Kamloops Resources – Health and Wellness

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Health and Wellness



Social Insurance Number (SIN)


Please check the information on the WelcomeBC website:





First, please watch the Social Insurance Number video on the WelcomeBC YouTube Channel.




A Social Insurance Number has nine digits.  It is required for you to:


  • work,


  • have access to government programs and benefits and


  • file an income tax return.


You must apply for your Social Insurance Number (SIN) in person at:



Service Canada

520 Seymour Street, Kamloops, BC

Phone:  1-800-622-6232, or visit:




Please call ahead to ask about how to apply and what documents you will need to bring, or visit the Service Canada website.

If you do not speak either English or French, then you may want to bring an interpreter with you.



Information about the Medical Services Plan


In Canada, the government uses tax money to pay for health care. This tax money means that you do not pay for most services when you go to a doctor, clinic or hospital.


First, please watch the following video from Welcome BC, Citizenship and Immigration Canada:



BC HealthGuide Handbook


Comprehensive information about health concerns.  HealthLink BC resources are available free on the web, by phone or email, in these languages:


• French

• Chinese

• Punjabi


The handbook is available from many pharmacies, Service BC, the Public Health Unit (519 Columbia Street) or online:




HealthLinkBC Files are easy-to-read facts on public health and safety topics.  You can download files in:






Spanish and



All of HealthLink BC’s 8-1-1 services are free. 


Translation services in more than 130 languages are available upon request.


Dial 8-1-1  or

Dial 7-1-1 TTY (for deaf people) to ask a registered nurse your health questions.


Nurses are available, 24 hours a day/7 days a week/365 days a year, to provide non-emergency health information, advice and referral.


You can call 811 to speak to a licensed pharmacist about your medication.  HealthLink BC’s Pharmacist Services are available from 9 am to 5 pm every day of the week.


You can also call 811 to speak to a registered dietitian for information about nutrition and healthy eating.  Dietitian Services are available from Monday to Thursday from 8 am to 8 pm, or you can email a dietitian with your nutrition questions by visiting:  www.healthlinkbc.ca/healthyeating/emaildietitian.html


Walk-In Clinics:


Kamloops Urgent Care Clinic


4-910 Columbia Street, Kamloops


Monday-Friday:    9 am – 5 pm

Saturday/Sunday:   9 am – 1 pm



NorKam Walk-in Clinic


374 Tranquille Road

Monday – Friday:  8:30 am to 4:30 pm




Summit Medical Clinic


4-1389 Summit Drive at Notre Dame, Kamloops

Monday-Friday:  9 am – 6 pm

Saturday/Sunday/Holidays: 10am – 3 pm




Royal Inland Hospital


311 Columbia Street, Kamloops

Visiting hours:   3 pm – 8 pm every day

Parking:   $1.50/hour; $6.50/day



The Royal Inland Hospital expansion is on schedule, expected to begin in Spring 2014 and will take about two years to complete.



Downtown X-Ray Clinic


All requisitions accepted

No appointment necessary

107-450 Lansdowne Street, Kamloops (the lower level of the Lansdowne Village Mall)

Monday to Saturday, 9 am to 5 pm




Making an Appointment with the

MSP (Medical Services Plan):


How can I apply for a BC Health Care number?


First, either:


  • Call 1-800-663-7100 (automated 24/7 service), or


  • Go online at www.health.gov.bc.ca to find Medical Services Plan BC and click on “application.”  If you are an individual, then print the form, fill it out and send it in to Medical Services Plan BC.  Make sure that you give your name exactly as on all other official documents. 


You must register as soon as you arrive in BC.  There is a 3-month waiting period before you can get MSP.  You should buy private medical insurance for that period of time.  In the Yellow Pages, look under Insurance Companies – Other Than Life.


When your MSP coverage begins, you will receive a card in the mail with your name, birth date, photo and Personal Health Number.  This is called the BC Services Card.  It used to be called the Care Card, and a receptionist in a medical office may call it by either name.


