A slang Ontario (Canada) term for Employment insurance (formerly called "Unemployment insurance"), a form of social welfare (called 'the dole' in the UK). Workers are taxed a small amount each paycheck, which goes into a government fund. The funds are then used to provide temporary relief to the unemployed. Certain conditions must be met (actively looking for work, etc.)
The term is probably derived from the earlier 'poorhouse' sense of the word.