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Annual Report 2016 – 2017



Strong communities where people can easily connect with the help they need


To be a leading source of information and gateway to human services for individuals, service providers and community planners


– We work as a community to serve community integrity – We serve with trust and respect innovation – We seek solutions for today and tomorrow service

2016-17 Annual Report Working Together in Partnership From the Lower Mainland to the Interior, and from Vancouver Island to Northern BC, United Ways across the province have come together to ensure that all British Columbians have easy access to the help they need. Throughout the 2016-2017 fiscal year, bc211 worked together in partnership with every United Way in BC to expand the number and scope of resources in our online directory, www.bc211.ca, to ensure that help would only be a few clicks away, no matter in which BC community someone is searching for services. The groundwork laid this year will help achieve two of our strategic goals: 211 for All British Columbians and Services Delivered in the Way that People Wish to Access Them. A memorandum of understanding established a new partnership between bc211 and the City of Surrey, to ensure that all residents, and especially the most vulnerable, have access to accurate, up-to-date, and comprehensive information about government, community, and social services across a wide variety of needs throughout Surrey and beyond. This partnership is an integral piece of the City’s Public Safety Strategy and recognizes that when people know what supports are available, it translates into safer communities for everyone. As part of the Vancouver Immigration Partnership, bc211 is working closely with the City of Vancouver and immigrant-serving agencies and programs to ensure that newcomers to the area have reliable information about supports available to them as they work on establishing themselves in their new communities. The partnership will also utilize bc211 data to better understand the sector and assist with social planning for the future. Our continuing partnerships with various government ministries has meant that bc211 was able to provide much needed support to British Columbians affected by issues related to gambling, alcohol, drugs, and violence through the specialty help lines that we operate. We hope that this annual report gives you a glimpse of the impact our services have as we seek to work in partnership to strengthen communities by connecting people with the help they need.

Simon Edgett

Nathan Wright

Board Chair

Executive Director


Our Story Our Services Our Successes


Our Story

Responding and Adapting to Community Needs

Since our humble beginnings in 1953, we have provided people with access to community, government, and social services through quality information and referral. Recognized as a leader in information and referral, bc211 was the first agency in Canada to be certified by the Alliance of Information and Referral Systems (AIRS) in 2002. bc211 first opened its doors in 1953 under the name Community Information Service and was one of the first referral organizations in the Lower Mainland. As we continued to expand our services, we published the first edition of the Directory of Health, Welfare and Recreation Services in 1958, which later became known as The Red Book. We continued to expand over the next 30 years, and to publish annual directories. In 1985 we became Information Services Vancouver. Although bc211 has grown significantly, taking different forms and names over the years, we have always maintained a firm commitment to providing the highest quality of information and referral service. We began offering specialized helpline services in the late 80s with the direct-dial Victims’ Information Line and the Alcohol and Drug TRYLine. Over the next 20 years, four new specialty lines were added – the Problem Gambling Help Line in 1998, VictimLink in 2003, the Youth Against Violence Line in 2005 and the Shelter and Street Help Line in 2007.

In 1991, based on the growing popularity of the Internet and World Wide Web, we started an online version of The Red Book. With a web-based format, we were able to provide the public with current resource information that reflected changes and updates in a much more timely way. As a sign of the times, however, the paper format of The Red Book was eventually discontinued with the last print run taking place in 2008. In April of 2010, the 211 British Columbia Services Society, operating under the name bc211, was officially launched. At this time, bc211 began operating 211 services in Metro Vancouver, Fraser Valley, and Squamish-Lillooet Regional Districts. To accommodate the expansion of our services, in 2010 we moved to a new location in the historic Woodward’s Building. With the popularity of 211 services rising over the next four years, access to 211 services was extended to the Sunshine Coast in early 2014. With increased need for access to government, community and social services through new communication platforms, bc211 launched its 211 texting service in early February of 2015, making bc11 the first 211 agency in Canada to offer texting. As we look ahead to meet the growing demand for services across the province, our vision is to strengthen communities with the expansion of 211 services throughout British Columbia.


