Canadians Reminded to Plan Ahead for Safe Travel

December 13, 2012 - The Honourable Diane Ablonczy, Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas and Consular Affairs), today reminded Canadians of the importance of careful planning for safe travel.

“As the snow arrives across Canada, many Canadians turn their thoughts toward warmer climes,” said Minister Ablonczy. “Travelling can fulfill dreams—but it also carries some risk. Our government reminds Canadians planning to travel abroad this holiday season to read up in order to reduce risks and ensure their travels are safe and enjoyable.”

Before packing their suitcases, Canadians should know that Canada’s consular services operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week through a network of more than 260 offices in over 150 countries. This network includes embassies, high commissions and consulates.

Canadians travelling abroad should also understand that there are limits to the assistance consular officers can offer and that fees must be paid for some of their services.

Risks can be reduced with a little advance planning and by paying attention to the three Rs of international travel:

Although travellers are primarily responsible for their own safety and security, Canadian officials are there to help in emergencies.

A traveller should always carry an up-to-date Canadian passport—even when travelling to the United States. A valid passport is the only reliable and universally accepted identification document and proves that the holder has the right to return to Canada.

Before leaving home, Canadians should first visit, an easy-to-use website that delivers useful travel-related information so that Canadians can make informed decisions about travelling and living abroad safely—and can truly enjoy their vacations.

Canadians anywhere in the world can also access the latest travel advice, crisis updates and emergency contact information wherever they may be through’s Twitter, Facebook, RSS feeds and email updates. And Canadian travellers should also check out’s new mobile application, Travel Smart, for more Government of Canada information and services related to international travel.

Happy holidays!

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A backgrounder follows.

For further information, media representatives may contact:

Joshua Zanin
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas and Consular Affairs)

Foreign Affairs Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
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Backgrounder - Consular Help Abroad

To see how consular officers can help Canadians experiencing emergencies abroad, please visit the following sections of