When to call the 911 vs. 811 vs. 311 numbers in British Columbia

Mar 25 2020, 7:43 pm

As the COVID-19 pandemic in BC continues, a number of resources are being made available to help people access the information they need – when they need it.

However, not all numbers are created equal, and the minor differences in the numbers people dial can make big differences in the type of help they receive.

Here’s a breakdown of BC’s major help and tip lines and the type of information and help they provide:


For emergencies, or anything that requires an immediate response from police, fire or ambulance. This includes witnessing a crime, suspicious activity, violence, or an accident. If the incident happened earlier, call the non-emergency line to make a report, or the TIPS line if you want to remain anonymous.


BC’s 24-hour health information and advice phone line, 811 is operated by HealthLink BC, which is part of the Ministry of Health. By calling 811, you can speak to a health service navigator, who can help you find health information and services, or you will be connected directly with a registered nurse, a registered dietitian, a qualified exercise professional, or a pharmacist. Any one of these healthcare professionals will help you get the information you need to manage your health concerns or those of your family.


311 is the City of Vancouver’s  tip and information line. Residents can call this number to voice a variety of questions and concerns, from noise complaints, to building permit questions, to issues around city services.

DH Vancouver StaffDH Vancouver Staff

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