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Safety Abroad

On November 18th the Provost and Vice-President, Academic announced that due to the Government of Canada's lifting of the world-wide "avoid non-essential travel" advisory, external link, effective immediately, the University is pleased to resume travel support for outbound student activities for fully vaccinated individuals. Read the full University-Sanctioned International Activity Update online. 

What happens if you have an emergency abroad? (see ISOS FAQ for complete instructions)

Who do you call?
In the event of an emergency International SOS (ISOS) should be your first point of contact for support. You can reach out to PDF fileISOS 24/7 via phone or the ISOS Assistance App, external link.

Emergency Incident Check-ins:
If a significant travel security incident, health threat or natural disaster has affected your region, Ryerson International will contact you to check on your safety status.

International Risk Management Requirements

The University requires all students participating in a university-sanctioned activity abroad to complete the following international risk management requirements. We recommend that all students start this process 4-6 months prior to departure.

Note that university-sanctioned international group activity (such as faculty-led trips) must have a faculty and/or staff member responsible for the international risk management requirements of the group. See the Group Travel Abroad section on our Faculty and Staff resources page for more information.

University-sanctioned activity is defined as any of the following:

  • Activity that is funded in part or in whole by the university
  • Activity that is organized, sanctioned, or administered by the university
  • Activity which provides participants with academic credit

If you haven't already, don't forget to check out our resources from Step 2: Making Your Decision. You'll find important information about Financing Your Participation & Budgeting and Identity Abroad

Complete the International Activity Registration Form, external link

We recommend you complete this form 4-6 months prior to departure. In this form you will be required to include the following information:

  • Student information (name, student number, program, etc)
  • Diversity Self-ID (optional)
  • Activity information (destination, start and end dates, host university/organization, etc)

*Note that students participating in the exchange program do not need to complete this form as they will be automatically enrolled in the International Travel Registry through their exchange application form. 

3-5 business days after you have completed your International Activity Registration Form, external link, you will be provided with instructions on how to login in to your International Activity Portal. In the portal you will be able to complete all of your international risk management requirements.

You will be provided with instructions regarding your enrollment in the D2L course shell in 3-5 business days following the completion of your International Activity Registration Form., external link We recommend that students complete all videos and accompanying quizzes at least 4-6 months prior to your departure. You may want to review the training series multiple times at different stages of your preparation. 

Once completed you will need to download your certificate of completion from D2L and upload the certificate into your International Activity Portal.

This training series will cover important information on:

  • Travel documentation and customs;
  • Travel logistics (packing, financial planning, trip insurance, etc);
  • Medical considerations (including COVID-19);
  • Risk awareness and navigating emergency situations abroad; and
  • Identity and living abroad. 

We recommend you complete your International Risk Assessment 4-6 months prior to departure. 

  To access and complete the following forms, you must login to your International Activity Risk Management Portal.

All students are required to complete the “Travel Advisories and COVID-19 Form”. This form includes the information from Global Affairs Canada (GAC) and International SOS (see ISOS FAQ section for more information):

  • GAC Travel Advisories
  • ISOS’ Security and Medical Risk Ratings
  • ISOS’ COVID-19 Impact Scores
  • COVID-19 Entry Requirements and Public Health considerations for your destination(s)

Students travelling to destinations with a Level 3 or Level 4 Global Affairs Canada (GAC) Travel Advisory are required to complete an “International Risk Management Plan” (see Travel Risk Advisories and International Risk Management Plan FAQs for more information). 

University-sanctioned international group activity must have a faculty and/or staff member responsible for the international risk management requirements of the group. This individual is responsible for the completion of an International Risk Management Plan on behalf of the group (note that a plan is required for all group travel, not just Level 3 and Level 4 travel advisories). 

See the Group Travel Abroad section on our Faculty and Staff resources page for more information.


We recommend you complete the “Liability Waiver and Acknowledgement Form” 2-4 months prior to departure. These documents ensure that you are aware of the risks associated with international activity. We encourage you to take the time to carefully assess how you might be impacted and if this is a risk you are willing to assume. 

  To access and complete this form, you must login to your International Activity Risk Management Portal.

We recommend that you complete your “Final Pre-Departure Form” 1-2 months prior to departure. 

