Government of Canada partners with the telecommunications sector to ensure Canadians abroad receive text messages containing key Global Affairs Canada information during the COVID-19 outbreak

News release

March 18, 2020 – Ottawa, Ontario

The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, and the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister Foreign Affairs, would like to thank Canada’s telecommunications service providers that have acted quickly to ensure the continuation of critical services in the face of the COVID-19 outbreak. A number of telecommunications service providers have agreed to a Government of Canada request to send text messages containing contact information for Global Affairs Canada consular support to devices belonging to Canadians living or travelling abroad.

Beginning today, Rogers, Bell, Telus, Videotron, Freedom Mobile, Eastlink and SaskTel will be sending their subscribers currently living or travelling abroad text messages containing consular support information and key contact information.

The Government of Canada is committed to protecting the health and safety of all Canadians, while contributing to the international response to COVID-19 and ensuring our economy weathers this difficult period. Since the outbreak began, the Government has proactively reached out to Canada’s telecommunications service providers to work together in finding concrete solutions to continue helping Canadians, given the critical importance of telecommunications at this time.

Canada’s telecommunications system remains strong and is prepared to handle increased demand nationally, in part because of measures put in place related to COVID-19. The Government of Canada recognizes that telecommunications providers, including field workers who repair networks and staff at stores who repair phones and communications devices, are providing essential services to Canadians.

The Government would like to thank employees in the telecommunications industry for their continued hard work to ensure that Canada’s networks remain strong and resilient, enabling the work-from-home economy while we all do our part to flatten the curve of COVID19. 


I am pleased that Canada’s telecommunications service providers have acted quickly to help Canadians as they take steps to answer the call for social distancing. The measure announced today builds on various steps already taken by Canada’s telecommunications service providers to help consumers and ensure service remains uninterrupted. The Government is looking to help them now and will ensure Canadians abroad receive important Global Affairs Canada information directly to their devices during this critical period.”
– The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

“Canada is committed to providing all assistance possible to Canadians at home and abroad affected by COVID-19. Many Canadians abroad are currently relying on uninterrupted service from Canada’s telecommunications service providers to access consular services. I am pleased that the measures announced today will contribute to the Government of Canada’s ongoing efforts to assist Canadians abroad during this difficult and critical period.”
– The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Foreign Affairs

Quick facts

  • Canadians in need of emergency consular assistance from anywhere in the world can call the 24/7 Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa at +1 613-996-8885 (collect calls are accepted where available) or email

  • Canada’s telecommunications carriers have robust networks and network management capabilities for dealing with periods of congestion.

  • On March 6, 2020, the Government of Canada announced an investment of close to $27 million to support 47 researchers whose teams will focus on medical, social and policy countermeasures to tackle the spread of COVID-19 around the world.

  • On March 11, 2020, the Prime Minister announced a $1 billion package to help Canadians cope with the COVID-19 outbreak, including $275 million for research and medical countermeasures. 

  • On March 18, 2020, the Prime Minister announced a new set of economic measures to help stabilize the economy during this challenging period. These measures, delivered as part of the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, will provide up to $27 billion in direct support to Canadian workers and businesses.

  • Funding for the action plan will be delivered through Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada’s Strategic Innovation Fund and Innovative Solutions Canada program and National Research Council Canada’s Collaborative Science, Technology and Innovation Program and Industrial Research Assistance Program

  • Additional information on measures and supports can be found at


Véronique Simard
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

Media Relations
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

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