Financial assistance

If you require urgent financial assistance, you can usually transfer funds from your own bank account or another private source in Canada to another country by using one of many commercial agencies such as Western Union or CanadianForex that perform this service for a fee.

Assistance from the Government of Canada

If you are unable to transfer funds from your own bank account or another private source through a commercial agency, Canadian government offices abroad can provide a list of local funds transfer services and can help you contact family, friends, employers, co-workers, credit card companies or banks to ask them to transfer money or airfare to you.

To transfer the funds you must contact the nearest Canadian government office abroad and provide information on the source of the funds and where you can be reached. You must also notify the source of funds in Canada that you have authorized the transfer. Consular officials in Ottawa can then make arrangements for a wire transfer from your bank or from another private source. These transactions take two or more working days to complete, and a consular service fee of C$75 will be deducted from the transferred funds.

Please note that Canadian government officials abroad can’t issue pension or social security benefits, lend personal funds, request funds on your behalf from family and friends without your permission or transfer funds through a local service on your behalf.

Emergency loans

Financial assistance is not a right and depends on the circumstances of each case.

In certain emergency situations, if it is not possible to arrange for funds from a private source, a Canadian government office abroad can provide you with limited financial assistance in the form of a loan for a return trip to Canada. This service is offered only as a last resort and is subject to strict rules. As a condition of the loan, you will be required to surrender your passport, which will not be returned or reissued until the loan is repaid in full.

A consular service fee of C$75 will be applied to the loan, which carries an interest rate established by the Department of Finance Canada (Bank of Canada rate plus 3%). The interest cannot be waived and will be applied monthly until the debt is paid. If the debt is not repaid within 120 days, your file will be transferred to the Canada Revenue Agency and will continue to accrue interest.

Victims of violent crimes

The Department of Justice Canada provides financial assistance to Canadians who are victims of violent crimes abroad through the Victims Fund, which is administered by the Policy Centre for Victim Issues.

Repaying a loan from the Government of Canada

When you are provided with financial assistance, you sign an application for the amount of the loan and an undertaking to repay. The loan must be repaid in full as soon as possible after you return to Canada.

You will receive an invoice from Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada detailing your debt. The invoice will include a customer number, which you should use as a reference. There are a variety of payment options available:

  • Passport Canada: You may pay in person at a Passport Canada office by debit card, credit card, certified cheque or money order. Make sure you have your customer number available.
  • Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada: You may pay by money order, certified cheque or post-dated personal cheques payable to the “Receiver General for Canada” (allow 30 days for personal cheques to clear). Cheques should include your customer number and be mailed to the following address:

Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada
125 Sussex Drive
Cashier’s Office (SMFM)
Ottawa ON  K1A 0G2

If you do not receive an invoice, please contact us toll-free at 1-800-267-6788 (or 613-996-8885) to ensure that we have your correct mailing address.

If you choose to repay your debt in monthly instalments rather than a lump sum payment, your passport will not be returned or reissued until your debt is paid in full.

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