Tel-Aide, the telephone hotline service that has been listening to Quebecers in need for almost 45 years, is in danger of closing due to financial problems.

“We, as a community organization, have to pay more taxes than we used to,” said volunteer Kit Racette. “We are required now to pay business taxes which we didn’t used to have to do.”

Government funding has not gone up and some of the organization’s grants have not been renewed, leaving Tel-Aide in a deep financial hole.

To compensate, they have launched a new fundraising campaign with an objective of $50,000. So far, about half of that has been raised. There is also hope that the effort will raise their profile.

“For many people we are first-line mental health people,” said Racette. “They can get to us even before they get to the professionals and that's really important to us.”

The organization, which boasts roughly 150 volunteers manning the phones, is the only English-language listening service in Quebec.

“Tel-Aide offers a completely confidential, non-judgmental listening service to anybody who wants to phone and talk about whatever they want to talk about,” said board of directors member Rosalind Arkell. “We have good training in active listening, so we’re all trained to do what we do and we are all volunteers at the other end of the line.”