Resources For Refugees and Their Sponsors

The North Okanagan has a variety of resources available to Refugees and their private sponsors.

Here are some links to resources which may be helpful:

Vernon and District Immigrant Services

Vernon and District Immigrant Services has been assisting clients and the Community since 1989 with Settlement Issues, Employment Services and English Language Classes. Their services are available in many languages and they are a Non-Profit Society serving Immigrants and Newcomers, Visible Minorities, First Generation Canadians and their families.

VDISS is the first stop for new refugees to the North Okanagan area.

To learn more about their services please visit their website – or call.


General Inquiries: 250-542-4177. 


Do you have questions about Refugee Mental Health?

    • Are you a mental or primary health professional working with refugees in British Columbia?
    • Are you a settlement worker or social service provider working with refugees in British Columbia?
    • Are you a private sponsor of a refugee or refugee family in British Columbia?

If the answer is “yes”, call the Provincial Refugee Mental Health Coordinator toll-free throughout British Columbia at 1-866-393-3133 Mondays to Fridays 9:00am to 5:00pm.

The Vancouver Association for Survivors of Torture (VAST), an organization that has been providing community-based mental health services to refugees in British Columbia for 30 years, has established a toll-free telephone support line for service providers working with refugees throughout British Columbia, including mental and primary health professionals, settlement workers, social service providers, and private sponsors. The service is free of charge, and is funded by the Province of British Columbia.

They can assist by providing you with information, referrals and case consultation. They can also consult with you on assessment for vulnerability, individual and group counselling and working with interpreters.
Whether you are working with refugee claimants, government-assisted refugees, or privately sponsored refugees, this service is for you.

Interim Federal Health Program – Coverage for Syrian Refugees

The Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP) provides limited, temporary health coverage for resettled refugees, refugee claimants and certain other groups who are not eligible for provincial or territorial health-care coverage. Eligible individuals receive coverage under the IFHP until they are eligible for provincial or territorial health insurance. The IFHP also does not cover health care services and products where a claim can be made under a private insurance plan.

Read More Information Here:

Link for the Infosheet
Link to the Backgrounder on IFH

Local Donations Available to Refugees

Okanagan Refugee Community Resources Geolive Map

Created by the Institute of Community Engaged Research at UBC Okanagan in collaboration with Kelowna Community Resources using a program very generously donated by Geolive, this mapping website allows users to share information about household items, employment opportunities, services, housing, and volunteering that might be used by incoming Syrian refugees. If you want to donate something, register and log in to the map, drag and drop the appropriate marker to the correct location, and fill in the information boxes. You can choose to make the information available to everyone (that is completely public), or only to yourself and coordinators from the various groups sponsoring refugees in the Valley.

To learn more, or to participate in this project, please visit the Okanagan Refugee Community Resources Geolive Map Facebook page.


Updated Syrian Refugee Profile (IRCC)

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada has shared an updated Syrian Refugee Profile. This report is an addendum to the Population Profile that was shared in November 2015 and includes recent findings on family size, age, education and language levels and health conditions of Syrian refugees processed since November 2015. They hope that this will be a useful resource for you as Canada continues its extraordinary effort to welcome Syrian refugees. 

View the PDF here


The B.C. Newcomers’ Guide Online

Moving to a new country can be challenging. You probably have a number of questions that need to be answered right away. 

The B.C. Newcomers’ Guide can give you the information you and your family need to settle in B.C. quickly and easily. Also available in Arabic and other languages.

View the BC Newcomers’ Guide Website