Advice for Canadian travellers: Medication and international travel

News release

February 25, 2019 - Ottawa, Ontario - Global Affairs Canada

If you are one of the many Canadians travelling abroad this winter, take extra care if you bring medication. The Government of Canada wants to remind travellers that crossing international borders with any kind of medication, even a prescription drug, can sometimes lead to problems.

  • Make sure you can bring it with you: Before you go, check the Travel Advice and Advisories for the country you plan to visit and make sure your medication is allowed into the country. Some over-the-counter medications, dietary supplements, and herbal and homeopathic products may be illegal in other countries or require prior approval from local authorities.
  • Do not try to save luggage space by combining your medication: Pack all medications in their original, labelled containers. Prescription medication is exempted from the liquid restrictions that you can bring on a plane in carry-on luggage.
  • Pack an extra supply of medication in case you are away for longer.
  • Carry copies of your prescriptions: Ensure that both the generic and trade names of medications are included in case of loss or theft.
  • Carry a doctor’s certificate if you need injection supplies: The note should explain their medical purpose.
  • Do not buy medication outside Canada unless you have been advised to do so by a health care professional. Be wary of potentially counterfeit medications or those that may not meet Canadian standards.
  • If you take cannabis for medical purposes, do not bring it with you. Cannabis is now legal in Canada, but taking cannabis products in any form across the Canadian border is illegal.

Quick facts

  • Every year, Global Affairs Canada helps thousands of Canadians who run into problems while travelling, working, studying and living in other countries.

  • In 2018, our consular officers abroad opened cases for:

    • more than 10,000 passports reported lost or stolen abroad; and
    • approximately 1,000 individuals requiring medical assistance abroad; nearly one-third of these cases occurred in popular sun destinations.
  • Canadians requiring emergency assistance abroad can contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa anytime and from anywhere by calling collect +1 613 996 8885 or by sending a message to

  • has up-to-date travel advice and advisories for more than 230 destinations worldwide—a key reference for Canadians and the travel industry.

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