In 1952, the Community Information Centre of Metropolitan Toronto (CICMT) — later to become Community Information Toronto and now Findhelp Information Services — was launched as a response to increasing demand for reliable information about community programs in the city. As a program of the Social Planning Council of Toronto, CICMT provided a telephone line service and an annual community services directory eventually known as the Blue Book, and we were commonly referred to as “the Blue Book people”.
By 1970, CICMT had grown and demand was continuing to increase. CICMT had become an incorporated non-profit and an independent organization. Over the years, the organization has responded to changing demographics within the city of Toronto, including amalgamation, and has grown to respond to the diverse social issues that affect life in our city. Specialty helplines to better respond to Toronto’s changing needs have included Information for Victims of Violence (1984), the Street Helpline (1993), the Victim Support Line (1996), Central Access (2006), Community Legal Education Ontario (CLEO) Information Line (2007) and the Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse Line (2011).
New publications and other ways to connect communities to much needed services and supports were also developed, and in 2002 we launched 211 Toronto and became the first agency in Canada to receive accreditation from the Alliance of Information and Referral Systems, “the international voice of Information and Referral (I&R)”.
In 2004 we became Findhelp Information Services. The new name reflected the growth of the agency from a local organization to one that is responsive to local issues and the larger contexts from which local issues stem. Findhelp continued to emerge as a leader in Information and Referral across Ontario. By 2011, Findhelp had expanded its services into Durham and York Regions, to form 211 Central Region. In 2020 we helped grow the 211 network in New Brunswick, Manitoba and Newfoundland.