bc211 Timeline

Community Information Service comes into being as a service of the Community Chest and Councils


Community Information Centre changes its name to the Greater Vancouver Information Referral Service (GVIRS)


The first directory of services is published and becomes known as The Red Book


The Red Book Online, an electronic version of the directory, is published on the Internet and hosted by the Vancouver Public Library


GVIRS name changes to Information Services Vancouver (ISV) and moves to Heritage Hall



ISV achieves accreditation through the Alliance of Information and Referral Systems, becoming the first AIRS accredited I&R agency in Canada



Shelter and Street Help Line is launched with support from the City of Vancouver

The 211 British Columbia Services Society operating under the name of bc211 is officially launched



The last printed edition of the Red Book is published and is replaced by an enhanced version of the Red Book Online


bc211 become the first 211 agency in Canada to deliver I&R services using text and chat technologies

Information and Referral Specialists in the bc211 Contact Centre are trained to provide support, crisis management and appropriate information and referral to our clients. Most of all they are dedicated to helping others…

A woman caller has been very pleased with the service she’s received from us. She told me that we’ve always been able to provide her with useful information and great emotional support. I just had a caller who was looking for resources to support her friend who is experiencing domestic violence. The caller said she herself left a dangerous relationship years ago and went to a transition house with her children and was referred to counselling… A caller told me that our 2-1-1 line saved his life… he said a few more wonderful things but I thought the words “you saved my life” were pretty big! We received some warm thanks from a senior caller. He has a shelter set up and will be going to detox and he feels like things are now taking a positive turn.


Our Services

Building Capacity by Improving Access to Community Services 211 Service

Funded by the generous support of the United Way of the Lower Mainland, bc211 operates a 211 service in the Metro Vancouver, Fraser Valley, Sunshine Coast and SquamishLillooet Regional Districts. 211 is an easy-to-remember, 3-digit phone and text number that provides free, confidential, multilingual access to community, government and social services 24 hours a day by phone and from 8:00am to 11:00pm through text, 365 days a year. Calls and texts are answered by certified Information and Referral Specialists, who are able to assess needs and provide referrals to appropriate services and resources within the community. The goal of 211 is to connect people to the services that they need in order to live fuller, healthier lives, and to assist service providers trying to locate community resources for their clients.

Street and Street Help Line

Funded by the City of Vancouver, the Shelter and Street Help Line is designed to assist people who are affected by homelessness in the Metro Vancouver and Fraser Valley Regional Districts. Twice a day, the Shelter and Street Help Line staff contact Lower Mainland shelters, and publishes the Shelter List, which details available shelter beds and mats for women, men, youth and families.


to speak with a supportive person to report a crime or violent incident, and get access to services. Services are also available in the Yukon. Alcohol & Drug Information & Referral Service: provides a wide range of information for people with addictions as well as significant others and service providers. Problem Gambling Help Line: provides information, resources, and connects people to free counselling for people who have been negatively affected by gambling and gaming.

Data Sharing

bc211 is committed to strengthening communities by leveraging data for informed community planning, social policy, and funding decisions. In order to answer the help lines and assist those using the online search service, bc211 maintains a database of services. Pairing this resource data with our call data makes our information highly valuable not only to individuals in need, but to social service providers, community planners, and local and provincial governments. Reliable data can provide a factual base from which to generate effective solutions to complex problems; it allows analysis of assumptions and options, and supports evidence-based decision making. By sharing our aggregated data, we are able to enhance the effectiveness of community planning and policy development.

BC211.ca is a searchable directory of community resources serving Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley along with the Squamish-Lillooet and Sunshine Coast regional districts. Current efforts are ongoing to expand this service to cover the entire Province of British Columbia with an expected rollout date in June 2017.

Community Lists

Specialty Help Lines

bc211 has offered professional development workshops and customized training for more than 20 years. These workshops were developed in response to the needs of service providers in the community. Service providers and community volunteers can benefit from learning information and referral skills and best practices, whether they specialize in information and referral or provide direct service in other areas. In 2017, bc211 will expand its workshop offerings to provide additional opportunities to share knowledge and build community capacity.

