311 Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is 311?
A: 311 is a simple, three-digit telephone number which replaces 490-4000 as the number that residents can use to get information about Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) services or programs, or to make a request for service. It is an abbreviated telephone number, regulated by the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission, which provides a single point of contact for citizens to request non-emergency local government service, complete a transaction, or receive general municipal information.
Q: Why did HRM switch to 311?
- It is an easy to remember number.
- It provides a central point of access to municipal government.
- It gives residents the ability to call from anywhere in HRM without it being a long distance call (cell provider charges may still apply).
- It is a well-known number and service adopted by many cities across North America to improve accessibility to municipal government information and services, and to increase effectiveness in responding to public inquiries
Q: When can I begin calling 311?
A: 311 telephone service is fully operational as of November 15, 2012.
Q: Can I still call (902) 490-4000?
A: Yes. This 10-digit number still works and will be used for long distance calling HRM from outside of Nova Scotia.
Q: Who can call 311?
A: Anyone within the geographic boundaries of Halifax Regional Municipality can call 311 free of charge, but regular pay phone and cellular phone charges will still apply.
Q: Does 311 offer service in other languages?
A: Yes. Service is available in over 150 languages using a telephone interpretation service.
Q: Does 311 offer service for the hearing impaired?
A: The Citizen Contact Centre is equipped with the technology required to enable hearing impaired individuals to communicate with 311 Agents. The TTY direct telephone number for 311 HRM is (902) 490-6645 or 1-866-236-0020 (Toll Free in NS only)
Q: When should I call 311?
A: You should call 311 when you have a specific:
- Request for service: 311 Agents will document the details of the request and send to the appropriate department for follow-up.
- Request for information: 311 Agents will provide the appropriate solution and/or information to the caller upon initial contact.
Q: What types of services & information am I able to request through 311?
- Property tax information
- Animal services & licenses
- By-law complaints
- Customer service information
- Halifax Transit schedules and services
- Requests for street and sidewalk maintenance
- Garbage collection schedules and services
- Illegally parked vehicle complaints and inquiries
- Parking ticket payments
- Construction services
- HRM facility information
- Civic Event information
- Requests concerning parks, playgrounds and sports fields
- Vending information
- Traffic and street lights; concerns and suggestions
- Waste water services
- Minimum standards complaints
Other general HRM information and services
Q: What are the hours of operation?
A: 311 Agents are available to answer your questions or fill a service request during the following hours:
- 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily -
Closed on Christmas and New Year’s Day
- 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. after-hour urgent service -
Requests for Transportation, Municipal Operations, Facilities, Animal Services, Waste Water Services and Illegally Parked Vehicles
Q: What if I want to call 311 but I'm outside of the Municipality?
A: If you are outside of HRM and want to reach a 311 Agent:
- Outside of HRM, but within Nova Scotia; dial: toll-free 1 (800) 835-6428
- Outside of Nova Scotia; dial: 1 (902) 490-4000
Q: Is this a free service?
A: There is no charge for calling 311, but pay phone and cellular air time charges will still apply.
Q: Am I able to call 311 from a cell phone?
A: Yes. You are able to call 311 from a cell phone even if it does not have a 902 area code as long as the call is placed from within HRM. Cellular air time charges will apply.
Q: Am I able to call 311 from a VOIP phone?
A: It will be up to individual VOIP providers to make 311 services available to their customers. Once configured, VOIP service should work properly as long as the user is registered as being located within HRM boundaries. If you are a VOIP customer and you are having difficulty calling 311, it is best to contact your respective carrier and let them know you cannot connect. Alternatively, you could reach 311 by dialing 902-490-4000.
Q: What is the difference between 311 and 911?
- 911 is the number to call when someone’s health, safety or property is threatened and help is needed right away.
- 311 will be the number to call to obtain information and access to non-emergency HRM government services.
Q: Am I able to access emergency service by dialling 311?
A: No. Always call 911 hen someone’s health, safety or property is threatened and help is needed right away. If you call 311 with a request for emergency service, you will be advised to hang up and call 911.
Q: When should I NOT call 311?
- When someone’s health, safety or property is threatened and help is needed right away - dial 911
- Non HRM information (e.g., federal or provincial government inquiries)
- “411” information
Q: There are so many N11 numbers (ie. 411, 811, etc.). What is the difference between all of them?
- 211 Human, Social and Health Related Information and Referral Services
- 311 Non-emergency Municipal Government Services
- 411 Local Directory Assistance
- 511 Road Conditions Information Service
- 611 Repair Service
- 711 Message Relay Service (MRS) for individuals who are Hearing and/or Speech Impaired
- 811 Non-urgent Health Care Telephone Triage Service
- 911 Emergency