About 211 North

211 Ontario North

The Lakehead Social Planning Council in Thunder Bay operates 211 North as one of 6 provincial regional partners, through its accredited Community Information & Referral Centre. In 2008, 211 North began rolling out the 211 service across Northern Ontario.

  • 2008 City of Thunder Bay & District;
  • 2009 Algoma District;
  • 2010 Districts of Rainy River and Kenora;
  • 2011 Districts of Timiskaming, Nipissing, Sudbury, Cochrane, and Manitoulin

The backbone of 211 Ontario North is the Lakehead Social Planning Council’s, Community Information & Referral Centre (CIRC). The CIRC has been operational since 1983 and provides walk-in (in-person) information & referral services in our fully accessible store front office, conveniently located in Victoriaville Centre in Thunder Bay.   

The CIRC/211 North is fully accredited by the Alliance of Information & Referral Systems (AIRS). AIRS is the professional membership association for community Information and Referral (I&R). AIRS is the driving force behind the delivery of quality I&R services and the sole source for standards, program accreditation and practitioner certification for the I&R sector.

All CIRC/211 North Specialists hold one or both of the AIRS certifications.

Ontario 211 Services

211 is available to 100% of Ontarians and is provided by a network of 6 Regional Service Providers with contact centres located in Thunder Bay, Toronto, Windsor, Ottawa, St. Catharines, and Collingwood.

211 in Ontario is governed by Ontario 211 Services, a non-profit agency, that provides strategic direction, oversight and is the transfer payment agency for the Ontario Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services. To learn more about 211 in Ontario, including the history of 211 in Ontario and Canada visit our provincial website.

211 Ontario’s Vision

The vision for 211 Ontario is consistent with the vision for 211 in Canada – to be the primary source of information and gateway to human services for individuals and planners.

What this means for individuals, their family members, neighbours, friends & colleagues who are looking for help is that 211 is a number they know and trust to provide the right resources, the first time. 211 will help people connect to their communities and maintain a good quality of life.

For community and government agencies, 211 will be a trusted resource to help them find services for their clients, and to receive qualitative caller needs data that provide additional insight about the needs in the community.

For emergency responders and emergency managers, 211 will provide a channel for authoritative information to the public regarding non-urgent needs and services, allowing them to focus their resources on their core mandate.

Finally, for government planners and other decision-makers, 211 will provide rich data about caller/user needs that will help inform their investment and policy decisions regarding social, health and government services.

Who funds 211?

The Province of Ontario represents the most significant portion of funding for the provincial 211 system.  The Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services understands the need for improving access to information and service navigation for Ontario’s residents.  We are grateful for their ongoing operational support for the delivery of 211 service across Ontario, as well as additional support for system infrastructure and specialty services that leverage the expertise of 211 resources.


As a founding partner in the 211 service, United Ways across the province contribute not only their dollars, but their time and expertise to help develop the system, and build awareness for the service at a community level. United Way Centraide Canada continues to support the development of the 211 system across Canada, from resource development to system planning, to brand leadership and political advocacy. Thank you to the Northern United Ways: United Way of Thunder Bay, United Way of Sault Ste. Marie and the United Way Centraide North Eastern Ontario.

Many municipalities across Ontario are strong supporters of the 211 system – contributing dollars directly to Ontario 211 Services, or to one of our 211 Regional Service Providers. 211 is becoming recognized in many communities as a critical resource and support for their residents, and for their own operations.

211 is often involved with local organizations or governments in providing access to specialized services, or to priority populations. From mental health, to poverty reduction and homelessness, to utility assistance or assistive devices, our 211 Community Resource Specialists and resource data are being leveraged by others to create efficient and effective service delivery models. There are dozens of these partnerships in place at a local and regional level.