Travelling with medication
The information on this page will help you if you’re travelling abroad with prescription, over-the-counter medication or medical equipment.
Medications may come under intense scrutiny when going through border controls in other countries or at the land border between Canada and the United States.
On this page
Before you leave
Some over-the-counter and prescription medications, dietary supplements, and herbal and homeopathic products legally available in Canada may be illegal in other countries or require prior approval from local authorities.
- Find out if your medications are legal in the country you plan to visit:
- Consult the health section of our destination-specific travel advice and advisories
- Contact the foreign government office accredited to Canada of the country you plan to visit to confirm the status of your medications in that country
- Keep all medications in their original, labelled containers.
- Carry with you:
- a copy of the original prescription and ensure that both the generic and trade names of the medications are included in case of loss or theft
- a doctor’s note explaining why you are taking the medications (highly recommended)
- Learn about what you can and cannot pack in your carry-on luggage
- Check the requirements to:
While you’re away
- Don’t buy medications outside Canada unless you have been advised by a health care professional.
- Beware of counterfeit medications or those that may not meet Canadian standards.
- Know that some medications might come with certain stigmas, associate individuals with a vulnerable group or raise questions at your destination. For example, contraception, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and anti-depressants might not be widely accepted, depending on your destination’s culture and laws.
- Remember that even if you’re authorized to use cannabis for medical purposes, it is illegal to transport it and all products containing cannabis, including products containing cannabidiol (CBD), across the Canadian border.
- You should be aware that you’re subject to the judicial system of any country you’re visiting:
- It’s your responsibility to know and abide by local laws.
- Your Canadian citizenship offers no immunity from prosecution, and consular officials can’t get you out of jail.
If you need help
- For emergency consular assistance while outside Canada, contact the:
- Sickness or injury
- Receiving medical care outside Canada
- Travelling with disabilities
- Travelling with a medical device
- What you can bring on a plane (Canadian Air Transport Security Authority)
- Animal and plant ingredients in traditional medicine (Environment and Climate Change Canada)
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