811 is a free and confidential telephone consultation service.

Dialling 811 or 1-844-259-1793 promptly puts you in contact with a health care navigator or registered nurse in case of a non-urgent health issue. Callers will be able to speak with a nurse within 30 minutes. This line is not for emergencies, please dial 911 in case of emergency or go to the emergency room.

The service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Anyone in the NWT can call 811 for themselves or a family member.

811 nurses evaluate your current health situation and give advice based on your current condition. They can answer your questions about your health or provide generalized health information and direct you to the most appropriate resource in your region. Calling 811 often helps avoid going to a medical clinic or emergency room when there is an available option to manage symptoms from home.

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Some Sample Questions for an 811 nurse:

  • My child has a high fever. Should I take them to emergency?
  • I have a headache. Do I need to go to the ER?
  • The NWT is in a syphilis outbreak. When should I get tested for syphilis?
  • Are my symptoms a cold or is this COVID?
  • Chickenpox is in my child’s school. What symptoms should I watch for?
  • What dosage of Tylenol should I give my child?
  • My abdominal pain isn’t going away. Should I see the Community Nurse?
  • What are the symptoms of a heart attack/COVID/appendicitis/stomach ache?
  • When can I introduce solid foods to my baby?
  • I have a rash that won’t go away. What should I do?

When not to call 811

  • When emergency services are needed, i.e., Ambulance
  • When you are looking for lab/test results
  • If you want to follow up about a medical doctor’s appointment
  • If you need to see a specialist

How a Call is Handled

An 811 call lasts 12 to 16 minutes on average. The call takes place in 3 or 4 steps. The nurse:

  • Collects certain personal health information
  • Assesses your needs
  • Responds to your needs
  • Refers you to an appropriate resource, if necessary

Collection of Personal Information

The nurse will ask you if you accept giving some personal health information such as:

  • Your first, middle and last name
  • Your date of birth
  • Your postal code
  • Your telephone number

Personal information remains confidential. However, it is not mandatory that you give it. If you wish not to do so, mention it to the nurse.

Assessment of Your Needs

The nurse listens and asks questions regarding your situation. The nurse collects the necessary information to better understand your needs and to clarify your request. The nurse then assesses the situation to determine the immediate problem(s), the urgency of the matter and the appropriate response. Callers can also ask generalized questions, i.e. What are the symptoms of monkeypox? And receive general health information.

Response to Your Needs

The nurse uses clinically based algorithms, which will provide guidance for possible next steps. The nurse will inform you about your health options and ensure understanding of next steps before ending the call. The nurse may also advise you on measures for monitoring the evolution of your situation and improving your health.

Referral to an Appropriate Resource

If necessary, the nurse will direct you to a resource (a medical clinic, pharmacy, mental health support, or point to an appropriate community resource) where you can receive care or required services.

Service Accessibility

811 services are available in all communities, in all regions of the NWT.

NWT Official Languages Services

811 is offered to residents in all 11 NWT official languages. Interpretation services are offered and available upon request.

People with Special Needs

811 service is tailored to the specific needs of certain groups of people. Callers who are deaf, hard of hearing or speech-impaired who use American Sign Language or Langues des signes Québécoise can use the Canada Video Relay Service and call 1 (844) 259-1793, the toll-free number associated with 811, to access the service. 


If you have a complaint or concern, or would like to share your experience around 811, please email healthlinefeedback@gov.nt.ca.