Canadian Passport Not A “Get Out of Jail Free” Card

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By A Correspondent

The Honourable Lynne Yelich, Minister of State (Foreign Affairs and Consular), on December 16, issued the following statement on consular services for Canadians ahead of the winter travel season:

“As the holiday season quickly approaches, Canadians look to the sand and sun to escape the winter cold. Last year, Canadians took more than 65 million trips abroad. While the majority of these trips went off without a hitch, Canadian consular officials stand ready to provide assistance when Canadians find themselves in serious trouble abroad.

“While Canadian officials strive to provide the best possible consular assistance to Canadians in all regions of the world, the Government of Canada cannot stress enough that a Canadian passport is not a ‘get out of jail free’ card.

“Canadians should recognize that they are subject to local legal procedures and processes, which are often different from those in Canada. Our government cannot intervene in these processes, just as we would not accept a foreign government intervening in ours. Canadians abroad are expected to adhere to local laws, just as they would in Canada.

“Canadian consular officials are there to ensure the well-being of Canadians who are in trouble or detained when abroad. Consular officials can contact family members upon request, advocate for fair and equal treatment under local laws, and advocate for general well-being, including basic nutrition.

“It is up to the traveller to make safe and smart travel decisions, so Canadians are strongly encouraged to read and follow our travel advisories. Our government recently overhauled the Travel.gc.ca website to ensure that Canadians have easy access to the most up-to-date travel information, including security advisories and information concerning local laws.

“In circumstances where an advisory recommends avoiding all travel or non-essential travel, Canadian officials may be very limited in the help that they can provide, and their safety and security are paramount.

“Finally, Canadians are urged to always purchase travel and medical insurance before they leave Canada. In almost all circumstances, the Government of Canada—and the taxpayer—cannot help pay for a ticket back to Canada.

“As we head into the holiday travel season, please keep in mind that consular officials will help where and when they can, but safe and secure travel is ultimately the responsibility of the traveller.”

JULY 2017

Vol. 11 - No. 12










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