In addition to our 211 service, bc211 also answers four specialty help lines, which are province wide and available 24/7, 365 days a year: VictimLink BC: provides crisis support to victims of family and sexual violence as well as information and referral to victims of crime, including human trafficking. Services are also available in the Yukon. Youth Against Violence Line: provides a safe, confidential, and anonymous way for youth, parents, and counselors

With over 10,700 records in our database, bc211 is able to provide customized resource lists for government and service organizations looking to support vulnerable clients and increase community capacity.

Professional Development Workshops


2016 - 2017 Year in Review Strengthening communities by creating connections 2016-2017 was another year of record breaking performance

211 Helps More People

In 2016-2017, more than 365,000 British Columbians received the help they needed across the continuum of social and health issues by making use of bc211’s various communication channels. This represents a 10% increase over the previous year and continues the trend that has been experienced in recent years, particularly as noted by the growth of the bc211.ca online resource directory. Usage of the web based directory registered a total of 275,800 unique visits that represents a 17% increase over 2015-2016. bc211 continues to expand the scope of our contact services with an ultimate goal of reaching the entire BC Province through phone, online, text, web chat, and potentially any other technology that may avail itself in future.

bc211.ca To Cover All of BC

A major resource expansion project was started last year to extend the reach of the bc211.ca online directory (or Red Book Online) to all of BC. Through the cooperation, participation, and financial support of United Ways across the province, bc211’s Resource & Publications Department have been diligently working

with government and social service providers to add all the resource records available to achieve the information rich database expected. Over the course of the year, more than 2,300 additional records had been added to the database which equals a substantial 27% increase. It is expected that the bc211.ca online directory will exceed 12,000 records by the time that the expansion rollout is officially launched a few months from now.

Vancouver Immigration Partnership

The City of Vancouver, with 72 organizations and nearly 120 partners, formed the Vancouver Immigration Partnership (VIP) to build lasting, appropriate supports to help immigrants and refugees transition into their new lives here. As part of VIP’s New Start Strategy 2016-2025, bc211 and other social service information providers are working to promote a campaign to raise awareness among immigrants about the programs, services and resources available to newcomers through existing web-based directories.



As part of the City of Surrey’s Public Safety Strategy, bc211 has entered into a partnering arrangement whereby the City will heavily promote bc211 online, in print, in city facilities, and at city-sponsored events. It is anticipated that these efforts will raise awareness of the many helpful services that are available in the community. In addition, the City will provide ongoing assistance to bc211 in keeping Surrey’s records current and complete.

Walk For Possibility

bc211 and United Way Lower Mainland co-hosted the 2nd Annual Walk For Possibility in early March. Although the weather was rather damp, the 11 km fundraising walk was a success as 120 walkers representing 24 agency teams raised close to $20,000. Plans are underway to grow this annual event into a major fundraiser for the United Way and the many service providers that they support.

Building Community With United Way

Our Executive Director, Nathan Wright, was very active in promoting United Way and bc211 through his impact presentations at a number of businesses and service organizations in the Metro Vancouver area as well as other BC locations. In addition, bc211 was able to host a number of United Way initiated agency tours that allowed many groups to learn more about the work that is accomplished through United Way’s valued support of bc211 services.


bc211 continued to offer workshops throughout the year as feedback remains very positive from participants and the various agencies and non-profit groups they represent. The day long workshops are informative and affordable and cover such topics as Social Media, Blogging, Information & Referral, and Effective Communication. Information regarding upcoming workshops can be found on the bc211.ca website.


