All appointments, registrations to FST groups and workshops as well as referrals to other services are handled through our Service Access Unit (SAU).
SAU works mostly by telephone.
Hours of operation:
Monday – Thursday: 9 am – 6 pm
Friday: 9 am – 5 pm
Our priority is what is best for you, our client.
When you call SAU to request an appointment or to register for a group/workshop you will be asked a series of questions which are designed to help us connect you to the service that best meets your needs.
You will be asked to provide your personal information and you may be put on a wait list for service. When a time slot becomes available you will be called to confirm an appointment date and you will be provided with the name of your Counsellor.
If Family Service Toronto is not the right fit for you, we are able to offer alternatives and referrals to other services within Toronto area.
For your first counselling session you are required to arrive 15 minutes before your session to complete the paperwork required for Counselling at FST. To speed up the process, you can print out the Client Information Form, complete it and bring it with you.
You will do the following:
How can FST help me?
Sometimes the challenges we face in our daily lives become too difficult to manage alone. We may need someone to talk to who can help us find solutions. Family Service Toronto (FST) is a non-profit, social service agency which offers a variety of counselling programs; one-to-one, with couples and families, or in groups to help people cope with the challenges of:
Is FST open to anyone?
FST is strongly committed to anti-discrimination practices for all our clients, volunteers and employees. Our services are available to everyone living or working in Toronto, regardless of their age, cultural background, race or sexual orientation. In order to serve Toronto’s large and diverse population, we offer service in numerous languages and many of our offices are wheelchair accessible.
What can I expect from my counselling?
At FST, we offer an encouraging and supportive environment. Our skilled professional counsellors will help you explore and understand your problem, and help you develop solutions.
How can I get the most out of my counselling?
Counselling can be a very rewarding experience, but it takes hard work and dedication. That’s why it is important to attend all your scheduled sessions and be open to new ways of looking at yourself. It is also important to be an active participant and to tell us what you find helpful or unhelpful throughout the counselling process.
If you don’t give us at least 24 hours advance notice, you will be required to pay for the session in programs that charge fees, unless there are extenuating circumstances.
What if I want a different counsellor?
We understand how important it is for you to feel comfortable with your counsellor and this can take time. That’s why we encourage you to get to know your counsellor before deciding whether their style is right for you. If you still think you will have difficulty working together, you can ask to speak with your counsellor’s manager. Together we’ll find a solution.
Is my information/counselling confidential?
All your personal data and anything discussed between you and your counsellor is private and confidential within FST. To get advice on how to be most helpful to you, your counsellor may consult with the service team, colleagues within FST, supervisor or program consultant. We will not provide other individuals with your information without your written consent.
There are some special circumstances where we may release information regarding your counselling:
Where are you located?
We provide services at several locations within Toronto area. However, none of these locations offers all FST services. When you call our centralized Service Access Unit (416-595-9618) our staff will help you get the service you need at the best location available. Our main locations are:
Can I bring my children with me for my counselling appointment?
Unless they are part of the session or group work, you can not bring your children with you. However, if they do not require supervision, they can wait for you in the general waiting room.
What type of counselling do you offer?
We offer practical solutions, short-term counselling to individuals and families going through various difficult situations. We are not a drop-in or crisis service. To learn more about our counselling service, read about our Counselling Services.
Can I see my record?
At any time you may request to see a copy of our client record for you by writing a note to Family Service Toronto. Please provide your name, birth date, phone number and address. We will call you to set up an appointment for you to review your personal information. To ensure confidentiality, you must view the information on the premises. However, you can request that information about yourself be released to specific people such as your doctor or another agency. We will need you to sign a consent form before we release this information.
What if I want to correct information in my record?
For your protection, once your record is written, we at FST cannot change it. However, if you find statements that are not factually accurate or opinions you disagree with, you can add corrected information to the record. You can do this after reviewing your file. You will need to send us your corrections. Please sign and date your information. Once you’ve submitted your corrected information, it will go on the record and we will notify you of our response to your corrections within three weeks.
