Large-scale emergencies outside Canada
Large-scale emergencies, such as natural disasters or civil unrest, can happen anytime, anywhere in the world without warning.
This information will help you know what to do if there is a large-scale emergency at your destination.
On this page
- Before you go
- If you are affected by a large-scale emergency outside Canada
- Keeping you informed
- Transportation out of the affected area
Before you go
Before you travel outside Canada, always check the Travel Advice and Advisories for your destination twice: once when you are planning your trip and once just before you leave. Safety and security conditions may change between the date you book your travel and your departure date.
Sign up for Registration of Canadians Abroad, a free service that allows the Government of Canada to notify you in case of an emergency abroad or a personal emergency at home. The service also enables you to receive important information before or during a natural disaster or civil unrest.
If you must travel to a country affected by a large-scale emergency:
- Check the Travel Advice and Advisories for your destination and carefully evaluate how the situation in the country may affect your security and safety. If a travel advisory is issued, your travel insurance coverage may be affected.
- Leave a detailed travel itinerary and contact details with family or friends.
- Provide family or friends with the telephone number of our Emergency Watch and Response Centre, and carry the contact information for the Canadian embassies and consulates serving the countries you plan to visit.
If you are affected by a large-scale emergency outside Canada
- Contact your family and friends as soon as you can, even if you have not been affected, and continue to update them on your situation until you leave the affected area.
- If you find yourself in a deteriorating situation, think about leaving by commercial means if you can do so safely.
- Monitor local news for the latest information on the situation and follow the instructions of local authorities.
- If there is civil unrest, keep a low profile and avoid demonstrations and large gatherings.
- Contact the closest Canadian office serving your location if you need consular help. If the office is closed, your call will be transferred to the Emergency Watch and Response Centre (EWRC) in Ottawa. The EWRC operates 24/7 and may also be reached by:
Keeping you informed
If your destination is affected by a large-scale emergency, the Government of Canada will:
- provide updated information through its through its Travel Advice and Advisories and social media accounts.
- send out information by email and in some cases, by phone and SMS through the Registration of Canadians Abroad service.
Limits on government resources and concerns about the safety and security of staff may affect our ability to help you. This is particularly true in countries with a high potential for violent conflict or political instability, or areas recently affected by a natural disaster.
In some cases, the laws and regulations of other countries may affect our ability to provide you with consular services.
Transportation out of an affected area
As a last resort and on a cost-recovery basis, the Government of Canada may help you by transporting you to a safe location if no other means of commercial or personal transportation are available.
Canada sometimes coordinates transportation out of an affected area with other countries, such as Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States.
If the Government of Canada helps you to leave an affected area, you will receive an invoice for the costs that you must repay within 30 days.
Before you accept help from the government, we will inform you of any costs you may need to repay. This financial assistance is not guaranteed and applications are reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
You are responsible for paying for your travel beyond the safe location and any other related costs.
- Get prepared (Public Safety Canada)
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