211 Service in 2016-2017





Top 3 Reasons for calls



bc211 offers help in


17 of which are









Total calls on 211 during 2016-17

Total minutes that 211 call-takers spent helping callers







The 211 service, which was launched on November 2nd, 2010 by bc211, continues to experience considerable call volumes with 52,400 calls answered in 2016-2017. This past year we also had 275,800 unique visits to the BC211.CA resource database, representing an increase of 17% over the previous year. With growing demand for 211 services, we also experienced growth in our other 211 channels and connected with many more members of the community through email and our texting service. Dialing 211 provides individuals and families in need with a shortcut through what can be a maze of health and social service agencies’ phone numbers. By simply dialing 211, those in need of assistance are referred to appropriate agencies and resources, enabling them to lead fuller and healthier lives by becoming more engaged with their community. 211 service would not happen without the generous support of our primary funder, the United Way of the Lower Mainland. We are thankful for their vision and commitment to improve access to social and healthrelated support services.

Types of Referrals Offered by 211: Basic Human Needs Resources

Including food and clothing banks, shelters and rent assistance.

Physical and Mental Health Resources

Including crisis intervention services, support groups, counselling and drug and alcohol intervention and rehabilitation.

Support for Seniors and Persons with Disabilities

Including adult day care, meal delivery services, respite care, home health care, transportation and homemaker services.

Children, Youth and Family Support

Including child care, after school programs, educational programs for low-income families, and family resource centers.


Emergency Suicide Prevention

Including referrals to crisis intervention organizations.

Legal Services

Including counselling and support for victims of crime.

Come visit the enhanced


Find the programs and services you need

easier, faster, smarter Last year 275,000 people visited BC211.CA to find community resources. Help is just a click away.

VictimLink BC and Yukon 1-800-563-0808

Contracted by the Victim Service and Crime Prevention Division of the Ministry of Justice since 2003, bc211 is responsible for delivering VictimLink BC for the province of British Columbia and VictimLink Yukon. Available 24/7, 365 days per year, VictimLink BC provides information and referral service to all victims of crime, and immediate crisis support to victims of family and sexual violence, including victims of human trafficking exploited for labour or sexual services.

• 11,782 calls during 2016-17 • 78% of callers were female • 3,249 calls for domestic violence • 2,451 callers referred to transition houses • Busiest time for calls were between 9 am and 1 pm • Assisted people in 179 communities across BC • Vancouver, Surrey, Burnaby and Victoria had the highest number of calls per resident

Top 5 reasons for calling Victim Link in BC 2016–17: 30%















Youth Against Violence Line 1-800-680-4264

The Youth Against Violence Line is a contracted service delivered on behalf of the Victim Services and Crime Prevention Division of the Ministry of Justice. By calling the Youth Against Violence Line, youth can receive non-judgmental support and options for addressing issues such as bullying, gangs, sexual exploitation, dating violence, hate crimes, discrimination and abuse. Parents, teachers or service providers concerned about the well-being of a young person, can also call for assistance.

• 138 calls during 2016-17 • 51% of callers were female • 18% of calls due to mental health and 16% due to abuse • Assisted people in 31 communities across BC • The cities where callers phone from the most were Vancouver, Kelowna and Burnaby • Crisis line was the service referred to most often

Top 5 reasons for calling the Youth Against Violence Line in BC 2016–17: 21% 19%


17% 15% 10%









0% 15

Alcohol & Drug Information and Referral Service 604-660-9382 | 1-800-663-1441

Since 1989 bc211 has been delivering the Alcohol & Drug Information and Referral Services (ADIRS) on behalf of the Ministry of Health, 24/7, 365 days per year. Callers looking for free confidential help with any kind of substance abuse issue can access information and referral regarding education, prevention and treatment services, as well as regulatory agencies. Support is also available to friends and families who are looking for ways to assist their loved ones in making positive change.

• 25,009 calls during 2016-17 • An average of 481 calls per week • 51% of non-correctional callers were female • 2,232 - number of calls in March, the busiest month • The number of calls related to Fentanyl increased by 166% • Assisted people in 218 communities across BC

Top substances reported (non-correctional) 2016–17: 60%

• 54% of calls from correctional facilities • 13,603 calls from correctional facilities, an increase of 14% from the previous year • 88% of callers from correctional facilities were male

52% 45%





10% 6%







Problem Gambling Help Line 1-888-795-6111

• 3,938 calls during 2016-17 • Average of 76 calls per week • 52% of callers were male • 47% of calls due to excessive time spent gambling

Contracted by the Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch of the Ministry of Finance, the Problem Gambling Help Line provides information to support individuals affected by problem gambling. Available 24/7, 365 days per year province-wide, callers can access information such as support groups, educational and prevention services for community groups, and free counselling services for anyone impacted by problem gambling.

