What are Canadian consular services?

With more than 260 points of service in 150 countries worldwide, Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada is ready to assist Canadians travelling, working, studying or living abroad. Before you leave Canada, it is important to know which services we do and do not provide and to realize that not all Canadian government offices abroad provide the same services. The following list includes some examples of consular services.

Note that you may have to pay costs associated with some of these services.

Services offered by consular officials

In emergencies

  • Help in a medical emergency by providing you with a list of local doctors and hospitals.
  • Help arrange for a medical evacuation if a necessary treatment is not available locally.
  • Provide advice and contact information on local police and medical services to victims of robbery, sexual assault or other violence.
  • Provide assistance in cases of missing persons or the abduction of a child to another country.

When legal issues arise

  • Provide you with a list of local lawyers.
  • Provide you with sources of information about local laws and regulations.
  • Seek to ensure you are treated fairly under a country’s laws if you are arrested or detained (see our publication A guide for Canadians imprisoned abroad).
  • Notarize certain documents.

When other issues arise

  • Replace a lost, stolen, damaged or expired passport.
  • Contact relatives or friends to request assistance in sending you money or airline tickets.
  • Transfer funds if urgent financial assistance is required.
  • Contact next of kin, with your authorization, if you have had an accident or are detained by police.
  • Accept citizenship applications for approval by Citizenship and Immigration Canada.
  • Provide advice about burying a Canadian abroad or assist in repatriating the remains to Canada.
  • Advise local police in Canada to contact next of kin in case of death.
  • Request that local authorities investigate suspicious circumstances in the event of an alleged or apparent crime or death (although consular officials cannot interfere in a local investigation or legal matter).

Services not offered by consular officials

When legal issues arise

  • Intervene in private legal matters.
  • Provide legal advice.
  • Obtain a criminal record check on your behalf.
  • Post bail or pay fines or legal fees.
  • Get you out of prison.
  • Take possession of an abducted child.
  • Enforce a Canadian custody agreement overseas or compel a country to decide a custody case.
  • Investigate a crime or death.
  • Ask local authorities to give preferential treatment to Canadians.
  • Issue a letter of guarantee.

When other issues arise

  • Make travel arrangements.
  • Compensate or reimburse you for delayed or cancelled travel.
  • Pay your hotel, medical, travel or other expenses.
  • Store personal effects or search for lost items.
  • Acquire local permits or licences on your behalf, including foreign visas or work permits.
  • Assist with job hunting.
  • Help you find accommodation.
  • Accept mail on your behalf.
  • Issue a pension or social security benefits.
  • Perform marriage ceremonies.
  • Pay the burial, cremation, or repatriation costs of a deceased Canadian.
  • Coordinate and pay for search-and-rescue efforts to locate missing Canadians.