Community Information Centre of Ottawa

...a free bilingual service linking Eastern Ontario citizens with community resources
211 Ontario Link



City of Ottawa

Launch Date: September 2008

Our role in the community:

Connect people through multilingual mediated access to community, social, health and government services in their community. In partnership with local United Way's.

Success Stories:

Health and Financial Assistance

We received a call from a mother whose infant was just diagnosed with a serious allergy. In order for her baby to receive the proper nutritional supplements, the mother was told by nutritionists that she would need to give him a specific nutritional supplement formula. The cost of the formula was much too high for the family and even though the mother was able to find a better price estimate, it was still beyond the price range they could afford. Out of concern for her child’s well being and development, she turned to 211 for advice and support. After doing some research, I was able to link the client with two different financial assistance programs which help individuals and parents cover some of the extra costs associated to such diagnoses, as well as a charity which assists children when no other source of funding is available to cover the costs associated to essential necessities. I was also able to provide the client with information on a support group for individuals and families affected by particular types of allergies, based in Ottawa, as well as a an organization which works to promote healthy living for those living with allergies and also promotes awareness and works on community initiatives. The caller started searching on their website right away, and thanked me for my efforts in finding programs that can assist her and her family.


We received a call from a man who had recently broken some bones and was off work and not yet receiving Employment Insurance. He had two primary concerns: he needed to see a doctor and he needed food. He was unable to walk to his regional food bank because of the medication he was taking. To further complicate matters, OC Transpo was on strike and he did not have any other means of transportation. We contacted the main food bank to inquire about delivery services in emergency situations. It was suggested that the caller call the regional food bank to see if they had any volunteer drivers available to deliver the food. We also invited him to explore the possibilities of receiving assistance from a meals-on-wheels program, since he was going to be out of commission for quite some time due to his injury. The next pressing matter was that he needed to see a doctor because of the pain he was experiencing. We located a home visiting medical service which offers referrals to private independent doctors who can offer non-emergency medical house calls. The caller was amazed that this type of service existed and was extremely grateful for our assistance. He said he will definitely call 211 again!


We received a call from a parent whose child was currently at an area hospital and the child, accompanied by a family member. The child and the family member at the hospital were ready to come home and needed transportation. The parent did not have the means to pay for a taxi and there were no friends or family members that could help. We contacted 3-1-1, the after hours line for the Employment and Financial Assistance branch of the City of Ottawa, to see if anything could be done for the client who was an Ontario Works recipient. With the caller’s permission, we provided the worker with the client’s name and phone number. The worker informed us that in this type of situation they could definitely provide a taxi free of charge for the client and they informed me that they would contact her right away. The family was able to make it home safely.

Newcomer success story

A client called 2-1-1 one evening and asked if there were available resources for English as a Second Language classes in Ottawa. I provided her with a number of options, including a language assessment centre for newcomers. The client told me that she was working to help a group of newcomers settle into Ottawa. I informed her that 211 is multilingual, available in over 150 languages and operational seven days a week. The client was delighted. She said she had been in Canada for 15 years and had always been hoping for a service like the 211. She said she often had questions about different services in Ottawa and had experienced difficulty finding the right answers in the past. She assured me that from now on, she would be dialling 2-1-1 and encouraging others to do the same.