211 Nova Scotia was incorporated under the Societies Act in 2008 as the 211 Information and Referral Services Association, after being championed for years by the United Way.
The journey included an extensive process of community consultations, a feasibility study and an independent business assessment, with Service Nova Scotia designated as the lead department in 2004. The inaugural board of directors held its first meeting in 2008, following incorporation, and has been working since to get the initiative off the ground.
In its 2011 budget, the Province of Nova Scotia committed start-up and five years of operational funding up to $945,000, about 95 per cent of 211’s overall budget. Nova Scotia Power Inc. and Bell Aliant were also very supportive and contributed additional start-up funding.
In July 2011, Mike Myette – who has significant experience in government and was the lead in setting up the province’s 911 system – was hired as 211 Nova Scotia’s first Executive Director.
The service – with both phone and online components – launched in February 2013.
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