Responding to COVID-19
Advisory: Planning out-of-country travel? Make talking with your insurer part of your plans
A recent survey found that 20 per cent of Canadians plan to travel outside the country once the current COVID-19 related restrictions are lifted. If you are among them, travel insurers are urging you to take some extra steps to make sure you are protected from the unexpected. To find out more about this advice, read the information in the Consumer News section of this site.
COVID-19: Global Affairs Canada reminds Canadians to follow official travel advice
While some countries are preparing to partially open up their borders, the Government of Canada wants to remind all Canadians that a global travel advisory to avoid all non-essential travel outside Canada remains in effect. It also continues to advise travellers to avoid all cruise ship travel until further notice.
Over the last few months, Global Affairs Canada undertook Canada’s largest and most complex ever consular operation to help Canadians return home during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Government of Canada has largely completed that operation and is planning the final few remaining flights in the next weeks. Additional facilitated flights to bring Canadians home are not anticipated. Although it is doing all it can to support Canadians outside the country, it recognizes that many may need to remain abroad.
The Government of Canada strongly advises Canadians to follow the government’s official travel advice to ensure your personal safety and security. It encourages Canadians to talk to their travel insurance provider about extending their insurance policy should they need to and to find out whether they are covered for medical treatment if they become infected with COVID-19.
It acknowledges that the lives of Canadians outside Canada have been greatly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Those who remain abroad may experience difficulty in obtaining essential products and services and may face strict public health measures, movement restrictions and quarantines.
Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada continues to work with governments around the world to ensure Canadians abroad receive all necessary medical and ongoing support.
If you are currently abroad, you should:
- consult the Government of Canada’s Travel Advice and Advisories on Travel.gc.ca regularly for information on measures put in place at your location
- read our advice for Canadians abroad at Travel and COVID-19: Your safety and security outside Canada
- sign up with our Registration of Canadians Abroad service to receive important updates
- stay up to date on developing situations through our Travel Smart app and our Twitter and Facebook channels
The government's top priority remains the health and safety of Canadians. If you need medical attention or psychological support while abroad, our officers can help you find local emergency services and the nearest hospital. Contact the nearest Government of Canada office or the Emergency Watch and Response Centre for assistance.
- Travel and COVID-19: Your safety and security outside Canada
- Pandemic COVID-19 all countries: Avoid non-essential travel outside Canada
- COVID-19: Financial help if you are outside Canada
- Travel insurance
- Request emergency assistance
- Embassies and consulates
- About consular services
- Travel Advice and Advisories
- Registration of Canadians Abroad
Canada/US Border to Remain Closed until July 21
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on June that Canada and the US have agreed to extend the closure of their shared border until July 21. The two countries agreed to a temporary border closing to non-essential travel in March 2020 and the agreements have been renewed monthly. Commercial traffic continues to be permitted across the border.
The list of those who can enter Canada includes, but is not limited to:
- Canadian citizens
- Permanent residents
- Temporary foreign workers
- International students who held a valid study permit prior to March 16
- Approved permanent residents who received their approval prior to March 18
The Prime Minister has cautioned that strong measures will continue even after travel restrictions are eased to limit the spread of the virus and to ensure visitors don't become vectors for the spread of COVID-19.
Canadians Urged to Return Home
The Government of Canada has strongly urged all Canadians to return to Canada immediately. This is an unprecedented order to protect travellers’ health. Given the current and constantly evolving COVID-19 situation throughout the world, the member companies of the Travel Health Insurance Association of Canada (THIA) strongly advise all Canadians currently abroad to follow the Government of Canada’s recommendation to return to Canada as soon as possible.
More information about this is available here.
Mandatory Isolation for Returning Travellers
On March 25th, Canada's Minister of Health announced an Emergency Order that requires any person entering Canada by air, sea or land to self-isolate for 14 days whether or not they have symptoms of COVID-19. Failure to comply with this order could result in a fine of up to $750,000 and/or imprisonment for six months. The government plans to conduct spot checks to verify compliance.
How to Request a Refund/Make a Claim:
To request a refund on your trip or make a claim on your travel insurance, you must contact your booking agent or travel insurer directly. Their contact information will be in the confirmation/travel documents you received when booking your trip. Please be aware that travel-related organizations are experiencing an unprecedented number of customer calls/requests. If your trip is not imminent (e.g. within the next 72 hours), please wait to call to allow companies to deal with the most urgent requests/emergencies.
Up-to-date travel advisories from the Canadian Government are available here.
Frequently Asked Travel Insurance Questions:
Find answers to some frequently asked questions about travel health insurance coverage during COVID-19 here
Please direct your media inquiries to Ryah Kazman, Media Profile
Preventing and Slowing the Spread
Follow these guidelines to help reduce the spread of coronavirus COVID-19. THIA members are dedicated to providing services and coverage to support all travelling Canadians. You can find information about how to be a smart traveller on THIA’s website: www.thiaonline.com/consumer-resources.html.