University Policy

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Travel Outside of Canada

Approval Date: 2021-12-02

Effective Date: 2015-03-12

Review Date: 2025-12-02

Authority:

Vice-President (Administration and Finance)

Purpose

To outline responsibilities and procedures that serve to mitigate the risks associated with travel outside of Canada.

Scope

All employees, students, and persons affiliated with the University who are participating in University-related activities outside of Canada.

Definitions

Activity Coordinator: The employee or other designated individual, who is traveling with a group that includes students, and is responsible for coordinating the University- related Activities. The Activity Coordinator may also be the Travel Coordinator. This is a functional description not a position title.

Destination(s): The countries, regions, and/or areas to which, and within which, the Traveler(s) will be traveling.

Emergency: An event/threat or an impending situation that constitutes a danger of major proportions that could affect the health, safety, and well-being of individuals; cause damage to infrastructure and/or could impact teaching, research activities, and the reputation of the university.

GAC: Government of Canada’s Department of Global Affairs Canada. Global Affairs has four levels of travel risk. Travel to levels 1 and 2 destinations does not require special authorization, while requests to levels 3 and 4 require authorization by the Provost and VP Academic (or delegate).

High Risk Destinations: Destinations deemed high risk according to GAC are those with an advisory level 3 or 4

MOBI 1000: A set of pre-departure modules for students to support their preparation for study, work or research for Travel Outside of Canada. All student travelers must register individually and complete the modules.

Personal Safety Plan: 
A plan developed by the traveler which outlines step by step the risks of their travel to a high risk zone, and their plans to mitigate each risk.

Travel Authorization: Authorization for university related travel normally falls under the scope of the Travel (General) Policy. There may be further steps to authorize travel, for example, if the travel is for research purposes, or to high risk locations.

Travel Coordinator:
The employee, or other designated individual responsible for coordinating administrative aspects of the travel, including bookings, reservations, and completion of necessary documents, etc., for a group of Travelers. The Travel Coordinator may also be the Activity Coordinator. This is a functional description not a position title.

Travel Outside of Canada: Travel from Canada to international destinations, or travel between international destinations.

Travel Outside of Canada (TOC) committee: An advisory group that reviews Safety Plans to high risk locations. The role of the committee is to ensure travelers are adequately prepared to undertake the proposed travel. The committee provides advice to the Provost and VP Academic (or delegate) on requests to travel to high risk destinations. The committee role is not to authorize travel, but to support mitigation of risk to Memorial and to the Traveler.

Traveler(s): Employees, students, or other affiliated persons who travel outside of Canada for University-related Activities.

Unit: Academic or administrative unit as defined in the University Calendar.

Unit Head: Deans, Department Heads, Division Heads, Heads of Schools, Directors, Executive Directors, University Librarian, University Registrar, and other senior administrators at a comparable level; Associate Vice-Presidents and Vice- Presidents, as applicable.

University: Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador.

University-related Activity: Any activity that is directly related to or arises out of the operations of the University at any location.

Policy

The University recognizes there are risks associated with all travel, and unique risks when travelling to, and within, international destinations. The personal safety of Travelers is a priority for the University, but the responsibility for assessing and managing the risk of international travel is shared. All members of the University community must appropriately manage risk while planning, and during Travel Outside of Canada for University - related Activities. The University provides current information, guidance, and support for travel outside of Canada. Travelers are responsible for availing of this information while planning, and during travel outside of Canada for University-related Activities

1. Risk Assessment

When planning travel outside of Canada, Travelers are required to assess the risks associated with the University-related activities and the specific destination(s).

For the purposes of assessing the risk associated with the University-related Activities, the Traveler/Activity Coordinator completes the appropriate risk assessments provided by their unit.

For the purposes of assessing the risk associated with the specific destination(s), the Traveler/Activity Coordinator refers to the Government of Canada’s Department of Global Affairs Canada (GAC) travel advisories and may also review alternative travel risk advisory services. GAC provides regularly updated travel reports and warnings for most international destinations. For the purposes of this Policy, the GAC travel advisories are considered to be the official advice concerning travel to specific destinations. See the Procedure for Assessing Risk for Travel Outside of Canada.

Travelers are required to monitor the GAC (or alternate) travel advisories for their destination(s) until their departure and while travelling for University-related activities. While at the destination, if conditions change to become an Emergency, follow the Procedure for Responding to an Emergency While Travelling Outside Canada.

