Message from our Board Chair

On behalf of the Board of 211 Nova Scotia, I am pleased to share several highlights from the past year and to recognize the achievements and significant impact of the dedicated members of the 211 Nova Scotia team. Throughout the past year, 211NS responded to a range of challenges facing our province, navigated organizational changes, and celebrated key milestones.

In 2023, over 79,000 Nova Scotians contacted 211 and received over 89,000 referrals. Our Community Resource Navigators navigated the worst wildfire event in Nova Scotia’s history resulting in a 20% increase in call volumes. We recognized Shawn Parker, Street Outreach Navigator, as the most recent, highly deserving recipient of the annual 211 Believer’s Award. We also celebrated 211 Nova Scotia’s 10-year anniversary in February 2023.

This past year also saw founding Executive Director, Mike Myette, return to the helm of 211 in May 2023 as Interim Executive Director until December 2023 when the Board announced the appointment of its new permanent Executive Director, Marco Colaiacovo, after an extensive search. We are incredibly grateful to Mike for his steady, capable leadership to the organization during this time of transition and were delighted to officially welcome Marco as Executive Director in January 2024.

We are also thankful for our community partners that deliver much needed services to Nova Scotians, as well for the funding support of the Province of Nova Scotia and United Ways in Cape Breton, Pictou, Colchester, Cumberland, Halifax, and Lunenburg. Without the commitment of our community and funding partners, our past achievements would not have been possible. On behalf of the entire staff and Board of Directors, thank you for believing in 211.

Finally, I offer a big thank you to the dedicated staff and Board of Directors at 211 Nova Scotia for all that you do to support the important work of 211.


Andrea Forbes-Hurley
211 Nova Scotia Board of Directors

Message from our Executive Director

It is with great pleasure and a sense of profound responsibility that I address you as the newly appointed Executive Director of 211 Nova Scotia. I am committed to continuing the extraordinarily meaningful and compassionate support 211 Nova Scotia has provided to those we serve and the communities we touch.

While I am mindful of the remarkable accomplishments of our past, my focus lies firmly on the opportunities ahead. As we chart our course forward, I envision a future defined by collaboration, resilience, and unwavering dedication to our mission. I am deeply inspired by the passion and expertise of our team and am eager to harness our collective strengths to meet our goals.

In the coming year, we will prioritize strategic initiatives that enhance our effectiveness, expand our reach, and deepen our impact. This includes Supporting Operational Excellence; Promoting Access to our Service; Growing our Partnerships; and Achieving Financial Stability. We will continue to champion Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in all aspects of our work.

As we navigate challenges and opportunities, I invite each of you to join me in this journey. Together, we will write the next chapter of 211 Nova Scotia’s story – one characterized by bold vision, steadfast determination, and lasting significance.

Thank you for your continued support and commitment to our shared mission. With your partnership, I am confident that we will achieve great things in the days and years to come.


Marco Colaiacovo
Executive Director
211 Nova Scotia

Caller Testimonial

“Times are hard, and they’ve made people hard. Except for your staff – they are a warm and soft place to land. The Navigator could never know how helpful she was to me; I knew nothing about these programs – I don’t know what I’d do if it wasn’t for 211.”


In 2023, 211 Nova Scotia’s focus was primarily driven by external factors including the wildfires, flash floods, Mass Casualty Commission’s final report, and Hurricane Lee. The 211NS team worked incredibly hard to respond and adapt to each new situation while continuing to navigate food and housing insecurity, rising mental health concerns, and Nova Scotia changing population. 211 Nova Scotia Community Resource Navigators responded to 13% more contacts in 2023 than the year prior while maintaining an average wait time of 63 seconds.


Contacts Handled
(calls, texts, chats, and emails)


Referrals Made

63 Seconds

Average Wait Time

5 Minutes 47 Seconds

Average Call Length


Website Sessions


Social Media Impressions


Data Requests


Records Added to the Database

Responsive to Emergency Situations

211 Nova Scotia was proud to work alongside community partners and support the coordinated emergency response efforts throughout 2023. In addition, 211NS also supported several instances over the course of the year where extreme weather required additional shelter supports for people experiencing homelessness. As an accredited information and referral service, 211 Nova Scotia continues to be well positioned to act as a provincial access point for accurate and timely information.


Wildfire Contacts


Flooding Related Contacts


Hurricane Lee Contacts

Critical Connection

211 Nova Scotia's top identified needs shifted in 2023. Referrals to the Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder category have surpassed referrals for basic needs. This change can be attributed to the high usage rates of the Men’s, Women’s, and All Genders Helplines, which can be accessed via 211 Nova Scotia 24 hours a day.

The basic needs category includes resources for food, housing/shelter, utilities, transportation, and material goods support. Community services includes programs that provide a broad spectrum of services that benefit entire communities or regions. The individual and family life category includes programs that promote the personal, social, and spiritual development of people in the community.


Mental Health & Substance Use Disorder


Basic Needs


Community Services


Health Care


Individual & Family Life


Income Support & Employment

Unmet Needs

Unmet needs are recorded when 211 Nova Scotia's Community Resource Navigators are unable to provide a resource to an individual to fulfill the identified need. Reasons for an unmet need can include that there is no program found to meet the need, the agency is full or there is a waiting list, the individual is ineligible for the service, or the individual has already depleted the services, the individual does not have sufficient transportation or money to access the program. Unmet needs are tracked to help 211 Nova Scotia identify the gaps in programs and services throughout the province.


