Campus Life  

kinSHIFT: a powerful—and local—way to learn about Truth and Reconciliation

Kelly Terbasket

Kelly Terbasket of IndigenEYEZ has created a new sister organization for allies—kinSHIFT. Launched this spring, kinSHIFT is a tailored set of workshops for non-Indigenous allies who want to take the next step. Designed in response to increasing requests from people who want to be genuine allies, kinSHIFT is a safer space to do the work. 


As a person of mixed heritage, I've always felt the divide between cultures and wanted to be part of bridging awareness and understanding between the different realities. The bridge between cultures is literally where I’ve lived.

I’ve been working on creating culturally safer spaces for Indigenous communities for over 2 decades and intensively so since we started IndigenEYEZ in 2014. Over the past few years, increasing numbers of non-Indigenous people have asked if IndigenEYEZ would offer ally-specific workshops. Informed by my own mixed Sylix Okanagan and German-English settler heritage, I felt moved to create kinSHIFT.  We have begun offering reconciliation workshops as part of a social enterprise to diversify our revenue and increase the sustainability of our Indigenous community empowerment programs. These new workshops are grounded in Sylix perspectives while focusing on the questions and needs of non-Indigenous allies. 

KinSHIFT is for settlers who are ready to collaborate on change. The first step is understanding there are continuing impacts of colonization. Ongoing and persistent patterns are embedded in our systems and infrastructure. These will take the strong partnership of Indigenous and non-Indigenous people working together. Beyond the talk, the work needs to start at the personal level while understanding how individuals and systems are intertwined. Our schools, our friends, and our media have subtly influenced our entire lives–revisiting that is where kinSHIFT starts. 

We can’t address bias if it stays hidden behind political correctness. It’s very important to have space for allies to have these conversations. If there are Indigenous people present, it’s harder to dig into the baggage we carry because we don’t want to say the wrong thing. But at the same time, openness in these conversations is essential when we’re exploring our shadows. They are called shadows for a reason—we don’t see them and we need help to uncover them. 

This is how we will move forward together. Allies can learn from kinSHIFT workshops how to respond to comments such as: “It’s terrible, but it’s in the past, right?” These workshops help allies build up the groundedness to feel strong enough to speak out when there is a need to find better ways in our circles.

Participants tell us that they find kinSHIFT to be a powerful and local way to learn and reflect about TRC. Jude Brunt is an Entrepreneur in Residence at Purppl in Kelowna. She arrived from England 20 years ago. 

Morning circle at an IndigenEYEZ youth camp at Sts’ailes. Photo by Kelly Terbasket.

“The KinSHIFT workshops are incredibly helpful,” she says, “to start learning more about how we truly can all work together for a better path forward. They are approachable, thought provoking, engaging—and most importantly– they cause a SHIFT inside you.” 

As a social enterprise, proceeds from kinSHIFT go to support the empowerment work that IndigenEYEZ does with local youth and communities. Our vision is a world in which Indigenous peoples are living an intergenerational legacy of well-being. Our work is guided by principles of interconnectedness and responsibility to one another and to the land. Our innovative trainings combine cutting-edge practices in community building, the arts, and land-based methodologies to instill skills that support healthier relationships and increased capacity to come together for the wellbeing of all. Since our first workshops, we have reached more than 9,000 youth and adults through 200+ workshops and 30 youth camps.

Frontline worker Heather Adamson shared this feedback about an IndigenEYEZ workshop in Penticton: “I have spent much time reflecting on the experience and what I learned from you, from others, and from myself in those two days. It was a transformative experience and I continue to be inspired by what I heard and felt in that room.”

A youth participant at one of our summer camps shared: “This experience reminded me of where I come from. I felt so much pride for my culture and being First Nations. My life will be different because of all the love at this camp that gave me so much confidence.” 

Natalie Chambers teaches Indigenous Studies at OC—she is a settler whose husband and children are Syilx. She has participated in IndigenEYEZ trainings and more recently, as an associate facilitator with KinSHIFT workshops. “For the past 20 years, I’ve been trying to engage settlers in discussions about whose homelands we live on and continue to occupy, and to raise awareness of colonial violence and Indigenous Peoples ongoing resistance and resilience.” 

“With KinSHIFT, participants are gently invited to reflect on and reconnect to relationships and reciprocal responsibilities to Indigenous Peoples and homelands in a way that is deeply moving and profoundly authentic. Workshops invite settlers to engage a deeper understanding of what it means to be a settler, and to explore how implicit bias, power, and privilege continue to reproduce colonialism today. I would love to see all faculty, staff and employees at OC experience this shift.”

