Just as the 911 emergency number and the 411 directory services number did when they came out, the new 311 number is poised to revolutionize the way we get and give information. People all over North America are finding that their cities are adopting the 311 system. But what is 311? How can it help you, the person who is new to town and needs extra help getting set up? That's what we'll focus on in this article.
The 311 system was designed to replace the multitude of phone numbers people needed to have on hand in the past if they wanted to make use of city services. Like 911 allows you to access all of the emergency services serving your area in one phone call - fire, paramedics, police - the 311 number allows you to access all of the city's nonessential services by dialing one number - animal control, garbage removal, zoning, road repair, etc. This makes it much easier for the average citizen, especially the average new citizen, to use these services.
Of course, not all cities have the same services to offer, and not all city services are always connected to 311. That's up to the municipality. So before you program 311 into the phone at your growers supplies store to report water outages make sure that program is covered in the Mississauga 311. To find out, you can actually call 311 and ask. The staff at the call center are trained, first and foremost, to give out information on the City of Mississauga. However, since most municipalities are rolling out 311 systems of their own, the 311 number only works within the city limits. Outside of them you must call 1-905-615-4311 to access the information service.
For your information, here is a partial list of services that can be accessed by dialing Mississauga 311, just in case the water heater in a city building breaks down and you're not sure who to call. Animal control, city maintenance (i.e. weeds, roads, ditches), cemeteries, adjustment committees, council meetings, city events, flood control, illegal dumping, marriage licenses, taxi training, election info, parking enforcement, parks and recreation, property taxes, street sweeping, traffic signs, and trees. If you need something like a window cleaning service you will need to look in the yellow pages or online directory.
Mississauga's 311 system is actually quite successful. They boast of answering more than 200,000 calls, nearly all of which were resolved by the staff at the call center. The call center is only open from 7am to 7pm on Mondays to Fridays but there is urgent response available after hours, like if there's a wild dog menacing the staff at your store, however actual emergencies of any kind should always be referred to 911 and not 311.
If you are looking for a person, department, place, service that is not listed, contact:
Voice: Call 3-1-1 or if outside city limits 905-615-4311
TTY: 905-896-5151 (teletypewriter for people who are deaf)
If you are trying to reach an employee please call 905-615-3200 and enter their extension, or access the Employee Directory.