Community & family resources
Kelowna Community Resources
Kelowna Community Resources (KCR) provides volunteer opportunities, family and adoption support, immigrant and settlement services, translation services, and employment services.
Activities for spouses and partners
Here are some ways to get involved in community events and activities that make the transition to life in Kelowna more enjoyable:
- Sign up for English classes – see the English Language for Academic Purposes website at Okanagan College.
- Additionally, Project Literacy Kelowna provides personalized English language support services.
- Enroll in a course through UBC Continuing Studies.
- Take advantage of Athletics & Recreation programs and facilities on-campus – most are open to the public for an additional cost.
- Attend activities at your local community centre or neighbourhood house (see below).
- If you live in student residence on-campus, get involved in Residence Life activities.
- Consider volunteering (informally) or apply for a spouse/partner work permit to work or volunteer (formally) either on- or off-campus.
- Attend UBC events.
Community Recreation Centres
The city of Kelowna is very active, and houses many recreation facilities. Kelowna residents have access to two large-scale swimming facilities (H20 Adventure + Fitness, Parkinson Recreation Centre), numerous fitness facilities (YMCA centres, etc.), and much more.
See Kelowna Events at Tourism Kelowna for more information about upcoming activities in the Okanagan.
Vaccinations (also known as Immunizations)
Vaccinations protect people of all ages from harmful bacteria and viruses. Doctors, pharmacists and nurses provide vaccinations at local public and private health facilities.
Be sure to keep complete records of immunizations for you and your family. A child’s immunization record is usually requested when he or she is registered to enter day care, preschool, kindergarten, school and certain programs in post-secondary institutions.
This schedule, listing vaccines provided free to residents of BC, can help you determine when you or your family needs to be immunized. If you have any questions about immunizations, speak with your health care provider:
The most accessible Child Health Clinic near UBC Okanagan is the Kelowna Community Health & Services Centre. You can bring your baby for immunizations and general check-ups. Contact the Health Centre directly for more information.
Resources for Parents
Caring for children far from extended family support systems can be an isolating experience. There are a number of ways to reach out and receive support as a parent:
- Attend a class or activity at a community centre or organization with your child and other parents.
- Attend a parenting support group provided by a community organization (e.g. Building Healthy Families Society of Kelowna).
- Connect with other parents in your area by posting notes on community bulletin boards or through online sites like Craigslist. You can also meet other parents through activities you enjoy (such as a hiking or a book club). You can try “Meetup” groups. When meeting strangers from the internet, be sure to meet in public places (at least initially) and consider your safety.
- Connect with other parents and kids through the Okanagan Regional Library’s “Story Time” program.
- Connect with other parents through the “Mamas for Mamas” program.
- For interactive learning opportunities for parents and children, see the “Strong Start” program website.
Single parents can also access programs and resources through organizations such as the YMCA.
Applying for documents together as a family
For many IRCC forms, there is an option of filling out only one application for the entire family. For example, accompanying spouses or common-law partners of study permit holders can often apply for open-work permits that last as long as the study permits of their student partners, if the student is studying full-time at the time of application.
When the study permit holder extends her/his study permit using the online MyCIC system, applications for new, or extension of, documents of accompanying spouses and all dependents can be made at the same time. There will be a fee for each document requested. For more information, see the IRCC website.
Child care on campus
The University Children’s Learning Centre offers professional, on-campus child care for infants to school-age children. Due to the high demand, it is encouraged that you apply before you arrive in Kelowna. The child’s age and time of year greatly affect the waiting time. For more information on waiting times, the type of programs offered, and how to apply, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information about child care and other services are also available at:
Enrolling children in school
In Canada, the school year runs from September to June. There is a two-week break in December and a two-week break in March. Children can enter kindergarten as young as age five. The Central Okanagan School District (SD23) operates the public elementary and secondary schools in Kelowna. These schools offer elective programs in business, visual and graphic arts, choir, orchestra, physical education, drama, and languages. For more information about programs, registration, and more, visit the SD23 website.
Many schools offer English as a Second Language (ESL) classes for their students as part of the regular curriculum. For information about these programs, contact either the Ki-Low Na Friendship Society, or the Okanagan College EAP Program website.
If your study permit is valid for at least one year and you are enrolled at a publicly funded institution such as UBC, your minor children (18 years of age and younger) are eligible to attend elementary and secondary school as if they were Canadian residents. They will not be required to pay international student fees. You should begin the enrolment process for your children as early as possible after your arrival in Kelowna. You will need the following documents to enroll your child in school:
- Passport stamp or visitor record indicating the day your child entered Canada
- Copies of the parents’ study or work permits
The following documents should be translated into English (if necessary):
- Immunization documents
- Birth certificate
- Copies of school report cards, grades, and evaluations from the past two years
Additional information for newcomers to British Columbia can be found here.