Liml?mt | Thank you,

Kelly Terbasket


About Kelly

As Program Director of IndigenEYEZ, Kelly is known for her energizing, out-of-the-box workshops. Coming from a mixed heritage, Kelly has been bridging distinct worlds all her life, weaving together the strengths of her Syilx and European ancestry. She brings 30 years of community development at the community, nation, and provincial levels. 

Kelly is focused on the role of relationships in systems change and is sought out for her capacity to help deepen relations at a time in history when connections across differences are essential. Kelly has a BSW, Executive Coaching Certification, and extensive training in Creative Facilitation through Partners for Youth Empowerment (PYE Global). She lives in her family’s ancestral home on the Blind Creek Reserve in Syilx territory in the South Okanagan-Similkameen.

[email protected]

IG: kinSHIFT     IndigenEYEZ      FB: kinSHIFT

FortisBC powers up support for women and Indigenous students

Alanah Coss FortisBC Award Recipient

New awards and opportunities for mentorship with FortisBC are making it easier for female and female Indigenous students to be successful with their trades education.

FortisBC recently set up three scholarships for women in trades with a focus on supporting female students who are at the mid-point in their education. The scholarship comes with the potential for the student to meet with FortisBC representatives and connect with someone working in a role they may be interested in pursuing in the future.

"We wanted to support students in paying for school but we also wanted to help students get connections and networking opportunities with people in their industry," explains Erinn Mah, Indigenous Talent Specialist with FortisBC.

Mah adds recruiting women and Indigenous students is part of the company's focus to ensure their employees reflect the diverse communities FortisBC serves.

“We know attracting top talent is critical to moving our business forward,” says Mah.??

“These scholarships allow us to support the career pathways of these students and provide an opportunity for us to build relationships with talented individuals who may consider a future career with us.”

Alanah Coss is Métis, and upon completing her Electrician Pre-Apprenticeship at Okanagan College, she received a FortisBC scholarship. Coss says the funds came at an important time. During her studies, Coss had been working evenings in a cabinetry shop. But when exam time drew near, she stopped working to prioritize her education. Her efforts paid off: Coss completed her program with 95 per cent, but her bills were piling up.

"I'm very grateful to have been selected for this award. The funds will help reduce some financial stress and allow me to move forward focusing on my career,” says Coss.

Nadine Lanz FortisBC Award Recipient

Nadine Lanz is taking Mechanical Engineering and received a Technology Scholarship from FortisBC.  Lanz, who is a member of the Métis Nation B.C., says going to school as a mature student means she juggles her mortgage and other expenses while focusing on full-time studies. The scholarship gave her some relief, helping her remain committed to her education. 

Lanz adds the opportunity to meet female leaders at FortisBC and ask questions is helpful for planning her future career path.??

"To connect with FortisBC is fantastic and seeing women in roles that I could see myself in the future with mentorship is inspiring," says Lanz.

Nancy Darling, Women in Trades Training Program Administrator, says these types of awards from FortisBC are meaningful to women in trades who are often feeling some financial and emotional stress at the mid-point in their studies. 

“The award comes at a time when women need a little support to keep the focus squarely on completing their education,” says Darling. 

“Mentorship from women at FortisBC combined with the financial support, really takes the pressure off our students, and empowers these women to plan their futures. We are thankful to FortisBC for their support.”

FortisBC will award three new scholarships for female and female Indigenous students in 2022.

Last year, the Okanagan College Foundation awarded 756 awards to 477 students providing over $1 million dollars in valuable financial support. To learn more about student awards at Okanagan College, visit: https://www.okanagan.bc.ca/financial-aid-and-awards

New LPN Orthopaedic Program at OC Set to Start in January 2022

LPN Jim Fishley

Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) will have a learning option for advanced orthopaedic knowledge and skills that keeps them closer to home.

The new LPN Orthopaedic Certificate offered at Okanagan College (OC) is the first of its kind in British Columbia.

Launching in January 2022, the online certificate program is set to increase access to advanced orthopaedic education for nurses throughout the province and minimize travel requirements.

“This program will meet the provincial need for a local solution for training opportunities to build the skills and capacity of nurses to support the orthopaedic needs of British Columbians,” says Health Minister Adrian Dix. “This is the result of strong partnerships between health authorities, the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training, BC College of Nurses and Midwives, and the BC Nurses’ Union with Okanagan College to shape the program and ensure it was tailored to the B.C. health care context.”