In this form you will be required to include the following information:

  • Travel Medical Emergency Coverage (policy name and number)
  • Emergency Contact and passport information
  • Confirmation of registration with International SOS (instructions provided)
  • Confirmation of registration with the Government of Canada (or the country of your passport)

  To access and complete this form, you must login to your International Activity Risk Management Portal.

Once students have completed all of the requirements outlined above, they will receive an email with their confirmation of completion within 3 business days. Students may be required to share this documentation with their academic department prior to departure.

Recommended Timeline to Complete the International Risk Management Requirements

6 Months Before Leaving 5 Months Before Leaving 4 Months Before Leaving 3 Months Before Leaving 2 Months Before Leaving 1 Month Before Leaving
 International Activity Registration Form 

 D2L Pre-Departure training video series

 Travel Advisories and COVID-19 Form

 International Risk Management Plan (if applicable)

 Liability Waiver and  Student Acknowledgement Form

 Final Pre-Departure Form

 Receive your email for confirmation of completion

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

COVID-19 Considerations

Please see full update on X DATE from the Provost and Vice-President Academic regarding university-sanctioned international activity. An overview is provided below.

On October 21, 2021, the Government of Canada, external link lifted the world-wide “avoid non-essential travel” advisory. While all unvaccinated travellers are still advised to continue avoiding non-essential travel to all destinations, this change has allowed Ryerson to revisit its university-sanctioned international activity protocols for fully vaccinated individuals. 

Please be advised that COVID-19 related restrictions continue to impact international travel and operations globally. Everyone must consult the Government of Canada’s Travel Advice and Advisories, external link for their intended destination(s) and follow health and security recommendations.

As a result of this new direction, the university is pleased to resume travel support for outbound student activities for fully vaccinated individuals effective immediately. Please note that this includes all university-sanctioned international activity connected to faculty-led trips, study tours, academic exchanges, internships, placements, co-op, student research, conferences, competitions, student group travel and Letters of Permission (LOPs) that entail travel.

All students participating in university-sanctioned international activity must follow and complete the university’s international risk management requirements, and it is recommended that students start this process 4-6 months prior to their departure. 

In alignment with the Government of Canada’s current COVID-19 Travel Advice,, external link all students should be fully vaccinated at least 14 days before travelling. All unvaccinated individuals should continue to avoid non-essential travel to all destinations. If you are unvaccinated, you remain at increased risk of being infected with and spreading the virus that causes COVID-19 when travelling internationally. 

On October 6th, the Federal government announced mandatory COVID-19 vaccination requirements for federally regulated transportation, external link. As per the announcement, as of October 30, 2021, all travellers 12 years of age and older departing from Canadian airpo​​rts, and travellers on VIA Rail and Rocky Mountaineer trains, will be required to be fully vaccinated in order to travel. For information on how to access your proof of vaccination, please see the Government of Canada’s website COVID-19: Proof of vaccination in Canada, external link. For information on Ontario’s definition of “fully vaccinated'' see the Ryerson COVID-19 Information and Updates site on Vaccinations

In addition to the Government of Canada’s requirements above, you will need to meet the entry requirements for your destination(s). According to the Federal government’s site Using your Canadian COVID-19 proof of vaccination, external link, many international destinations may accept the Canadian COVID-19 proof of vaccination. However, each destination makes the final decision on what they accept as proof of vaccination. Make sure you are aware of the necessary and acceptable documentation of your chosen destination(s). 

Before you travel make sure to check all entry requirements and local public health regulations as provided by local public health authorities and government officials of the destination(s) you will be travelling to. You can find up-to-date information on a country's COVID-19 related entry requirements, as well as other travel, security and medical health information, in the google docCountry Profiles provided by International SOS, external link (must be logged into your Ryerson Google account to access instructions), the University’s international risk management partner. See FAQ section on International SOS for more information.

The final decision to participate in an international activity is up to you. Be aware that although you are better protected against serious illness if you are fully vaccinated, you may still be at risk of infection from the virus that causes COVID-19. It is your responsibility to ensure that you are aware of the risks of travelling outside of Canada as there is still ongoing unpredictability due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As mentioned previously, it is also your responsibility to familiarize yourself with the health and safety measures and requirements in place at your destination(s).  Please review the Government of Canada’s COVID-19: Your safety and security outside Canada, external link site.

