Advice for Canadian travellers: Buy travel insurance

THE Government of Canada says it takes the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and wants to ensure that Canadian travellers are well-informed so that they can travel safely and enjoy their trip. Unforeseen bills can ruin a vacation, so it is recommended that Canadians purchase the best travel insurance they can afford before leaving the country.

It is important to remember the following:

  • Canadian public health insurance is almost certainly not valid outside of Canada.
  • Foreign hospitals can be very expensive and may require immediate cash payment.
  • The Government of Canada will not pay a Canadian’s medical bills for an illness or accident suffered abroad.
  • Even young, healthy Canadians should have travel insurance.
  • Travel insurance should include health, life and disability coverage that will help avoid large expenses, such as the cost of hospitalization and medical treatment outside Canada.
  • Travel health insurance should include or have provisions for pre-existing medical conditions, medical evacuation and repatriation.

Canadian travellers should register with the Registration of Canadians Abroad service to receive the latest updates in case of an emergency abroad or a personal emergency at home.

Canadians requiring emergency consular assistance should contact the nearest embassy or consulate abroad. Canadians can also contact Global Affairs Canada’s 24/7 Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa at any time by calling collect 1 613 996 8885 or by sending an email to


Quick Facts

  • The Government of Canada has up-to-date travel advice and advisories for more than 230 international destinations
  • In 2017 and 2018, was visited by over 12 million users, with over 31.5 million page views.
  • The Travel Smart mobile app gives users access to key information while they are travelling. Since its launch in 2015, the app has been downloaded over 94,000 times.
  • In 2017, consular officers abroad opened 916 cases for medical assistance for Canadians abroad. Close to one third of these cases occurred in the most popular sun destinations.