211 Service Goes Nationwide With Funding From The Government of Canada

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On Vancouver Island, our community has been able to access 211 resources since 2017 thanks to our generous donors. But soon everyone in Canada will have access to this life-saving program.  

211 is a free, confidential information navigation service that connects people to critical government and community-based, non-clinical health and social services in their community. This expansion is thanks to funding from the Government of Canada.

Whether a parent worried about their child’s mental health, a senior feeling isolated or anxious about getting basic necessities, a family struggling to put food on the table, or an individual looking for help to better understand what financial support is available to them, 211 is the front door to support.

211 helps people navigate the complex network of government and community programs and services quickly and easily and promises access 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in over 150 languages. Across Canada, the service is offered through a variety of ways including phone, chat, website, and text. In all cases, 211 confidentially connects people who are seeking support to the right information and services.

As part of its COVID-19 response, the Government of Canada provided funding to United Way Centraide Canada to increase the capacity and expand access to 211 services for all Canadian residents. This will be even more valuable as we enter the second wave of the pandemic. Existing 211 services across Canada saw a dramatic increase in the number of people reaching out for help during the first wave. Overall, calls and website visits to existing 211 services increased by 31% and 45%, respectively, in the March to August timeframe.

211 has been available in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and most of Quebec. With this investment, 211 is now available in Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Manitoba, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland and Labrador. In Quebec, services are available in the Greater Montreal area, and in the Capitale-Nationale and Chaudière-Appalaches area, with plans to roll out online and chat service across the province in November.

BC211.jpgbc211 has had a significant impact on our neighbours. Before the pandemic, the service was widely used to search for help. During the pandemic, United Ways across BC launched the Strong Seniors, Safe Communities program; a new system where local people can volunteer and help local seniors get the help they need while isolated due to COVID-19. 

Our local community partner agency, Nanaimo Family Life Association was the hub agency for our region. They continue to pair local volunteers with seniors in need.

Watch the video below for more information.