For students traveling abroad the university has partnered with an international risk management partner, International SOS (ISOS) to provide 24/7 medical, risk and security assistance abroad.

You will need to ask and verify with your insurance provider how traveling during the COVID-19 pandemic will affect your insurance policy. You should make sure to:

  • Check if you are covered for both COVID-19 related medical expenses and other non-COVID-19 emergency-related expenses during your intended travel period. 
  • Check if you are covered for quarantine costs should you become infected with COVID-19 during your trip.
  • Check if you are covered for trip cancellations, trip interruptions or trip delays related to, directly or indirectly, COVID-19. Some insurance providers suspended this type of coverage during the pandemic. This is currently the case for the PDF fileRSU Travel Insurance plan (see pg.1 of the policy for full descriptions of exclusions), external link.
  • Check how Global Affairs Canada’s travel advisories, external link for your destination will affect your policy. Travel insurance policies may have exceptions in place if there is a level 3 or 4 travel advisory, external link for your destination. This means that your insurance provider may not pay your claim if a Canadian Government travel advisory of a certain level (e.g. 3 or 4) is issued for your destination either prior to travel or while abroad. *

Please also review the information we provide on minimum requirements for emergency medical travel insurance in our Insurance FAQs section.

*Note: This mainly applies to insurance policies purchased from Canadian companies that serve Canadian residents who meet their eligibility requirements. If you are purchasing insurance from a non-Canadian company, this may not apply

While in your host country, you will be subject to the local health and safety protocols of your host institution and to the public health directives of your host country. You should inform yourself and remain familiar with local directives. This should include researching nearby testing sites, understanding face covering and distancing policies, and finding reliable sources of information about up to date practices. 

If you become sick and/or test positive for COVID-19 while abroad, your first point of contact for more information is Ryerson’s international risk management partner International SOS (ISOS). ISOS can provide you with the most up to date information regarding local public health regulations. They will support you with medical information and accessing a doctor if needed and they will contact Ryerson International if additional support is required. 

It is important to be aware that if you contract COVID-19 while abroad, you will likely be required to stay in the country you are located to recover. You will also need to complete any COVID-19 quarantine and testing requirements mandated by the country you are in, as well as the destination you’d like to return to (Canada or otherwise), prior to being able to leave that country. 

You should also consider situations in which you do not receive a positive COVID-19 diagnosis but have been  in close contact with someone who does. Each destination will have different directives for testing, self-isolation, etc. Consider making contingency plans, especially if you are planning to live in shared housing.

If you choose or are required to abruptly cancel the remainder of your activity abroad you will be responsible for the financial implications of the cancellation. Potential reasons for cancellations include, but are not limited to: 

  • changes in the Government of Canada’s travel advisory for your destination of choice
  • decisions made by your host university or organization to suspend the remainder of your activity
  • a personal decision to return home for whatever reason
  • any other scenarios that may arise due to the ongoing fluctuations of the COVID-19 pandemic 

You will be responsible for all financial obligations connected to an unexpected cancellation  of your activity abroad, including, but not limited to:

  • unanticipated travel costs
  • lack of reimbursement in relation to housing and accommodation
  • any other unexpected expenses

Travel Risk Advisories and International Risk Management Plans

The university uses Global Affairs Canada (GAC) Travel Advice and Advisories, external link to assess the risk associated with a particular country. The GAC travel advice and advisories have four levels , external linkunder which countries, and sometimes regions within countries, fall:

  • Level 1 - Exercise normal security precautions
  • Level 2 - Exercise a high degree of caution
  • Level 3 - Avoid non-essential travel
  • Level 4 - Avoid all travel

The university’s international travel risk management partner, International SOS, also compiles detailed information and provides risk ratings by country. In addition to the GAC travel advisories, the university uses google docInternational SOS’ risk ratings and country profiles, external link as an additional source of information.

  • ISOS Security Risk Rating (Insignificant, Low, Medium, High, Extreme)
  • ISOS Medical Risk Rating (Low, Medium, Variable, High, Very High)

To identify the GAC Travel Advice and Advisories for your destination(s), visit the GAC website , external linkand select the destination under consideration.

