Free, confidential service launches to help people impacted by COVID-19 navigate available community and government supports
Everyone in Manitoba now has access to 211 phone service and mb.211.ca, a free, confidential information navigation service that connects people to critical government and community-based health and social services in their community thanks to funding from the Government of Canada. 211 Manitoba is led by United Way Winnipeg in collaboration with Volunteer Manitoba and includes a multisector Advisory Committee.
Whether a parent worried about their child’s mental health, a senior feeling isolated or anxious about getting 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 Manitoba, the service is offered through phone and website. In all cases, 211 confidentially connects people who are seeking support to the right information and services.
“With this important investment from the Government of Canada, 211 Manitoba has been able to build on its existing website service. This means in Manitoba, our Manitoba 211 online service – a service used by over 200,000 Manitobans last year – will now include 211 phone service! Starting today, Manitobans can dial 211 from anywhere in Manitoba, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and connect with a Community Navigator who will help them find appropriate community-based social, health, and government resources close to them.”
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.
“The Government of Canada created the Emergency Community Support Fund to help charities and non-profit organizations adapt front-line services to address the evolving needs of Canadians throughout the pandemic. We are proud to support programs and services, like the 211 telephone line and online directory. With the ongoing pandemic, the 211 service is more important than ever, helping get information about community services to the Canadians who need it.”
211 phone service 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.