Raising awareness about Canada's 211 helpline


February 11th is 211 Day!

The free helpline connects people with information about government and community-based programs and services.

Marianne Dahl with the United Way Southern Interior BC spoke to AM1150 News about how the pandemic has impacted the service.

“The service has been available but not available in telephone service as a 211 hotline. But now because of the provincial government's help and United Ways across BC everyone in BC, and now across Canada thank to the federal government, has access to the 211 line.”

Funding to expand the service across BC came through the Safe Seniors Strong Communities program, while money to expand it into a national hotline was brought fourth as part of the federal government's COVID-19 response.

Last year, BC211 saw a 30 percent increase in calls when compared with 2019.

“We've seen an increase in calls and an increase in need because of families now either living in poverty or having lost their job and not having or knowing where to go for resources in the community so this has been really wonderful to be able to provide this service and offer people this help,” said Dahl.

Dahl says the service is helpful for those who aren't comfortable using the internet and would rather speak to a person.

“211 enables anyone, especially seniors who may be having to live in isolation. They can call and ask a service navigator for help and what they'll do is provide them with numbers in our region of senior support services where they can be connected with a volunteer.”

Dahl said the hotline is vital especially for those living in isolation through the COVID-19 pandemic.