Update on Consular Services for Canadians Affected by Iceland’s Volcanic Eruption

(No. 139 - April 21, 2010 - 2:45 p.m. ET) Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada officials in Ottawa and in Canadian embassies in Western Europe are monitoring the effects of Iceland’s recent volcanic eruption on the travel plans of Canadian citizens overseas.

As of April 20 at 4 p.m., the department had received and responded to more than 1,200 requests for consular assistance from Canadian citizens affected by the situation.

Some Canadian missions in Europe have extended their hours of service or increased the number of staff to deal with the increased requests. Consular services provided to date include supplying Canadian citizens with local information, for example, suggestions on accommodation; facilitating transfers of funds; facilitating communications between Canadians and their families and friends in Canada; and helping ensure that Canadians have access to medical care.

Canada will not evacuate its citizens. The Government of Canada evacuates only in situations that meet established criteria, one of which is where the safety of Canadian citizens is in danger. This is not the case in Western Europe.

The situation is improving and most flights have resumed. For more information about which flights are operating, the department recommends stranded travellers stay in close contact with their airlines or travel agents and make travel arrangements with them.

Canadian citizens in the affected areas of Western Europe requiring emergency consular assistance should contact the closest Canadian government office (for contact details, please consult List of Canadian government offices abroad) or call the Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada Emergency Operations Centre collect at 613-996-8885. They may also send an email to sos@international.gc.ca.

Friends and relatives in Canada seeking information on Canadian citizens believed to be in Iceland or in other affected areas should contact the Emergency Operations Centre by calling 1-800-387-3124 or 613-943-1055. They may also send an email to sos@international.gc.ca.

The Emergency Operations Centre is staffed 24 hours a day, and responds to all calls and emails from affected Canadians.

Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada recommends Canadians travelling abroad register with the department. This allows the local Canadian embassy to contact them with advice and information. For more information on the service, and to register, please visit Registration of Canadians Abroad.

For the latest departmental information on the situation, please visit Volcanic eruption: flight disruptions.

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For further information, media representatives may contact:

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