Statement by Minister Freeland in response to the 2018 Spring Report of the Auditor General of Canada on Consular Services to Canadians Abroad

Statement

May 29, 2018 – Ottawa, Ontario - Global Affairs Canada

Following the tabling of the 2018 Spring Report of the Auditor General of Canada on Consular Services to Canadians Abroad, the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today issued the following statement:

“The Government of Canada is committed to providing the best consular services to Canadians abroad. We thank the Auditor General and his staff for their spring 2018 report and their recommendations to help us provide better services to Canadians travelling or living abroad.

“As Minister of Foreign Affairs, there is nothing more important to me than the safety and security of Canadians. Global Affairs Canada takes the provision of consular services seriously: expert staff are ready to assist Canadians abroad at more than 260 locations in 150 countries worldwide with the help of the 24/7 Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.

“Right now, about 2.8 million Canadians currently live outside the country, and Canadians made almost 52 million trips abroad in 2016.

“I agree with the Auditor General’s recommendations and I am pleased to see the report recognize the strong consular response to emergencies. This report recognizes the hard work of the many staff and volunteers who ensure Canadians receive a timely response and support regarding their situations. We know that there remains work to be done. Many of the recommendations are in line with the consular services modernization already underway. Global Affairs Canada is working to:

  • standardize its lessons-learned reports and action plans after crises;
  • expand its communications and outreach strategy;
  • keep Travel Advice and Advisories up to date and ensure they are reviewed regularly;
  • strengthen processes and training specific to arrest-and-detention cases;
  • examine performance variations in passport delivery and improve data quality;
  • enhance monitoring of urgent document delivery; and
  • review and update service standards and resource allocation.

“Global Affairs Canada remains firmly committed to supporting Canadians abroad and providing timely and appropriate consular services.”

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