Have you ever walked into a store and felt overwhelmed at the idea of finding what you need among the dozens of aisles?  

Now think of a time when you needed support or wanted to find a community program and didn’t know where to start your search.  

In a store, you likely catch the attention of a staff member and ask them. They kindly walk you directly to the product that will work best and suggest other items that could be helpful.  

That’s how it works when you contact 211. Our Community Navigators are trained on how to ask the right questions to fully understand a person’s needs and have access to a database with tens of thousands of programs and services across the province.  

We can help reduce the challenges and barriers to finding services and assess whether other programs or services that could help your situation.   

Here are some real-world examples of recent calls.

Understanding when additional supports are needed 

A woman with aging parents phoned 211 looking for in-home supports for her stepfather, who was diagnosed with stage four cancer. The family had a support worker coming into the home but needed additional support. During the conversation, the Community Navigator discovered the woman’s mother was struggling with the burden of caregiving and needed mental health support.  

By the end of the call, the Navigator was able to connect them to resources for both in-home supports and caregiver support for the woman’s mother.  

“I love when I can uncover additional problems people might not realize are there,” says Lisanne, the Navigator who answered the call. “Sometimes it’s a much bigger issue, and addressing that can help resolve other concerns.” 

Helping a caller find connection 

A woman dialled 2-1-1 and was very distraught when the Navigator answered the phone. She was crying and when he asked what was going on she said she was 78 years old, lived in an apartment and had a dog who had recently been killed. 

The woman was looking for somebody to talk to. The Navigator was able to find a referral in our database for a pet loss bereavement support group. He gave her the information and asked if he could do a follow up.  

10 days later when the Navigator called her, she said she had been to the group and it was a very supportive environment. She added that she was looking forward to going to more monthly meetings and spending time with other people who had lost their pets. She had felt alone, but this was a group where it was OK to cry, laugh and share memories.   

“It was rewarding to know we connected her with something so meaningful,” said Faed, the Navigator who answered the call. 

A caregiver was looking for seniors’ services providing help in Vietnamese 

A worker at a social service agency called 211. She was looking for services in the Vietnamese language for her client, who was a caregiver for a frail senior. The client was understandably overwhelmed with the many responsibilities of caregiving. The worker felt the client needed some assistance, so they could cope better with their stress. 

After asking some questions, the 211 Community Navigator found several appropriate non-profit counselling programs in Vietnamese that were close to where the caregiver lived. She described the eligibility, services and how to apply for each one. 

The Community Navigator encouraged the caller to dial 2-1-1 again anytime she needed more referrals. She also encouraged the worker to give the 211 number to her client and to let them know 211 has access to telephone interpretation in Vietnamese and more than 150 other languages.