In an emergency

Quickly find the best services for your situation.

Nurse standing outside the emergency department with arms folded

Emergency services

Immediate action for physical health, mental health, overdose

  • 911


Dial 9-1-1 for police, fire or medical emergencies when immediate action is required.

Suspected poisoning

Call 9-1-1 if a person stops breathing, collapses, or has a seizure.

Call a poison expert 24/7 for advice on if you should call 9-1-1 or go to the Emergency Department.

  • 1-800-567-8911

    Poison Control

Poison Control (1-800-567-8911) can also provide information on:

  • If there’s been a poisoning and the person has NOT stopped breathing, collapsed, or had a seizure (if the victim DOES stop breathing, collapses, or has a seizure, call 911 right away)
  • If you’re concerned about a possible poisoning
  • To ask a poison prevention question
  • To ask for poison prevention materials

Do I need emergency care?

Call 9-1-1 or visit St. Paul’s Hospital or Mount Saint Joseph Hospital (or your nearest hospital emergency department) if you have:

  • Discomfort or tightness in the chest
  • More than usual shortness of breath
  • Abdominal pain
  • Prolonged and persistent or sudden onset headache
  • An injury that may require stitches or may involve a broken bone 

Or if you are experiencing:

  • A major crisis and, as a result, feel helpless, hopeless and have nowhere to turn
  • Severe withdrawal from drugs or alcohol

Or any of the following: 

  • Confusion
  • Agitation
  • Unconsciousness
  • Severe allergic reaction
  • Swelling of the tongue, lips or throat
  • Severe pain
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Seizure
  • Paralysis
  • Weakness or loss of sensation
  • Severe vomiting
  • Dehydration
  • Vomiting blood
  • Blood or black colour in the stool
  • Overdose

Use good judgement in deciding when to use emergency medical services. If you are not certain, call 9-1-1 or go to the Emergency Department.

PHC's Emergency Department locations

St. Paul's Hospital

1081 Burrard Street Vancouver BC CA V6Z 1Y6

Estimated wait time

Get emergency wait times

Main information

Mount Saint Joseph Hospital

3080 Prince Edward Street Vancouver BC CA V5T 3N4

Estimated wait time

Get emergency wait times

Main information

Note about ED Wait Times: This is an average wait time and may change based on the number and severity of other patients attending the ED. So please note that this is an estimated time and not a guarantee.

All local Emergency Departments

Find the nearest Emergency Department in the Vancouver Coastal Health Region

Not an emergency or not sure? 

8-1-1 is a free phone service in British Columbia that you can call to get health information and advice. It's run by HealthLink BC, which is a part if the BC Ministry of Health. When you dial 8-1-1, you'll talk to someone who can guide you to find the right health information and services and also help you decide if you need to go to the Emergency Department.

Non-emergency health information for people living in B.C.: 8-1-1

TTY relay to 8-1-1 for people who are deaf or hard of hearing:

Are you Indigenous? Do you want additional support?

Providence Health Care commits to building a better relationship with Indigenous Peoples. One of our Indigenous Wellness Liaisons (IWL) works in the Emergency Department 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays. Talk to your provider if you would like to be connected with an IWL as part of your care.

In addition, staff in our Emergency Department are undertaking various forms of Indigenous cultural safety education as part of their ongoing professional development.

PHC is also working to create more culturally safe and welcoming physical spaces in the department. For more information, see Indigenous Wellness Services.


Mental health crisis

Emergency services are available to anyone in a mental health crisis.

What is a mental health crisis?

  • Intense anxiety or depression
  • Suicidal thoughts or attempts
  • Threatening violence
  • Distorted thinking
  • Self-harming

When to go to the Emergency Department?

Call 9-1-1 if you or someone you love requires immediate medical attention for injuries, or the person is at risk of seriously harming themselves or others.

Crisis Centre of BC

If you’re uncertain about what to do, the Crisis Centre of BC helpline can offer guidance or go to their website. Anywhere in BC call 1-800-SUICIDE: 1-800-784-2433

  • 1-800-784-2433

    Crisis Centre of BC

Crisis lines for Indigenous Peoples

Other options for mental health issues 

Any person at risk of injuring themselves or others should go to the closest Emergency Department immediately. But if you are having a mental health problem but it’s not a crisis situation, you can use these services:

Call 9-1-1 or go to your nearest Emergency Department if you or a loved one is having a medical emergency linked to substance use. We are judgement-free and offer safe, compassionate care.

Substance use crisis

Know the signs of opioid overdose

Call 9-1-1 if these signs are present:

  • Not responding: doesn't move or can’t be woken
  • Slow or not breathing: a breath every 5 seconds is normal
  • Making sounds: choking, gurgling sounds or snoring
  • Blue lips and nails
  • Cold or clammy skin
  • Tiny pupils

EDs: What to expect

  • When you arrive, a triage nurse will assess your condition and an admitting clerk will take your information.
  • Please have your BC Services Card ready if you have one.
  • The most serious cases are seen immediately, and most emergency patients receive care within 30 minutes.
  • Be aware that you may be required to wait longer as patients in the Emergency Department are seen based on the seriousness of their illness or injury and not on time of arrival.
  • Less urgent cases are monitored by the triage nurse and treated appropriately if their condition worsens.

Learn more from Your guide to the Emergency Department

Please check ED Wait Times for estimated wait time until you can be seen by a physician.

Note about ED Wait Times:
This is an average wait time and may change based on the number and severity of other patients attending the ED. So please note that this is an estimated time and not a guarantee.