TeleHealth Ontario (Canada)

Toll Free, 24/7

+1 866 797 0000

When you call, a Registered Nurse will ask you to answer questions so they can assess your health problem and give you advice.

Anyone can call to ask a health-related question. This service is:

* confidential – you may be asked to provide your health card number, but it is not required

* provided in both English and French, with translation support for some other languages

* free for all users

@shahaan So, in theory, someone outside Canada without health insurance could call? 🤔

@sindastra Yes, maybe? I haven’t tried calling the service from outside. I have a feeling it might not work, being that toll-free numbers don’t usually accept international calls. However, say you routed your call through a locally based PBX or similar, I suppose you could access this service from outside Canada. Keep in mind this is not a diagnosis or treatment service, like going to a doctor, only a suggestion/advice. Comes in especially handy when your toddler has a 103F fever at 3:00am.

@shahaan @sindastra

I've called an 00 1 866 number from England but it was via which is based in Canada - don't worry, I cleared down before any human had to answer and didn't report any bears, the only ones here are in the zoo 30km away (and they are Asian rather than Canadian bears)

@sindastra @shahaan

it is the toll free number to report if you have seen a bear in Canada, that isn't where its expected to be but not causing immediate danger (they tell you to call 911 instead)🐻

@vfrmedia @shahaan "Hello, thanks for calling! Now please call 911 instead! Bye!" 🤪 😆

I didn't even know we had a bear help line! 🙂
I did know that you used a canadian voip company for the homes though.
@shahaan @sindastra

Actually, it really upsets my friends and I when people report bears, because when the COs come they usually just kill the bear! :-( 'conservation' officer my ass!
It's not the bear's fault you didn't pick your fruit trees or left your garbage out! Bears eat. That's their main and only job...
It's going to clean your tree and then leave. Just wait.
@shahaan @sindastra

@sindastra @gemlog @shahaan

OTOH I've seen Youtube videos of a Canadian chap politely telling a family of bears to leave his yard (and they do!)

Hah! :-) That was good.
I had it at the other end of the day. I came home once and found a sow with 3 cubs in my vegetable garden. This is the most dangerous situation you can have: a bear with cubs. That's a mauling!
I waited in the car until she moved the cubs across the road into the bush.
As soon as I got out of the car, my dog got Brave and went to worry the bear! You're on your own buddy! I got into the house right quick like!
@sindastra @shahaan

Also, note well that the guy wasn't an idiot: no way in hell he was going to leave the house until the bears left first.
@sindastra @shahaan

@gemlog @vfrmedia @shahaan Well, he clearly did leave the house... You can even hear the door close behind him, which is probably the dangerous part.

@gemlog @vfrmedia @shahaan PS Those are black bears, aren't they? Aren't those the peaceful ones anyway, that will rather go away than put up a fight?

No - they have a better reputation than brown (grizzly) bears, that's all. 90% of the time or better you both just decide you'd rather be somewhere else BUT if you suprise a sow with cubs... OR maybe the bear is just mad at the world and having a bad day.
People are killed by black bears every year. I have friends who are foresters etc who have spent far more time in the bush than me and they ALL have stories of black bears. Not bluff charges either.
@vfrmedia @shahaan

I have had many interactions with bears, but they've all ended well. So far ;-)
A brown bear will kill and eat a black bear by the way. A friend I fish with was describing such an event up near meziadan to me just the other day. Last year obviously - it's winter now. Sleepy time for the teddies :-)
Aphids, ants, bullwinkle, grass, apples... bears will eat Anything!
@vfrmedia @shahaan

Yes, I wasn't precise enough for you :-) Are you ... german? ;-)
He didn't venture out near them, but stayed at the house.
His plea was that he needed to go to work and couldn't because he could not go near them.
@vfrmedia @shahaan

@gemlog @vfrmedia @shahaan Also, isn't it funny how a toot about a health service suddenly turned into a thread about bears?

@gemlog @sindastra @shahaan

the bear hotline is in the same toll free area code as the health service hotline, my intention was to prove that both should be able to be called from well outside Canada if someone wished to..

