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211 Central East Ontario 2008 Needs & Trends Report

211 Central East Ontario 2008 Needs & Trends Report

Š 2009 Community Connection. All rights reserved. This report is published on an annual basis and is part of the 211 Ontario Evaluation Plan. Information in this report may not be reproduced or redistributed in any manner whatsoever without prior permission from Community Connection. Community Connection 275 First Street, Box 683 Collingwood, Ontario L9Y 4E8 705.444.0040 Community Connection tracks calls for statistical purposes only. It does not collect information on the identity of callers.


211 Central East Ontario 2008 Needs & Trends Report Population Served 2008 was the third year of 211 service to the South Georgian Bay communities of Collingwood, Clearview Township and Wasaga Beach – a population of 48,000 residents. In the spring of 2008, the service was publicly expanded to all of Simcoe County, which increased the population served to 422,000. In November, the service was expanded to the District of Muskoka, increasing the total population served to 480,000 people.

Annual Calls In 2008, a total of 15,497 calls were responded to, a 4% increase over 2007. December ended the year with the highest number of calls received in one month (1,602), since the inception of the service in 2005. As an average, 42 calls were received every single day during the entire year. 24/7 Calls Answered 1,800









0 January












Service Standards A variety of statistics on Community Connection’s telephone system are routinely available through an Automatic Call Distribution (ACD) system. The ACD receives telephone calls into a central system and distributes those calls to the information specialists, according to its programmed criteria. This technology can generate statistics and reports which are used for ongoing monitoring of service quality. Provincial standards provide many benchmarks for service, including: Benchmark: Achieving a minimum average answer rate of 85%: ¾ In 2008, Community Connection staff answered 88% of all calls. The calls not answered are described as phantom calls, which are calls received but no “real person” is making the call. Switching equipment misinterprets “2-1-1 pulses” which are experienced as rings only, clicks, silence, busy signal, or static. Phantom calls are common to all 211 centres in North America. Benchmark: Achieving a minimum average answer rate of 45 seconds: ¾ In 2008, Community Connection staff answered calls within an average of 22 seconds. 3

211 Central East Ontario 2008 Needs & Trends Report 24/7 Service In 2008, Community Connection’s staff provided service sixty hours a week, Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. After-hours service was available through an agreement with 211 Toronto1 (Findhelp Information Services). In November, Community Connection increased service hours to daily from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., with overnight calls received by 211 Toronto. In 2008, 5,130 after-hours calls or 33% of all calls were received evenings, over night and weekends, demonstrating the need for after-hours service.

Web Sites – Self Service For Central East Ontario in 2008, the provincial website and the regional website provided self-serve access to a comprehensive inventory of human service organizations and programs. In November, was launched as part of the District of Muskoka 211 service. In 2008, there were 172,570 visits to 211 The 211 Central East Ontario database is maintained by a data partner’s network of 23 organizations, who conduct daily data maintenance activities. The network follows required standards for continual updating, research and collection activities; as well as for specific style and subjects coding. The Central East database contains more than 19,000 organizations and programs. In 2008, 1,249 new organizations or programs were added to and 1,538 were deleted from the database.

Description of Calls A Contact Tracking & Referral System (CTRS) allows Community Connection to track the nature of information and referral contacts and report aggregate information on user demographics and user need profiles. During the course of a call the CTRS is used by information specialists to track specified information about the call (not the caller), while simultaneously using other information systems to identify appropriate information and referral sources that will address the user’s needs.

Reasons for Calling Callers often have multiple information and service needs when they call, and in 2008 callers received an average of two referrals each. Often callers find out about services they didn’t know existed or that they could qualify for assistance. The following chart shows the trends in call categories for the past three years.

Findhelp Information Services launched Canada’s first 211 service in 2002, and in 2008 provided after hours service for most operating 211 services in Ontario. 1


211 Central East Ontario 2008 Needs & Trends Report

Basic Needs Many times callers are overwhelmed with their problems and talking through their situation with an information and referral specialist helps them to create an action plan. In 2008, basic needs related services totalled 10% of all calls. The follow chart describes the types of basic needs services callers requested.


211 Central East Ontario 2008 Needs & Trends Report

Type of Service Provided Most often callers need only information about a specific service or organization they wish to contact. Sometimes callers are overwhelmed with one issue that has evolved into a multitude of problems, causing them to be incapable of moving forward without assistance. Occasionally callers want someone to talk to, to share their personal problems while remaining anonymous. Community Connection’s information specialists are specifically trained to assist callers with a variety services: ‰ Help callers prioritize their needs and advocate on their behalf when appropriate ‰ If a caller’s well-being is at risk, they can be directly connected with crisis and distress services ‰ For callers who’s ability to connect with needed food or shelter services is in question, follow up is provided to ensure they were able to receive the required services ‰ Callers requiring police, fire or ambulance emergency services are told to hang up and dial 911. The following chart describes the types of services provided to callers during 2008:

Service description


Information only


Information and referral(s)


Number of callers presenting significantly complex issues


Number of callers whose situation required follow up


Number of callers who required advocacy services


Language Services In Ontario, 211 service providers can offer services in more than 150 languages. A language line service provides interpretation through a three-way call initialized by 211 staff. In 2008 five requests for service in the other languages were received by Community Connection – they included Chinese, French (x3), and Spanish.


