Where should you live in Kelowna? What are your child care, schooling, and health care options? We help answer these questions and more, and offer helpful resources.
A vibrant city in a beautiful part of BC
With a population of more than 156,784, as of January 2023, the City of Kelowna is the largest city in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley.
Bordering Okanagan Lake, Kelowna is well known for its hot summers and temperate winters. It boasts all the amenities of a major city: fine dining, unique shops and vibrant culture along with orchards, vineyards and wineries within a 10-minute drive of the downtown core. Several championship golf courses draw enthusiasts from all parts of the globe.
Visit the Tourism Kelowna website to learn more about the area.
The cost of renting in Kelowna varies greatly depending on the rental location, size, age, and condition of the home.
For a bachelor or studio suite (a single room with a kitchen and bathroom) monthly rental costs start at about $1,800, while the average one-bedroom apartment costs $2,100 and a two-bedroom apartment is typically $2,400 per month.
The usual practice is to pay half of the month’s rent up front as a damage deposit that will be given back to you at the end of your rental agreement, as long as you leave the place clean and well maintained.
Resources for renters
To help you understand your rights as a tenant, here are some valuable resources:
- Residential Tenancy Office – Provides landlords and tenants with information and dispute resolution services.
- Tenant Resource and Advisory Centre (tenants.bc.ca) – Provides legal education and information about residential tenancy matters to tenants, community advocates and others.
On-campus rental housing
All our on-campus accommodations are close to local attractions, including golf courses, wineries, fine dining and the Kelowna International Airport.
Campus housing is available through the UBCO’s conferences and accommodations service.
Where to look for rental housing
If you need short or long-term accommodation on or near the Okanagan campus, consider the following:
- UBCO conferences and accommodations – Short-term contemporary, standard or deluxe apartments with fully equipped kitchens, living rooms and bathrooms. Bookings available online (okanagan.ubcconferences.com) for the non-academic season: May-August.
- University District - Condominium rentals about a 5-10 minute walk from campus.
- ARGUS Properties Ltd. - Residential rental properties in and around Kelowna. Ask for the Argus Advantage program discount for UBC employees
- Worman Residential Rentals - Numerous purpose-built affordable rental properties to fit various lifestyles.
- Associated Property Management- search their website for existing listings or contact them to add your name to their list of 'searching'
- City of Kelowna- City owned properties available on this website. Applications with bids accepted.
- Zumper- Homes and condos for rent website.
- Sabbatical Homes – Popular website maintains a rental listings web page, with options often lower-priced than on standard rental sites.
- Padmapper- A new website with numerous listings to choose from and statistics, updated monthly, regarding the local rental market.
- Kelowna Resort Accommodations – 120 fully furnished units available for short or long term.
- Owner Direct rentals – Short-term rentals available on this website, including at Quail Ridge, close to UBC and situated on a golf course with options for villas, condos or house rentals.
- Kelowna Tourism listings – Hotels, motels, vacation rentals, bed and breakfast rentals.
- Classified listings – Use these websites and agencies to help find rental options in and around UBC and Kelowna: Castanet; Craigslist; Kijiji.
Buying a home
There are a variety of housing options for purchase in and around Kelowna, including single family homes, apartments, condominiums, and townhouses. The following tools, sites and services can assist you in purchasing a home in the area:
Real Estate Council of British Columbia- Procedures and information about buying a home in British Columbia.
Association of Interior Realtors- Tools to help you find a realtor, a home and learn about Kelowna neighborhoods.
Canada Home & Mortgage Corporation – Information on mortgage loan insurance, mortgage-backed securities, housing policy and programs, and housing research.
Get full details on home-buying options, realtor and banking information on our buying a home in B.C. page.
The following resources are available to members of the UBC community:
- UBC’s Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) – A confidential counselling service that can help you or your family members with any personal problem, big or small, that affects your family life, your work life or your general wellbeing.
- UBC's wellbeing partner TELUS Health provides faculty and staff with professional counselling, coaching and a childcare registry.
- Relocation fact sheets have been provided, below, but please contact our Relocation and Benefits Associate for more information:
If you require more information, please contact:
Relocation and Benefits Associate
Human Resources, UBC Okanagan
OM1 – 1157 Alumni Ave
Kelowna, BC V1V 1V7
Child care and schooling
Kelowna child care resources
Get information on childcare in B.C. at the BC Government's Childcare BC website. Child care resources for Kelowna and area include:
- UBC Okanagan Child Care- On-campus child care for infants to school-age children for UBC students, faculty, staff and the community.
