Before You Go


A risk rating is the rating level that the university determines is applicable to an international destination after assessing the health, safety, and security risks associated with such international destination.

The University of Calgary is partnered with International SOS to provide worldwide assistance for employees, students, and volunteers while travelling outside of Canada on university business.

International SOS Assistance App

To access the International SOS app from your phone, click on Login with Membership ID at the bottom of the screen and enter our UCalgary membership number: 27AYCA093142.

Telephone Access

+1.215.354.5000 (call collect)

In the event of an emergency, you have instant access to:

  • telephone advice from a physician
  • referrals to global, vetted providers
  • travel information and alerts for all countries
  • medical and security assistance.

You may also contact International SOS prior to your travel for country specific information. A network of multilingual specialists are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Email Alerts

To receive International SOS email alerts, follow the steps below:

  1. Go to the International SOS website
  2. Click Member Login at the top of the page
  3. Type in our UCalgary membership number: 27AYCA093142
  4. Click on Email Alerts on the right hand side of the page.
  5. Register yourself as a new user by entering your name and email address in the How Do I Register section. Click Register.
  6. International SOS will send you an email. Click on the link in the email to activate your registration.
  7. Once you are in the My Alerts area, choose the country you are travelling to/in, and choose Medical and/or Non-Medical alerts.

Medical Coverage

All individuals travelling on university business are required to ensure that they have Medical Emergency Assistance and Medical Evacuation coverage. 

Academic Staff, Support Staff (AUPE) and Management and Professional Staff (MaPS): go to your group and then choose the Alberta Blue Cross Health and Dental section and click on Out of Province Medical Travel.

Postdoctoral scholars: go to your group and then choose the Alberta Blue Cross Health and Dental section and click on out-of-province medical travel.

Undergraduate students: contact the Students' Union Undergraduate Health and Dental Plan Office to determine if you have health care coverage that applies outside of Canada. 

Graduate students: contact the Graduate Students' Association.

Volunteers are not provided with any health or life insurance coverage through the university and are responsible to ensure that they have adequate international coverage to meet their needs. 

Contractors are not provided with any health or life insurance coverage through the university and are responsible to ensure that they have adequate international coverage to meet their needs.

Workers' Compensation Board Coverage

University of Calgary academic, support, and professional staff are covered by Alberta Workers' Compensation while travelling outside of Alberta if all of the following four conditions are met:

  1. you must be a resident of Alberta or have your usual place of employment in Alberta
  2. the work outside of Alberta must be a continuation of the employment by UCalgary
  3. the nature of the employment is such that, in the normal course of employment, the work you perform is required to be performed both in and out of Alberta
  4. the employment outside of Alberta must last less than twelve months.

For more information on Workers' Compensation coverage for out-of-Alberta work, see the WCB out-of-province fact sheet.

Postdoctoral trainees that are paid directly by the University of Calgary are covered by WCB in the same manner as staff as per above.

Undergraduate and graduate students based in Alberta are considered workers of the Government of Alberta for the purposes of WCB coverage. See the WCB student coverage fact sheet.

A helpful resource to take with you is the UCalgary Emergency Assistance Card, which fits easily in your wallet. The card has a list of web addresses, phone numbers, and instructions in the event of an emergency abroad.

You can request a card from Risk Management and Insurance by emailing riskmgmt@ucalgary.ca or calling 403.220.5847. You can also request a luggage handle wrap that has emergency information printed on the inside.

Emotional support programs are offered to individuals travelling internationally on University of Calgary business.

  • Employees travelling abroad can access Homewood Health services 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Call collect at 1.604.689.1717.
  • Students, postdoctoral scholars, interns, externs, and volunteers can access International SOS 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Call collect at 1.215.354.5000.

Health Notices

Zika Virus

The Government of Canada has issued a Travel Health Notice for Canadians travelling to areas or countries that have been affected by an outbreak of Zika virus. The University of Calgary’s recommendation for students, employees, and volunteers travelling to affected areas is to follow the recommendations outlined in that document.

Zika virus infection is caused by a virus which is primarily spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. It can also be transmitted from an infected pregnant woman to her developing fetus. In addition, Zika virus can be sexually transmitted, and the virus can persist for an extended period of time in the semen of infected males.

Symptoms of Zika virus can include fever, headache, conjunctivitis (pink eye), skin rash, and joint and muscle pain. The illness is typically mild and lasts only a few days and the majority of those infected do not have symptoms. There is no vaccine or medication that protects against Zika virus infection.

Experts agree that Zika virus infection causes microcephaly (abnormally small head) in a developing fetus during pregnancy and Guillain-Barré Syndrome (a neurological disorder).  Several countries have reported cases of microcephaly and Guillian-Barré Syndrome. Brazil, in particular, has reported a significant increase in the number of newborns with microcephaly.

Find a list of countries with recent or ongoing risk of Zika Virus infection.

Protocol for Travel to Countries Experiencing a Zika Virus or Other Health Outbreaks

The following protocol has been implemented for University of Calgary students, employees, volunteers, and others travelling on university business:

Required Courses

Required courses that involve travel to areas or countries experiencing a Zika virus or other health outbreaks must offer alternative assignments to students who choose not to participate in the travel portion of the program. Instructors must indicate to students that they are required to read the health section of the Government of Canada Travel Advisory for that country.

Optional courses

Optional courses that involve travel to an area or country experiencing a Zika virus or other health outbreak, must indicate to the students that they are required to read the health section of the Government of Canada Travel Advisory for that country. Students will be provided with an option to register in another course, if possible, should they choose not to travel. If the health outbreak occurs after start of the semester than an alternative assignment(s) must be an option if a student chooses not to travel.

All other travel on university business

Participation in voluntary academic and research activities as well as co-curricular activities, that involve travel to an area or country experiencing a Zika virus or other health outbreak, will be at the discretion of the traveler. Travellers should read the health section of the Government of Canada Travel Advisory for that country, to ensure that they understand the risks related to such travel.

Groups travelling internationally should ensure that they have an emergency plan completed and that all travelers are aware of the contents. 

Travel Awareness presentations are available through the Risk Management and Insurance department. The presentations will take approximately twenty to thirty minutes. These can be requested by filling out the travel briefing request form.

Travel briefings are available through the International Centre Study Abroad Office.

Travel briefing guidelines are available as a resource to departments and individuals who deliver travel briefings for UCalgary travellers.

The following eLearning courses are offered through the university's partner, International SOS:

  • Introduction to International SOS services (Introduction to Membership module)
  • Travel Risk Awareness - Medical
  • Travel Risk Awareness - Security

To access these courses, register with your @ucalgary.ca email address.

If required by your group leader or department, when you have completed a module you will have an option to email or print your completion certificate.

US Customs and Border Protection Agency at the Coutts, AB/Sweetgrass, MT border crossing would appreciate being warned ahead of time of groups entering the U.S. This allows them time to pre-clear visitors and ensure that they have appropriate staff on duty at the time of crossing to expedite the process at the time of passage. This is a request to save time for the group. It is not a requirement.

A fax can be typed and sent to 406.335.2611 that contains the following information:

  1. full name of each group member (John Edward Smith)
  2. date of birth (Jan. 1, 1970)
  3. gender
  4. citizenship
  5. date of arrival in the U.S.
  6. driver(s) name
  7. location(s) of travel.

Any students/staff joining the group at the last minute should proceed and will be cleared at the border at the time of the crossing.

Transporting University Equipment across the U.S. Border

Supply Chain Management

Transporting university equipment while driving across the U.S. Border: U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) requires the reporting of certain shipment information prior to allowing a shipment to enter the US by truck or surface vehicle. Failure to pre-notify U.S Customs could subject the importer or carrier to significant fines (If you are transporting your own equipment or goods, you are considered to be the carrier). Effective November 1, 2005, the same rules apply for shipments coming through Canadian Customs Services from the US. It is imperative all UCalgary personnel transporting equipment or goods to the US contact 403.220.5615 to ensure pre-arrival documentation is in place prior to the arrival of goods at U.S. Customs.

You are required to purchase insurance from the rental agency to use a vehicle on university business outside of Canada and the United States. The university's insurance policy will only respond if the rental agency coverage has been purchased.

Register on the UCalgary Travel Registration system and check off that you are renting a vehicle during your travel to that country.

Employees are automatically covered by the university to drive rental vehicles on university business. Any others driving the rental vehicle are required to complete a Drivers Registration Form and be approved to drive prior to travel. They are also required to register on the UCalgary Travel Registration system.

Coverage is world-wide except for Iran, North Korea, Syria, Cuba, and Sudan. If you are renting vehicles in those countries, purchase the local insurance offered by the rental agency.