• 1,380 callers given referrals to one of 24 problem gambling counsellors across BC • Vancouver, Surrey, and Burnaby had the highest number of calls per resident • November and January were the busiest months for calls

Gambling activities reported 2016–17:


40% 35% 30%


20% 15%

15% 10%






0% 17

2016-2017 Board Members Committed to values-based leadership in achieving bc211’s vision and mission

Simon Edgett, Board Chair

Simon is an executive and technology leader with expertise in Telecommunications and Information Technology (IT). He is motivated by building high-performance teams for complex and mission-critical projects. He was co-founder and vice-president of an early internet provider in BC and has since worked in the IT space through startups, IPOs in the dotcom era, and large national corporations. He is currently part of the senior leadership team at Global Relay, a leader in Enterprise Information Archiving.

Teresa Budd, Board Vice-Chair

Teresa is an experienced governance professional with a demonstrated history of working with boards of directors and management teams for nearly 20 years. Teresa collaborates with WATSON as a governance lawyer working with private and public companies, Crown agencies, municipal corporations, member-based organizations, regulatory bodies and not-for-profit organizations. Teresa conducts governance reviews, board evaluations, corporate secretarial practice assessments and supports multiple boards as part of WATSON’s outsourced corporate secretarial services. She is a facilitator in WATSON’s Governance Academy delivering governance education programs to both individual directors and boards. Teresa has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of British Columbia and a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Western Ontario.

Michael McKnight, Secretary

Michael has been the President and CEO of the United Way Lower Mainland since 2004. Prior to holding this position, he was the President of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada. There he developed a national vision and implemented a strategic plan that resulted in an 80% increase in the number of children and youth served during his term. Michael has undergraduate degrees in Communications from Carleton University and Social Work from York University. He also holds a Master’s degree in Management from McGill University.

Eric Talbot, Treasurer

Eric is a partner in PwC Vancouver’s assurance practice. Eric specializes in the resources industry where he has worked for the last 13 years, including a two year secondment to Perth, Australia. Eric has experience with acquisitions and business combinations, debt and equity financing, financial reporting under both IFRS and US GAAP and internal controls over financial reporting. Eric also provides accounting advisory services to clients and facilitates training courses on IFRS and audit related technical topics.


Mark Donnelly

Mark brings over 20 years of senior level leadership, marketing and operations experience to the bc211 board. He is currently executive director of SafetyDriven – Trucking Safety Council of BC (TSCBC) responsible for delivering occupational health and safety programs and training to BC’s trucking and other related industries. Prior to TSCBC, he was Director, Community Impact at the British Columbia Automobile Association (BCAA) and President & COO of the BCAA Road Safety Foundation. He has also held a variety of management roles at TELUS. Mark has served on the board of the British Columbia Association of Integrated Marketers and has volunteered as a mentor with the Vancouver Board of Trade. He is a graduate of Simon Fraser University (Bachelor of Business Administration), the University of British Columbia (UBC) (Master of Arts – Economics), and holds a Certificate in Internet Marketing from UBC.

Chuck Eamer

Chuck worked for almost 30 years in the BC Public Service. He holds degrees in education and social work. Before leaving government Chuck was an Assistant Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Children and Family Development. His responsibilities covered the Vancouver Island region, specialized IT projects, Early Years programming, Child Care, and other programs. Since leaving government Chuck has run a consulting firm, Eamer Human Systems Consulting. Most of his work has been with First Nations organizations.