What if I have a complaint?
We want to know what you think of our service. All our staff welcome your comments and we encourage you to speak with your counsellor directly about any concerns you may have about our service.
For any questions, concerns or complaints about how your personal information has been collected or used please contact FST’s Privacy Officer by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 416-595-9230 ext. 316. You can also make a complaint to the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario by calling 416-326-3333.
Do I have to pay a fee for service?
Family Service Toronto strives to provide high quality, accessible services. For this reason, services are provided based on a sliding fee scale in programs that are not supported by outside revenues or where we are required, through funding contracts, to charge for services.
What is the fee for service?
Fees are charged on a sliding scale, based on total household income before tax and family size. Fees for counselling services range from $5 to $120 per hour. Group fees range from $5 to $80 per group session, with some programs charging a flat fee for a specific service.
When and how will my fee be calculated?
When you first contact us, we will ask you for information about your total household income before tax and how many people live in the household. It is a good idea to have a income tax notice of assessment or other information related to your income available to you when you call. At the time of this call, or when you are contacted for your first appointment, we will provide you with an estimate of the fee you will be expected to pay. The staff person you meet with will review this and set the actual fee with you. You will be asked to sign a fee contract at this time and pay this fee at the end of your first interview.
What if I can’t pay the fee you have calculated?
No one is denied service because of an inability to pay. Talk to the FST staff person you will be working with and they will determine how much we will ask you to pay. We may ask you to provide us with proof of expenses if your fee is going to be reduced.
What happens if my income changes?
Income can go up or down. If this happens to you, please talk to the staff person you are working with so they can work to determine if we can make an adjustment to your fee. We may need you to provide us with proof of expenses if this occurs.
What is the minimum amount of time a fee is charged for?
The minimum fee charged for counselling services is for one hour. Your counselling appointment will be for 50 minutes and the staff person will use the remaining 10 minutes to make notes on your work together. Fees for groups are based on a group rate.
Will I be charged extra fees for extra time?
Yes. If your counselling appointment continues beyond the hour, you will be charged based on the quarter hour. For example, if your appointment goes for 1 hour and 10 minutes, you will be charged for 1.25 hours.
Will I be charged for services provided over the phone or electronically?
There is normally no charge for brief telephone calls to set up or confirm appointments or to provide brief information. If you and your staff person decide to set up a telephone or e-counselling interview your counselling fee will apply.
Will I be charged a fee if I don’t come to my appointment or I am late?
If you do not provide 24 hours notice of an appointment you cannot make, you will be charged for the missed appointment. If you are late for an appointment, your fee will be charged based from the time your appointment was set. We are not able to extend appointments if you are late.
To notify us that you need to cancel an appointment, please call the staff person you are working with and leave a message. We make every effort to start appointments on time. Sometime our staff may have to deal with an emergency and if this happens, we will let you know. We appreciate your understanding. In such situations, you will only pay a fee from the time the interview starts.
Do you accept insurance plans or employer-sponsored plans, such as Employee Assistance Plans?
Yes, we accept these plans; however, it is your responsibility to clarify what your plan covers. Some plans are very specific about who can deliver your service (for example, a registered social worker). If you have such a plan, please review this with your benefits provider before you start service and tell us. We will do our best to match you to the required professional but we cannot guarantee we will be able to do so.
Services provided under private plans are billed at $120 per hour for counselling appointments and $80 for group programs. If you use your total plan coverage in a given year before you finish your service with us, we will re-assess your fee based on our sliding scale.
Are my fees tax deductible?
Under the Income Tax Act, if service is provided to you by a Registered Social Worker this is considered a medical expense by Revenue Canada. If you plan to use your receipts for tax purposes, check with the staff person you are working with to determine if they are Registered Social Worker or license psychologist. Keep all receipts for tax purposes to support your claim. More information is available through the Canada Revenue Agency.