MSP pays for basic, medically necessary health costs, including doctor visits, some medical tests and treatments.  Dentists and physiotherapists are not covered by MSP.


Medical Premium Fees


MSP insurance coverage is not free.  You must pay a monthly fee (premium). The monthly costs are:


  • For a single person:  $66.50


  • For a family of two:  $120.50


  • For a family of three or more:  $133.00


If you have a job, then MSP premiums may be paid by your employer.



Where can I use my BC Health Care Card?


You can use it for an appointment with a doctor, at a walk-in clinic, or at the hospital.  If you need to go to a walk-in clinic before you have received your BC Services card, then you must pay for the visit.  Keep your receipt, because MSP may pay for part of the cost of the visit.


You will need the BC Services Card when you get prescriptions filled at a pharmacy and when you register your children for school.


What does my BC Health Care program cover?


It covers doctor appointments and hospital costs.


What doesn’t my BC Health Care program cover?


It does not cover dentist or physiotherapist services.


What kind of insurance can I get to help pay for dental treatment?


Extended benefits at your job can help.


How can I negotiate the appointment time?


When you phone the doctor’s office to make an appointment,  have your calendar with you, so that you know what days and times you are available.  Make sure that you are on time or early.


Doctor Visits/ Appointments:


First, please listen to and read  the following about preparing for a doctor’s appointment:




There are two types of doctors:


  • family doctors who are general practitioners or GPs, and


  • specialists, such as heart doctors or gynecologists.


For information about menopause, please listen to and read the following:




GPs take care of most kinds of medical problems.  You can talk with them about emotional problems, nutrition (food issues) and family planning (birth control).


Specialists treat special health problems, such as heart disease.  When you are sick or not feeling well, see a family doctor first.  If necessary, he or she may send you (refer you) to a specialist.   In order to see a specialist, you must be referred by your family doctor.


Talk with Kamloops Immigrant Services for help with finding a doctor who speaks your language.


At the Doctor’s Office:


Always take your BC MSP Services card with you when you go to a doctor. 


Make sure that you are on time.  If you are very late or miss an appointment, then you may have to pay a fee.  This fee is not covered by MSP.


What can I expect when I go to the doctor in Canada?


  • You will need to give personal information about your health history


  • A nurse may ask you to put on a gown


  • The wait time to see the doctor at the office may be a few minutes or more


  • The length of consultation (time spent with the doctor) may be a few minutes, so be prepared with your questions.


Eye Exams and Glasses


MSP pays up to $46.17 for a routine eye exam by an optometrist:


• for children and youth who are 18 years and younger

• for adults who are 65 years and older


Ask your optometrist about the cost before your eye exam, because some charge more than $46.17.



Extended Benefit Plans at Work


Some people have extended benefit plans at work.  They might help pay for eye exams, glasses, and contact lens, as well as dental treatment and physiotherapy.


First Dental Visit


“First dental visit by the first birthday” is the general rule in Canada.  It is important for a child to have a “dental home,” a dentist office where he or she is comfortable with a dentist and dental hygienist.

When the first tooth appears, between 6 and 12 months, it is time to visit the dentist.  For example, children are at higher risk than adults to get cavities.  Their baby teeth are thinner and they eat more frequently than adults.  In addition, both milk and fruit juices have sugar.  It is not a good idea to give your child a bottle with diluted fruit juice in it, because their baby teeth are in contact with sugar for a longer period of time.

The first visit to the dentist will be the beginning of dental visits every six months.  At the first one, especially, the parent is included.  The parent faces the dentist and the child while the dentist examines the child’s mouth.  It is usual for the child to fuss during the visit.  It helps to make the appointment for a time when the child has eaten and rested.  Be sure to bring a favorite toy or blanket.

When you talk with your child, even if he or she is only 6 months old, it is important to be positive about the dentist visit.  If you are fearful about it, then your child probably will be as well.