- Childhood Connections Okanagan - Provides daycare listings and resources for childcare in Kelowna and surrounding areas.
- Boys and Girls Club of Kelowna – Childcare and after school program information
- More resources - including Vernon and Penticton
Elementary and secondary schools
B.C.'s Ministry of Education is the branch of the provincial government that oversees standards and the quality of the educational system for both publicly-funded and privately-funded schools, from kindergarten through grade 12 (ages 5 - 17).
See the school registration, transportation and private school information for Kelowna, Penticton and Vernon.
Elder care and seniors services
With an aging demographic, UBC understands that faculty and staff sometimes care for aging family members, and may benefit from supportive resources.
In addition to the Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) and the Welcome and Relocation Services Centre, here are some examples of external services that can help.
Provincial government’s B.C. Seniors guide: Information for seniors on housing, transportation, finances, recreation, support services, personal security and more.
Seniors Outreach & Resource Centre in the Kelowna area that offers programs and services to assist and enhance the lives of seniors.
Interior Health Long-term Care for adults who can no longer live safely or independently at home.
Spouse and family career opportunities
UBC recognizes that relocation often includes a spouse or life partner who may be looking for work.
Careers at UBC
- Look for UBC career opportunities including postings in the areas of clerical/secretarial, technical, trades, management and professional positions, and for faculty positions.
- UBC Okanagan’s human resources department has auxiliary casual positions for short-term temporary placements that can be either part time or full time. Most of the placements are secretarial and clerical positions, but we also have demand for administrative, clinical secretarial and facilities maintenance staff.
General career and business resources
- Service Canada: Services such as finding a job, starting a business, raising a family, having a baby or planning for retirement.
- Kelowna Community Resource Centre: Assists those with professional experience in finding work in their field and assists with job search and resume writing skills.
- Monster.ca: Information and resources on various careers, an online job searching tool and the ability to create your own work profile.
- Workopolis.com: Information and resources on various careers, an online job searching tool and the ability to create your own work profile.
- Indeed.com: An online job searching tool specializing in finding and monitoring job announcements of employers across Canada. Includes e-mail alerts to job seekers.
Living in Kelowna, you'll have access to a large network of health practitioners, including doctors, dentists and physiotherapists.
B.C's Medical Services Plan, mandatory for all B.C. residents, pays for many medically required services when they're performed in a hospital. There's a three-month waiting period for new residents to obtain coverage under the BC Medical Services Plan.
If you're new to BC or Canada, it's important to arrange for temporary health insurance during this waiting period for you and your family. You're welcome to use any insurance provider you prefer, including those who provide preferred rates to UBC faculty and staff. Learn more about private coverage.
Depending on your job and the length of your appointment at UBC, you may also be eligible to receive extended health and dental benefits as part of your employment benefits package. Learn more about health care coverage options.
See this resource to learn how to find Medical or Dental professionals as well as Pharmacies in your area.
Health and wellbeing services at UBC
UBC’s benefits provider, Sun Life, provides online health and wellbeing companion tools that can help you understand how healthy you are and what health risks you may be facing. As well, you can get up-to-date information about medical conditions, diseases and tests and information about various prescription drugs and how they are used.
You can also create a personal health file online where you can store your health records in an encrypted database protected from outside intrusion. Please note that use of this service is voluntary, anonymous and confidential.
To access the members’ website as a UBC employee, you’ll need an access ID and PIN. To get a Sun Life access ID and PIN, you may register online, or call the Customer Care Centre at 1 800 661 7334. Before Sun Life provides your access ID, you'll be asked a few personal questions, including:
- UBC’s group policy contract number (25205)
- your member ID, which is your seven-digit employee number from your pay stub
Your temporary password will be mailed to you the next day.
Other programs at UBC include return to work, ergonomics, and seminars that promote personal and community health.
Learn about other health and wellbeing options at UBC.
Doctors, dentists and health practitioners
Find a family doctor in the Central Okanagan is an online tool for a program to help local residents find a family doctor.
