Partnerships 2020-2021

From the simplicity of the three-digit number, to the comprehensive database of human services, to the expertise and professionalism of 211 Information & Referral Specialists, community and government partners are leveraging 211 to enhance access to information and services for their residents.

Read on to explore innovative examples of this collaboration at a local, regional and provincial level.

If you are interested in how you can leverage 211 for the benefit of your community or initiative, please contact Karen Milligan, Executive Director at Ontario 211 Services.

Partnerships 2019-2020

213 Partnership Across Ontario

Partnerships include a variety of relationships or work in Ontario’s communities. These partnerships range from pilot projects, launched projects, advisory committees and protocols to be implemented in the event of a community emergency. These could range for providing specialized phone services, data sharing arrangements or online portals.

Legal Services and Public Safety Partnerships

  1. Ministry of Attorney General Chat
  2. Violence Prevention Grey Bruce
  3. Victim Support Line
  4. Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse
  5. Toronto Police Services
  6. Toronto Counter Human Trafficking Network
  7. Anti-Black Racism Unit – City of Toronto
  8. Durham Human Trafficking Coalition
  9. Incident Reporting & Referral Service -Racism Reporting – City of TBay
  10. Mino-Bimaadiziwin Women’s Safety Circle
  11. Connecting Ottawa
  12. Ottawa Coalition to End Human Trafficking
  13. ReportON
  14. Municipal Safety Plans
  15. Independent Legal Advice for Sexual Assault Victims (ILA)
  16. Region of Peel Intimate Partner Violence Network
  17. #HereToHelpGB
  18. Ottawa Police Services
  19. Northwest Community Legal Clinic
  20. PLEO
  21. Vesta Social Innovation Technologies
  22. Centre for Research & Education on Violence Against Women & Children

Mental Health Partnerships

  1. Good2Talk
  2. Ontario Psychological Association
  3. Wellesley Institute
  4. Overdose Prevention and Education Network
  5. Mental Health and Addictions Transformation Table
  6. 24/7 Mental Health Crisis Line for Children and Youth (Muskoka, Parry Sound, Nipissing)
  7. Common Point for Mental Health and Addictions, Children, Youth & Adults – (Simcoe Muskoka)
  8. Child, Youth & Family Services Coalition, Mental Health Services Pathway Protocol (Simcoe County)
  9. Central Access – coordinated withdrawal management service in Toronto
  10. Toronto Hoarding Support
  11. Alpha Court
  12. City of Toronto Mental Health Community Table
  13. Niagara Mental Health and Addictions Working Group
  14. North BEAT Collaborative

Health Partnerships

  1. Autism Ontario
  2. Black Health Alliance
  3. University Health Network
  4. United Way Hamilton/Halton
  5. How’s My Flattening
  6. Covid Pandemic Reporting Response
  7. Health Care Closed-Loop Referrals – 9 Family Health Teams and 3 hospitals in local regions
  8. Peterborough Paramedics 211-911, What is the Urgency in your Emergency Campaign
  9. Couchiching Ontario Health Team
  10. South Georgian Bay Ontario Health Team
  11. Mental Health Response Unit South Georgian Bay
  12. Collaboration with Health Unit
  13. Simcoe County Community Paramedicine Steering Committee
  14. Couchiching Clinical Redesign Task Group
  15. Muskoka Ontario Health Team
  16. Closed-Loop Referrals from Paramedics in Grey County, Simcoe County
  17. Bruce Grey Public Health: Report a Drug
  18. York Paramedics
  19. Surrey Place Developmental Services Ontario
  20. Surrey Place, Child, Youth and Infancy and Autism Services
  21. Toronto Child and Family Network
  22. South Riverdale Community Health Centre – ToRCH
  23. Toronto Local Health Integration Network
  24. Niagara Poverty Reduction Network
  25. Simcoe County Poverty Reduction Task Force
  26. Niagara EMS 211 Prescription Referrals
  27. East York North Durham, OHT
  28. Local Innovation Partnership Advisory – Access to Resources in the Community
  29. Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN)
  30. Arnprior Health Hub (AHH), LHIN
  31. Ontario Caregiver Organization
  32. Ottawa Public Health (Ottawa COVID-19 Vaccination Transportation Coalition)
  33. Service Coordination Support for People with Developmental Disabilities
  34. Champlain LHIN / Home and Community Care Support Services Champlain
  35. COVID-19 Emergency Needs during quarantine – Cochrane District SSAB
  36. North West Local Health Integration Network
  37. Tracing COVID-19 Data Research Project, Carleton University
  38. London Health Sciences Centre
  39. Region of Peel Health Services
  40. Toronto Public Health
  41. Dalla Lana School of Public Health – University of Toronto
  42. Clinia
  43. Infectious Disease Working Group
  44. 4S Consulting Services