Supplementary Health Insurance


Supplementary Health Insurance pays for prescription medications, dental care, physiotherapy and prescription eyeglasses.

You can buy supplementary health insurance directly from private insurance companies, or you may receive it through your employer.  Individuals and families who have low incomes may be eligible for it through programs that are offered by the B.C. Ministry of Health.



At the Medical Clinic


Clinics have doctors and nurses. You do not need an appointment beforehand, and you should go to the clinic before it opensin the morning  in order to get an appointment later that same day.


Going to the Pharmacy:


As soon as you get your BC Services Card, you should register for prescription drug insurance with PharmaCare.  It is a B.C. government program.  It may pay some of the costs for prescription drugs that you buy in B.C.  You have to be a permanent resident of B.C. and have MSP coverage.


You must have a doctor’s prescription (written permission) to buy prescription drugs (medicines) at a pharmacy (drug store).  The pharmacist will explain how often (once a day), when (in the morning; before food) and how long you must take the medicine.  Be sure to follow the pharmacist’s instructions exactly.


Read the labels on prescription and over-the-counter drugs and follow the instructions.  If you have a question about over-the-counter drugs, then ask the pharmacist or call 8-1-1 and ask to speak to a pharmacist about your medication.


Pharmacies are located in:




Costco Wholesale

1675 Versatile Drive





1801 Princeton






Glover’s Medicine Centre Pharmacy

10-1380 Summit Drive




Safeway Pharmacy

945 W. Columbia, Sahali Shopping Centre








Shoppers Drug Mart

1210 Summit Avenue





Hillside Drive and Notre Dame Drive






Columbia Street Pharmacy

112-300 Columbia Street




Kipp-Mallery Pharmacy

273 Victoria Street




London Drugs

216-450 Lansdowne Street




Manshadi Pharmacy

477 St. Paul Street




Peoples Pharmacy

300 St. Paul Street




Pratt’s Compounding Pharmacy

100-321 Nicola Street




North Shore


Drugstore Pharmacy

49-700 Tranquille Road




Manshadi Pharmacy

374 Tranquille Road




Northshore Pharmacy IDA

517 Tranquille Road




Safeway Pharmacy

750 Fortune Street, Fortune Shopping Centre




Shoppers Drug Mart

700 Tranquille Road, North Hills Shopping Centre




Shoppers Drug Mart

35-18009 Tranquille Road, Brock Shopping Centre






Shoppers Drug Mart

2121 E. Trans Canada Highway, Valleyview Square






Healthy Kids Program

The B.C. Healthy Kids Program helps low-income families with the cost of basic dental care and prescription eyeglasses for children under 19 years.  This help is for families who already have MSP premium assistance.  For more information, go to:  www.hsd.gov.bc/ca/publicat/bcea/HealthyKids.htm



Visiting the Royal Inland Hospital in an Emergency:


First, please watch the following video on emergencies:




If you have a serious accident or suddenly get very sick, then you should call 9-1-1 or go to the emergency department of Royal Inland Hospital.  If you need an ambulance, call 9-1-1 and ask for an ambulance.  It will take you to the emergency department of a hospital.  MSP will not pay for the ambulance.  You will receive a bill for it later.  You do not have to pay for hospital costs if you have MSP coverage.


Royal Inland Hospital is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  If you are taking prescription medicine, then bring it with you.


The Provincial Language Service provides interpreters in 180 languages.  You may receive service over the telephone or in person.  This service is free, but can only be booked by your doctor or the hospital.



Royal Inland Hospital


311 Columbia Street

Phone:  250-374-5111


• Be admitted to hospital


Be sure to bring your BC Health Care Card and any prescriptions that you take.


• Go to the emergency department intake desk and tell the nurse about the problem


• Describe the symptoms (where is the pain/problem?)