Mathé Grenier

A seasoned business advisor, Mathé combines her experience working alongside leaders, executives and boards as a consultant, facilitator and coach to deliver tangible solutions that help organizations and their people perform better. Mathé has worked extensively with private and public sector clients across Canada in the areas of leadership effectiveness, capability assessment, organizational transformation, succession planning, and board effectiveness. With a background in industrial psychology and as a business leader, she brings a valuable combination of deep technical and industry expertise with pragmatic business-focused advice to her clients.

Patricia Jelinski

Patricia Jelinski has been the CEO of United Way Greater Victoria since 2014 and she brings over 18 years of senior executive leadership to her work through positions in organizations across North America in the private, public and non-profit sectors. She has extensive experience leading business development and community investment within multi-stakeholder environments. Her experience along with her work with government, tourism, economic development, foundations, corporate partners and social service organizations supports her approach to bringing business and community together to achieve common goals.

Warren Olson

Since 2001, Warren has been a member of the senior management team at the United Way of Lower Mainland. In his current position as Vice President, Finance and Administration he is responsible for the management and direction of the organization’s finance, donor services, human resources, information technology and research and analytics functions. Prior to joining the United Way, Warren served as the General Manager of CHEK-TV in Victoria and as the Vice President, Finance and Administration for BCTV/CHEK-TV.



211 British Columbia Services Society Statement of Operations Year Ended March 31, 2017 Revenue

2017 $

2016 $





Ministry of Justice - Victimlink BC, Youth Against Violence Line



Ministry of Finance - The Problem Gambling Help Line



Ministry of Health - Alcohol & Drug Information and Referral Service







City of Vancouver



United Way of Fraser Valley








Enterprising Non-Profit (ENP)

8,066 -

University of British Columbia


4,673 -

United Way of Lower Mainland – Operating grant Federal Government

Homelessness Partnership Strategy

BC Government

Ministry of Finance - The Problem Gambling Help Line Chinese Webchat Ministry of Justice - Victim Reach Map Project

West Coast Child Care Resource Centre


7,150 2,122,485




Office and program



Purchased services and subcontracts



Building occupancy



Advertising and promotion






9,820 1,982,921

13,347 1,953,987





Expenses Salaries and benefits

Training Surplus of revenue over expenses before the undernoted Amortization of deferred contributions related to property and equipment Amortization of property and equipment



Surplus of revenue over expenses




bc211 PROVIDES AN INVALUABLE RESOURCE that is simple for our community members to use.

Most folks who access our services know to call bc211 for referral to any services that they might need.

bc211 IS A HIGHLY VALUED PARTNER FOR US as an organization by tracking metrics of who is referred here and why, ensuring that we continue to offer the



The Rev. Dr. Carmen R. Lansdowne Executive Director First United Church Community Ministry Society

Our commitment and passion for empowering individuals and communities would not be possible without the support of our core funder the United Lower of Mainland. There is no way for us to fully express our gratitude for your generosity. The staff at bc211 are continually inspired by your dedication and willingness to answer the call to give again and again. We would also like to acknowledge the support provided by the City of Vancouver, the United Way of Fraser Valley and Government of British Columbia. With your funding over the past year, you have demonstrated your deep commitment to providing support for vulnerable communities. In addition, this past year has welcomed in new working relationships between bc211 and all other United Ways throughout BC. Your combined efforts, support and financial commitment in helping us to assist people in need in all regions of the Province is greatly appreciated.

Looking for Information? We Can Help


Administration Contact Information:

Contact our Help Lines:


Information and Referral Service:

website: www.bc211.ca

Call: 211 | Text: 211

email: info@bc211.ca

VictimLink BC: 1-800-563-0808

phone: 604-875-6431

Alcohol & Drug Information and Referral Line:

address: 330-111 West Hastings Street

[Local]: 604-660-9382

[Outside Lower Mainland]: 1-800-663-1441

Vancouver, BC V6B 1H4

Youth Against Violence Line: 1-800-680-4264 Problem Gambling Help Line: 1-888-795-6111 Shelter and Street Help Line: 211 Online Search (Red Book Online): http://redbookonline.bc211.ca/

Profile for bc211

bc211 Annual Report 2016-2017  

bc211 Annual Report 2016-2017  

Profile for bc211