1. What is 211?
211 is a free, confidential 24/7/365 service that connects individuals to resources and services in the province by phone, text, web chat, or online through a searchable website with over 6,000 listings of social, community, non-clinical health, and government services.
2. Who can/will use 211?
211 Saskatchewan is truly a tool for everyone, with:
- Multiple access options available at any time of day
- Over 6,000 listings of a wide variety of services that serve immediate and everyday needs for different populations; and
- Service in over 175 languages, including 17 Indigenous languages, over the phone.
With 211 Saskatchewan’s vast and diverse database, people from all lifestyles use the service, whether they are seeking information for themselves or their friends/family/clients. For example, it could be used by someone seeking home care support for a senior citizen, a teenager looking for job-seeking skills, a recent immigrant needing language or employment training or a person with disabilities determining which local or government services are available in their community.
3. How does 211 Saskatchewan work?
211 Saskatchewan maintains and provides information on over 6,000 records of social, community, non-clinical health, and government services across the province. The 211 SK Resource Team is dedicated to actively verifying the information at least annually and continually adding new services. Notice anything missing or out of date? Contact us to report incorrect information or suggest a listing.
Using 211 Saskatchewan to find services is easy!
- To speak with a Service Navigator to discuss your needs:
- Dial 211 from a landline or cellphone
- Visit sk.211.ca/contact_us to start your web chat
- Text “Hello” to 211
- From out-of-province, call: Dial 1-306-751-0397
- To search the website:
- Select a search icon, choose sub-topic(s), enter a location, and press SEARCH; or
- Use the “Search by custom keyword” option under “Search Method”, enter a keyword, enter a location, and press SEARCH.
- The information on the 211 Saskatchewan website is organized by “need” – not by who delivers the service – making the search for services easier to navigate.
4. Why is 211 useful?
Every day, there are many Saskatchewan citizens facing challenges and in need of help to get back on track. But it can be difficult to navigate thousands of programs and services, especially when you are not sure what you are looking for.
A significant barrier for individuals and families to accessing the services they need is the complexity of finding the information they are seeking. Whether it is finding assistance with basic needs such as food, shelter and employment, looking for support for an aging parent, or trying to find childcare, navigating through the information out there can be overwhelming, confusing and ultimately a roadblock to finding support.
211 Saskatchewan addresses this common issue by helping people find the right services at the right time, in the method most comfortable to them. Individuals and families have the ability to search independently on the easy-to-use website, or they can receive assistance from a caring Service Navigator through the phone/text/web chat service.
5. What are the benefits of the 211 service?
- Today, many systems and services are overwhelmed. Saskatchewan has an increasingly diverse population, aging citizens, and people moving from rural to urban areas.
- 211 SK will play a vital role in our future by reducing wait times and stress, and addressing frustrations as citizens are connected to the right service at the right time.
- 211 Service Navigators are trained to support diverse populations, plus the phone service is available in over 175 languages, including 17 Indigenous languages.
- 211 SK helps Rural or Remote inquirers locate the nearest, most appropriate services before travelling.
- 211 SK is also focused on ensuring that busy service providers are not receiving inappropriate referrals. Service Navigators screen for eligibility and direct individuals to appropriate service providers, therefore allowing them to focus their time providing relevant help and support within their mandate.
- 211 SK helps to re-direct non-emergency calls from 911, ensuring emergency services are used appropriately.
- 211 SK can act as an information hub or “front door” – the main information source – during a crisis or disaster situation, such as wildfires, floods, tragedies, etc.
- Data from 211 SK can be used to help identify service gaps in service areas based on unmet needs. It can also highlight emerging trends and support better service planning.
6. How will 211 help the people of Saskatchewan use the resources we have more cost effectively?
When individuals go without help or support because they are unaware of the services available to them, valuable resources risk being underutilized and people may fail to get the support they need. 211 provides a centralized point of information; 211 can also help identify gaps and track what types of human services people are looking to connect with.
7. Will other Service Providers see benefits from 211 Saskatchewan as well?
211 Saskatchewan is a powerful tool that service providers may use to quickly direct people to services outside of their organization’s scope or expertise. Further, service providers can empower clients by teaching their clients about the easy-to-use and easy-to-remember service. Moreover, 211 SK provides information on eligibility, application process, fees, and more—helping people connect to appropriate services and therefore reducing the time service providers spend re-directing clients.
8. Can’t people just look in the phone book for services?
Phone books are helpful but don’t tell the full story. Many organizations provide multiple services and providers are not listed by each service, nor are the services always reflected in the organization’s name. 211 Saskatchewan maintains an extensive database of services that include information on how to access the service. Services are also organized by need or category, so a person doesn’t need to know the name of the organization or program they are seeking in order to perform a successful search.
9. Why a province–wide service?
A province-wide 211 service ensures that all people—regardless of where they live—will have equal access to information. For example, this would allow a resident in Estevan to easily identify home support options for their family member living in Saskatoon, or assist an immigrant in finding services once they move to Regina.
Both costs and benefits are optimized with a province-wide approach.
10. Who is paying for this?
United Way Saskatoon and Area and United Way Regina fund 211 Saskatchewan.
211 Saskatchewan was also fortunate to receive expansion funding from both the Community Initiatives Fund and CanPacific Potash for a three year period. This funding enabled us to launch the expanded services (phone, text, web chat).
11. Has this been done before?
With recent national expansion, 211 is now available over the phone and online anywhere in Canada. To connect with other local 211s, visit 211.ca.
12. Has any research been done regarding the value of 211?
Comprehensive research on the costs and benefits of 211 systems have been conducted in both the US and Canada. United Ways in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, British Columbia and Ontario have worked with a number of organizations including Deloitte, to develop specific business cases and identify the potential of a 211 service. These studies including one done in Saskatchewan confirm the strength of the 211 business cases and the inherent value of the service.
Each of the studies concluded that the measurable benefits of a national system outweigh the costs by a significant margin. Everyone – public, governments and service providers – stand to realize substantial benefits from the time and cost savings that 211 can provide.
13. How does 211 deal with privacy concerns?
All contact with 211 whether by phone, text, email, web chat, or online search is confidential. No names or other personal information is collected.
Service Navigators and phone translators adhere to strict confidentiality policies and standards. Calls, texts, web chats and e-mails remain anonymous, and confidential at all times. Individual identifying information is not shared.
14. How will 211 Saskatchewan help those in communities with few services?
Given the rural nature of much of Saskatchewan, locating services so that they are accessible to everyone is often a challenge. If 211 SK does not have information within a citizen’s community, 211 will help find those services closest to where they live.
In addition, 211 SK tracks needs that are not being met either because services are not available or accessible for a variety of reasons, or because demands are greater than can be met by existing services. 211 SK can provide vital information to planners who are then able to use it to better understand where the needs are and how service delivery can be improved or developed to meet those needs.
15. Can people call 211 Saskatchewan from outside the province?
Yes, to connect with 211 Saskatchewan from outside the province, dial 1-306-751-0397.
16. Is 211 a duplication of other 3-digit numbers or crisis lines?
211 is not a duplication of services. It serves its own unique purpose among and complements other Saskatchewan three-digit phone lines.
• With over 6,000 programs and services in the database, 211 is the ‘front door’ to a wide range of community services, focusing on providing people with information and helping them navigate services.
• 211 does not specialize in specific areas, such as healthcare or crisis intervention.
• 211 does not offer case management, as callers remain anonymous.
• 211 makes referrals to other helplines and services based on the callers’ needs.