Consular Services Delivery Framework
The right of each country to assist its citizens abroad is a basic principle of international law and diplomacy. Consular officers serve Canadians under the principles of self-reliance, assistance, impartiality and respect for local laws and Canadian interests.
Canada's consular services program has two roles:
- To provide Canadians with the knowledge they need to make informed and responsible decisions before travelling abroad, including timely and accurate advice on safety and security, health conditions, entry requirements and other important travel issues.
- To provide assistance to Canadians abroad, ranging from routine services, such as issuing new passports and sharing information on local laws and regulations, to managing distress situations, such as child abductions and medical emergencies. For details, see Emergency information.
A number of vital elements, including international conventions and agreements and Canadian laws and regulations, provide a framework for the development and delivery of Canadian consular services while supporting the efforts of consular officers abroad.
- The Vienna Convention on Consular Relations is a multilateral treaty that codifies consular rights and obligations and is the cornerstone of consular relations. The treaty makes it possible for Canada to assist its nationals abroad while respecting the sovereignty of other countries.
- The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction seeks to “protect children internationally from the harmful effects of their wrongful removal or retention and to establish procedures to ensure their prompt return to the State of their habitual residence, as well as to secure protection for rights of access.”
- In certain circumstances, the International Transfer of Offenders Act enables Canadians convicted abroad to serve their sentences in Canada, pursuant to a treaty or administrative arrangement between Canada and the sentencing country. In all cases, such transfers require the consent of the sentencing country, of Canada, and of the sentenced person.
- The Privacy Act requires consular officers to protect personal information they collect from Canadians and to use and disclose it judiciously in the delivery of consular services. The act allows Canadians to exercise their right of access to their personal information, while upholding the government’s commitment to openness, transparency and accountability.
For more information on international treaties and Canadian laws and regulations that form the basis of Canada’s consular services program, see:
- Commonwealth Scheme for the Transfer of Offenders (English only)
- European Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons
- Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction
- Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption
- Inter-American Convention on Serving Criminal Sentences Abroad
- United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child
- Vienna Convention on Consular Relations
- Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations
- Canada – Arab Republic of Egypt Agreement regarding Cooperation on Consular Elements of Family Matters (Problems abroad and/or Child Abductions)
- Canada - Australia Consular Services Sharing Agreement
- Canada - China Convention on Consular Relations
- Canada – Lebanese Republic Agreement regarding Cooperation on Consular Matters of a Humanitarian Nature
- Transfer of Offender Treaties: Argentina, Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Egypt, France, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Peru, Thailand, Thailand (Exchange of notes), Venezuela, United States
Canadian laws and regulations
- Canada Evidence Act
- Canadian Passport Order
- Citizenship Act
- Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Act
- Foreign Missions and International Organizations Act
- Privacy Act
- International Transfer of Offenders Act
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