Seniors Partnerships

  1. Community Support Delivery Program
  2. Emergency Response Support for Seniors
  3. Toronto Seniors Accountability Table
  4. Employment and Social Development Canada: Seniors Social Prescribing Collective Impact Project
  5. Home for Life
  6. Seniors Strategy Accountability Table
  7. Age Friendly Network Niagara
  8. Council on Aging Ottawa
  9. Caregiver Support Committee
  10. Age Friendly Provincial Network
  11. Age Friendly Thunder Bay
  12. Seniors resource data for helplines
  13. South Georgian Bay Older Adult’s Activity Calendar
  14. UJA Federation of Greater Toronto

Newcomer Partnerships

  1. Make Bruce Grey Home Newcomer Hub Online Directory
  2. OCASI
  3. Niagara Local Immigration Partnership
  4. Windsor Essex Immigration Partnership
  5. Ottawa Community Immigrant Services Organization

Youth Partnerships

  1. Grey Bruce Children’s Alliance Online Directories
  2. Child, Youth and Family Services Coalition Online Directories, Simcoe County
  3. YouthRex
  4. Youth Strategy Group, Niagara School Boards
  5. United Way Supplies 4 Students
  6. Sharing in Student Success
  7. Youth Empower Youth Project
  8. Big Brothers Big Sisters Canada
  9. Youth TO

Community Partnerships

  1. Community Support Delivery Program
  2. CUPW
  3. Lyft Ride Share for Employment
  4. Oneida on the Thames/Yeyatase – Services for Indigenous Women & Girls
  5. Bruce Grey United Way, Utility Assistance
  6. Bruce Grey United Way, Backpack program
  7. Covid Community Response Table
  8. Community Transportation Link – Simcoe County
  9. Simcoe County GIS Interactive mapping
  10. Peterborough GIS Interactive Mapping
  11. Northumberland GIS Interactive Mapping
  12. United Way of Simcoe Muskoka: Community Impact Standing Committee
  13. Post Emergency Long-Term Assistance Partners in Grey Bruce
  14. City of Peterborough: GIS Interactive mapping
  15. South Georgian Bay Community Roundtable
  16. Coordinating Table for the Toronto Community Coordination Plan (Covid19)
  17. Oxford County Supplies for Students
  18. Volunteer Connection
  19. City of Toronto
  20. Toronto Nonprofit Network
  21. Toronto Aboriginal Social Services Association
  22. City Wide Agency Network
  23. Toronto and York Labour Council
  24. Waterloo Region Community Resource Data
  25. Sarnia/Chatham Kent Community Resource Data
  26. Thunder Bay Indigenous Friendship Centre
  27. Thunder Bay Crime Prevention Council
  28. Thunder Bay Drug Strategy –City of TBay
  29. Poverty Free Thunder Bay
  30. Toy Mountain
  31. Christmas Exchange
  32. Human needs task Force-City of Ottawa
  33. United Way KFLA Emergency Roundtable
  34. United Way Eastern Ontario Response table
  35. Ontario Nonprofit Network
  36. Social Service Advisory Council of the City of Ottawa
  37. Ottawa Community Foundation
  38. United Ways of Eastern Ontario (UWEO, UWKFL&A, UWL&G, UWH&PE)
  39. Graffiti Guard City of Thunder Bay
  40. Friendly Neighbour Hotline
  41. Urban Alliance on Race Relations
  42. City of Toronto Community Development
  43. Region of Peel Community Partnerships
  44. Toronto Aboriginal Support Services Council
  45. Endeavour Volunteer Consulting for Non-Profits
  46. United Way of Greater Toronto
  47. Tamarack Institute for Community Engagement
  48. Ontario Digital Services

