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.

Provincial Partnerships

Alzheimer Society of Ontario – Finding Your Way

The Alzheimer Society of Ontario recently launched the Finding Your Way program, aimed at improving the safety of seniors with dementia by reducing the risk of wandering. The program provides concrete tools for caregivers and for people in the community who interact with seniors, to ensure the best outcomes in the event of a wandering incident.

Promotion of 211 as the number to call to reach the local branch of the Alzheimer Society can be found on all Finding Your Way materials. The simplicity of the three-digit number (2-1-1) makes it easier to access help when it is needed most.

Green Shield Canada: Opening Doors to Better Health

Through their Front Line Care strategy, Green Shield Canada has invested $1M over three years to help build 211’s capacity to “open doors to better health” by connecting Canadians to programs and services that address the social determinants of health. Ontario 211 Services is the lead partner in the project, working closely with United Way Canada and Findhelp Information Services, as well as all of the 211 Service Partners in Ontario and in the rest of Canada. Last year, the project team completed pilot work around the follow-up process for vulnerable callers, tracking of caller needs and unmet needs for low-income residents, and building awareness of 211’s capacity within the agency sectors that deal with low-income Canadians. Work has also begun to embed the pilot recommendations into our every day processes for call handling, beginning in Ontario and sharing out to the rest of Canada within the next year. We are grateful for the generous support of Green Shield in this important work.

Good2Talk – 211 Becomes Front Door to Service

Good2Talk is a post-secondary mental health helpline for Ontario students who are struggling with mental health issues. The service provides 24/7 support, including access to professional counsellors or specialized information and referral to mental health and addictions programs. Funded by Ontario’s Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development, the service is well-used by students with more than 40,000 calls handled since its launch. In January of 2016, 211 became the front door for Good2Talk by answering the 1-800 line and directing callers to Kids Help Phone for counselling or to ConnexOntario for specialized information and referral. Ontario’s Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Health continues to oversee program evaluation – and the feedback thus far has been very positive.

211 and DSO Toronto Region – Call Centre Integration

211 has partnered with Surrey Place in Toronto to integrate the Developmental Services Ontario (DSO) Toronto Region support line with 211’s helpline in an effort to improve service for families who need developmental, caregiver or other support services. In the Fall of 2015, our 211 Central Region contact centre began to answer the first call to DSO Toronto’s office and flowing to them only those clients who require, and are eligible for, DS services. To date, feedback from DSO staff and clients has been positive. Many appreciate the ability to speak with a live voice 24/7 that can explain what is available, and if eligible, connect them to a DSO case-worker for program support.

The model is working well in the Toronto region, and work is underway to expand the program to other parts of Ontario.

Regional Partnerships – Powering Community Initiatives


Facilitating access to health services and health promotion


Connecting seniors and people with disabilities to care in the community


Connecting low-income people with financial and housing supports


Facilitating access to justice and services for priority populations


Contributing 211 data to research and community development initiatives


Helping new immigrants access settlement services


Helping aboriginal people access services


Facilitating access to employment and education supports

To leverage 211 for the benefit of your community or initiative, contact:

Karen Milligan

Executive Director, Ontario 211 Services