Ottawa – The City of Ottawa has officially launched Language Line, a service that allows callers to participate in a three-way call with a translator and a City staff member. Now, residents can call one of the City’s dedicated phone lines and receive service in the language they are most comfortable speaking.

“The new Language Line service ensures that City phone services such as 3-1-1 are more accessible than ever before,” said Mayor Jim Watson. “This is an important way of removing barriers between City services and the residents we serve.”

When someone calls a City phone line, they now have the option to be placed into a three-way call with a translator and a City staff member. The translator will facilitate the conversation between the caller and City staff, allowing the caller to receive answers to their questions, or more information about City services in the language of their choice.

City phone lines that are using the new service include the 3-1-1 Contact Centre, the Ottawa Public Health Information Line, OC Transpo Information Lines, Tax and Water Customer Service Line, Social Services Intake Line, and the offices of the Mayor and City Councillors

According to research data, the most common languages in Ottawa spoken after English and French are Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese), Somali, Vietnamese, Spanish and Amharic. Language Line can provide simultaneous translation services in over 170 different languages.

To raise awareness of this new service, the City will be working with local immigrant serving agencies, community health and resource centres, and representatives from various faith communities.

To access this translation service, please call 3-1-1 or any of the call centres listed above, and the answering agent will activate this service on your behalf.

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