Ontario Funds Establishment of '211 North'
New Service Will Provide Northerners One-Stop Shopping For Information
THUNDER BAY - The McGuinty government will help improve access to information in Northern Ontario by investing in the establishment of '211 North' telephone and website service, Northern Development and Mines Minister Rick Bartolucci announced today.
"I commend our local United Way for taking the lead in initiating and managing this service, which could help remove pressure from participating agencies and emergency services," said Thunder Bay-Atikokan MPP Bill Mauro. "The '211 North' project will add to, and help further expand, the information technology capacity in Northern Ontario and contribute to enhancing the region's competitiveness."
"I am very pleased this innovative initiative is being implemented in Thunder Bay and that a significant number of new jobs will be created in our community," said Thunder Bay-Superior North MPP Michael Gravelle. "I understand that similar 211 projects have been undertaken in southern Ontario and that the Toronto service was extremely valuable during the SARS crisis and the 2003 power blackout."
The Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC) is providing $400,000 to the United Way of Thunder Bay to implement the '211 North' project. In co-operation with a number of organizations, '211 North' will be the first-stop for information about community, government, health and social services. Over the next two years, the new telephone and website service is slated to expand across Northwestern Ontario and will eventually include regions of the northeast. The initiative is expected to initially create as many as 12 new jobs.
"The 211 service is quickly becoming a standard for information access in major centres across North America," said Bartolucci, who also chairs the NOHFC. "Our government is very pleased to help launch this 24-hour-a-day service from Thunder Bay and improve access to a wide range of community services and information for northerners."
This is just one more example of how, working together, Ontarians have achieved results in the North. Other examples include:
- Contributing more than $11 million to date, from the NOHFC, to provide internships and work placements to help some 600 young northerners launch their careers in the North
- Providing $6.7 million in bursaries for the students of the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, which has campuses in Thunder Bay and Sudbury
- Investing more than $2 million to date, to help more than 100 young people launch their own businesses in Northern Ontario.
These initiatives are part of the government's Northern Prosperity Plan for building stronger northern communities. The plan has four pillars: Strengthening the North and its Communities; Listening to and Serving Northerners Better; Competing Globally; and Providing Opportunities for All.