United Way and bc211 Bring Provincial Access to Services

There are hundreds of programs and services available across the province to help people with a wide variety of issues. These include services specifically designed to help seniors or those caring for them; programs for parents, children and youth; services for people dealing with addictions; and help for those struggling with language barriers or unemployment. There are agencies that help people who are homeless, living with disabilities, or working to overcome financial problems.

bc211 exists to connect people to these services. And, with today’s official launch of an expanded bc211.ca website, help is just a click away for anyone in BC.

Thousands of records available online

bc211.ca is an online information service that is an up-to-date, reliable gateway to community, social, non-clinical health and government services. Our service directory database currently holds over 12,000 entries that document and describe services and organizations available to help people. The website is optimized for mobile devices, and includes an online chat service, available from 8 am to 11 pm seven days a week. Some of the information you’ll find includes:

  • Employment support
  • Legal assistance
  • Mental health and addiction services
  • Housing options including shelter locations
  • Seniors services
  • Victims services

The 211 service has been in operation in other provinces across Canada and throughout the United States for many years. In BC, 211 launched in 2010 in partnership with United Way of the Lower Mainland with phone and online services serving Metro Vancouver. That service expanded to Squamish-Lillooet, Sunshine Coast, and the Fraser Valley. Text capability was added in 2015, and in 2017, web chat was added.

“Sometimes the biggest barrier to getting help is knowing where to look,” says Michael McKnight, President and CEO, United Way of the Lower Mainland. “bc211.ca breaks down that barrier. United Way is proud to support the expansion of bc211.ca across BC.”

Province-wide access

bc211 maintained an online directory of community resources called the Red Book Online, which focused primarily on services in the Lower Mainland. With the Red Book Online’s transition to bc211.ca, the entire province can now access resources in communities throughout BC. This expansion of services was made possible through funding from United Ways across BC including: Lower Mainland; Greater Victoria; Central and Northern Vancouver Island; Central and South Okanagan/Similkameen; East Kootenay; North Okanagan Columbia Shuswap; Northern British Columbia; Powell River & District; Thompson Nicola Cariboo; and Trail and District.

“British Columbians need and deserve reliable information and help they can trust,” says Nathan Wright, bc211’s Executive Director. “We’re here to ensure that people don’t have to rely solely on Google to deal with sometimes difficult and often very personal situations. At bc211.ca, we have prompts that help people narrow down their search, assist them in finding the services that most meet their needs, and closest to where they live.”

For further information:

Media contact:

Jennifer Young, United Way of the Lower Mainland 
C: 604.309.3937
E: jennifery@uwlm.ca

Nathan Wright, Executive Director, bc211
T: 604.708.3200
E: nathan.wright@bc211.ca