Page 1


we can help In partnership with

the United Way

Annual Report 2015 – 2016


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

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

2015-16 Annual Report Another Year for the Record Books This was another year with multiple entries in the record books for bc211. Our dedicated team of certified information and referral specialists answered 56,100 calls on our 211 line, a 4% increase over the previous year. We provided 66,090 referrals to connect people who contacted us via 211 with the help they needed across a wide range of services from housing and homelessness to support for victims of abuse. We responded to a further 37,900 callers on our specialty lines. Our hard-working resources and publications staff ensured that our extensive database of 8,400 resources were updated and verified, providing reliable and current information about programs and service agencies across the province. Unique visits to The Red Book Online, our free and publiclyaccessible community resources directory, increased by an astonishing 40% to 236,000 visits. In total, through all of our information and referral services, we connected 330,000 British Columbians with the help they needed, across a broad spectrum of social and health issues. One of the highlights of the year was the commitment of the United Ways across the province to expand the reach of our services to every community in British Columbia. What began as something available only throughout the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley, Squamish-Lillooet, and Sunshine Coast regional districts, will soon be easily accessible across the entire province through our Red Book Online, which will also include a real-time web chat feature. Thanks to this commitment from the United Ways in BC, 2016-17 promises to be another remarkable year for bc211. We hope that this annual report gives you a glimpse of the impact our services have as we seek to strengthen communities by connecting people with the help they need.

Simon Edgett Board Chair

Nathan Wright 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 more than 600,000 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, we started ‘The Red Book’ Online Directory and in 2008 we stopped publishing ‘The RedBook’ in paper format. With a web-based format, we were able to provide the public with resource information that reflected ongoing changes and updates.

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 VPL


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

I have called your line many times while I was going back and forth between leaving my abusive partner. I really appreciated your non-judgmental support and it has really helped me make the final step in leaving him for good. I contacted 2-1-1 yesterday to try to find a shelter space. I found a space at Catholic Charities. Thank you for your help. [The call taker] has gone over and above to help me get connected with the help I needed.

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.

Red Book Online The Red Book Online is a searchable directory of community resources serving the Fraser Valley, Metro Vancouver, Squamish-Lillooet and Sunshine Coast regional districts. Click on http://redbookonline.bc211.ca to access the Red Book Online.

Specialty Help Lines 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.


Our Services

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 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 Red Book Online, 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.

Community Lists

With over 8,400 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

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 2016, bc211 will expand its workshop offerings to provide additional opportunities to share knowledge and build community capacity.


2015 - 2016 Year in Review Strengthening communities through creating connections 2015-2016 was another year of record breaking performance

211 Helps More People In 2015-2016, more than 56,000 people received help through our 211 line, the highest number of calls received in a single year since the service was launched. Visits to bc211’s free community resource directory, The Red Book Online, hit a record high of 236,000 unique visits, a 40% increase over 2014-2015. Together through our various communication channels, including email and text messaging, more than 330,000 British Columbians received the help they needed, across the continuum of social and health issues.

Achievement of 5-year Accreditation from Alliance of Information & Referral Systems As a testament to the quality of service provided by bc211 and acknowledgement of demonstrated competencies in applying the Standards for Professional Information & Referral, the Alliance of Information & Referral Systems (AIRS) granted a full 5-year accreditation to the organization.

Problem Gambling Help Line Chinese Web Chat Pilot As an extension of the services provided through the Responsible and Problem Gambling Help Line, bc211 collaborated with the Ministry of Finance to pilot a Chinese languages web chat program. The outcome

of this pilot project has given the Ministry insights into how to address the unique needs of this community.

Homeless Partnering Strategy As part of a collaborative effort with the Greater Vancouver Shelter Strategy, bc211 is part of a multi-year project to create and host a web-based, interactive map of key, relevant Housing First resources throughout Metro Vancouver.

BC Victim REACH Map With funding from the Ministry of Justice, bc211 began a project to create a BC Victim REACH (Report, Empower, Advocate, Change, and Help) Map. The objective of the project is to create awareness and increase access to resources by providing women in British Columbia with an opportunity to report incidents of violence in a safe and confidential environment using innovative technologies. In doing so, women who may be reluctant to report violent incidents through official channels can be empowered to take action and stand up and be counted.

Workshops bc211 continued to serve as a community connector and contributed to the overall effectiveness of agencies and programs across the non-profit sector by delivering a series of well-attended workshops. Topics included: Information & Referral, Effective Communication 1.0 and 2.0, Self-Care for Service Providers, Social Media & Blogging for Non-Profits, Wellness at Work, Project Management for Non-Profits.


Scotiabank & United Way Community Spirit Awards

The 15th annual Scotiabank and United Way Community Spirit Awards were held February 25, 2016. The Awards recognize top donors, volunteers, unions, and organizations that support United Way, and that have made exceptional impacts on the lives of children, families, and seniors in the Lower Mainland. bc211’s Janette Razon was one of the Spirit Awards Impact Speakers. Janette has worked in the social services sector for over 20 years. As an Information and Referral Specialist with bc211, Janette answers 3,400 calls every year from children, adults, and seniors looking for help.


Through a project entitled “Pathways Towards Enhanced Financial Self-Sufficiency for bc211”, Mitacs, a national not-for-profit organization that has designed and delivered research and training programs in Canada for 15 years, assisted bc211 with a research project to help identify and assess the feasibility of various alternatives in which the organization could meet the desired objectives to effectively deliver its social mission, while also enhancing financial self-sufficiency. A team of graduate students at the University of British Columbia conducted the research and their findings will be examined for possible future implementation.