The advanced training covers specialized learning for a range of topics, including anatomy and physiology, orthopaedic pathology and casting skills. Nurses will be prepared to work in team-based environments along with physicians and nurse practitioners to assess and manage nursing care for conditions and injuries of the musculoskeletal system.

“Okanagan College’s LPN Orthopaedic Certificate is a first in B.C., and provides opportunities for people to learn in-demand skills in the health-care field,” says Anne Kang, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Training. “This specialized program allows more people to access education and training in their home communities, and ultimately meet the needs of British Columbians.”

The certificate program will be offered in a hybrid-delivery model with online theory learning and a practicum that will take place at Okanagan College-approved locations within each student’s local health authority or community.

In order to create more access for students, the learning model needed to be decentralized throughout the province,” says Yvonne Moritz, Associate Vice President Educational Services and Interim Dean Science, Technology and Health.

“The practicum component is more extensive in this program. Additional practice time is needed as skills that might normally be practiced in a lab setting will be integrated into the practicum,” says Moritz. “So allowing students to complete the practicum in a community more local to where they live will be beneficial.”

Orthopaedics is a rapidly growing field for LPNs looking to expand their scope and specialize their skills. “LPNs with this education are high in demand in every health authority,” says Aneta D’Angelo, Director of Clinician Education with Interior Health.

“Nurses who complete the training will be able to apply for Orthopaedic Technician vacancies within many of our Interior Health casting clinics. With every health authority in B.C. seeking LPNs to work in casting clinics, the employment opportunities are extremely promising.”

The LPN Orthopaedic training program has been developed with a provincial focus and is designed to meet LPN practice needs. The program is unique in that both Registered Nurses and Licensed Practical Nurses will have the opportunity to learn side-by-side the same skills creating a rich learning environment.

Previously, this specialized training was only available in Alberta. However, differences in provincial scope of practice and mounting travel-related costs prompted the combined efforts to explore ways in which to develop and deliver a training program that will effectively address these challenges at a local level.

OC offers a wide range of health training programs. The LPN Orthopaedic Certificate program is one of several certificates with a specific focus for professionals already working in direct service delivery.

To apply or learn more about the program, visit OC’s website.

Volunteers needed for a sweet cause: Enactus OC students invite community to join them in picking apples

FruitSnaps Team

A group of Okanagan College business students are once again putting the call out for volunteers from OC and the community to help them harvest fruit that will be used to make healthy snacks for children and others in need.

Launched in the fall of 2018, Fruit Snaps is a Vernon- and Penticton-based project co-ordinated by Enactus OC students in partnership with the North Okanagan Valley Gleaners Society facility. It’s focused on taking unused apples from local orchards and dehydrating them into snacks for local schools.

The Fruit Snaps team will be hosting volunteer apple picking sessions at the orchard at 10168 Grey Rd. in Coldstream during the following times:

  • Sunday, Sept. 19, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Sept. 22, 4 to 6 p.m.
  • Saturday, Sept. 25, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Sept. 29, 4 to 6 p.m.

Find more information on the Enactus OC Facebook Events page.

Apple picking will follow current public-health guidance. Physical distancing will be in place and participants are asked to bring a mask (some masks will be on hand just in case). All volunteers are asked to perform a personal health check, and not attend if they are experiencing any COVID-19-related symptoms.

About Fruit Snaps

Fruit Snaps is a simple project that takes potential fruit waste and turns it into a delicious healthy snack for those in need. By dehydrating the apples picked, students are able to supply schools and food banks with a healthy alternative to their usual food donations.

The Fruit Snaps project has garnered numerous awards over the past two years and continues to evolve.

This past May, the project team comprised of Karsten Ensz, Abigail Underwood and Marin Carruthers, backed by their faculty advisor Andrew Klingel, presented virtually at Enactus National Exposition. Their efforts earned them multiple awards and a podium finish. The presentation team was made up of OC business students Karsten Ensz, Maya Samaddar, Rachel Scuka, Danielle Walker, Aidan McLane and Elizabeth Hirschkorn; OC alumna and founder of the FruitSnaps project Abby Lagerquist also made an appearance. The team was coached by Okanagan College School of Business Professors Andrew Klingel, Mark Ziebarth and Dr. Kyleen Myrah.

