Working in the

The Year in Review

2018/2019 brought with it huge changes to the human services landscape in Ontario

Karen Milligan

Executive Director

2018/2019 brought with it huge changes to the human services landscape in Ontario – a new provincial government, combined ministries, changes to community programs by all levels of government, transformation of the health care system, impending changes to social assistance, to name a few.

Our team of professionals worked hard to update our database of services for our front-line Community Navigators, so that they could help make sense of the changes for Ontario residents who wanted to connect to services. 211 helped 300,000 Ontarians navigate the intersections between health, social, legal, government, housing and community services last year.

In addition, we continued our efforts to optimize the 211 system so that it can best support the needs of users in the future. In February, we launched 211 Chat and 211 Email service province-wide, increasing the accessibility of our services to current and potential users. We also improved access to 211 resource data through our work on a provincial API, and to our contact data through our work with the Rural Ontario Institute and municipal social service providers.

In collaboration with our Regional Service Partners and other key stakeholders, we developed a new funding allocation model for service delivery partners, a shared vision for the 211 system in Ontario, and an emerging shared governance model that will reflect the renewed commitment to working together as a system to serve residents and partners better. I am extremely proud of the work we have done together to achieve the best outcomes for the people we serve.

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How we help residents

We provide helpful information on community programs to navigate residents to the right supports so they can better manage their situation, including eligibility requirements, hours and accessibility of services and even transportation options. When appropriate, 211 also follows-up with callers or online users to ensure they are successful in connecting with the help they need.

Outcomes for 2019

211 Online


website sessions


social media impressions

Caller Satisfaction


calls made to 211


of callers surveyed would call 211 again


of callers were very satisfied with 211

Caller Outcomes


of callers followed up on the referral provided


of callers felt they were better prepared


feel getting help from a program or service improved their health

Business Intelligence Interactive Report
on Why People Call 211

  • Our Business Intelligence Interactive Report provides information on 211’s Contact Data. This is information collected by 211 Community Navigators about those who contact 211 for assistance. It covers what services 211 provided referrals to and high level demographics when it was possible to capture that information.
  • New this year…we are pleased to launch our live 211 Needs dashboard that will be updated regularly and publicly available through our website. Explore the needs in your community as well as at a provincial level.
  • This report is available in English only.
  • To view the Business Intelligence Dashboard at full size, click here.

NOTE: The number of needs identified is lower than the number of calls to 211, as we do not currently collect information from (track) 100% of our calls. The percentage of calls tracked is 85%, and includes all calls related to priority issues and basic needs.

211 Central East Navigators

Skilled in Complex Systems

A family who was being evicted called 211 for support to find permanent housing. The emergency housing system did not have a location that would allow their children to continue attending school. 211 Navigators helped advocate for a place for them to stay temporarily, then 211 then worked with the emergency housing system which set up a new place in a location that hadn’t had emergency housing before. For two months 211 Navigators worked with other providers to advocate for permanent housing for the family and helped connect them to discretionary funds and transportation options.

Our partners in the intersection

There are dozens of partners behind the service who play an important role in the success of the 211 system. They help us deliver greater impact by staying current about community changes, by sharing the database of information for initiatives and research and building awareness of 211 locally.

09 Legal Services & Public
Safety Partnerships

05 Mental Health

13 Health

06 Seniors’ Partnerships

04 Newcomer Partnerships

07 Youth Partnerships

08 Community Partnerships

44 Emergency Management Partnerships

08 Financial & Income Assistance Partnerships

02 Food Security Partnerships

05 Housing Partnerships

Partnership Profile


The Analyzing 211 Rural Unmet Needs study provided program developers and policy makers in the provincial, municipal and non-profit sector with an analysis of 211 data to gain perspective on how the data might be leveraged to improve the delivery of programs and services, especially in the rural context. They tested a series of research questions and a variety of hypothesis.

Growing Awareness about 211

Helping people discover and remember 211 when they need help is an ongoing challenge. We rely a lot on our ambassadors and partners to grow awareness about 211 locally and integrate it into protocols and solutions that meet the community’s needs, such as reducing non emergency calls to 911 or raising awareness about utility bill emergency relief programs.

Charting a Future Course

The past year has been both an exciting and challenging one for Ontario 211 Services.

Jim Alexander


Our Board of Directors and staff focused on imagining the future for 211 in Ontario, from revising our funding allocation process, to developing a shared vision for 211, to engaging with partners around the future of data sharing in Ontario.

We have asked and answered some tough questions about how to best serve the people of Ontario to improve connections to service.

As I prepare to step down from the Board after a decade, I reflect on how far the 211 system and service has come since launching in Toronto in 2002. I am proud of the work we have done together and the progress we have made in transforming the 211 system to meet the ever-changing needs of Ontarians. Thank you to our funders – Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services, United Ways and municipalities – as well as our service delivery partners, for continuing to support and work with us to achieve greater impact.

The world around us is changing…and our organization is working with our partners to consider how we can collectively meet the future needs of people in Ontario. We will continue to pursue opportunities to further integrate service, to increase access through new and improved channels, and to reduce duplication across the human services system. And we will continue to improve awareness of the 211 service with those who may need it most.

I am honoured to have been a Board member and Board Chair with Ontario 211 Services and am confident as I step away that the organization is in good hands. The future is bright for 211 in Ontario, and I look forward to seeing the impact it has in the years to come.

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Financial Highlights

While there are many sources of support for the 211 service across the province, the numbers below represent the sources of revenue and associated expenses for Ontario 211 Services. We continued to benefit from funding from the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services, Good2Talk, and local United Ways for important projects. We received new funding from the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration, and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers in this fiscal year. Pure administration cost represents less than 4% of total expenses, while more than 90% of our budget allocated to direct service delivery or associated program and infrastructure investments.



  • Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services 81.29%
  • Projects 9.36%
  • United Way of Canada 9.21%
  • United Way of Worldwide 0.10%
  • Other 0.04%



  • Service Delivery 75.11%
  • Consulting 10.22%
  • Salaries & Management Services 8.29%
  • Administrative 2.91%
  • Marketing & Communications 2.37%
  • Non Recoverable HST 0.77%
  • Governance & System Development 0.28%
  • Amortization of Capital Assets 0.04%


Learn More About 211

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Contributors to Ontario 211 Services

Ontario 211 Services receives financial support from municipal and provincial governments, from local United Way organizations, and from private sector funders.

drawing of a woman holding a child


211 Ontario has partnered with several organizations to improve access to community and social services across Ontario.

drawing of a middle aged woman

Board of Directors

Learn more about our board of directors who volunteer their time to provide strategic direction and oversight to Ontario 211 Services.

Our Callers

Callers to 211 need help finding and navigating services in Ontario. Here are some of our caller stories.