• Explain what happened (when the pain started or describe the accident)



Staying Healthy

Sports and Recreation Organizations

Tournament Capital Centre (TCC) 


What events are coming to the TCC?  To view a schedule of drop-in activities, such as basketball and the indoor track, look at the schedule.


The Tournament Capital Centre has:


  • An Olympic-length pool (8 lanes X 50m),


  • A FIFA-certified artificial turf field,


  • Internationally-acclaimed track and field facilities,


  • Modern training centre and


  • Well-equipped gymnastics centre.


The TCC Café offers hot and cold food, including the sandwich bar,  fries and burgers. Fresh fruit, protein bars and energy drinks are popular.


Do you have a membership at the Tournament Capital Centre?  There may be classes and programs that you can attend.  Ask at the Front Counter for more information, or look at the following: Value Added Classes or Fitness Programs Summer 2013. 


Tourism Kamloops has created an interactive map of the TCC:




Medical Organizations and Services:



Alcohol & Drug Information & Referral Service


Certified information and referral specialists on alcohol and drug use and misuse.  Service is provided 24/7.




Kamloops Mental Health & Addiction Services & Emergency Response




Allergy/ Asthma Information Association


Help for allergic people and their families.

4730 Redridge Road, Kelowna






ALS Society of BC


Help for ALS patients and their caregivers.

1233-15551 Commerce Parkway, Richmond, BC





Alzheimer Society of BC


Help for the personal and social issues of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias

Alzheimer Resource Centre

405-235  1st Avenue, Kamloops, BC



1-800-936-6033 Dementia Helpline



Arthritis Society


Help for persons with arthritis.

1-800-321-1433 Arthritis Helpline

Interior Regional Office, Kelowna:





BC Brain Injury Association


Helps with quality of life for people with acquired brain injuries.





BC Cancer Agency


Helps people with cancer.


399 Royal Avenue, Kelowna




Royal Inland Hospital Cancer Centre


In partnership with the BC Cancer Agency

311 Columbia Street, Kamloops




Mammography  (breast) Screening


Provides general information on the province’s breast screening program for women between ages 40 to 79.

102-300 Columbia Street, Kamloops


1-800-663-9203 to book your Xray screening.




BC Epilepsy Society


Helps with information and referral, as well as support services for people with epilepsy.





Centre for Epilepsy & Seizure Education in British Columbia


Helps with support, education and information for those with epilepsy

32868 Ventura Avenue, Abbotsford





BC Lung Association


Helps with information on lung diseases.





BC Lupus Society


Helps with information, education and support for people with lupus.





BC Schizophrenia Society


Helps with information, education and support for people with schizophrenia.

250-372-5788; ask for Gail, Kamloops Regional Coordinator



BC Senior’s Guide (for people over 60)


Helps with information, education and resources.  You can download/print, read it online, or order a hard copy.

To order a free copy, call the Seniors Health Care Support Line, Monday to Friday, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.



BC Spinal Cord Injury


Helps people with spinal cord injury or related physical disabilities.

1-800-689-2477 SCI BC Infoline

1-877-324-3611 Vancouver




BrainTrust Canada


Community rehabilitation and support for people with brain injury.

201B-4412 27th Street, Vernon






Community-based organization that is committed to vision health.

190-546 St. Paul Street, Kamloops




Canadian Cancer Society


Information, resources and support for cancer patients and their families.

Interior Regional Office, Kelowna

202-1835 Gordon Drive (Capri Centre)





Cancer Information Service




Canadian Cancer Society

Southern Interior Rotary Lodge, a home away from home facility for cancer patients while they are accessing treatment at Kelowna Cancer Centre.  Freemason Volunteer Drivers (1-800-299-0188) provide transportation to Kelowna Cancer Centre Monday to Friday.  Pick up from the Thompson Hotel (address); 24-hour notice required.


2551 Abbott Street, Kelowna




Cardiac Health Foundation of Canada


Supports cardiac rehabilitation, disease prevention and education.




Canadian Diabetes Association


Promotes health through research, education and services.