Since its creation in 2018, Fruit Snaps has diverted 42,000 pounds of apples from going to waste. This has had an environmental impact of saving almost nine million litres of water and 85 tonnes of C02 emissions. All while providing 75,000 servings of nutritious fruit to over 4,000 children and people in need.

#WelcomeHomeOC Campaign Kicks Off 

Chalk welcome home sign

We’re ready to celebrate the return to student life at OC! As we come back together, let’s share some kindness and support each other as our OC community grows. Visit the WelcomeHomeOC web page to view the growing gallery of social media content that is being shared to celebrate the return to campus and support our strong connections. While you’re on the page, you’ll get to know more about professors and instructors, staff, students, alumni and others in the broader OC community.

Join in and share content tagged #WelcomeHomeOC. We’re looking for positive and supportive messages to welcome everyone back into the OC family. Let’s celebrate our strong connections, what we’re looking forward to and what we want others to know about as we all come back together. If you’d like to participate, here’s a few ways you can do so: 

  1. Submit a 15-30 second video message with a personal message (or written message with photo) for students using the form on the website. Public Affairs will share this message to the main OC social channels on your behalf. 
  2. Submit a 15-30 second video message with a personal message (or written message with photo) for students and share it on social media with the hashtag #WelcomeHomeOC.
  3. Submit a 15-30 second video (or written message with photo) answering some, or all, of the fill-in-the-blank questions below using the form on the website. Public Affairs will share this message to the main OC social channels on your behalf. 
  4. Submit a 15-30 second video (or written message with photo) answering some, or all, of the fill-in-the-blank questions below and share it on social media with the hashtag #WelcomeHomeOC.


If I had to describe OC in one word, it would be __________________.
I missed ___________________ the most about being on campus.
When I came back into the office, the first thing I did was _______________.
This year, I can’t wait for students to experience ________________.
Whatever you do, don’t miss out on __________________.

Incoming OC Salmon Arm student wins a $40,000 scholarship

Salmon Arm student Savannah Lamb

Salmon Arm student Savannah Lamb has 40,000 reasons to be excited to begin her educational journey at Okanagan College this fall.

Thanks to an external $40,000 scholarship from the Beedie Luminaries foundation, Lamb will begin the Associate of Arts program at the College’s Salmon Arm campus in the fall, worry-free.

“When I found out about receiving this scholarship, I was so surprised and it took me a while to process it,” says Lamb. “After it sunk in, I shared the news with my family, and we had the chance to celebrate together.”

Lamb attributes her close relationship and upbringing from her grandparents as the reason for applying for the award.

“I live with and was raised by my grandparents, and I definitely dedicate this to them,” explains Lamb. “Throughout my entire life, they’ve been my main supporters and have encouraged me to be a hard worker and to aspire for great things.”

Lamb moved to Salmon Arm from Ponoka, Alberta, seven years ago to live with her grandparents and is one of the many students who graduated from Salmon Arm Secondary School this year.

Lamb took courses in Psychology at high school and it helped her realize a passion in the arts. After studying at OC, she wants to continue her education to become a therapist or counsellor.

Beedie Luminaries is a foundation that provides select students across B.C. the opportunity to advance their education, achieve their dreams and inspire others. The foundation’s scholarships remove barriers to education that students with financial adversity face. Post-secondary students across British Columbia are anticipating the excitement of returning to campus this September. Okanagan College is offering in-person classes at full class sizes with some online offerings this fall. Students will be back on campus in all regions and should review Classfinder for details on individual course delivery.

Thinking ahead to September, Lamb is excited to start her studies at the Okanagan College Salmon Arm campus. “I’m so ready to be in a new environment and learn new things,” says Lamb.

For students currently in high school, Lamb’s one piece of advice is to work hard, but with that, take care of yourself throughout the process. Knowing how to balance the various aspects of being a student is important, because “working too hard to the point of breaking can kill your confidence and your motivation,” says Lamb. “It’s all about working hard, but knowing that if something goes wrong, you can come back from it.”

In addition to external awards such as this, Okanagan College has over 500 awards, scholarships and bursaries generously funded by community donors. Awards are available for full-time or part-time students in certificate, diploma or degree programs. Financial Aid and Awards staff can help students find resources, explain terminology and assist with applications, including opportunities through other community partners in the Shuswap. For information, visit www.okanagan.bc.ca/financialaid.

