Individuals experiencing or witnessing a mental health crisis can access the Toronto Community Crisis Service by calling 211 or 911. Appropriate calls will be dispatched based on the call location, dispatch criteria and availability of teams.
The Toronto Community Crisis Service (TCCS) is a new, alternate approach to responding to someone in crisis that focuses on health, prevention and well-being. The service provides an alternative to police enforcement, creating a community-based, client centred, trauma-informed response to non-emergency crisis calls and wellness checks.
This service aims to respond to the needs and desires of the communities most impacted by policing and establish trust and confidence in a new community-based response model.
The TCCS supports individuals 16 years of age and older. Service areas and hours of operation are provided below.
To view or find the four TCCS pilot areas, please visit the Toronto Community Crisis Service Areas map page.
The Toronto Community Crisis Service (TCCS) is part of the City of Toronto’s commitment to treat mental health crises as a public health issue, not a public safety issue. The TCCS is a community-based service with multidisciplinary teams of crisis workers who will respond to non-emergency calls from people in crisis and requests for wellbeing checks.
Principles of Care
The Toronto Community Crisis Service (TCCS) dispatches trained teams of multidisciplinary crisis workers to respond to people experiencing a mental health crisis. It is a community-based, non-police response to mental health crisis calls and well-being checks.
Teams will respond to calls received based on dispatch criteria, the call type, location, and availability of teams.
TCCS crisis workers can be identified by their green lanyards and identification card. The City of Toronto logo appears on all vehicles, along with the logo of the partnering organization.
Beyond the Toronto Community Crisis Service pilots, other supports are available for people experiencing a mental health crisis and looking to connect with someone. Gerstein Crisis Centre offers crisis services 24/7 and can be reached by calling 416-929-5200.
The Toronto Community Crisis Service (TCCS) was designed to serve individuals who are experiencing a mental health crisis and to connect them to the supports they need. It has intentionally prioritized communities that are impacted by over-policing and that have lived-experience of mental health issues and substance use.
The TCCS has launched in four intentional areas of Toronto, offering a health focused response to those in crisis or to those seeking resources to support someone in crisis. The initial pilot communities were selected based on areas where the demonstrated need and calls for people in crisis are the highest in Toronto.
To view or find the four TCCS pilot areas, please visit the Toronto Community Crisis Service Areas map page.
The City is committed to ensuring strong evaluation of the Toronto Community Crisis Service (TCCS) program to ensure it successfully meets its goals and outcomes. The City has partnered with the Provincial System Support Program and Shkaabe Makwa at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health to build a program evaluation framework co-developed with our community anchor partners, the Toronto Police Service and FindHelp | 211 Central.
Since the launch of the TCCS pilots in March 2022, the City summarized preliminary program data in a July 2022 progress report, and has now completed a six-month evaluation report. The third-party report confirms positive outcomes and community impact, and highlights successful diversion of mental health crisis calls received by 911 with no police involvement.
An overview is provided in the Executive Summary and key highlights of the six-month evaluation report can be found in this infographic.
A comprehensive evaluation report on TCCS will be brought to City Council in fall 2023, and will include a report from the Provincial System Support Program and Shkaabe Makwa at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.
TAIBU is at the forefront of the delivery of community health and social services to Black communities across the Greater Toronto Area. Grounded in an Afrocentric model of Black health and wellbeing TAIBU offers comprehensive access to services and supports through its network of partners.
For more than 30 years Gerstein Crisis Centre has offered 24 hour crisis services for individuals 16+ living in the City of Toronto who are living with mental health, concurrent disorders, or serious substance use issues. Gerstein Crisis Centre brings decades of experience in providing strengths-based, non-medical, trauma-informed service.
2-Spirits provides service centred on Indigenous philosophies of holistic health and wellness. Their approach places individuals at the centre of the medicine wheel. Service is delivered in partnership with ENAGB Indigenous Youth Agency and Niiwin Wendaanimak / Four Winds Indigenous Health and Wellness Program, based out of Parkdale Queen West Community Health Centre. The Downtown West Pilot has been given the traditional name Kamaamwizme wii Naagidiwendiiying, which means coming together to heal/look after/take care of each other.
CMHA provides community-based support services that help people who are living with mental illness or mental health issues improve the quality of their lives in accordance with their defined needs. CMHA brings an anti-racist, anti-oppressive, and culturally safe approach to this work, along with their collaboration with eight local organizations (Addiction Services of Central Ontario, Black Creek Community Health Centre, Black Health Alliance, CAFCAN, Jane/Finch Community and Family Centre, Rexdale Community Health Centre and Yorktown Family Services).
As the Toronto Community Crisis Service’s intake and dispatch partner, Findhelp | 211 Central triages and dispatches appropriate calls to the mobile teams. Findhelp has been connecting people to the support they need through multi-lingual 211 services, specialty lines, websites and social media for over 60 years. With more than 250,000 contacts annually, and more than 60,000 agencies and programs maintained in their provincial database, they are one of the most experienced centres in North America.