1589 Sutherland Avenue, Kelowna


1-800-226-8464 Information Line



The Canadian Diabetes Risk Questionnaire shows that if you have the following ancestry, then you are at higher risk for diabetes:


Black (Afro-Caribbean)                                                                        5 points

East Asian (Chinese, Vietnamese, Filipino, Korean, etc.)    10 points

South Asian (East Indian, Pakistani, Sri Lankan, etc.)           11 points

Non-white (Latin American, Arab, West Asian)                        3 points



Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI)


Provides data and analysis on Canada’s health system.

250-220-4100 Victoria office




Canadian Liver Foundation


Promotes liver health and eliminating the over 100 forms of liver disease.

1-800-856-7266 Vancouver




Canadian Mental Health Association


Please listen to and read the following about depression:



Promotes mental health of all people through education, research and service.  Mental illness, which affects a person’s thoughts, emotions and behavior, is experienced by 20% of the Canadian population.  It is treatable.  Many cultures have beliefs about mental illness.  Some cultures believe that:


It is caused by supernatural forces;

It brings shame to the family;

Those who have mental illness should be isolated; and

It should never be discussed.


When people talk about mental illness, it can break a taboo.  They are worried that it could be embarrassing or offensive.  The taboo is broken when people decide to talk about a topic that they used to avoid.


857 Seymour Street, Kamloops


1-800-555-8222 BC Division

1-800-661-2121 Information Line

Check www.cmha.ca/bins/index.asp for more information.


Mind Your Mind is a website that is targeted at youth and young adults.  It has information, resources and tools to help people during stressful times:  mindyourmind.ca/



Cerebral Palsy Association of BC


Provides information and referral, lending library, newsletter, resource manuals, education, speakers’ bureau.

801-409 Granville Street, Vancouver, BC V6C 1T2





Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation


Provides information.





Denturist Association of BC


Provides information about dentures and local denturists.





Dietitian Services


Provides nutrition information, counseling and advice.  Interpreter services available in over 130 languages upon request.

Monday – Thursday:  8 am to 8 pm
Friday:   8:30 am to 5 pm

Dial 8-1-1

Dial 7-1-1 TTY (for deaf persons)




Heart and Stroke Foundation BC/Yukon


Provides information about prevention and relief of heart disease and stroke.

729 Victoria Street, Kamloops





Home & Community Care


Provides help for an older person to:

• Remain at home;
• Transition to full time professional care in a residential facility, or anything in between.  Respite for caregivers also available.


Contact the Interior Health Authority at:




Kidney Foundation of Canada


Provides information about kidney disease.

1-800-567-8112 in Burnaby





Multiple Sclerosis Society


Provides information, support counseling and referrals to persons with MS and their families.

Kamloops Chapter (group)

275A Seymour Street, Kamloops




Muscular Dystrophy Canada


Provides information for people with neuromuscular disorders.

1-800-366-8166 Vancouver





Osteoporosis Canada


Provides education and support for the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis.

1-800-463-6842 Toronto, M-F, 9-5 ET





Parkinson Society British Columbia

Provides information and support for people with Parkinson’s Disease.

The support group In Kamloops meets the 3rd Wednesday of every month at 1 pm at Desert Gardens Seniors Centre (540 Seymour Street)




 Safe Cleaning Products:


All-Purpose Cleaner


Mix 1/2 cup white vinegar (the cheapest kind) and 1/4 cup baking soda (or 2 teaspoons borax) into 1/2 gallon (2 liters) of water. Keep it in a container.

Use it for removing stains on shower stall panels, bathroom chrome fixtures, windows, bathroom mirrors, etc.


Toilet Bowl Cleaner


Mix 1/4 cup baking soda and 1 cup white vinegar.  Pour into the toilet and leave it for a few minutes. Scrub with a toilet brush and rinse.

A mixture of borax (2 parts) and lemon juice (one part) will also work.