Gift from dentalcorp to support critical skills shortage

Gary and Sharmaine Powell in the dental clinic at Okanagan College's Health Sciences Centre.

With shortages of Certified Dental Assistants (CDAs) across Canada, dentalcorp is investing in a local solution with a gift to the Our Students, Your Health campaign.

Canada's leading and fastest-growing network of dental practices, dentalcorp is giving $35,000 in support of a new dental clinic inside Okanagan College's Health Sciences Centre. The modern clinic will educate CDAs for the Okanagan and beyond.

“It’s important to our network and our industry as a whole to foster innovative, best-in-class professional development, among our next generation of clinicians,” explains Guy Amini, President, dentalcorp. “We know that working with cutting-edge technology under the guidance of industry-leading instructors will attract talented, ambitious individuals to dentistry and help fill the many current and emerging roles we have today.”

With a network of over 430 practices across Canada, dentalcorp has four clinics in Kelowna and 12 across the Okanagan. dentalcorp's gift will support a dental operatory and a new panoramic X-ray room for students. Okanagan College has been educating CDAs since the 1970s.

“We are so excited to welcome students to this state-of-the-art clinic in September,” says Joanne Gibbons-Smyth, Chair of Okanagan College’s CDA program.

“Support from organizations like dentalcorp is making it possible for our students to receive a world-class education and fill in-demand roles in our community. Thank you to dentalcorp for investing in students. It’s a gift that pays incredible returns.”

The Okanagan College Foundation is $1 million away from reaching its $5-million fundraising goal for the new Health Sciences Centre. The foundation is inviting businesses and the public to give in support of health-care students and ensure the Centre is equipped for face-to-face learning when students return to campus in the fall.

To learn more or to give, visit www.OurStudentsYourHealth.ca.

About dentalcorp:

dentalcorp is Canada's largest and fastest-growing network of dental practices, committed to advancing the overall well-being of Canadians by aiming to deliver the best clinical outcomes and unforgettable experiences. dentalcorp acquires leading dental practices, uniting its network in a common goal: to be Canada's most trusted health-care network. Leveraging its industry-leading technology, know-how and scale, dentalcorp offers professionals the unique opportunity to retain their clinical autonomy while unlocking their potential for future growth. Learn more at http://www.dentalcorp.ca.

On-campus vaccination clinics on Sept. 7

Interior Health logo

Interior Health (IH) will be offering drop-in COVID-19 vaccination clinics for OC students and employees on Tuesday, Sept. 7 at the times and locations below:


10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
L100, Centre for Learning (E building)


11 a.m. - 3 p.m.


10 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Salmon Arm

11 a.m. - 2 p.m.
SA - 133
See the IH booth at Orientation for more details

IH is strongly encouraging everyone to be vaccinated as soon as possible, so please see their COVID-19 Immunization Clinics page for more information and dates, times and locations of community drop-in and pop-up clinics prior to Sept. 7. 

For International students and individuals from outside of BC

If you do not have a personal health number, you can register by phone and a personal health number will be created for you. Call 1-833-838-2323 seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. (PDT). Note that translators are available. Telephone for the deaf is available by dialing 711. 

Return to Campus update: new orders and more information to come

"COVID-19 Return to Campus" text on blue background with illustrated students hanging out around the letters and graphics.

Hello OC students,

I hope this finds you well and enjoying the remaining days of summer as the fall semester draws nearer. We’re looking forward to seeing you and welcoming you to campus soon. To those of you who have already begun or resumed your studies this month, welcome! I hope your first days in the class, lab or shop have been rewarding.

The last couple of days have brought significant and far-reaching new health orders and guidance that will affect us at Okanagan College. I want to thank you in advance and ask for your patience and understanding as we consult with the Ministry and Public Health to inform our planning for September and onward. Above all, your health and safety, along with the successful delivery of your education and overall on-campus experience remain our highest priorities.

BC Vaccine Card announcement; initial proof of vaccine guidance to post-secondary

Yesterday, Premier John Horgan and Dr. Bonnie Henry announced the rollout of the BC Vaccine Card, the province’s new proof of vaccine program. As of Sept. 13, for people 12 and older, one dose of vaccine will be required to access an array of discretionary settings, services, and events. By Oct. 24, entry to these settings will require people to be fully vaccinated. Affected spaces include indoor ticketed sporting events, indoor and patio dining in restaurants, fitness centres, and indoor organized events, like conferences and weddings. You can find more details about the program on the Province’s Vaccine Card page, including the full list of settings.

