211 Day to increase awareness of valuable service locally and across Canada

Kingston City Hall to be lit up red in a “United Glow” to celebrate 211 Day

Kingston, February 10, 2021 – February 11 is 211 Day across North America and this year, the service is marking its first year being available nationwide across Canada.

211 launched in Kingston and the surrounding area in 2010. Funded in part by the United Way of KFL&A and the City of Kingston, 211 helps residents connect with the right services at the right time, providing an important gateway to community, social, non-clinical health, and related government services.

In October 2020, United Way Centraide Canada announced the expansion of 211 across the country through an investment from the Emergency Community Support Fund by the Government of Canada. The investment has enabled United Way Canada, through its network of partners, to increase the capacity of existing 211 services and make it fully available nationwide.

“The 211 service helps people in need learn about and access our community social service network, including all the programs supported by United Way,” said Bhavana Varma, President and CEO of United Way KFL&A. “211 is a lifeline for those difficult life changes anyone might encounter. And during the COVID-19 pandemic, 211 has become even more important.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the value of 211. With government programs changing regularly, and community-based programs and services having to adjust how they serve clients under always evolving public health guidelines, 211 helps people navigate the complex network of support.

“The pandemic has put many people in the position of needing support for the first time in their lives,” added Varma. They can dial 2-1-1 and talk to somebody who can help them sort through information to figure out what will work for their unique situation.”

211 Day reminds residents how to ’make the right call’. Encouraging people to dial 2-1-1 for non-emergency services can help reducing congestion on 911 dispatch lines, and helping to ensure they are accessing the right type of assistance.

On February 11, 2021, United Way and 211 are encouraging more people to learn about this valuable service and in support, various landmarks across the country will be lit up in a “United Glow” to support 211 Day including Kingston City Hall and Market Square.

Quick facts

2001 – In response to the application submitted by United Way Centraide Canada and its partners, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) assigned 2-1-1 as the toll-free helpline for information about community, social, health and government services.
2002 – The first 211 service opened in Toronto. 
2004 – 211 launched in Edmonton by United Way of the Alberta Capital Region 
2005 – 211 launched in Calgary by United Way of Calgary and the Distress Centre.
2010 211 launched in Kingston and the surrounding area
2013 – 211 launched for residents of Nova Scotia (February).  
By summer 2020, 211 is available in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and most of Quebec.
Dec 2020 – 211 achieved full service across all of Canada

About 211
211 is Canada’s primary source of information for government and community-based health and social services. The free and confidential service can be accessed 24 hours a day, in more than 150 languages, by phone, chat, text, and web. 211 helps connect people to the right information and services, making their pathway to care and resources a guided and trusted one. Visit 211.ca for more information.

Canadians should always call 9-1-1 for a life-threatening emergency, when a property is in danger or a crime is in progress that requires the police, fire or paramedics.

About United Way of KFL&A
United Way works with individuals, organizations and key partners in KFL&A to build and strengthen the community bringing people and resources together to facilitate change. Our vision is a future where people are self-sufficient in a community, where individuals live with hope, dignity and a sense of belonging. Stay up to date by following United Way KFL&A on  Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn or visit www.unitedwaykfla.ca


Media Contacts:

With social distancing in mind, interviews can be conducted via phone or Zoom.

Mandy Pasch, Manager, Marketing and Communications
United Way KFL&A
613-876-3088, marketing@unitedwaykfla.ca