Minister of State Ablonczy Announces Initiative to Help Protect Canadian Children Travelling Abroad

(No. 372 - December 12, 2011 - 2 p.m. ET) The Honourable Diane Ablonczy, Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas and Consular Affairs), today announced the launch of an interactive consent letter for children travelling abroad.

“Immigration officials are vigilant about documentation for children crossing international borders,” said Minister of State Ablonczy. “And yet there are hundreds of active cases involving children wrongfully removed from Canada, or prevented from returning home, by one of their parents. Unless children are accompanied by both parents, I strongly recommend that they carry a consent letter proving they have permission to travel.”

This safe-travel resource is intended to make it easier for children to travel while preventing their abduction to foreign countries. It was developed in response to the needs of parents, legal professionals and consular officials. Parents will now be able to compose a clear and concise letter simply by filling out a form.

“Child abductions are among the most distressing circumstances for Canadian parents and are among the most difficult and complex cases faced by consular officials,” said Minister of State Ablonczy. “Many of these cases could be prevented simply by ensuring that the child or accompanying adult is carrying a signed and notarized consent letter.”

The consent letter for children travelling abroad, along with information on other aspects of foreign travel, may be found on the travel.gc.ca website.

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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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