211 Central East Ontario 2008 Needs & Trends Report Unmet Needs or Gaps in Service Our information specialists document unmet needs at the time of the call through the Contact Tracking and Referral System. There were a total of 66 reported unmet needs in services reported in 2008. These needs tend to fall into a few defined categories – the service does not exist, the service exists but the caller is not eligible, the service in not available in a particular location, the service has a waiting list or no capacity at the moment and/or the service carries a fee beyond what the caller can/is prepared to pay. In 2008 the top three areas of need were: 1. Transportation 2. Medical (family) doctor 3. Affordable dental/denture services

Caller Profiles The gender of callers remained consistent with 77% of callers being female. Of all callers, 9% were calling on behalf of a family member and 5% were from organizations calling on behalf of clients. The age of callers followed 2007 trends in 2008, showing a slight increase in calls from both youth and seniors. The following charts are a comparison of the age of callers against the age of the individuals services were requested for.

Age of Callers Youth






Age of Individual Service Was Requested For Children & Youth







211 Central East Ontario 2008 Needs & Trends Report Caller’s Source of Income A caller’s source of income may be collected through two methods: 1. Their income is revealed in order to provide appropriate referrals for the caller’s request, or 2. During a voluntary survey for quality assurance purposes and caller profile analysis. The chart provides a comparison over the past two years.






Ontario Disability Support Pension



Full time employment







Ontario Works



Employment Insurance



Part-time/Temporary employment No income

Caller Location In 2008, 85% of calls received were from Simcoe County residents and service providers.

Expansion to all of Simcoe County and Muskoka occurred during the year, and the follow chart demonstrates that the majority of calls were from the three communities where 211 service has been available since 2005.


211 Central East Ontario 2008 Needs & Trends Report Service Quality Surveys for Callers Information specialists conduct service quality surveys every three months. During the survey period, 211 calls are conducted in the normal way, and at the end of some calls, callers are asked to participate in a survey. If permission is granted, information specialists review a detailed set of questions with the caller, which may include their income source and other important demographic information. Information on the identity of callers is not collected and surveys are not conducted when it is inappropriate based on the emotional or physical condition of the caller. In 2008, Community Connection’s goal was to survey 10% of all calls answered. In 2008, successful survey completions were conducted with 2% of callers with the following results: Caller Satisfaction



First time callers



Previous callers





Callers who will call 211 again



Callers who would recommend 211 to others



Politeness of the information specialists (average mark out of 10)


  Caller Outcomes



Professionalism of the information specialists (average mark out of 10)



Listening skills of the information specialists (average mark out of 10)



Callers understood the options & referrals offered



Callers who followed up on the referrals provided



Callers who received help from the organizations they were referred to



Surveyed callers indicated the following reasons for NOT receiving the services they needed: •

Caller hasn’t had time to follow up yet

The service is no longer available

Caller doesn’t qualify for referred service, called back for other options.


211 Central East Ontario 2008 Needs & Trends Report 211 Outreach and Promotion During 2008, thirteen separate visits by Community Connection to various community, social and government services were completed. Outreach spreads the word about 211 and provides staff an opportunity to gain new knowledge about specific communities or services. Community Connection staff and volunteers completed twenty-nine separate presentations to various groups, committees and staff of community and government organizations.

Call Examples - Selected ƒ

Caller was inquiring on behalf of an elderly man seeking a Korean translator in Barrie.


Caller was seeking anger management resources for her 22 year old son.


Caller had recently moved to Collingwood and was looking for a speech pathologist for her child and a parent support group for her and her spouse.


Caller was seeking advice on how to assist a friend living in a domestic violence situation.


Caller was inquiring about the process to move her uncle to a nursing home. Her uncle lives in Mississauga, and she wanted him moved to her community.


Caller stated his company shut down last year and he is on EI. He was having difficulty coping with the loss of income and the ability to provide for his family.

Additional Comments from 211 Callers “This service is wonderful, have used it numerous times and always guided in the right direction.” “Thank you so much, you've been very kind to me.” “I called a lot of places today and no one was able to help me until I called you." “Caller is new to the area and thinks this service is great.” “Great service, but disappointed that not many people know about 211.” “Great service. I tell everyone about it.”


2008 211 central east ontario needs & trends report  

211 is a 24/7 helpline that helps people find services in their community.

2008 211 central east ontario needs & trends report  

211 is a 24/7 helpline that helps people find services in their community.