Gambling: Help and Referral stemmed from the need to inform people of the risk that, for some of them, a game does not always remain a game. In the fall of 1993, when the Québec Government built the first casino, various measures to protect gamblers where put in place, such as Gambling: Help and Referral. Managed by the Information and Referral Centre of Greater Montréal, it was first financed by Loto-Québec from 1993 to 2001 and from 2001 on, by the ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux du Québec.

Since November 15th, 1993, experienced counselors have been working tirelessly in order to provide a quality service to the population of Québec. We wish to point out their professionalism and team spirit in fulfilling the Centre’s mission: HELPING THROUGH INFORMATION. As with any risky activity, such as drinking, gambling is not harmless and the thousands of requests for help that we have received since then, are proof of that.


Available 24/7, this specialized helpline is bilingual, free, anonymous and confidential.

Counselors at Gambling : Help and Referral

  • Identify the needs of the callers;
  • Assess possible solutions;
  • Suggest relevant courses of action;
  • Give referrals to appropriate resources.

The counselors encourage people to reflect upon their gambling habits and refer excessive gamblers and their loved ones to proper resources.

Intervention Methods

Counselors who respond to the requests at Gambling: Help and Referral hold Bachelor’s Degrees in either psychology, criminology or social work. In addition, many of them have completed certificates in substance abuse, mental health intervention, youth intervention, victimology, etc. Other than schooling requirements, counselors must possess the following criteria:

  • Excellent knowledge of counseling techniques;
  • Empathy, maturity, sense of responsibility, as well as, being a good team player;
  • A non-judgmental attitude;
  • Impeccable verbal skills in French and being comfortable in understanding and speaking English;
  • Relevant professional experience is an asset.

The counselors answer various calls, assess callers’ needs and suggest appropriate courses of action and referrals. They must often use their good judgment seeing as how they are faced with diversified requests that exceed the therapeutic framework and require immediate solutions.


Pierrette Gagné

Executive Director, Information and Referral Center of Greater Montréal (GHR Manager)

Executive Director since July 2013, Pierrette Gagné has brought about a spirit of change throughout the organization that manages three information and referral helplines: 211 Greater Montréal, Gambling: Help and Referral, Drugs: Help and Referral, as well as, the TeleCounseling for Excessive Gamblers programme. She, in fact, has led IRCGM into making numerous strategic and technological shifts in order to ensure its sustainability. Being a natural leader and unifier, her employees have gladly followed her, thus allowing them to acquire many new skills. Learn more.

Nancy Rocha

Director of the Specialized Addiction Helplines and the TeleCounseling Programme for Excessive Gamblers

Mrs. Nancy Rocha is Director of the Specialized Addiction Helplines and the TeleCounseling Programme for Excessive Gamblers. As such, she supervises her team, ensures the proper functioning of the follow-ups, trains new team members and builds collaborations to better meet the specific needs of callers. Learn more.

Sophie Duchesne

Coordinator of the TeleCounseling Programme for Excessive Gamblers

Sophie holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, a certificate in criminology from Université de Montréal and a master’s degree in addiction from Université de Sherbrooke.

She was first a counselor on the addiction helplines, Drugs: Help and Referral and Gambling: Help and Referral before joining the TeleCounseling Programme for Excessive Gamblers team as counselor and then becoming its Coordinator.

The Gambling: Help and Referral team is made up of about a dozen counselors. They hold Bachelor’s degrees in psychology, criminology or social work. The majority of them have completed a Certificate in Addiction (certificat en toxicomanie) while others have completed Certificates in Mental Health Intervention, Youth Intervention, Victimology, etc. Over the last few years, our team grew with the addition of counselors that have completed Collegial programmes in Social Work or Special Care Counseling. Other than for education, new counselors are hired for fulfilling the following criteria:

  • Possessing excellent knowledge of counseling techniques.
  • Being able to show empathy, being mature, responsible, as well as, working well within a team.
  • Being completely non-judgmental.


In accordance with the Act to modernize legislative provisions as regards the protection of personal information (Bill 25), the Information and Referral Center of Greater Montréal has appointed Catherine Bellemare, Director of Finance, Administration and Technology, responsible for the protection of personal data.