Safety Abroad

Please be advised that COVID-19 related restrictions continue to impact international travel and operations for our partner institutes. Everyone must consult the Government of Canada’s travel advisory based on their intended destination and follow travel health notice for Covid19 and international travel.

Safety Abroad supports all York community members in managing risks associated with international travel and provides emergency support when needed. Please contact safetyabroad@yorku.ca for any further assistance. 


Student Safety Abroad

Step 1: Consult the Government of Canada’s travel advisory  for your Destination

All Students travelling on University-sponsored or sanctioned international programs should consult the Canadian Government's Travel Advice and Advisory reports for their 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.

There are 4 Global Affairs Canada Travel advisory levels​

  • Level 1 - Exercise normal security precautions​
  • Level 2 - Exercise a high degree of caution​
  • Level 3 - Avoid non-essential travel ​
  • Level 4 - Avoid all travel ​ ​

Levels 3 & 4 are considered higher risk travel and you require special authorization to travel to these destinations. Please contact safetyabroad@yorku.ca as soon as posble to learn about the special authorisation process and for guidance on risk mitigation.​

Step 2: Attend a pre-departure workshop with Safety abroad

Safety abroad provide Pre-departure training for all students to support them in understanding the risk associated with travel to their destination and works with them to develop risk mitigation strategies.

Topics covered in pre-departure training​

How to register for Pre-departure Training

  • York International Exchange pre-departure Session ​
  • 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. ​
  • Grad students ​
    • The full calendar of pre-departure workshops can be found here
    • Contact Safety Abroad at: safetyabroad@yorku.ca if you are travelling internationally and would like information or support. ​
  • Independent travel (student, faculty or staff)​
    • Contact Safety Abroad at: safetyabroad@yorku.ca  if you are travelling internationally and would like information, support or pre departure training. ​

Step 3: Insurance (guard.me)

York Students traveling abroad for international programs are required to purchase guard.me® insurance.​

To ensure safety and well-being of York students traveling abroad, York University has developed a partnership with guard.me® Insurance. It provides comprehensive insurance coverage and benefits that are in the best interest of the students and the university at-large.​ ​

guard.me® covers medical, emergency, evacuation, and 3rd party liability, among others. Please read the guard.me® benefit summary for more information. Students must register directly with guard.me®.​

If you are currently covered by the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP), or another provincial plan, be sure to contact the closest office to find out what regulations are applicable if you are outside Canada for an extended period of time. For more information, visit the Ontario Ministry of Health website.

Other Insurance

Travelers should consider trip cancellation and property insurance to cover changes to travel plans, and lost baggage or personal items while abroad.

Property Insurance

Some homeowner insurance policies extend property insurance worldwide. Check your policy to see if you need additional coverage. Normally a copy of the police report filed at the time of loss or theft will be needed before any claim will be considered. Taking preventive measures will decrease the likelihood of theft or property loss. When buying property insurance, ask:

  • Is there a maximum amount I can claim?
  • What does the insurance cover?
  • What is the deductible (what amount will I be responsible for)?
  • What items are not covered or get only limited coverage (usually cash, jewellery, computers, etc.)?

If you can't bear to lose something, leave it at home.

Step 4: Add your trip to the Travel Registry

All students participating in University sanctioned international activities are required to enrol in York University Safety Abroad Travel Registry. Your safety and security when going abroad for University activities is our mutual priority and the information provide on this travel registry will enable York to monitor travel advisories and safety/security concerns. It will also allow us to locate and provide help in case of an emergency overseas.​ ​

Please Complete the Safety Abroad Travel registry (You will need your passport York account to log on) at least 3 weeks prior to departure. If you encounter any problems or have questions, please reach out to the Safety Abroad team at: safetyabroad@yorku.ca ​ ​ ​

Step 5: Register with Canadians abroad

Signing up with the Registration of Canadians Abroad service on the Global Affairs Canada website allows you to stay connected to Canada in case of an emergency abroad or an emergency at home.​ ​

If you run into problems because of your dual citizenship, contact the nearest Canadian diplomatic mission abroad (or Australian if Canadian unavailable) immediately.​ ​

If you are an International student please check with individual consular services of you home country. ​ ​

Step 6: Health Check and obtain any required vaccinations

Step 6: Health Check and obtain any required vaccinations

It is the responsibility of all travelers to learn about their host country and take steps to ensure they can stay health and safe. Students should visit their doctor before traveling to enquire about any preventive measures they can take. Please also ensure you have :​

  • official record of immunizations​
  • medical certificates​
  • your prescriptions (including eye glasses)​ ​

You may be required to show proof of specific immunizations when you enter certain countries, please consult your destination countries embassy for guidance on specific entry requirements. More information can be found on York International's Travel Safe webpage. Please reach out to the Safety Abroad team at: safetyabroad@yorku.ca if you have any questions. ​ ​ ​ ​


Staff and Faculty Safety Abroad

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

All York community members are encouraged to register their travel on the Travel registry as this will allow York to offer support and emergency assistance. To register your international travel with Safety Abroad please complete York Staff and Faculty Travel registry (You will need your passport York account to log on) as soon as you can. If you encounter any problems or have questions, please reach out to the Safety Abroad team at: safetyabroad@yorku.ca ​​

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: https://retire.info.yorku.ca/third-page/.  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:
    • When must you report (pre-treatment is often a requirement)?
    • Who must you contact?
    • What do you need to provide?
    • 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.

If you have questions about additional coverage please contact riskmgmt@yorku.ca

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