Minister Cannon Reminds Canadians to Travel Safely

(No. 389 - December 16, 2009 - 4:30 p.m. EST) The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today encouraged Canadians to stay safe over the holidays by planning their trips responsibly.

“During the holiday season, I would like to remind the many Canadians travelling outside of the country to prepare carefully before leaving on their vacations,” said Minister Cannon. “I invite Canadians to use the tools and publications developed by Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada to help them stay safe.”

Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada offers a number of checklists and tips for safe travel, including travel reports with the latest information on security and safety issues, emergency contacts, and a variety of other important information.

Even with the best preparation, unforeseen events can occur while travelling or living abroad. Consular assistance and information are only a phone call away. Canadians outside Canada can contact the nearest Canadian office abroad or call the department’s Emergency Operations Centre, which is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, by trained, knowledgeable and resourceful officers.

Canadians are encouraged to register with the Registration of Canadians Abroad (ROCA), which the department uses to contact and assist Canadians during an emergency in a foreign country.

“Our government is working to ensure that our network of missions abroad has the right people in the right places to help Canadians who are working, living or travelling abroad,” said Minister Cannon. “We are building a foreign service for the future, one that takes into account changes in Canadians’ travelling habits, the latest global political and security situation, as well as the expanding opportunities available abroad.”

For more information on consular services provided in 2008, please consult Consular Activity in 2008 - Incident Report for Canadians Abroad. Highlights from the report include the following: consular officials opened over 260,000 cases, of which 57 percent are passport replacements and renewals, 25 percent are ROCA registrations, and 2 percent are distress cases; the department’s Operations Centre handled more than 185,000 calls; and the consular website received more than 4.5 million visits.

Consular tools and publications are available online at Essential Information for Canadians Abroad, or by calling 1‑800‑267‑6788 (from within Canada) or 613‑944‑6788 (from outside Canada).

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For further information, media representatives may contact:

Natalie Sarafian
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs
613-995-1851

Foreign Affairs Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
613-995-1874