When we need help in an emergency we think “call 911” but across Canada, 211 is growing into a national source of government and community based health and social services. 211 is a telephone help line and website that is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in more than 100 languages.
Founded in partnership with the United Way Centraide of Canada, 211 is a free, confidential helpline that connects citizens to services within their community. Seniors or caregivers can access information about home support and financial assistance through the service. For emergency services, call 911, but if you are looking for everyday assistance, the 211 helpline or website can direct you to information about anything from transportation for older adults and geriatric psychiatry to income programs, meals for seniors, retirement homes and elder abuse.
By 2013, the service was available for 60 per cent of Canadians and found its roots in 1999 as part of a homelessness task force striving to improve the availability of services in Toronto. Since then, it has grown to serve 20 million Canadians.
In addition to service referral, 211 may be able to offer support information during times of emergency such as a hurricane, flood or other every day emergency.