United Ways Across BC Commit to Expand bc211’s Online Services

United Ways across the province have joined together to help expand the reach of our services. What began as something available only throughout the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley, Squamish-Lillooet, and Sunshine Coast regional districts, will soon be easily accessible across the entire province through our Red Book Online, which will also include a real-time web chat feature. Work on expanding our database and updating the website will take place during the 2016 – 2017 year with a target launch date of April 2017.


211 Service in 2015-2016















The 211 service, which was launched on November 2nd, 2010 by bc211, continues to experience increased call volumes with 56,100 calls answered in 2015-2016. This past year, we also had 236,000 unique visits to the Red Book Online resource database, representing an increase of 40% more users 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.

Types of Referrals Offered by 211:

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.

Support for Seniors and Persons with Disabilities

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.

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.

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

Red Book Online find the programs and services you need

easier, faster, smarter Last year 236,000 people visited The Red Book Online 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.

• 13,335 calls during 2015-16 • 79% of callers are female • 3,610 calls for domestic violence • 2,331 callers referred to transition houses • Busiest time for calls are between 10 am and 3 pm • Assisted people in 187 communities across BC

Top 5 reasons for calling Victim Link in BC 2015–16: 30%

• Vancouver, Surrey, and Victoria have the highest number of calls per resident















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 nonjudgmental 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 wellbeing of a young person, can also call for assistance.

• 153 calls during 2015-16 • 53% of callers are female • 23% of calls due to abuse • Assisted people in 33 communities across BC • The cities where callers phone from the most were Vancouver, Surrey, and Kelowna • Crisis line was the service referred to most

Top 5 reasons for calling Youth Against Violence in BC 2015–16: 19%


17% 15%











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.

• 24,470 calls during 2015-16 • An average of 470 calls per week • 52% of non-correctional callers are female • 2087 - number of calls in October, the busiest month • The number of calls related to methamphetamines increased by 2%

Top substances reported 2015–16: 60%

• Assisted people in 209 communities across BC • 49% of calls from correctional facilities • 11,912 calls from correctional facilities, and increase of 22% from the previous year



• 86% of callers from correctional facilities are male





11% 6%







Problem Gambling Help Line 1-888-795-6111

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.

• 4,165 calls during 2015-16 • Average of 80 calls per week • 52% of callers are male • 25% of calls due to excessive time spent gambling • 1,443 callers given referrals to one of 27 problem gambling counsellors across BC • Vancouver, Surrey, and Burnaby had the highest number of calls per resident

Gambling activities reported 2015–16:

• 29% more callers from Nanaimo compared to previous year

50% 50%


30% 20%



11% 10%







0% 17

2015-2016 Board Members 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.

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 senior manager in PwC Vancouver’s assurance practice. Eric specializes in the resources industry where he has worked for the last 11 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 facilities training courses on IFRS and audit related technical topics.

Teresa Budd Teresa provides board effectiveness reviews, governance audits and outsourced corporate secretarial support at WATSON. She has 14 years of experience as a lawyer and works with organizations across all sectors, including public, private and Crown corporations. Teresa has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of British Columbia and a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Western Ontario.

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 others. 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.

Kim Lockhart

Kim Lockhart is a National Director at the United Way Centraide Canada (UWCC), which provides leadership and support to over 100 United Ways Centraides across Canada. Prior to joining UWCC, she served as Vice President of the United Way of the Lower Mainland in British Columbia. Kim has a diverse range of skills, with deep knowledge and networks at the local, provincial, national and international level. Passionate about building strong, healthy, communities, she is an advocate of collaboration, believing in the importance of community relationships and the power of working together.  Kim is a recipient of the UWCC Award of Distinction, Queens Golden Jubilee medal, and in 2015 was recognized for long and dedicated service by United Way Worldwide. 

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 the 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. 


Finances 211 British Columbia Services Society Statement of Operations Year Ended March 31, 2016 Revenue United Way of Lower Mainland Operating Grant Federal Government Homelessness Partnership Strategy Justice Canada BC Government Ministry of Justice–VictimLink BC, Youth Against Violence Line Ministry of Finance–Problem Gambling Help Line Ministry of Health–Alcohol & drug Information and Referral Line Ministry of Finance–The Problem Gambling Help Line-Chinese Webchat Ministry of Justice–Victim Reach Map Project City of Vancouver United Way of Fraser Valley Miscellaneous Workshops Enterprising Non-Profit (ENP) University of British Columbia TELUS I AM SOMEONE Ending Bullying Society





71,388 —

— 1,174

519,406 231,852 230,145 137,867 11,032 37,900 14,680 14,114 12,140 5,000 4,673 — —

521,884 231,852 228,858 — — 37,900 14,680 10,697 9,125 — — 22,784 40,244

1,532,682 142,428 125,001 67,274 60,184 13,347 13,071

1,506,335 103,069 113,658 64,377 39,719 5,190 9,434





7,463 (10,341)

33,411 (33,606)




Salaries and benefits Office and program Purchased services and subcontracts Building Occupancy Advertising and promotion Training Other

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

bc211 RED BOOK ONLINE IS an important tool that we can rely on when those in crisis reach out to us for help.

REQUIRING NO SPECIAL SOFTWARE TO BE INSTALLED, it has an intuitive interface making it easy to use and readily accessible via a web browser. We search the Redbook for

RESOURCES TO HELP INDIVIDUALS in distress connect to services they need.

Michael Lam Director of HR & IT Crisis Intervention & Suicide Prevention Centre of BC

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 support over the past year, you have demonstrated your deep commitment to providing support for vulnerable communities.

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 Red Book Online: http://redbookonline.bc211.ca/

Profile for bc211

bc211 Annual Report 2015-2016  

bc211 Annual Report 2015-2016

bc211 Annual Report 2015-2016  

bc211 Annual Report 2015-2016

Profile for bc211