After years of talk and delays, the City of Toronto finally launched its 311 hotline for residents in September 2009. The system is the largest end-to-end service integration system in North America and can help users resolve numerous non-emergency questions or issues related to living in, visiting and doing business in Toronto. The simple, three-digit phone number can be used to get information about City of Toronto services or programs, or to make a request for service, depending on what you need.
The 311 Service - Explained
The 311 phone number serves as a central line for dealing with non-emergency city services. When you call, a live operator is available to either answer your question or in some cases put in a work order for a specific problem. In cases where the operator is unable to help you, they should be able to transfer you directly to the line of a person who can help, skipping over the mess of phone menu guessing games. This means residents, visitors and businesses in the city no longer have to spend time trying to find the right division or individual to get the information or help they're looking for.
The service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Anyone within Toronto city limits can call 311 free of charge. If you want to reach 311 customer service but you're outside of the City of Toronto, you can call 416-392-CITY (2489). Conveniently, 311 customer service representatives are able to put non-English speakers in touch with interpreters who speak more than 180 languages.
Why Call 311?
Wondering who calls 311 or why you should? Residents can use the service to get assistance with their own questions or to report problems in the community, such as potholes or broken streetlights. There are many reasons why you might need to call 311 or request a service or register for a program or service online (which the 311 website can direct you to). For example, you might wan to call 311 regarding waste collection, graffiti in your community, road conditions, litter, tree pruning or planting, the need for additional garbage or recycling bins, slippery sidewalks, or sidewalk damage, to name just a few concerns you can use 311 for.
You can also call regarding things such as missed garbage collection in your area, to inquire when a City of Toronto service is open or where they are location, or even to find out where your nearest branch of the Toronto Public Library is.
What to Expect When Calling 311 in Toronto
When you make a service request with 311, you'll get a reference number. You can then use that reference number to track your service request over the phone or online from the 311 homepage. Just make sure you write the number down somewhere you'll remember because it you lose it, you can't get another one or get an update on your service request. That's due to the fact that your reference number is similar to a PIN number. Without your reference number, operators at 311 can't verify that you are who you say you are - so hold onto that number and put it somewhere you'll remember.
Hours of Service
You can call 311 and receive a live operator 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can call 311 any time and a customer service representative will assist you as best they can.
When NOT to Call 311
The 311 service does not replace the 911 emergency line. You should still always call 911 in the event of an emergency including but not limited to fire, injury or a crime that is actively being committed.
You can call 211 for community, social and health service questions.