Emergency Management Partnerships

  1. 211 Central East: Communications Protocols – 31 municipalities
  2. Simcoe Emergency Response Committee
  3. Simcoe Muskoka Vulnerable Populations Emergency Notification and Planning Committee
  4. Essex County Regional Emergency Management Planning
  5. Thames Valley Emergency Management
  6. Niagara Emergency Communications Network
  7. Alert Waterloo Region
  8. Emergency Management Partnerships in Northern Ontario
  9. Protocols with Several Municipalities in South West Ontario
  10. Urgent Response Council of Stormont Dundas Glengarry
  11. Emergency Management Partnerships with 11 towns/municipalities in Eastern Ontario
  12. Durham Region Emergency Office Information
  13. Emergency Risk Communicator Network (ERCoN)
  14. Emergency protocols (throughout Eastern Ontario)
  15. Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management – Amethyst Sector

Financial & Income Assistance Partnerships

  1. Urgent Needs Discretionary Fund, Simcoe County
  2. Windsor-Essex Covid Care Coalition
  3. Community Income Tax Clinic Scheduling Support
  4. Phones for Families
  5. Community Volunteer Income Tax Program
  6. Prosper Canada
  7. People with Lived Experience Advisory Committee
  8. Living Wage Campaign
  9. Poverty Reduction Strategy
  10. Ontario Energy Support Program
  11. Low Energy Assistance Program – LEAP
  12. Niagara Region Income Tax Clinics – Centralized Booking Pilot

Food Security Partnerships

  1. Feed Ontario
  2. Food in Simcoe County Online Directory
  3. Central East Region Free and Low-cost Meals Calendars
  4. Food Security Framework
  5. Food in Northumberland Online Directory
  6. Niagara Food Security Network
  7. Regional Food Distribution Association
  8. Thunder Bay Food Strategy – City of TBay
  9. Good Food Box Program
  10. Second Harvey Food Rescue
  11. Just Food Ottawa
  12. Anti-Hunger Coalition Timmins

Housing Partnerships

  1. Advocacy Centre for Tenants of Ontario
  2. Homeless Navigation – Simcoe County
  3. Out of the Cold Collingwood
  4. Reaching Home – Simcoe County Coordinated Access and By-name List
  5. Simcoe County Alliance to End Homelessness
  6. County of Simcoe Homeless Navigation
  7. Built for Zero Simcoe County
  8. YES – Peterborough Youth Homeless Navigation
  9. Connected Core: Regional Chatbot To Assist People Impacted by Homelessness
  10. No Wrong Door: Niagara Region Housing Providers
  11. Out of the Cold Program – Grace Place
  12. Reaching Home – Service Canada – Community Entity
  13. Reaching Home – Service Canada – Coordinated Housing Access Table
  14. Reaching Home – Service Canada – Point in Time Count
  15. Alliance to End Homelessness Ottawa
  16. Ample Labs/Chalmers Bot
  17. Yonge Street Mission
  18. House of Friendship


211 HELPLINE RELIEVES PRESSURE ON COUNTY HEALTH UNIT PHONE LINES: Throughout the pandemic, public health guidelines and information about COVID-19 was ever-changing. 211 collaborated with local public health agencies to assist with community COVID-19 response.

For example, in order to allow public health staff to focus on health-related questions, 211 was engaged in London-Middlesex last March to become a source they could point to for general COVID-19 information. In Windsor-Essex, a region hard hit by the pandemic, the public health unit was overwhelmed with calls for general information. 211 was happy to help the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU) address a backlog of over 500 voicemail inquiries, and become the local source for general information. WECHU updated their phone systems to flow general COVID-19 related inquiries directly to the 211 team for response. 211 Navigators answered hundreds of calls each week, allowing the WECHU to focus on priority health-related inquiries.

Toronto’s front door to mental health support: When the City of Toronto launched a new mental health strategy to support people made vulnerable by COVID-19, 211 was called upon to be the front door to primary mental health service providers. This provided residents improved access and connection to services and mental health supports in the city. The arrangement helped increased visibility for the 211 service in Toronto as Mayor John Tory made mention of the helpline frequently in interviews and press conferences.

