WHAT IS 3-1-1?
3-1-1 is an easy-to-remember telephone number to request information or services from the City of Vancouver. Just one call will connect you with a highly-trained Customer Service Representative (CSR) ready to provide answers to your questions or assist you in requesting a service from the City.
How does 3-1-1 work?
Vancouver’s 3-1-1 system is integrated with other City systems allowing our CSRs to complete service requests and search City information. What this means is that many of the City’s different work order systems now work together to bring improved service delivery and accountability to residents, visitors, and businesses in Vancouver.
3-1-1 was implemented to improve the accessibility of City services, reduce misdirected calls, and reduce duplication of processes across the City. Prior to 3-1-1, 550 different telephone numbers were listed in the Blue Pages making it often difficult to identify the right number to reach the appropriate City department. The City’s centralized 3-1-1 service now provides citizens with an easy to remember number that provides one-stop-shop services.
- Request for service (report a sewer back-up, traffic signal out, street pothole).
- Request for information (such as permit processing, animal control, building inspections, traffic/parking issues, hours of operation of civic offices and facilities, and property taxes).
- Concern (such as parking tickets, property condition, snow clearing, street maintenance, noise complaints).
3-1-1 is for non-emergency City of Vancouver services, programs and information. Always call
9-1-1 in the case of an emergency. 9-1-1 connects you to Ambulance, Police and/or Fire in an emergency situation and service is provided in all languages. Please visit the Vancouver Emergency Services for more information.
2-1-1 will connect callers to free information about community, social and government services province wide. You can also visit BC211 for more information.
4-1-1 is a YellowPages directory phone number, providing directory information for businesses and residents within Canada. For more information go to 411.ca.
8-1-1 on the phone or online at www.HealthLinkBC.ca gives easy access to non-emergency health information and services.
The Contact Centre is open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., 7 days a week, 365 days per year.
Phone within Vancouver city limits: 3-1-1 Outside Vancouver or are unable to reach 3-1-1, phone: 604-873-7000
TTY service: 604-873-7193
Always call 9-1-1 for emergencies.
3-1-1 complaints, compliments and suggestions
If you have a comment or concern regarding 3-1-1 staff or service, we encourage you to contact us. 3-1-1 Vancouver ensures that any complaints we receive will be documented and addressed within 1 business day. Complaints that require immediate action will be escalated to a manager. 3-1-1 Vancouver will ensure that other department or staff complaints are promptly referred to the appropriate City of Vancouver staff for acknowledgement and resolution.
Submitting a complaint, compliment or suggestion
To file a complaint, some departments require certain information be provided by the caller for follow-up purposes. Complaints are confidential and a complainant’s privacy will be protected. You may submit a compliment or suggestion and remain anonymous; however, we will not be able to contact you regarding the possible outcome. You may contact us either by phone or e-mail.
- Vancouver’s 3-1-1 is one of a number of Canadian cities that now have a fully integrated 3-1-1 Contact Centre
- The Contact Centre currently receives on average 45,000 inquiries per month
- 3-1-1 received its millionth call in March 2011
- More than 65 highly trained customer service representatives work from the 3-1-1 Contact Centre.
- IP Telephony or Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP) technology is used in the Contact Centre.
3-1-1 in other languages
The City of Vancouver is proud of its multicultural makeup and makes every effort to provide resources in as many languages as possible. 3-1-1 offers its services in more than 180 languages, using interpreters provided through Language Line Services.
Can I call 311 from my cell phone?
Yes. 3-1-1 is accessible by cell phone within the boundaries of the City of Vancouver. If you are calling outside of the City of Vancouver, dial 604.873.7000.
Why can’t I get through when I dial 3-1-1?
In the case of a power or telephone outage the 3-1-1 Contact Centre may be temporarily unavailable. In that case, we would encourage you to visit www.vancouver.ca to seek an update to the existing situation or to find answers to your questions.
If you cannot find the answer to your question on www.vancouver.ca and your request is of an urgent manner (e.g., sewer main break, traffic lights out) please continue to try dialing 3-1-1.
Is there a fee?
Dialing 3-1-1 is free of charge; however, please be aware that your wireless carrier will charge for the minutes used during the call according to your contract. If you are calling from a phone booth the normal 50 cent fee will apply.