Through our risk management partner, International SOS’s Members Portal, external link, you can search additional detailed risk assessments by country. Simply select the “Know My Risks” tab in the top banner and then select a country from the “please select location” drop down menu on the top left (directly under the “Learn About Your Risks” header). Once the country profile is loaded you will be able to find all risk ratings on the main “Overview” page. For a step-by-step guide for reviewing this information on our ISOS Membership portal, please review:google doc ISOS’s Membership Portal Step-by-Step Guide: Accessing Country Profiles & Risk Ratings, external link.

An International Risk Management Plan is a tool that helps to identify the medical, health, security and travel risks associated with the destination(s) you will be visiting, and allows you to develop a plan to mitigate these risks. It is then reviewed by Ryerson International and Environmental Health and Safety (EHS), and approved by the Dean of your Faculty (Level 3 risk ratings) or the Provost and Vice-President, Academic (Level 4 risk ratings). 

Students who will be travelling to a destination(s) for university-sanctioned international activity with a google docLevel 3 or Level 4 risk rating as identified by Global Affairs Canada (GAC), external link are required to complete an International Risk Management Plan. 

In certain circumstances, students may be asked to complete an International Risk Management plan even if their destination is listed as Level 1 or Level 2 by GAC. For example, additional requirements may be identified based on International SOS’ risk ratings. You will be contacted directly if this requirement is identified for your destination(s).

University-sanctioned international group activity must have a faculty and/or staff member responsible for the international risk management requirements of the group. This individual is responsible for the completion of the International Risk Management Plan on behalf of the group. See the Group Travel Abroad section on our Faculty and Staff resources page for more information.

We recommend that students start working on the International Risk Management Plan 4-6 months prior to departure, submitting it for review as soon as possible. 

Students should not finalize any bookings (such as flights and accommodation) until formal approval is received. The review and approval process between the student traveller, Ryerson International, Environmental Health and Safety (EHS), and appropriate academic leadership can take several weeks to finalize. As such, it is important to start the process as early as possible.

International SOS

International SOS (ISOS) is the University’s International Risk Management provider. The University has partnered with ISOS to offer our students medical, safety and security expertise and help when traveling or living abroad.

When you are away from home and in unfamiliar surroundings, there are some events that you can't predict. You may become ill, lose your passport, run out of medication or simply need advice. As an International SOS member, you receive extended security assistance 24/7 no matter where you study or travel internationally. No issue is too small. Consider ISOS your reliable, virtual advisor for both critical and routine questions. You have access to the following services before travel and from your destination(s):

  • Destination specific information. Visit our Member’s Portal , external linkfor access to travel, medical and security information on 220 countries and more than 330 cities.  
  • Regular email updates and ISOS Assistance App, external link notifications on the latest travel security developments and advice in response to significant travel security incidents
  • Advice before your trip from a regional expert or medical professional
  • A referral for a local doctor, dentist or other care
  • Routine or urgent medical care, including medical evacuation;
  • Counseling sessions while abroad either via phone or in-person (where available). Your membership allows you to have 5 free counseling sessions per trip. 
  • Assistance with lost passport  
  • Translation services 
  • Urgent and non-urgent travel security assistance and advice
  • When in doubt, call International SOS for compassionate, reassuring support.

Who do you call?

In the event of an emergency ISOS should be your first point of contact for support. You can reach out to ISOS 24/7 via phone (PDF fileAssistance Center phone numbers) or the ISOS Assistance App, external link (allows wifi enabled calling and texting). As an ISOS member, you will have access to a worldwide network of 27 assistance centers staffed by doctors, nurses, coordinators and security professionals who will provide you with local expertise and emergency assistance. 

Emergency Incident Check-ins:

If a significant travel security incident, health threat or natural disaster has affected your region, Ryerson International will reach out via the International SOS Assistance App, as well as by email, to check on your safety status. We will reach out on the email provided when you registered for ISOS. It is important that you regularly check this email address while traveling abroad to ensure you are keeping up-to-date on ISOS communications. 