Although Monday’s announcement would have impacts for OC, Dr. Henry, joined Anne Kang, BC’s Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Training today to provide further clarity around the potential impacts of a proof-of-vaccine requirement in higher education. Specifically, student housing was identified as part of the public health order identifying where proof of vaccination is required, and that this requirement will be in effect for Sept. 7 (first dose). Minister Kang informed us today that we can expect to receive more information and guidance imminently this week; we’ll share this with all students, and particularly the guidance and expectations for students living in College provided housing, as soon as we possibly can.

Included in this morning’s announcement, Minister Kang identified that post-secondary institutions may implement their own proof of vaccine requirements for employees that exceed the BC Vaccine Card requirements and/or the list of settings covered by the public health order. Individual institutions will be responsible for working with public health and doing their own due diligence. We are currently working with partners in the sector to understand the potential implications of this significant change in direction for Okanagan College.

For purposes of clarity, Dr. Henry stated that while PSIs can implement vaccine policies for employees, we cannot do so for students in the same way. This means, based on what we know today, we are unable to mandate students be vaccinated to access education at OC. Proof of vaccination can only be required for students to access certain non-essential high-traffic services on campuses, students living in college provided housing, and students in health sciences programs with practicums in high risk health care settings. If anything changes on this front, we will keep you informed. If you are a student in an affected program, you can expect communication directly from your instructors of Dean’s office. As we continue to seek clarity, your feedback and questions about OC’s return to campus are always appreciated and you can provide them to us online here at any time.

Mask Mandate announcement

Also this morning, Dr. Henry announced a new province-wide mask mandate for indoor public settings across BC, as well as a new mask mandate for post-secondary, effective Wednesday, Aug. 25.

While this represents no immediate change for Okanagan College – as are already operating under a mandate in the Interior Health region as announced last week (more on that below) – this new order from Dr. Henry will be in place until at least Oct. 24. As Dr. Henry has indicated, this measure represents a vital way to help protect our community heading into the fall, while more people continue to be vaccinated. Just a reminder that under the current conditions, masks are required for all employees, students and visitors in indoor common areas at Okanagan College, including learning environments such as classrooms. You can read more in our mask directive here.

COVID-19 Return to Campus Guidelines

As we have noted before, a primary source of guidance for the College is the COVID-19 Return to Campus Guidelines initially released in July. Minister Kang reiterated this morning that the Return to Campus Guidelines are being revised; as soon as the new guidelines are released, we will adapt our Communicable Disease Plan and all other pertinent planning measures and protocols to follow suit.

Rest assured that the College will be following the guidance issued today – consulting with other institutions and with public health to determine what makes sense and is relevant to our context, which is deemed far lower risk than settings such as health care. As soon as determinations are made, we’ll communicate out and work to ensure expectations and requirements for students, employees and visitors to our campuses are clearly understood.

In the meantime, we’ll continue to strongly encourage all students and employees to be vaccinated as soon as possible, and to support this however we can.

Vaccine Clinics on Campus – Sept. 7

On that note, Okanagan College has partnered with Interior Health to offer vaccination clinics for students and employees. These will be held on Tuesday, Sept. 7 on the Penticton, Kelowna, Vernon and Salmon Arm campuses and offered on a drop-in basis – no appointments needed. You’ll find other community clinics, drop-in and pop-up events on Interior Health’s immunization page.

Reminder of last week’s new region-wide orders from Interior Health

In case you missed it, a reminder that on Friday, the PHO and Interior Health also implemented new region-wide health orders that will remain in place until the end of September and Interior Health experiences lower cases and higher vaccination rates. Read the full orders here.

Thank you and stay tuned

In closing, I want to acknowledge it is not lost on me that the shifting pandemic conditions and evolving health guidance we are all digesting this week, no doubt brings uncertainty and uneasiness to the OC community. These are more challenging times than we had hoped to find ourselves in as September approaches. That said, the dedication of the OC community continues to inspire at every turn.

And while these new orders represent a significant shift for us, I’m pleased to see the new health measures being put in effect and have been heartened by the depth and breadth of dialogue with the Ministry and the PHO on these considerations for our sector. With luck, these new measures that are being put in effect now will significantly and swiftly improve conditions in the region and across the province. We remain deeply grateful to our public health experts for the work they are doing to listen and adapt, while we continue to heed their guidance and take confidence from their assertion that environments such as ours are and continue to be safe.