@gemlog @vfrmedia @shahaan I just saw this comic and thought it fits in here, because bears, and how to (not?) deal with them.

@gemlog @vfrmedia @shahaan Some people say you need to make yourself big and loud, others say you need to play dead... And supposedly it depends on the type of bear as well. But I have no idea if any of that is true or not. But we don't have bears over here, so... But if anyone happens to actually know... 🤷‍♀️

I know this drill. Carry bear spray; always. This is industrial strength pepper spray.
Make noise - this is not a problem if you have kids with you, obviously ;-)
I talk to myself, I talk to the birds... I say 'oy!' quite loudly every now and then. *most* bears want to avoid you too.
If the area is really infested, esp with both kinds of bears, a shotgun with a bear slug.
Do Not run. Back away.
All it takes is 1 bear having a bad day or surprising a sow with cubs
@vfrmedia @shahaan

@gemlog @sindastra @shahaan

I think some bears are in AT and occasionally CH, they haven't crossed the border into DE yet..

One friend doing remote readings for govt got out of his helicopter and had to drop bear within about 2 minute's walk. If he hadn't had it loaded with the safety off, he'd be dead now.
I know a biologist 'treed' up a slash pile by a black bear for over an hour. His lucky fortune was it was the *only* day he had two cans of pepper spray that day: emptied both. I know one other guy, a faller, had to drop a bear within 15 ft charging him
Bluff charges start different
@vfrmedia @shahaan

But you know who's almost always having a bad day? Bullwinkle. I'm more afraid of them in general.
Bullwinkle is common slang for a moose - even for younger types who don't know the old cartoon ;-)
My son was chased by one. My buddy nearly got trampled by one...
Tasty though :-)
That old cartoon was often very clever by the way.
@vfrmedia @shahaan

I worked 'with' a bear all summer. It was a small black bear - last year's bear. Never came within about 100-150 meters of me.
I have been to places hours from anywhere seeing a brown or black every half hour. Lots of them. It's spooky out there.
I hated walking through cutblocks (clear cuts), avalanche tracks, burns. Bears and deer love them: that's where all the food is! No food in the timber. Dark and dim but... no bears! :-) Mushrooms :-)
@vfrmedia @shahaan

Maybe @fritalaria can describe things better - she's an actual forester. I was always just along as bear bait ;-)
Mind you, these days I am out there in my own right doing things on the tree farm.
@vfrmedia @shahaan

Well, it's just gone a bit past 7am for me now. I think I'll go and perform the 4 sh's and then see what kind of trouble I can get into today! :-)
L8r m8s!
@sindastra @shahaan

Yes. Sometimes they'll trap a bear and relocate it, but most often they seem to kill it. Near wheree I live: and older story, but typical. Well, entering a restaurant isn't typical, but I knew it would be easy to pull up the story.
Looks like last year's bear - pretty small.
@vfrmedia @shahaan

@vfrmedia @shahaan I just checked and they charge for incoming calls? Is that normal in North America? Sounds crazy to me!

@sindastra @shahaan

I think this is normal in North America, I've seen it with USA voip providers (not sure what happens with landlines)

@shahaan Uh oh! I hope your toddler is alright! And I don't know Fahrenheit but it sounds high! Anyway, I was thinking of using VoIP which should allow Toll-free if the provider is good (as those providers usually route the call to the destination country internally before calling). But I wasn't talking about using it for myself, just generally speaking, for those unfortunate people that don't have health care.

@sindastra Yes it’s true, I’m sure people in the USA can call since Canadian and American phone systems share the same country code and are tightly integrated as far as I know.

@sindastra Even someone in Canada without health insurance can call. It is not mandatory to provide a “health card number” (provincial government health insurance plan number).

In fact, they explain quite clearly that:

1. No need for insurance card number
2. Can ask to have call not recorded for quality purposes
3. Can ask to have case not referred automatically to the nearest hospital emergency room for immediate assistance if needed

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