Minister of State Ablonczy Advises Canadian Travellers to Be Prepared During Hurricane Season

(No. 163 - June 15, 2011 - 1:30 p.m. ET) The Honourable Diane Ablonczy, Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas and Consular Affairs), today urged Canadians travelling internationally to be prepared when travelling during hurricane season, which lasts from early June to late November.

"Our government considers the safety and well-being of Canadians travelling or living abroad to be of paramount importance,” said Minister of State Ablonczy. "I advise Canadians to inform themselves about the risks of travelling to areas affected by hurricanes."

Hurricane season affects the Caribbean, Mexico, Central America and the East and Gulf coasts of the United States—in particular Florida, Louisiana and Texas.

In the event of a hurricane, international travellers may find themselves stranded for days waiting for flights to resume, roads to reopen and power to return, and with no access to telecommunications. The Government of Canada’s ability to assist affected Canadians may be limited in these circumstances.

"Canadians who plan to travel abroad to vulnerable areas during hurricane season should learn how to protect themselves and their families," added Minister of State Ablonczy.

Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada (DFAIT) offers the following recommendations to reduce the risk for travellers to hurricane-prone areas:

  • Check the Government of Canada’s Travel Reports and Warnings before leaving for up-to-date, essential advice on about 200 destinations, and, for further information, the government’s Hurricane Season web page.
  • Sign up online for the Registration of Canadians Abroad service, so government officials can contact and assist travellers in an emergency.
  • Confirm travel arrangements before departure and obtain travel insurance that specifically covers trip cancellation or interruption in the event of a hurricane.
  • While abroad, keep an eye on local news and weather reports and follow the advice of local authorities and tour operators.
  • Get the latest weather forecasts for the region and visit the Canadian Hurricane Centre’s Storm Preparedness: Taking Action Against Hurricane Hazards web page.
  • Carry the contact information for the Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada’s Emergency Operations Centre, which operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and accepts collect calls (where available) from Canadians requiring assistance abroad. The Centre may be reached by telephone at 613-996-8885 or by email at sos@international.gc.ca.

DFAIT has released the 2011-2012 edition of Bon Voyage, But… Essential Information for Canadian Travellers and new versions of Travelling with Children and the Traveller’s Checklist are also now available.

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A backgrounder follows.

For further information, media representatives may contact:

John Babcock
Senior Communications Adviser
Office of the Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas and Consular Affairs)
613-944-2300

Foreign Affairs Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
613-995-1874
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Backgrounder - New Safe-Travel Publications from Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada’s Consular Services

Bon Voyage, But…: Essential Information for Canadian Travellers

Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada is proud to announce that the 2011-2012 edition of and new versions of Travelling with Children and the Traveller’s Checklist are now available.

Bon Voyage, But...provides advice Canadians need to travel responsibly while avoiding the pitfalls they could encounter in foreign countries. It outlines consular services available to Canadians and includes key features, such as a directory of Canadian government offices abroad. This edition also offers a new tool: a wallet-sized, tear-off emergency contact card.

Travelling with Children is a must-read fact sheet for anyone taking young Canadians on an international journey. It includes a sample of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada’s Consent letter for children travelling abroad.

Finally, the Traveller’s Checklist offers the top 12 tips to ensure a safe and trouble-free trip abroad.

These publications are offered in both official languages and can be downloaded, along with a range of other safe-travel publications, at Publications. Copies may also be ordered, free of charge, online or by contacting the department’s Enquiries Service at enqserv@international.gc.ca or by calling 1-800-267-8376 or 613-944-4000.