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Advisory: Current hospital capacity issues are affecting the ability of some travelers to return to Canada

Release Date: 01/09/2023
Staff Reference: Sheila Burns

Hospitals in Canada, and around the world, are reaching full capacity due to COVID-19, RSV, seasonal flu and other illnesses as well as staff shortages which may reduce the number of patients the hospitals can accept.

If you are planning to travel abroad, here are some important things to consider to help you be prepared in the event of unexpected emergencies.

Some medical emergencies could require ongoing hospital care. In these situations, if the patient is stable to travel, it may be advisable for them to return to their home province for ongoing medical treatment.

Current capacity problems at Canadian hospitals may make it difficult for patients that need hospital care to return to Canada.

Be prepared for the unexpected. Travelers should always carry Canadian travel insurance when abroad, even for a short visit.

If you are planning to travel, be sure to:

  • Make sure you have current travel insurance and that you are covered for a variety of potential emergencies.
  • Understand that if you are hospitalized outside Canada and require ongoing care, your travel insurance provider will work diligently to secure you a physician and bed in a Canadian hospital for you to receive high quality care, but this process could take several days.
  • Read your insurance policy carefully to understand what is covered and the relevant exclusions and limitations. If you have questions, contact your insurer.

Know what you are heading in to. Check the Government of Canada’s travel advisories for your destination so you can make informed decisions and travel safely to your destination. The latest advisories are at

Register your trip (Register of Canadians Abroad: so the Canadian government can keep you informed while abroad.