Health Care in Canada

Health and Counselling

All registered UBC students can use on-campus Health & Wellness services and programs.

Health & Wellness

Health & Wellness at UBC Okanagan offers confidential, free counselling and health services and programs for students. We are committed to helping you have the healthiest and most enjoyable university experience possible.

Health & Wellness is staffed with Nurse Clinicians and Counsellors.

Nurse Clinicians are registered nurses who are able to assist with:

  • physical, emotional, or social concerns;
  •  sexual health counselling or supplies (free condoms, pregnancy testing, HIV testing);
  • questions about nutrition, fitness, alcohol, drugs, or communicable diseases (e.g., chicken- pox or meningitis);
  • support for quitting smoking, making lifestyle changes, or managing a chronic disease;
  • help with emergency situations or crises;
  • referrals (nurses, doctors, dentists, physiotherapists, massage therapists, counsellors, etc.).

Wellness Centres are located at:

  • University Centre building, UNC 337
  • Kalamalka residence (City Home 123)

Students can drop by a Wellness Centre or make an appointment by phone. For more information about hours and services, visit or call 250.807.9270.

Emergency Medical Assistance

On campus: if you have an emergency, call 78111 on any UBC phone for immediate emergency assistance, or pick up any blue phone.

Off campus, in an emergency: call 911 for police, fire, or ambulance, or please go directly to Kelowna General Hospital located on Pandosy Street. The emergency room is open twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, to treat any emergency medical concern.

Off campus, for less urgent, but immediate, medical attention: please visit a local walk-in-medical clinic. Those with iMED insurance will be asked to pay a fee which can be reimbursed later.

Non-Emergency Medical Assistance

On campus: call or visit our Wellness Centres.

Off campus: if you wish to find a doctor for yourself or family members, visit the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC at To find a dentist, contact the Association of Dental Surgeons of BC at You are under no obligation to commit to the first doctor or dentist you visit. For other health care services such as acupuncture and physiotherapy, check the Kelowna telephone directory or ask for directions at a Wellness Centre.

Further Kelowna Health and Safety Information

Crisis/Suicide Line 24 hours 250.763.9191
Mental Health 8:30 am - 4:30 pm 250.868.7788
Mental Health (after hours) (after working hours) 250.212.8533
Ambulance 24 hours 911
Fire 24 hours 911
RCMP 24 hours 911
VictimLINK 24 hours 1.800.563.0808

Sexual Violence

VictimLINK Available 24 hours a day 1.800.563.0808
RCMP 24 hour emergency service 911
Kelowna General Hospital 862.4485 for emergency. or 862.4000 for directory service to other departments

Physical Violence

RCMP 24 hour emergency service 911
 Specialized Victims Assistance Program
 Women's Emergency Shelter
 RCMP Victim Assistance

Seeing a doctor

In Canada, it is common to have a family doctor or general practitioner (also called GP) who will take you on as his/her regular patient. usually, you visit your family doctor if you have a health concern or to make sure you are healthy. If you require the services of a specialist (e.g., an eye doctor), your family doctor may refer you to another doctor (recommend someone and make an appointment on your behalf).

If you do not have a family doctor, you can also go to a walk-in clinic. Walk-in clinics don’t require an appointment, are usually open longer hours, and are a good option if you are feeling unwell but don’t require emergency care. Check the yellow pages of the phone book under “Clinics” or “Physicians” for a walk-in clinic near you.

If you experience a health emergency, you should go to the emergency room of the nearest hospital. Be aware that waiting times at the hospital can be several hours. In emergency rooms, a nurse will determine which patients require the most urgent care.

When you visit a Canadian doctor:

  • describe all your health concerns at the beginning of your visit. It's important to ensure that the doctor is aware of all your health issues before he or she goes on to the next patient.
  • ask your doctor questions. It is acceptable and common to ask questions and to seek a second opinion from another doctor if you wish.

Your health records are confidential. No one can see your medical documents without your permission; this includes your family, your professors, other students, and UBC administration.


In Canada, mild medication is available “over the counter” at the pharmacy. If you require stronger or more specialized medication, your doctor will write you a prescription which you will have to take to a pharmacy. If the doctor prescribes medication, be sure to take it exactly as directed.

If you feel the medicine is not helping or is making you sicker, go back to the doctor.

Alternative Medicine

Alternative medicine refers to medical practices like Chinese medicine, Ayurveda, and homeopathy that are not considered part of the mainstream North American medical practice. These forms of medicine are not covered by MSP but may be covered by extended health plans. There are many alternative medicine practitioners in Kelowna.

Medical care

Before coming to Canada, it's a good idea to:

  • make sure your immunizations are up-to-date
  • have a dental examination and complete any necessary dental work
  • have an eye examination and obtain any corrective lenses

Medical records

When you come to Canada, it is a good idea to bring a copy of your medical records (for you and your family members). If you have a chronic medical condition, ask your physician to write a short medical history (preferably in English) for your new physician in Canada. Also bring records of the dates of your immunizations and tests for tetanus/diphtheria toxoid, polio, MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella), hepatitis B, and tuberculosis.

Special medications

If you use traditional medicines or special herbal remedies on a regular basis, you may want to bring enough with you to last your stay. However, check with your the nearest Canadian consulate, visa office, or the Canadian Border Services Agency about any import restrictions on these substances. Ensure that you know the names of all the medicines and remedies you bring into Canada and make sure they are in the original packaging, accompanied by a prescription from your physician wherever relevant.

Last reviewed shim2/25/2015 3:29:29 PM