by Brad Bradish, Manager, Injury Risk Management for SRG
During recent client visits, I have started to notice 211 posters and 211.ca listings and prompts in place around organizations. I’ve seen phrases such as, “211.ca for all your social needs”. I had never heard of 211, so I decided to investigate and was shocked to see what the 211 service could provide.
The 211 program is operated in combination with United Way and InformCanada with a goal to provide all Canadians with free information about social services available in over 100 different languages. The number was chosen similar to 411 (directory assistance) and 911 (emergency assistance) and it allows the operators access to a Canadian Database for social services. Some of the social areas they provide information about are employment, mental health, healthcare, LGBTQ, addictions, housing, information for new Canadians and many more.
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) first approved the use of 211 across Canada back in August of 2001. The first call center opened in Toronto in June of 2002. Ontario kept adding different counties and now has almost all of Ontario covered as of 2011.
211 also provides a very easy to use website (www.211.ca) where you put in your location and topic and the site lists links to the appropriate support. They also have a presence online, on social media, with Facebook, Twitter and even YouTube, including informational videos.
If you have any questions, or even just want to see what is available, check out 211.ca and see the programs and social services available for all Canadians.