Homeless Individuals and Families Information System

From: Employment and Social Development Canada

The Homeless Individuals and Families Information System (HIFIS) software helps organizations that support people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

Whether you represent a single shelter or are implementing a homelessness strategy in a city or province, HIFIS helps manage the entire spectrum of support services you provide to your clients. It also allows you to collect data which in turn contributes to a better understanding of the issues at hand.


HIFIS 4 is the latest version of the HIFIS software. It is designed to make data integration safe and easy for users. It can be implemented over a wide network and accessed from a variety of Web-enabled devices, such as laptops, smartphones and tablets. Comprehensive user rights, client visibility and confidentiality practices help ensure that the data is not compromised.

Its design makes it a useful tool for a coordinated system of service delivery. Imagine a system where everyone trying to help a client has access to the same information – that individual can be referred to the support services that will best help them, without having to tell their story multiple times.

HIFIS is offered at no cost and provides the following benefits to service providers:

  • Allows the tracking of support services, such as shelter admissions, case management, client assessments, goods and services.
  • Includes comprehensive reporting functions and access to assessment tools such as the Service Prioritization Decision Assistance Tool (SPDAT) and Vulnerability Assessment Tool (VAT).
  • Offers the latest standards in privacy and confidentiality to protect clients while allowing information to be shared across a community’s system of social supports.
  • Supports data sharing at the local, regional and national levels.
  • Gives access to free technical support through the HIFIS Support Desk, as well as online and in-person training.

Learn the software

To receive customized training on the HIFIS 4 software, visit the HIFIS 4 Demo Site. It includes online courses and the Help Centre for support on how to use the software.

For information on other training options, please contact the HIFIS Support Desk.

Information sharing

Part of the objective of the Homelessness Partnering Strategy (HPS) is to gather information on the use of shelters from HIFIS and other sources to develop a national portrait of homelessness. The collection of data will contribute to the development of policies and measures to reduce and prevent homelessness across Canada. Through HIFIS, the HPS collects up to 38 fields of non-identifying information.

To allow the 38 fields of information to be shared under the HPS, HIFIS users are required to sign a Data Provision Agreement (DPA). The DPA details the responsibilities of all service providers that are entering data into the HIFIS software with respect to data collection, privacy and security. It also outlines the Government of Canada's responsibilities and obligations related to the use and protection of data.

In provinces where data sharing is negotiated at the provincial level, organizations may be exempt from signing a DPA.

To get more information, contact the HIFIS Support Desk.

Get started

To learn how to install and use HIFIS or to find information on system requirements and implementation timelines, contact the HIFIS Support Desk. You can also visit the HIFIS 4 Demo Site to access user guides and training modules.

HIFIS 3 user?

If you are currently using HIFIS 3, ESDC continues to provide you with support. You can direct your questions and technical requests to the HIFIS Support Desk. Please note that no enhancements will however be made to this version.

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