Bathroom mold


Mold in the bathroom is a common problem. Mix one part hydrogen peroxide (3%) with two parts water in a spray bottle and spray on the areas with mold. Wait at least one hour before rinsing or using shower.


Tub and Tile Cleaner


Rub in baking soda with a damp sponge and then rinse with fresh water.

For a more difficult situation, wipe the surfaces with white vinegar first and then with baking soda as a scouring powder. (Vinegar can destroy the tile grout, so do not use it often.)


Microfibre Cloths


Microfiber cloths lift off dirt, grease and dust without the need for cleaning chemicals.  A good quality cloth can last for several years.


Marks on Walls and Painted Surfaces


Many ink spots, pencil, crayon or marker spots can be cleaned from painted surfaces using baking soda on a damp sponge. Rub gently, then wipe and rinse.


Window Cleaner


Mix 2 teaspoons of white vinegar with 1 liter (quart) of warm water.

Use crumpled newspaper or cotton cloth to clean the windows. Only use the black and white newspapers, not the colored ones. Don’t clean the windows if the sun is on them, or if they are warm, because streaks will show after drying.

Be sure to follow the directions, because using too strong of a solution of vinegar will cut the glass.


Scouring Powder


For the top of the electric or gas stove (range), refrigerator and other surfaces that should not be scratched, use baking soda. Use baking soda directly with a damp sponge.


Oven Interior Cleaner


Moisten the oven interior surfaces with a sponge and water.

Use 3/4 cup baking soda, 1/4 cup salt and 1/4 cup water to make a thick paste, and spread throughout the oven interior (avoid bare metal and any openings).

Let it sit overnight. Remove it with a spatula and wipe it clean. Rub gently with fine steel wool for tough spots.


Coffee and Tea Stains


Stains in coffee cups can be removed by using white vinegar on a sponge and wiping.

To clean a teakettle or coffee maker, add 2 cups water and 1/4 cup white vinegar.  Bring to a boil. Let it cool, and then wipe with a clean cloth and rinse completely with water.


Teakettle Lime Deposits


Put in 1/2 cup (125ml) of white vinegar and 2 cups water, and boil for a few minutes. Rinse well with fresh water while the kettle is still warm.


Carpet stains


Mix equal parts of white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Spray directly on the stain, let it sit for several minutes, and clean with a brush or sponge using warm soapy water.

For fresh grease spots, sprinkle corn starch onto the spot and wait 15 – 30 minutes before vacuuming.

For a heavy duty carpet cleaner, mix 1/4 cup each of salt, borax and white vinegar. Rub the paste into carpet and leave it for a few hours. Vacuum.


Drain Cleaner


For light drain cleaning, mix 1/2 cup salt in 4 liters water, heat (but not to a boil) and pour it down the drain.

For stronger cleaning, pour about 1/2 cup baking soda down the drain, then 1/2 cup white vinegar.  After 15 minutes, pour in boiling water.


Caution: only use this method with metal plumbing. Plastic pipes can melt if excess boiling water is used. Also, do not use this method after trying a commercial drain opener, because the vinegar can react with the drain opener to create dangerous fumes.


Air Freshener 
Baking soda or white vinegar with lemon juice in small bowls helps with odors in the house.

• Prevent cooking odors by simmering white vinegar (1 tbsp in 1 cup water) on the stove while cooking. To get fish and onion smells off of utensils and cutting boards, wipe them with white vinegar and wash them in soapy water.

• Keep a bowl with fresh coffee grounds on the counter.

• Grind up a slice of lemon in the garbage disposal.

• Simmer water and cinnamon or other spices on stove.



For References, please go to the Kamloops Education section.



Kamloops Immigrant Services does not endorse and is not responsible for the content of external website sources.  Although we have made every effort to ensure the accuracy, currency and reliability of the content, Kamloops Immigrant Services accepts no responsibility in that regard. Informational materials are for educational purposes only, and are of general value.