I am Feb 21 and the website says Feb 7. Don't they usually kind of refuse to give you info if you are past that date? Anyone have the number I can use to call from the USA?
This is the number and instructions when calling from abroad: +1 613 944 4000 (for an agent: options 1,2,1,2,1 ... then 0 to skip the message).
As to calling before you receive your UCI or file number, just tell them everything you do know. e.g. your full name, birthday, date you filed, receipt number, etc. Truth is though, if you don't have a UCI or application number yet, they may tell you scary things like "we have no record of your application." I got that answer a couple of times. BUT, that's just because the visa officer handling your case hasn't entered you into the system yet. So don't panic if you do get that reply.
IF it has exceeded the normal processing times for your app, they encourage you to call. Do so. Perhaps you will get an agent who will help you out by e-mailing around to get the wheel turning on your app.
Fencesitter, like alf+jlh, I found out about my sponsorship approval by calling. I was told that I was approved and only received the official letter 2 weeks later (as you know, I am abroad)... however, the letter was dated just as the agent on the phone said, so he was definitely telling the truth. I wouldn't say the agents lie (especially about approval). However, I would say that they can be insensitive to the emotional stress we all endure during this application process and say stuff like "we don't have a record of your app" or the like.