Neil Fassina

President, Okanagan College

Building the energy efficient home of the future

Okanagan College and UBCO collaboration powers up Wilden Living Lab Phase 2

Okanagan College and UBCO collaboration powers up Wilden Living Lab Phase 2 

It’s a research partnership that’s about more than bricks and mortar.

Okanagan College and UBC Okanagan — together with Wilden’s Blenk Development Corp., AuthenTech Homes and FortisBC — have broken ground on Phase 2 of the Wilden Living Lab research project. 

Phase one started in 2016 when two homes were built side-by-side in Wilden. One was built to current building codes including a natural gas furnace, standard plumbing fixtures and appliances, double pane windows and standard insulation levels. The second, called the Home of Tomorrow, had additional features including a geothermal heat pump, water-saving toilets and faucets, triple-pane windows, photovoltaic solar panels, net metering, LED lighting and higher than required insulation levels in the walls and ceilings.

The comparative results over a three-year research period show that the Home of Tomorrow used 67 per cent less energy than the other home. The home also had 99.6 per cent less carbon emissions than its more standard neighbour.

But now, says community partner Karin Eger-Blenk, director, co-chair and marketing manager for Wilden and board chair for Blenk Development Corp, it’s time to initiate Phase 2 to look further into the future of green homes.

“We’re so proud to be able to continue this great collaboration that can be a model for environmentally friendly and energy-efficient development for years to come,” says Eger-Blenk.

That initial study, led by UBCO’s Dr. Shahria Alam, was supported by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. Alam has been lead researcher on the Wilden Living Lab since its inception.

“Phase 2 will be really exciting. If we achieve our goal, we’ll be able to share findings that will help other households achieve net-zero status using the optimal combination of materials, systems and construction practices,” says Alam, a professor in UBCO’s School of Engineering, “As our region, the country and the world look to tackle climate change, building more efficient, sustainable and affordable residential housing will go a long way to helping us all do our part.”

Scott Tyerman, owner of Authentech Homes, agrees.

“The goal from the beginning of Phase 1 was to challenge ourselves to build the most energy efficient home of tomorrow that we could, to compare how new and emerging technologies could translate into greater efficiency and ultimately energy and cost savings for home owners,” says Tyerman. “Our goal with Phase 2 is similar but we hope to push the building envelope and efficiency even further.”

Partners will collaborate on the design, construction and research of an Energy Step Code 5 sustainable home — that’s the highest level in BC’s Optional Energy Step Code. The home will target net-zero energy usage through solar panels, renewable natural gas and other ultra-high efficiency technology and building materials.

“FortisBC is really proud to be a partner in this project because it brings energy efficiency to life,” says Carol Suhan, manager, community programs, FortisBC. “We get to see in real-time how using existing technology and equipment, and with careful planning at the forefront, you can build really efficient homes. For home owners in the future it means very minimal energy bills and the opportunity to be carbon neutral. This project is an opportunity to showcase to both contractors and consumers how this can be done.”

Carpentry students from Okanagan College helped build the two homes in Phase 1 and are now at work on the Phase 2 home. This provides experiential learning opportunities for the next generation of builders, says Dr. Andrew Hay, provost and vice-president academic for Okanagan College 

“The Wilden Living Lab has created fantastic learning opportunities for our students,” he adds. “It’s hands-on learning in a real-world environment. For the students to be involved in seeing how these new energy-saving technologies are installed, and to play a role in that, sets them up for a future that will benefit all of us.”

The project is part of a larger collaboration in green building between Okanagan College and UBCO through the joint Green Construction Research Training Centre that was established in 2019. The goal is to provide new research options and create hands-on practical training opportunities for students — to be a hub where innovation in green construction is fostered.

“The Green Construction Research Training Centre brings together expertise of UBC’s research faculty with the skills of our friends at Okanagan College,” says Phil Barker, vice-principal of research and innovation at UBC Okanagan. “The Wilden Living Lab project is a nice example of how leading-edge research can be combined with on-the-ground skills training and industrial partners to produce practical benefits for our region.” 

The project has received a $112,500 grant from Mitacs, the national, not-for-profit research and training organization dedicated to advancing collaborations between industry, academia and government in Canada.

The group broke ground on the project in April and construction is now underway.

More information about the Wilden Living Lab is available at www.wildenlivinglab.com. You can learn more about the Green Construction Research and Training Centre at https://gcrtc.ubc.ca/.

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