  1. Register a New User/Login using your email address at International SOS MyTrips, external link
  2. Add a “New Trip”. Must include both:
    1. Housing Accommodations Information (For entire length of activity abroad),
    2. Flights (Return & Departure)
  3. Read carefully through the “Pre-trip Advisory” email that is sent from ISOS within 24 hours of successfully adding a “New Trip”. This email contains important security and medical information relevant to your travel.
  4. Download your PDF filePDF file International SOS Membership Card to keep with you at all times while traveling abroad. In the event of an emergency, call one of the phone numbers listed on the card or call via the International SOS Assistance App. 
  5. (OPTIONAL) We highly encourage you to download the International SOS Assistance App, external link for wifi enabled calling or texting to the closest International SOS Assistance Centre, for immediate help while abroad. The app also provides travel alerts/notifications and country specific medical and security information. 
    • Login Information: When logging into the App for the first time you will need to create a new account. You should use the same first name, last name, and email address as you used to create your International SOS MyTrips account (See step 1 above). This will enable the trip details you entered in your MyTrips account to sync with your International SOS Assistance App. 

Insurance Requirements

Students are required to obtain a Travel Medical Emergency Insurance that covers: 

  • Medical emergency services which includes Hospital accommodation, lab tests, x-rays, nursing and ground ambulance
  • Emergency dental expenses
  • Medical evacuation
  • Repatriation
  • Trip Cancellation and Trip Interruption 
  • Family member travel assistance

You can compare your insurance policy to PDF fileRSU’s Travel Insurance coverage , external linkwhich serves as a minimum standard for coverage (you may already have coverage through this plan, see next question). It is every student’s responsibility to consult with a doctor to understand their own medical needs and if any additional coverage is needed. 

If you are a member of the Ryerson Student Union and enrolled in their health care plan, you may already be covered through the RSU Travel Insurance Plan, external link. As mentioned above, the RSU Travel Insurance Plan serves as our minimum standard for health insurance. If the coverage provided by this plan meets your own medical needs and/or your personal preferences, and you have coverage (i.e. you have not opted out of the plan), then you would not need to buy another plan. You can contact the RSU Health and Dental Plan Administrator to see if you are covered. 

Please note that the RSU Travel Insurance Plan only covers the first 60 days of your trip abroad. If you are traveling abroad for longer than 60 days you will need to purchase additional insurance to cover the remainder of your trip. To download your RSU Travel Insurance card, go to RSU’s Travel Insurance webpage. , external link

If you are not covered under the RSU Travel Insurance Plan, or it doesn’t meet your needs or preferences, you can purchase travel insurance independently. You may be able to get a better rate, or have access to travel insurance plans through your  employer’s insurance, travel agent, credit card company, parent’s health insurance, student travel insurance companies, etc.

It is very important that you read through the travel insurance policy in detail before you purchase travel medical emergency insurance. You should  understand the eligibility requirements, terms and conditions, limitations, restrictions and exclusions of the policy. Please note: If you are traveling to a high risk destination coverage may be affected.

Prior to traveling abroad, you should check with your insurance provider to understand:

This will vary greatly by insurance policy. Ensure you know how to use your policy before you need to access medical care. Some insurance companies require you to contact them in advance of receiving treatment or will only reimburse treatment at partner health care organizations or providers. Some providers will pay your medical costs directly while others reimburse for out of pocket or charge a deductible.

Additional Information

When travelling abroad, it can sometimes be difficult to access online resources such as G Suite at Ryerson, D2L Brightspace and the my.ryerson portal. It is important that you have access to these resources in order to facilitate contact and continued support for International Risk Management procedures. 

Computing and Communications Services (CCS) has created,a proxy service to help in many of these situations. This proxy service, much like a virtual private network or VPN, helps you access most applications on the domain that may not otherwise be available in your location.

Where should I be using

The service is available for use primarily in the Asia-Pacific region but can be accessed anywhere outside of Canada, the United States and Mexico.

How can I access

Bookmark prior to your departure in order to easily access the proxy service during your travels. If you try to open in a window right now, the page will not load. To connect to the interface you need to be outside of Canada, the United States or Mexico. You will need to provide your my.ryerson username, password and two-factor credentials to authenticate to the proxy. Once authenticated, you should be able to access Ryerson's online resources in the same way you do on the Ryerson campus. 

If you have any questions, please contact the Computing and Communications (CCS) Help Desk at or 416-979-5000, ext. 556806.