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Travelling Abroad For VIU Faculty and Staff

If you are travelling on behalf of VIU as part of your professional development or for other work-related reasons, you need to be aware of health, personal, political and environmental risks you may face while travelling. This website can be used to begin the research you need to undertake in order to prepare yourself and to help make sure your trip is as safe and stress-free as possible.

Before you go:

Registration of Canadians Abroad: A registration service for all Canadians travelling abroad is offered and provided so that we can contact and assist you in an emergency in a foreign country, such as a natural disaster or civil unrest, or inform you of a family emergency at home. Please register on the Foreign Affairs Canada Portal.

Passport: A passport is the only reliable and universally accepted identification document, and it proves that you have a right to return to Canada. Be sure that your passport is still valid. Some countires require that your passport be valid for six months beyond your date of entry. Check the entry/exit tabs of the Travel Advice and Advisories for your destination to establish whether the six-month rule applies.

  • Leave a copy of your passport with either family or with the Faculty of Interntional Education. If your passport is lost or stolen this will make the process of getting a replacement much easier.
  • Dual Citizenship passport holders - specific restrictions and conditions may apply to you depending on which country you are visiting. Find out more about travelling as a dual citizen.

Visa: Many countries require visas to enter the country. Permission to enter another country is the sole prerogative of that country. Verify in advance whether your destination country or
countries require a visa 
for entry, and apply well in advance.

Immunizations: Contact your doctor or Travel Medicine & Vaccination Centre to find out what immunizations you need and how to get them. You may also wish to consult the Public Health Agency of Canada's Travel Health website. Plan ahead as some vaccinations may require a series of injections or may be required before applying for a travel visa. Some countries will also require proof of immunization upon entry.

Other Health Considerations: Consult the Public Health Agency of Canada's Travel Health website. Discuss any pre-existing health issues with your doctor. Pre-existing health conditions may not be covered by your travel insurance. Please call your insurance provider to check.

Emergency Medical Insurance: Confirm that you have coverage through VIU extended medical. Regular, temporary and part-time VIU employees (excluding sessionals and casuals) have travel medical insurance covered through Manulife, if they meet the eligibility requirements. Review the policy at www.manulife.ca. It is important that you understand what is excluded from the Medical
Insurance Policy, for example:

  • pre-existing conditions,
  • injury while intoxicated,
  • countries or areas where travel warnings are in place.

Carry your Plan member card with you when travelling. Leave a copy at home with someone who can find it if you lose yours. You can reach emergency travel assistance by calling the Canada/U.S. toll-free number or the Call Collect number indicated on the back of your benefits card. You must quote the Plan Number which is also found on the back of the card.

If you are travelling out of the country for more than six months, notify VIU's Manager, Payroll and Benefits, via e-mail so that Payroll can notify the Health Insurance Office of BC (BC Medical).

Travel Advisories: Check the Government of Canada's Travel Advisories website for any warnings or advisories for the country or area you are travelling to. Respect these warnings - if the advisory advises against travel, do not travel. Traveling to a country with a travel warning may impact your health insurance and/or trip cancellation insurance. The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the individual.

Other Pre-Departure Resources:

While you are there:

In case of emergency Canadian citizens (travelling on their Canadian passports) can access emergency assistance through the nearest Canadian Embassy or Consulate, or through the Emergency Assistance Abroad Centre.

  • You can contact the Emergency Assistance Abroad Centre in Ottawa anytime at:

    Email: sos@international.gc.ca Telephone: From outside Canada 613-996-8885 (call collect where available) TTY: 613-944-1310

    You may be asked to leave a message. Please follow the instructions carefully. Under normal circumstances, an operations officer will get back to you within 15 minutes. However, this delay may be longer during large-scale emergencies.

When you return:

Make your re-entry safe and easy – here is all you need to know about going through customs, the process for re-entering Canada, what to do if you are sick, and information on U.S. border wait times: Return to Canada

Post Travel Health, Lingering Maladies: If you were ill while abroad or become ill upon return, contact your doctor immediately-especially if you have a fever or a flu-like illness and you've just returned from an area where malaria is common. Tell your doctor all of the countries you visited and be able to provide the specifics of any treatment you received while you were away.

Some diseases may not manifest themselves right away. Most viral, bacterial or parasitic infections will occur within six weeks of returning from international travel, however, some diseases, such as malaria, may not cause symptoms for six months to a year after infection. Always advise a physician of the countries you have visited within the twelve-month period preceding any onset of illness. This will help the physician arrive at a correct diagnosis. Remember to complete the cycle of any prescribed drugs or antibiotics.

Even if you are not sick, have a complete physical as soon as you return.

Canadians should always protect their health while travelling to other countries, not only for themselves but also to avoid spreading illness to others after their return to Canada. 

If you become sick (e.g. fever, shortness of breath) or if symptoms of an existing medical condition worsen while travelling, and you are still sick when you return to Canada, tell a flight attendant or cruise staff, or a border services officer when you arrive. They will decide whether you need further medical assessment by a quarantine officer.

If you are sick after you return to Canada or if you were sick while you were away, see a health care provider and tell them the countries you visited, and if you received medical care (for example, blood transfusions, injections, dental care, or surgery). Describe your symptoms to the health care provider before you make the appointment. Some illnesses, such as measles, are highly contagious, so he/she might arrange to see you without exposing others.