When to call 211, 311 or 911 to get help – know the difference!


We’re lucky to have lots of information at our fingertips.   It’s often as simple as dialing 3 digits on your telephone.   We’ve listed 3 of the most common and important help lines you can access in Toronto.  All three are free to call

Call 211

Dialing 211 from you phone will open the doors to slew of Information and it’s also a referral helpline to community, social, government and health services. 211 is the source Canadians trust when seeking information and services to deal with life’s challenges. The data is easy to access, comprehensive, and up-to-date helping decision-makers – like households and communities – make better informed decisions about the choices facing them, before problems spiral into a crisis. Most importantly, 211 helps to navigate the complex network of human services quickly and easily, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in over 100 languages  Some examples of information you may be calling for include:

  • Non-emergency police number
  • Food banks
  • Walk in clinics
  • Alzheimer support
  • Mental health help
  • Meals on Wheels
  • Emergency shelters for homeless
  • Services for domestic violence victims
  • Public health
  • Telehealth Ontario
  • Crisis services
  • Provincial and local helpline phone numbers
  • Settlement help for newcomers
  • Housing help centres
  • Youth drop in programs
  • Child, youth and family counselling
  • Emergency utility assistance
  • Understanding which government service might help or assistance
  • Disability support programs
  • Parenting programs

Call 311

311 is a simple, three-digit phone number that you can use to get information about City of Toronto services or programs, or to make a request for service. Residents, visitors and businesses no longer have to try to find the right division or individual at the City to get information or help. Callers can get information about everything from Toronto Public Library hours of operation, to reporting a missed garbage pick-up, to finding out where the closest flu clinic is located.

Multi-language service is available for 311 and it is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Call 911

Last but definitely not least is 911.   In any emergency, call 911 immediately.

An emergency is any situation that requires immediate assistance from the police, fire department or paramedics. Examples include:

  • A fire
  • A crime, especially if in progress
  • A car crash, especially if someone is injured
  • A medical emergency, such as someone who is unconscious, gasping for air or not breathing, experiencing an allergic reaction, having chest pain, having uncontrollable bleeding, or any other symptoms that require immediate medical attention

Multi-language service is available for 911 and it is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

A Community News blog post

West Toronto Support Services (WTSS) is committed to engage our readers with relevant community news and access to resources, services and programs in our community.  A healthy community is a diverse and connected community!

Sign-up to our news blog to receive more

Comments will be sent directly to our social media team.

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: