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560 CFOS


Wednesday, March 18, 2020

MP Says Canadians Abroad Should Return And Avoid Health Coverage Problems

Grey Bruce | by Claire McCormack  

MP Alex Ruff says those who are abroad could run into coverage problems due to COVID-19.

Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound MP Alex Ruff says Canadians abroad should return home.

In a tweet sharing the federal government's directive to Canadians Ruff said Monday, "For those Canadians abroad, the Prime Minister made it quite clear, it's time to return home ASAP."

"The real reason for people to get home is really their health coverage," says Ruff.

"Insurance companies...there are all sorts of devils in the details," he says, "The last thing you want to do is  be impacted by this disease when you're in another country around the globe and then all of a sudden being on the hook."

The government's travel bureau says on its website "Insurance providers no longer cover travellers who need to cancel their trips to destinations that are subject to a Travel Advisory due to the coronavirus outbreak." Many don't cover people who are traveling during a 'known event' such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ruff notes the Prime Minister has said the government will provide financial support to those who can't get back to Canada, and adds, "He made it very clear that if you're already displaying potential symptoms you won't be allowed to board international aircraft coming into the country."

Ruff says his office is there to help those who have questions about getting back to Canada.

Like many offices now, the doors are closed, except for special circumstances by appointment, but his staff are hard at work inside, "It hasn't slowed down, there are all sorts of queries coming in," says Ruff.

"We're getting inundated with a lot of people because a lot of people are still in the South...but there are a lot of people all over the world. We've been getting questions from people that are stuck in Morocco, South America, throughout Europe."

Ruff says many of the travel related calls are from people abroad who are having trouble figuring out what to do and who to contact, and says his office can help, "We can get them the direct number for consular services overseas, we can make sure we're identifying this to the right levels within government and just provide that level of reassurance to them and try to get answers."

Canada's Travel bureau notes on its website that people should come back to Canada as soon as possible, adding there is a risk of a sudden hike in prices for travel.

There are a few numbers Canadians can call if they're outside Canada: The nearest Government of Canada office or Global Affairs Canada’s 24/7 Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa at +1 613-996-8885 or email sos@international.gc.ca.

MP Alex Ruff's staff can be reached at 519-371-1059 in Owen Sound and 613-952-0979 in Ottawa or at Alex.Ruff@parl.gc.ca

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