Can I access our emergency service by dialing 3-1-1?
No. In the case of a police, fire or medical emergency, you must call 9-1-1. In the interest of public safety, if you call 3-1-1 with a request for emergency service you will be advised to hang up and call 9-1-1.
Should I report police non-emergencies to 3-1-1?
You should continue to report any police non-emergencies to the VPD Non-emergency line: 604-717-3321.
If 9-1-1 is busy, can I call 3-1-1?
No. In the case of a police, fire or medical emergency, you must call 9-1-1. In accordance with the ruling of the Canadian-Radio and Television Commission of November, 2004, if you call 3-1-1 with a request for emergency service you will be advised to hang up and call 9-1-1 directly.
What happens when I call 3-1-1?
Upon receipt of your call our Customer Service Representatives will:
- search our knowledge base for the answer to your question; or
- if you are calling to request a service, the CSR will open a new case for your request and will provide you with:
- a unique reference number for that request. It is important that you save this number in cases you have additional information to provide or if you are requesting an update for your request.
- should you require additional expertise from departmental staff our Customer Service Representatives will be pleased to connect you with the right individual during normal business hours or to assist you in leaving a message in the right location should you wish to do so .
Does every service request have a tracking number?
Almost all service requests do have a tracking number, unless there is a more direct way to manage your request, which may include a transfer to a department specialist.
If the Contact Centre is open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day, does that mean all City offices and services are now available 15 hours a day?
Our new Contact Centre is here to provide the ability to request information or services from the City at your convenience. Should you place your inquiry to the Centre outside of a department’s normal business hours, our CSRs will ensure that your request for service is sent to the appropriate department for follow-up during the next business day. Some City departments do operate at extended hours outside of normal City Hall hours.
Will I get a call back the next day to confirm the department has received my request?
One call is all you need to request a service.
How long do I wait before calling back to follow-up?
When you place your initial request for service, the CSR will provide you with an estimated length of time (e.g. X business days) for the completion of your request. Should the service not be completed within the timeframe provided, please feel free to contact 3-1-1 again.
Do I have to give my name when I call 3-1-1?
Only information required by the Department to successfully complete the request will be asked for during the call.
Will my personal information be shared?
The 3-1-1 Contact Centre’s operations are governed by The Freedom of Information and Personal Privacy Act. Only information required to successfully complete the request will be asked for during the call.
Is my personal information secure?
Yes, your information is protected by the same level of security as all information used by the City of Vancouver.
Will my call be recorded?
Yes, all calls received by the Contact Centre are recorded for quality assurance and training purposes.
Can I still contact the Mayor’s Office or my Councillor directly?
Yes. Contact information for the Mayor’s Office and Councillors can be found here.
What if I want to speak directly to an individual in a department?
The implementation of the 3-1-1 consolidated Contact Centre is intended to enhance the quality of service provided by the City of Vancouver. In the majority of cases, our highly trained CSRs will be able to provide the answer to your question; however, should you require additional service/information, our CSRs will be happy to transfer you to the appropriate City staff member.
I noticed on your website there were still other numbers to call; do I call them or call 3-1-1?
You can always call 3-1-1 for answers to any questions related to services you may have. The numbers existing on our website are being provided in addition to 3-1-1. In some instances, they may be direct numbers to city officials and in other cases they are specialized information lines for more complex inquiries such as specific Community Centre program inquiries or City bylaw interpretation. 311 Service – 24/7
How much training do the Customer Service Representatives receive?
Our CSR’s receive a minimum of four weeks of full-time training before taking calls from the public. The training ranges from briefings on all City services through to extensive hands-on training on the Contact Centre interactive systems. Regular quality assurance reviews and training updates are held to ensure our CSRs are providing quality service.
Access to City Information and Services in any of the following ways:
3-1-1’s TOP 10 REQUESTS
- Book an Inspection
- Order Recycling Blue Box and Bags
- Vancouver Police Non-Emergency
- Property Tax Information
- Community Centre and Recreation Information
- Pay & Purchase Online: Parking Tickets, Bylaw Fines, Dog Licences, Business Licence Renewal
- Business Licences
- Street and Park Trees
- Report a Street Light Out
- Garbage Collection Schedules