontario Disability Support, Child Care Subsidy, Guaranteed Income Supplement, Social Service Agency Referral, Child Tax Benefit form, T451E Notice of Assessment. If you are not sure what documents are needed, please contact the community centre and they can help you.

Once the form has been filled out and returned to the centre, a supervisor will review the application for approval and contact you. Once approved, the resource is good for all City of Ottawa programs and can be used from January to December of the current year. The application can be filled out at any time. Once a new year starts, the application form will need to be filled out again. If a parent or guardian does not wish to participate in any program they can transfer their portion to their child or children.

When signing up for a program, you should pay 25 percent of the fee. For example if you want to register for a cooking class that costs $100.00, you will be asked to pay $25.00, and the city will pay the other $75.00. That will leave you $90 left from the original $165 as a resource for another program or activity. If you want to use the Hand in Hand resource, you need to apply for it BEFORE signing up for a program.

For a list of all the programs, the City of Ottawa recreation guide is available online. Go to You can sign up for a program online or in person.

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