History of 211 in Alberta

211 in Canada began in 2001 as a community-supported initiative to make finding the right community and social services easier for residents. 211 launched in Edmonton in 2004 and Calgary in 2005. United Way has been instrumental in bringing 211 to cities in Alberta, and it is now playing a leading role, along with many community partners, to initiate and implement a province-wide service.

1997

The 211 service starts in the USA
On June 12, 1997, United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta launched United Way 211, America’s first three-digit telephone number dedicated to community life.


2001

The CRTC approves the use of 211 in Canada
Following an application from United Way Canada and its partners, the Canadian Radio-television and Communications Commission (CRTC) approves the use of 211 for access to community information and referral concerning health, community, social, and governmental services.


2004

211 launches in Edmonton
The Support Network, with the support of the United Way Alberta Capital Region, launched 211 in Edmonton.


2005

211 launches in Calgary
Distress Centre Calgary, with the support of the United Way of Calgary & Area and the City of Calgary, launched 211 in Calgary


2007

211 expands to Cochrane.


2008

211 Alberta begins working to expand 211 to the rest of the province.
In this first year, 211 service expanded to Parkland County, Spruce Grove, and Stony Plain.


2009

211 expands to the City of Leduc and Leduc County.


2011

211 becomes data partners with InformAlberta.
InformAlberta is a provincial online directory of community, health, social and government organizations and services. Alberta Health Services owns InformAlberta and it is maintained by multiple data partners.


2013

211 during the Alberta Floods
211 was utilized during the Alberta floods to assist displaced and affected Albertans, as well as to provide information on volunteering and donating for citizens wanting to help.

211 launches in High River
211 was activated in High River during the Alberta floods at the request of emergency management in order to assist in the recovery efforts.


2014

211 launches in Wood Buffalo
This expansion allows residents of Northern Alberta to access information on local services, and was funded by United Way of Fort McMurray and the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo.

211 online search launches for Central Alberta
The start of 211 in Red Deer and Central Alberta. Residents could search for services online. This was made possible by the funding support of the City of Red Deer and United Way of Central Alberta.


2015

211 Edmonton comes under the Canadian Mental Health Association – Edmonton
Services of The Support Network, including 211 Edmonton, are integrated with Canadian Mental Health Association – Edmonton

211 phone service launches in Red Deer
Red Deer residents can now dial 211 to connect with services.

211 phone service launches in Bow Valley
This expansion allows residents in Bow Valley (Banff, Canmore and MD Big Horn) access to information and referral on local services.

211 is recognized for their role in Systems Navigation
211 was recognized for the role they play in systems navigation through the Valuing Mental Health Review and listed as one of the plan’s recommendations.


2016

211 during the Fort McMurray fires
211 compiled accurate and timely information on supports and services available to the evacuees of the Fort McMurray fires.

211 launches online chat service
In response to the Fort McMurray fires, 211 begins offering online chat support.

211 launches in Yellowhead County
This provides 211 to all residents of Yellowhead County, including the towns of Hinton and Edson.


2019

Distress Centre Calgary takes over City of Calgary Information Centre’s Database
The online database of community resources had been managed by the Information Centre since 1967. By having the same agency that operates 211 Calgary manage the online database, Distress Centre will be able to build the 211 program’s community resource knowledge and capacity.