To further engage communities in pilot implementation, each pilot has convened their own Community Advisory Table. The Tables are comprised of service users, family members, caregivers, and support networks, and are responsible for:
Representatives from each local table sit on the overarching City-Wide Pilot Community Advisory Table, which is comprised of people with lived experience, family members with lived experience supporting a family member with mental health challenges, and leaders from the mental health and related sectors, senior leadership from the City of Toronto, Toronto Police Service and the community anchor partners. Current members include:
Rachel Bromberg is the Co-Founder of the Reach Out Response Network and the Executive Director of the International Crisis Response Association, which supports cities across Canada and the United States in developing alternative crisis response services. She has nine years of experience working in mental health and crisis response in frontline, Board, committee, and policy-focused roles. She is currently completing a joint JD/MSW degree at the University of Toronto.
Jennifer Chambers is Executive Director of the Empowerment Council, Systemic Advocates in Addictions and Mental Health. She is also a member of the Mental Health and Addiction Advisory Panel to the Toronto Police Services Board, a member of Global Law Enforcement and Public Health Mental Health Interest Group, and participates in the development of recommendations at Ontario inquests into the deaths of people in crisis in encounters with police. She centres the rights and empowerment of people with lived experience.
Marcel Charlebois is currently a volunteer for the City-Wide Community Advisory Table. He has 30+ years working in front line services to the Indigenous and non-Indigenous community in Toronto.
Wilfred Cheung is currently Vice President, System Strategy, Planning, Design & Implementation with Ontario Health, Toronto Region and has 15+ years’ experience working in the health, social services, and the public sector.
Dianna Cochrane is the manager for the Forensic Mental Health and Justice Unit of the Ministry of Health. This unit is the lead for initiatives that support the intersection between mental health and addictions and the justice system. Prior to this, Dianna spent over 15 years in hospitals within the forensic division, both as a clinician and an administrator.
Paulysha De Gannes (she/her) works as a Senior Policy Advisor (Equity) at Addictions and Mental Health Ontario where she leads equity, anti-racism, anti-oppression, diversity, and inclusion initiatives across the entire addiction and mental health section.
Christopher Fraser is currently a member and community advocate for not only the Malvern Community and Scarborough community, but for the Black community as a whole. He has been a part of TAIBU Community Health Centre for 5 years as a member and volunteer and currently sits on the Community Advisory Table for the Northeast Pilot at TAIBU. He has 20+ years of advocacy and volunteer experience across various sectors within mental health in the Black community. More importantly, he has a personal interest in supporting the expansion of community-led mental health supports from an Anti-Black Racism Perspective.
Robert Johnson is a Staff Superintendent with the Toronto Police Service overseeing the Strategy Management Unit reporting directly to the Chief of Police. He is the lead on Police Reform and works closely with the City of Toronto Police Reform team. With over 30 years of experience in policing, he values collaborative partnerships that facilitate problem solving leading to solutions that address the many complex topics involving the police and the community.
Steve Lurie C.M. is co-chair of the Community Advisory Table. Steve is a Senior Fellow at the Wellesley Institute, and served as Executive Director of CMHA Toronto from 1979-2020. He received the Order of Canada for his contributions to the mental health sector as an administrator, scholar and advocate.
Tiffaney is an Indigenous Community member with family relations in Manitoulin Island. Tiffaney is Bear Clan, and has been a Traditional Helper for 19 years, bringing years of lived experiences, working at various Toronto Indigenous Support Services Agencies and is currently a Board Member with The Parkdale Neighborhood Land Trust.
Kerry Murray-Bates is currently the Manager of the 911 Communications Center for the Toronto Police Service. A civilian employee with 30+ years’ experience in 911 operations, front line call take and dispatch duties and is committed to partnerships within the community that lead to growth and meaningful support.
Deluxson Yogarajah supports his community of Jane and Finch by providing catered advice and workshops for youth. He has 3+ years’ experience working in the community and mental health sector and has a personal interest in law and is looking forward to law school in the future.
We have heard from members of the public and those representing community organizations that Toronto should rethink and de-emphasize the current reactive approach to public safety in favour of a proactive approach that addresses the social determinants of crime, such as poverty, housing, food security and social services.
This alternative approach avoids the criminalization of poverty, mental health and substance use issues. Recognizing, however, that an emergency response will always be necessary, the City was directed to create a community crisis response model that is community-led as opposed to police-led, recognizing the strengths of community-based organizations in regard to requisite training, background and expertise to effectively support mental health crises.
In February 2021, Toronto City Council unanimously approved four community crisis support service pilots that will test a new, non-police led approach to non-emergency, non-violent calls, including those involving persons in crisis and wellness checks.
Our approach involved an intensive period of community engagement and research. It prioritized the communities that are most impacted by over-policing and that have lived-experience of the mental health, substance use, and justice system. From October to December 2020 the City:
TCCS is one of the key priority actions under SafeTO, Toronto’s 10 Year Community Safety and Wellbeing Plan, allowing the City to test, evaluate, and revise a community-based crisis response before implementing it at a larger scale.