Basic Needs


Health Care


Income Support & Employment


Individual & Family Life


Community Services

Caller Testimonial

"The Navigator was like a magician. I called on behalf of my parents and didn’t know what to expect, it was so much more than I could have imagined."


2023 was a transformative year for 211 Nova Scotia with several initiatives, leadership changes, and emergency events requiring the 211NS team to stay nimble, work collaboratively, and rethink processes. With the support of our Board and our partners, we were able to celebrate key accomplishments and take action to ensure our continued operational excellence.

Ten Year Anniversary

We celebrated ten years of service on February 11. It was a fantastic opportunity to acknowledge those who have contributed to 211NS's success over the years.

Upgraded Infrastructure

We upgraded our contact system to improve user experience and create efficiencies. The new system better prepares 211NS to seamlessly respond to an influx of calls.

Leadership Transition

211NS underwent multiple changes in leadership in 2023 but was delighted to close out the year with the announcement that Marco Colaiacovo would be joining the team.

Believer's Award

Shawn Parker, Street Outreach Navigator, was the recipient of the Believer's Award in recognition of his tireless efforts to support and empower unhoused Nova Scotians.

Team Effort

In 2023, the 211 Nova Scotia team, with the support of the Board of Directors, worked hard to face each challenge and milestone head on. Some of the highlights of the year include that two 211NS team members received their certification through our international accreditation body, Inform USA, formerly known as Alliance of Information and Referral Services (AIRS). Certification of eligible team members is a requirement of 211 Nova Scotia’s accreditation.

We were also delighted to welcome Mike Myette back in May 2023, as interim Executive Director, while the search for a permanent replacement was conducted. In addition, we had multiple team members move into permanent and temporary new positions to fill vacancies and to redistribute our efforts internally. We’re grateful to those who have pivoted to ensure that 211 Nova Scotia’s internal operations remain stable during organizational changes.

2023 was a year characterized by change, growth, and evolution. The success of 211 Nova Scotia would not be possible without the dedicated and compassionate team members who are in front and behind the scenes.

Board of Directors

211 Nova Scotia's volunteer Board of Directors provides governance, guidance, and leadership to the 211NS team. Thank you to our Board Members for their knowledge, support, and valued contributions in 2023. We would also like to extend our sincere appreciation to those who will not be returning for another term. Doug Boyd, Safia Rahemtulla, Jim Gunn, Njabulo Nkala, and Mike Townsend — we wish you all the best.

Andrea Forbes-Hurley
Managing Partner, KBRS

Lindsay Peach
Executive Director, Tajikeimɨk, Mi’kmaw Health and Wellness

Safia Rahemtulla, CPA, CA, CIA, C3PRMP
Partner, EY Consulting

Matthew Beck
Controller, SeaFort Capital

Doug Boyd
Past Chair
Strategy Consultant, Retired

Mary Archibald
Executive Director, Financial Services, Service Nova Scotia & Internal Services

Dr. Joël Dickinson
President and Vice-Chancellor, Mount Saint Vincent University

Dr. Jim Gunn
Education Consultant, Retired

Telaina Kelly
Vice President, Legal and Corporate Secretary, Clearwater Seafoods

Tanja Keselj
Manager, Informatics – Renal Program, Nova Scotia Health Authority

Sara Napier
President & CEO, United Way Halifax

Talent Ndlovu
Policy Associate Manager, Nova Scotia College of Pharmacists

Njabulo Nkala
Director, Innovation & Growth, Black Business Initiative

Mike Townsend
Executive Director, Directions Council of Nova Scotia

Impact Stories

211 Nova Scotia's Community Resource Navigators make thousands of connections with Nova Scotians each year. Some calls, texts, chats, and emails leave a lasting impression on the Navigators. We’re proud to share these stories and the impact that our Navigators had. Note that names and identifying details have been changed.

Marilyn's Story

Marilyn reached out to 211 Nova Scotia because she was facing eviction in six days.  She explained that she is 67 years old and that her Employment Insurance benefits had recently run out so she was unable to pay her rent. Marilyn clarified that she would not begin collecting her government benefits for three months because she hadn’t known that she was required to apply while she was still working. Marilyn also shared that she was scheduled for surgery in four weeks and was concerned about being homeless after being discharged.

The Navigator was able to connect Marilyn to multiple resources including those to address her eviction as well as resources for on-going support.

Adam's Story

Adam called 211 Nova Scotia to find support to stop drinking. Adam was a self-described alcoholic and experiencing several negative consequences at the time of the call. Adam was difficult to understand, but he disclosed that he was struggling with the urge to drink and was in possession of alcohol as a result of these urges. He shared that he had previously enrolled in a detox program but had lost his way recently. Adam expressed a desire to talk with someone and get immediate assistance to prevent him from continuing down this path.

A 211 Nova Scotia Community Resource Navigator was able to provide Adam with a listening ear, validate his concerns, and connect him to a free, in-patient withdrawal program.


211 Nova Scotia is a non-profit supported by the Government of Nova Scotia and the United Way.