A toll-free 811 health advice line is now available in all NWT communities, 24 hours a day, every day of the year, Health and Social Services Minister Julie Green announced today.
By dialing 811, you will be connected to a registered nurse who can assess your situation and provide advice on non-emergency health issues. Anyone living in the Northwest Territories can call 811 via landline or cell phone; or if you are hard of hearing, Canadian Video Relay Service (VRS). This confidential and quick-access service is also available in all the official languages of the territory.
811 has proven to be an effective way to bring peace of mind to residents, especially in remote areas, when they need quick answers and clarity on general health issues. Callers can also ask about communicable diseases including influenza, COVID, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and sexually transmitted infections such as syphilis and how and when to get tested. Residents with urgent medical issues should continue to use the 911 emergency response line.
Callers can request to remain anonymous while gaining access to health information. In addition to GNWT privacy oversight, 811 service providers have adopted industry best practices for handling confidential and sensitive health information to ensure the safety and security of resident information.
All 811 nursing service providers are licensed to work in the NWT and have completed cultural safety training as part of the GNWT’s commitment to providing high quality, non-discriminatory medical advice. 811 nurses will also be able to direct calls to other family health and support resources, such as the poison control line, mental health services, abandonment line and residential school resolution.
Any concerns, questions or comments regarding the Northwest Territories 811 Health Advice Line can be emailed to: [email protected]
If residents encounter a problem when trying to dial 811 directly, they can contact their telephone service provider to request a solution. Anyone who cannot connect directly to 811 can access the service by dialing the toll-free number at 1-844-259-1793.
“The Northwest Territories 811 Medical Helpline is a quick way to get non-emergency medical advice on general health issues. It is not meant to replace a visit to a nurse or doctor, but it can help you know when you can manage your symptoms at home and when you need additional medical help. With this new initiative, the GNWT joins all other provinces and territories in Canada to provide residents with a trusted source of medical information accessible any time of the day or night from a location that is convenient for them. 911 service will continue to be the first choice for emergency issues.
– Julie Green, Minister of Health and Social Services
- 811 often avoids going to a medical clinic or emergency room, which can help reduce the spread of communicable diseases such as COVID-19.
- 811 registered nurses received specialized training in telephone counseling using clinical algorithms like Schmitt-Thompson, which are used in 95% of medical telephone counseling centers around the world.
- An 811 call takes an average of 12 to 16 minutes and all information is stored electronically in a secure environment accessible only to registered nurses.
- The Northwest Territories 811 Medical Helpline can also be reached toll-free by dialing: 1 (844) 259-1793 if you are using SRV Canada for the deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired; or if Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) users wish to use the service.
- The service is available in all official languages of the NWT.
- Residents will not be able to connect to 811 if they have Wi-Fi calling enabled in their device settings.
- Businesses that have a PBX (Private Branch Exchange) telephone system will need to program the system to allow external calls to 811.
For media inquiries, please contact:
Jeremy Gibson Bird
Ministry of Health and Social Services
Government of the Northwest Territories
(867) 767-9052 ext. 49034