Sometimes Canadians who are traveling abroad are injured or killed by acts of terrorism. Accessing adequate medical treatment and support services can be very challenging and is often dependant on the resources and infrastructure of the country they are visiting. Canadians may find themselves searching for assistance and will want to immediately contact the closest consular office.
Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada provides Canadians abroad with a vast array of consular services, including lending support during natural disasters and medical emergencies.
They are ready to assist Canadians 24 hours a day, seven days a week, through a network of more than 260 offices in 150 countries. This network includes embassies, consulates, high commissions and other government offices.
In cases of emergency where a violent crime has occurred, consular service can:
- provide you with contact information on local police and medical services;
- help you find support to deal with the emotional, social, medical and legal consequences of a crime;
- assist in contacting relatives or friends;
- put you in contact with counselling services;
- assist in meeting your basic safety needs;
- engage with local authorities regarding a criminal investigation and the laying of charges;
- inform you of your eligibility to apply for emergency financial assistance through the Victims Fund, administered by Justice Canada.
Upon returning to Canada, victims can contact victim services in their local community, for access to referrals, helpful information, etc. Canadians may also have expenses that are related to their victimization abroad and should contact the program below to see if they are eligible.
Financial Assistance for Canadians Victimized Abroad
As of April 1, 2007, emergency financial assistance is available to individual Canadians who are victims of specified serious violent crimes in a foreign jurisdiction for emergency situations of undue hardship where no other source of financial assistance is available.
This emergency financial assistance is available through the Victims Fund, which is administered by the Department of Justice Policy Centre for Victim Issues (PCVI).
Any Canadian may apply to the Department of Justice for emergency financial assistance if he or she is:
- the victim of a violent crime in a foreign jurisdiction;
- a family member of a victim who is dead, ill or incapacitated due to their victimization in a foreign jurisdiction; or
- in the case of a child, a parent or the person responsible for the care and support of the child.
The Victims Fund may help cover the following expenses where the victim has no other source of financial assistance:
- travel expenses to return to the country where the crime occurred in order to attend the preliminary hearing and/or the trial or equivalent process;
- travel expenses to return to the country where the crime occurred in order to testify at the preliminary hearing and/or trial if the host country is unwilling or unable to pay;
- travel expenses for a support person to be with a Canadian victimized abroad, during the immediate aftermath of the crime;
- expenses for a Canadian victim of crime to return to Canada.
The Victims Fund may help cover the following types of expenses where the victim has no other source of financial assistance, up to a maximum of $10,000 (per family member):
- Hospital and medical expenses due to being victimized;
- Expenses to replace stolen official documents;
- Upon return to Canada, financial assistance for professional counselling;
- Funeral expenses if the crime resulted in the death of the victim; and/or
- out-of-pocket expenses due to being a victim of a violent crime.