Safety Abroad: Pre-departure Training and Risk Management

York International provides pre-departure training and supports to York community who are scheduled to participate in global learning programs (exchange, internships and other short-term programs).

A. Types of Pre-departure Support

1. York International Exchange pre-departure Session

Apr 24, 2020, for 2020-21 York International academic exchanges

2. Summer Study Abroad programs - sessions will be scheduled in collaboration with Program Coordinators. 

Students will be required to register in the appropriate pre-departure session. Information will be sent by York International, to students and Program Coordinators.


  • Students who have participated in either 1 or 2 will be included in the York International Emergency Contact Program.
  • For participants in both types of pre-departures, the York International Mobility Award cannot be processed until all necessary forms are completed.

3. Independent travel (student, faculty or staff)

Contact York International ( if you are travelling internationally and would like information or support. 

B. Content covered at Pre-departure Sessions

1. Travel preparations (research about destination, flight, accommodation arrangements)

2. Risk Management (waiver, emergency contact card, Registration of Canadians abroad)

3.® insurance

4. Funding and Finances

5. Inter-cultural awareness

6. Academic Exchange (York International Exchange only)

C.® and York

York Students traveling abroad for international programs are required to purchase®

To ensure safety and well-being of York students traveling abroad, York University has developed a partnership with® Insurance. It provides comprehensive insurance coverage and benefits that are in the best interest of the students and the university at-large.® covers medical, emergency, evacuation, and 3rd party liability, among others. Please read the® benefit summary for more information. Students must register directly with®.

D. Emergency Contact System

As a student going abroad, you will receive an Emergency Contact Card once you have registered for the program. This card includes information on how to contact York in case of an emergency while overseas. Details will be given at your Pre-departure session.

E. Travel Safe

Review York International's Travel Safe webpage.

All students accepted to go on a York Exchange/Summer Abroad/York-facilitated global internship are required to come to a Pre-Departure Training Session.

Staff and Faculty Resources

York University has prepared an International Travel Checklist for Faculty, Librarians, PDVs and Staff that helps you to prepare for your international travel related to the performance of professional responsibilities and provides you with resources for your international travel experience. Your safety and security when going abroad for University activities is our mutual priority and we encourage you to register your travel, determine the travel advisory level and investigate insurance. Adequate research of your destination and safety preparation is essential to your success. This includes research, study, recruitment, teaching, and service-related activities.

1. Travel Registration - Requesting Information on Voluntary Basis

To register your international travel with the University please complete and submit the following information.  Once registered you will receive all needed travel reference information including how to contact York University in case of an emergency abroad or an emergency at home.

Register Here

2. Determine Travel Advisory Level

It is the responsibility of the traveller to determine that travel destinations are considered safe for university travel. Given that conditions may change, it is important to monitor travel advisories frequently prior to departure, as well as staying current on advisories during your travels.

Prior to travel determine the advisory safety level for your destination as defined by the Canadian Government's Travel Advice and Advisory reports for your specific country/region.  This site will also guide you regarding other particular security threats that may apply to your destination, entry/exit requirements and official travel documentation and health notices, local consular assistance and emergency services. 

Understanding the risk:

N.B.: It is your responsibility to inform yourself of the advisory level for your destination via the Government of Canada’s Travel Advice and Advisories and of the risks involved with travel to a high-risk location/area, identified as “avoid non-essential travel” or “avoid all travel”.

3. Insurance

Health Insurance Abroad: Are you covered?

Please be aware that if you are considering travel to high risk areas as defined by the Government of Canada risk level(s) that insurance coverage (travel, health and liability) can change and in some situations coverage can become invalid abruptly with changing conditions in many global destinations.

Before traveling outside Ontario or Canada for University activities it is suggested that you review your international/ out of province medical coverage.  It is important to check prior to planning your travel and again prior to departure. 

Please refer to your benefits booklet for out of country coverage:  Please also note printable coverage travel cards are available via the Sun Life Insurance app or Sun Life website, providing contact information for insurance-related needs.

Some potential additional sources of coverage are:

    • Purchasing extended benefits plans- insurance providers such as Sun Life, Greenshield & AIG etc.
    • Credit Card programs
    • Travel Company program 

Please note OHIP no longer provides coverage for travellers outside of Canada. 

At a minimum we recommend you know the answers to and the risks associated with the answers to the following.

  1. Does your coverage provide international/ out of province medical expense coverage? Please note, in some instances international travel may be described as out of province.
  2. If international/ out of province medical coverage is provided is there a maximum amount the plan will pay.  For example, some plans will only pay a maximum of $10,000 for international/ out of province medical expenses.
  3. Is there coverage for repatriation for medical or safety reasons?
  4. If the Canadian government travel advisory is Level 3 (avoid non-essential travel) or Level 4 (Avoid all travel) is coverage still available? 
  5. What are the requirements to file a claim?  For example:
    1. When must you report (pre-treatment is often a requirement)?
    2. Who must you contact?
    3. What do you need to provide?
    4. What do I need to have with me to initiate coverage?

Please note if traveling with family members, the above questions should be asked for each person because their answers could be different.

  1. Are there country specific requirements? (eg entry/exit requirements, vaccines etc.) Please refer to the  Canadian Government's Travel Advice and Advisory reports for your specific country/region. 

If you have questions about additional coverage please contact

N.B.: It is your responsibility to assess and confirm the health coverage and coverage exclusion(s) applicable to your travels.