Food Access in Thunder Bay: Due to COVID-19 concerns, all Regional Food Distribution Association food banks consolidated into one centralized food bank with help from the Salvation Army. The 211 system was instrumental in the success of this move. 211 registered more than 1,500 callers and 450 home delivery hampers for shut-in seniors. In addition, 211 Community Navigators were able to make other referrals as required based on the needs assessment of individuals and families in crisis.

Windsor-Essex Food Insecurity COVID Emergency Response: With the emergence of the COVID pandemic in March, many Windsor-Essex food banks were closing, others experienced food shortages, an increase in demand for food support, and had to adapt to new models of service delivery. In response to this emergency, the United Way Centraide Windsor-Essex spearheaded a Food Security Response Group as part of the Windsor-Essex COVID Care Coalition. One of the strategic outcomes was the establishment of a short-term emergency Food Help Line to register applicants to access new services including centralized drive-thru food hubs, food hampers, meal and grocery delivery services, and gift card distribution.

During this initial phase, 211 expertise was leveraged to develop call flow processes and scripting for this temporary emergency helpline. In early June, the second phase of the strategy was implemented, and the services of the emergency Food Help Line were re-integrated back to 211. From March through to August over 5,200 inquiries regarding food security were received in Windsor-Essex and thousands of children and adults received much needed food support.

Helping seniors connect to support in the Niagara region: 211 partnered with United Way Niagara, Niagara Region, and Community Support Services of Niagara to ensure seniors in the region had access to information about the supports and services available to them. The partnership was announced through a press release, and posters containing the details and information directing people to 211 were disseminated via email and made available on each partner’s website.

United Way Simcoe Muskoka Urgent Needs Fund: Recognizing the urgent needs that arose once the pandemic hit, United Way Simcoe Muskoka created an urgent needs fund which offered emergency financial assistance through prompt, one-time grants to address basic needs such as groceries, clothing, transportation, health and wellness expenses and more. A collaborative leadership model determined how requests would be screened, what program indicators would be tracked and reported and where clients would access the funds. 211 managed assessment, screening, and intake, and created and managed online tools for tracking and reporting so the group could monitor the project in real time.

RENFREW COUNTY VIRTUAL TRIAGE AND ASSESSMENT CENTRE: As Renfrew County grappled with the reality of the pandemic, plans were quickly established that would strengthen access to primary care for all residents while offering a virtual system that would protect 9-1-1 resources and emergency departments.

With the help of 211’s established phone system, the Renfrew County Virtual Triage and Assessment Centre (RC VTAC) was developed – a collaboration between Renfrew County Primary Care teams, the County of Renfrew Paramedic Service, Renfrew County Hospitals, and the Renfrew County and District Health Unit.

This partnership helped RC VTAC to continue to deliver the right care at the right time while avoiding unnecessary use of 911 resources and emergency departments. 211 continues to connect Renfrew County residents with other critical social services through this pandemic including food access, mental health supports, and financial assistance programs.

Brantford-Brant: During the pandemic, seniors in the Brantford-Brant region had a new way to combat social isolation through BuzzMe. Funded by the United Way, and launched in partnership with 211, BuzzMe was a call centre that connected seniors to caring volunteers who were trained to engage in a warm and relaxing manner, creating opportunities for meaningful connection at a time when so many were missing it.

Supporting those displaced by the Red Lake Forest Fire: In August 2020, nearly all 4,000 residents of Red Lake, Ontario were forced to evacuate their homes as an uncontrolled forest fire pushed closer to the remote community. 211 was activated to assist in tracking both those that left the community and those who remained. As such, 211 was advertised by the municipality as the number to call for general information, evacuation registration, and assistance.

#HowsMyFlattening: A group of expert physicians, medical students, computational health researchers, designers, and epidemiologists have joined forces to fight the spread of COVID-19 with the help of information. #HowsMyFlattening connected experts and presented data in an easy-to-digest, actionable way to help decision makers act decisively with the help of emerging evidence throughout the pandemic. Through the website, the group identified the most useful data available and put it in one place. A group of more than 150 experts worked to gather and analyze the data then share ideas on how to slow the spread of the virus. One of the data sets the group was watching was 211 Ontario’s public dashboard.