MediMap is an online program to help find a walk-in clinics, in your area, where you can drop-in to see a physician at short notice. Should you have a medical condition, any registered doctor can refer you to a specialist.
Find a physician for your family through the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC.
Find a dentist in your area through the BC Dental Association.
Doctors are on call through the emergency ward at most local hospitals, which are open 24/7.
Okanagan-based hospitals are accessed through the Interior Health website and include:
- Kelowna General Hospital
- Vernon Jubilee Hospital
- Penticton Regional Hospital
Many independent pharmacy or drug stores exist, in addition to those found within large grocery store chains. Examples of large chain stores with pharmacies include Pharmasave, London Drugs, Shopper’s Drug Mart and Rexall Drugs.
Transportation and driving
From driving to buses to walking or riding your bike, there are various accessible ways to take you around the city of Kelowna and neighbouring communities.
The Kelowna transit system has service throughout the City of Kelowna as well as servicing the communities of West Kelowna, Lake Country, Vernon and Peachland. There's also an Express rapidBus that runs through Kelowna directly to UBC Okanagan.
Cycling is not only a form of exercise but is a popular mode of transportation among residents of Kelowna. There are nearly 300 km of on-street bicycle lanes and 40 km of separated paved multi-use paths. Kelowna’s ‘Rails with Trails’ pathway is one example of a paved multi-use pathway that provides a safe, accessible route for cyclists).
Driver’s license and car insurance
If you have a driver’s license from another Canadian province, the United States, or overseas, your license is valid in British Columbia for a period of 90 days as long as you meet B.C.’s licensing requirements. Prior to the end of the 90-day grace period, you must visit the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) driver licensing office to register for a BC driver’s license.
Most vehicles must be registered, licensed and insured within 30 days of arriving in B.C. You should speak with ICBC about your vehicle’s insurance needs. Be sure to bring the title, registration, and evidence of current insurance with you.
To save money on insurance costs, it's recommended that you bring 10 years’ (or as much as you have) driving history and insurance claims history.
Information about bringing your vehicle to BC is available on the ICBC website.
Social Insurance Number, taxes and banking
The Social Insurance Number (SIN) is a nine-digit number you need to work in Canada or to have access to government programs and benefits. All employees are required by Service Canada to present their SIN card to their employer within three days of starting work. you'll also need a bank account to have your paycheque deposited into.
Foreign academics who are to receive salary or an honorarium must apply for a Social Insurance Number (SIN) from a Service Canada Centre. It can take up to three weeks for a SIN card to be issued, but when the application is made, Service Canada will issue a receipt of application. This receipt and a copy of the work permit must be supplied to your UBC department administrator who will forward them to faculty relations and payroll. It's mandatory that all non-Canadians supply these two pieces of information. UBC appointments cannot be processed without them.
For more information about obtaining a Social Insurance Number, visit the Service Canada website.
Taxation in Canada/B.C. income tax
While at UBC, any earnings received are considered Canadian income, unless otherwise indicated by Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) in writing prior to arrival.
Please note that, by law, deductions are taken from your salary for Canada Income Tax, Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and Employment Insurance (EI). If you receive fellowship earnings, these will not be deducted for CPP and EI.
In the spring of every year, you'll receive T4 and/or T4A slips from UBC's payroll department, which you will use to file your tax return. You must ensure your forwarding address is up to date in the event you leave UBC prior to this time.
Please contact a financial advisor or the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) for tax and financial information.
You can also access the CRA website for a self-directed online course on understanding taxes, which includes help on how to file a tax return.
If you have any questions about paying income tax in Canada, please refer to CRA’s information for non-residents or contact the International Tax Services Office (collect calls are accepted):
- Calling from Canada and the U.S.: 1 800 267 5177
- Calling from outside Canada and the US: 1 613 952 3741
- Fax: 1 613 941 2505
Get information about taxable benefits related to UBC housing programs.
Banking and credit cards
There are a number of banking institutions and branches for you to choose from in British Columbia, including:
- Royal Bank
- Bank of Montreal
- TD Canada Trust
Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) can be found on campus and throughout the city.
Mortgages in Canada
When buying a home, you may rely on a lender for a mortgage to finance the purchase of your home. If you're using one of the home ownership programs being offered by UBC, you may be restricted by which lenders you can use.
Outside of this, you may be able to get a loan with any of the major banks in Canada or go through a mortgage broker.