211 FAQ

What is 211?

211 is an award-winning helpline and online searchable database that connects you to information and referrals for community, government, and health services serving your community. Dial 211 to reach the 211 helpline.

How can I access 211?


Call: 2-1-1
Toll-free: 1-877-330-3213
TTY: 1-888-340-1001

211 Live Chat: https://211ontario.ca/chat/

*Live chat service is available Monday to Friday from 7am-9pm ET. 

You can also search 211 directly from our website by using the search form below: 

When is 211 open?

211 phone service and online search are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Chat and email hours are 7am – 9pm Monday to Friday.

Who can use 211?

Everyone! There is no age, income, gender or any other eligibility requirement. 211 is available across Ontario.

Why would I call 211?

211 is an information and referral service that can help you find relevant information and programs to help you in your caregiving role and navigate your options for yourself and loved ones.

The 211 helpline can refer you to supports for your circumstances that are available locally. They know navigating services can be hard and asking for help isn’t easy. 211 Specialists are knowledgeable, provide a human touch, and can help you advocate for the services you need.

You may have heard about a support but get frustrated finding it in your community or are confused about the information online. We can help you navigate the services that exist.

  • Am I eligible for free or reduced fees from an agency?
  • I don’t even know what options exist?
  • Can a service come to my home?
  • Do I have to drive to a program?
  • Is there transportation for a loved one to a program?
  • What are the eligibility criteria for a service?
  • How do I apply for a service?
  • Can I refer myself or do I need a referral from a professional?
  • Can I find an agency with help in my first language?

Does 211 provide front line care to caregivers?

No, 211 is an information and referral service. Many of the specialists have social work backgrounds and understand how complicated finding help can be. They are certified by a professional association, and the contact centres are accredited. 211 Specialists are happy to help you speak with an agency through a three-way call if you feel frustrated.

What can I expect when I call 211?

When you call 211 you will initially be greeted by a recording asking if you want service in French or English. You will then be given the choice to participate in a survey to help improve the 211 service. The survey is completely optional and you can change your mind at any time. Your call will then be answered by the next available specialist.

The specialist will introduce themselves and ask you a few questions in order to understand your unique needs. The questions will help them find the most suitable service particularly concerning eligibility, location and type of service.

How much information do I need to give 211?

The specialist will ask about your location – your postal code is the most useful. You will not be asked for any ‘official’ identification like a health card, or driver’s licence etc.

The information you provide is confidential and is used to help determine what resources may be most helpful for you. However, share only what you are comfortable providing.

How much does it cost to use 211?

211 is free to use – from any land line, or through our online channels!

If you are using a cell phone it will depend on your plan. If your cell phone carrier charges you for calls there may be a fee, and the call might use your minutes.

Can I use 211 if English isn’t my first language?

Yes, the 211 phone helpline can provide interpretation in up to 150 languages. Just ask for the language you want to speak in and hold while an interpreter is brought on the line. Chat and email are available in French and English only.

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