If you go abroad, you're probably seeking sights and experiences not found at home. But you may be less open to dramatic differences in health conditions, safety and security, laws and customs, and natural disasters. As a traveller, you have to face the fact that you're not in Canada anymore!
Each year, Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada assists thousands of Canadians in trouble abroad, often for reasons beyond their control, but frequently because of circumstances that could be avoided by knowing the risks and taking a few preventive steps.
That's why we've developed this booklet to help you inform and prepare yourself for international travel, cope with everyday challenges in a foreign country and - if the need presents itself - obtain emergency assistance abroad.
The booklet includes a wealth of safe-travel resources and a summary of consular services available to Canadians abroad. Be sure to read it before you leave and keep it on hand when you're far from home.
And have a safe and happy trip!
What are Canadian consular services?
With more than 260 points of service in 150 countries worldwide, and to realize that not all Canadian government offices abroad provide the same services. The following list includes some examples of consular services. Note that you may have to pay costs associated with some of these services.
Services offered by consular officials
- Help in a medical emergency by providing you with a list of local doctors and hospitals.
- Help arrange for a medical evacuation if a necessary treatment is not available locally.
- Provide advice and contact information on local police and medical services to victims of robbery, sexual assault or other violence.
- Provide assistance in cases of missing persons or the abduction of a child to another country.
When legal issues arise
- Provide you with a list of local lawyers.
- Provide you with sources of information about local laws and regulations.
- Seek to ensure you are treated fairly under a country's laws if you are arrested or detained (see our publication "A guide for Canadians imprisoned abroad").
- Notarize certain documents.
When other issues arise
- Replace a lost, stolen, damaged or expired passport.
- Contact relatives or friends to request assistance in sending you money or airline tickets.
- Transfer funds if urgent financial assistance is required.
- Contact next of kin, with your authorization, if you have had an accident or are detained by police.
- Accept citizenship applications for approval by Citizenship and Immigration Canada.
- Provide advice about burying a Canadian abroad or assist in repatriating the remains to Canada.
- Advise local police in Canada to contact next of kin in case of death.
- Request that local authorities investigate suspicious circumstances in the event of an alleged or apparent crime or death (although consular officials cannot interfere in a local investigation or legal matter).
Services not offered by consular officials
When legal issues arise
- Intervene in private legal matters.
- Provide legal advice.
- Obtain a criminal record check on your behalf.
- Post bail or pay fines or legal fees.
- Get you out of prison.
- Take possession of an abducted child.
- Enforce a Canadian custody agreement overseas or compel a country to decide a custody case.
- Investigate a crime or death.
- Ask local authorities to give preferential treatment to Canadians.
- Issue letters of guarantee.
When other issues arise
- Make travel arrangements.
- Compensate or reimburse you for delayed or cancelled travel.
- Pay your hotel, medical, travel or other expenses.
- Store personal effects or search for lost items.
- Acquire local permits or licences on your behalf, including foreign visas or work permits.
- Assist with job hunting.
- Help you find accommodation.
- Accept mail on your behalf.
- Issue pension or social security benefits.
- Perform marriage ceremonies.
- Pay the burial, cremation, or repatriation costs of a deceased Canadian.
- Coordinate and pay for search-and-rescue efforts to locate missing Canadians.
Emergency consular services
Emergency consular assistance is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For emergency help during office hours, contact the nearest Canadian government office abroad or the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa, where an experienced consular officer is always on hand. You may be asked to leave a message for a prompt return call. Make sure your message is clear and that you provide a telephone number or contact address.
Where there is no Canadian office, an Australian or British government office will provide you with emergency services. These and possibly other foreign offices can also contact the nearest Canadian government office on your behalf.
For reservation and information please contact Altair Travel: