February 11 is 2-1-1 Day. It is also a good time to remember that you can easily connect to the right community and social services by dialing 2-1-1.
“This winter, the bulk of our calls have been for referrals to financial support programs, such as utility support,” said Marie-Andrée Carrière, executive director of Ottawa’s Community Information Centre. “It is actually quite typical for us to see a spike in calls for financial support during these colder, harder months.”
Callers to 2-1-1, and visitors to 211Ontario.ca, can access information about utility assistance to help foot heating and other types of bills. They can also access food banks, school supplies, non-emergency medical transportation, free tax services (for low income residents) and immigration support.
“We’re also receiving a lot of calls from people looking for flu shots, walk-in clinics, and how to find a doctor,” says Carrière. “We’re happy to help people who don’t know where to turn.”
2-1-1 is also the number to dial to report elder abuse, get Alzheimer support, and to access counselling, housing info and social programming. The 211 service is free, confidential and available in English, French and 150 additional languages—24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Since launching 2-1-1 in 2008, 211 Eastern Ontario has answered more than 200,000 calls. The service receives about 4,500 calls a month.
“Our goal is to become as ubiquitous as 911, 411 and 311,” says Carrière.
In 2001, the Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission assigned 211 for toll-free information and referral to community, social, health and government services. Ottawa’s 211 was introduced in 2008 under the leadership of United Way Ottawa.
About 211 Eastern Ontario (@211EasternON)
The Community Information Centre of Ottawa (CICO) is the organization responsible for delivering the 211 services in Eastern Ontario.
211 Eastern Ontario provides information and referral services to community, health and social programs in Ottawa, the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville, Renfrew County, the City of Kingston, Frontenac County, Lennox and Addington County, Lanark County, the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry, Hastings County, Prince Edward County, and Prescott-Russell United Counties.