2. Review of Planned Travel Outside of Canada to High Risk Destinations

For the purposes of this Policy, destinations that are assigned a GAC or alternate travel advisory of “Avoid Non-Essential Travel” are considered a high risk destination. Travel to high risk destination(s) requires review by the University’s Travel Outside of Canada (TOC) Committee.

The role of the TOC committee is to review authorized travel to high risk destinations and provide guidance to the traveler:

  • The TOC committee examines the Personal Safety Plans of the traveler, noting any gaps or errors.
  • The TOC committee supports the traveler to ensure they are adequately prepared to undertake the risks of the travel.
  • The TOC committee provides the Provost and Vice-President Academic (or delegate) with guidance on each request to        travel to a high risk destination.
  • The Provost and Vice-President Academic (or delegate) communicates a decision to the traveler based on their                      preparedness to undertake the travel.
    • A positive decision allows the traveler to commit funds (purchase airline tickets, etc.) and embark on the travel.
    • A negative decision means the traveler should suspend plans to travel until such time as their travel destination becomes less risky.

It is the responsibility of the Traveler/Activity Coordinator to request this review:

1.  prior to commitment of costs in accordance with the Procedure for Travel to High Risk Areas, and

2.  after completing a Personal Safety Plan.

Travelers engaged in Travel Outside of Canada for university-related activities may partake in additional travel, and to change location from the previously specified destination(s), for University-related activities. Travelling to additional, previously unspecified destinations may require review by the TOC Committee once authorization has been received from the appropriate unit head. See the Procedure for a Change of Location While Outside of Canada.

Additional personal travel does not require review by the TOC Committee.

Travel to destination(s) that are assigned a GAC travel advisory of “Avoid All Travel ”normally are not authorized. Requests for authorization of planned travel to “Avoid All Travel” destinations must be made in writing to the Traveler’s respective Vice- President.

No University resources can be used for university-related travel which is not authorized. In the event the University becomes aware of such travel, the Unit Head, with the support of the respective Vice-President may, at his or her discretion, take any of the following measures:

  • suspend or cancel the University-related Activity or the Traveler’s participation in the University-related Activity;
  • suspend or cancel any funding from sources controlled by the University;
  • subject to applicable laws and University policy:
    • advise third parties of the Traveler’s situation (for example government agencies, or the parents, guardians or next of kin of a student);
    • advise third parties that the Traveler is not travelling under the auspices of the University.

3. Personal Safety Plan

Travel to destinations outside of Canada presents inherent risks to the safety of individual Travelers and groups. Planning and risk management serve to mitigate some risks. Regardless of planning, unforeseeable events can occur. Travelers should develop a Personal Safety Plan that addresses identified risks and includes appropriate responses for unexpected situations.

Travelers should familiarize themselves with the contact information for the emergency services (e.g. police, fire, ambulance, etc.), Canadian government offices (if available), and University contacts located within their destination(s).

Travelers wishing to travel to destination(s) with a GAC travel advisory of “Avoid Non- Essential Travel”, besides complying with Memorial travel policies, must also develop a Personal Safety Plan for Travel to High Risk Areas. This Plan should be forwarded to the TOC committee for review to ensure the traveler is adequately prepared to undertake the travel. The TOC committee will advise whether the traveler is adequately prepared to undertake the travel, or if further steps are required. See the Procedure for Assessing Risk for Travel Outside of Canada.

Travelers must familiarize themselves and comply with the Procedure for Responding to Emergencies while Travelling Outside Canada.

Travelers are not compelled to travel to any destination(s) in which they feel their personal safety may be compromised. Opting out of such travel must be done prior to any commitment of costs.

If travel to a specific destination(s) is a requirement of a student’s academic program, and the student feels that travel to, or within, that destination(s) may compromise his/her personal safety, the student may request to opt out of the travel. Requests for opting out of travel outside Canada are made in writing to the appropriate Unit Head for authorization by the respective Vice-President.

4.       Pre-departure Preparation

Travelers are required to complete a Pre-departure preparation in accordance with the Procedure for Pre-departure Preparation for Travel Outside of Canada.

5.       Student Travel

All students who are traveling outside Canada for university-related activities (study, work or research) are required to register for and complete MOBI 1000, which is the pre-departure course designed to support students going abroad, regardless of country destination.

A group which includes students that is travelling outside Canada for university-related activities, must include a designated Activity Coordinator.

The Activity Coordinator(s) is responsible for providing adequate preparation for the students, including ensuring the students register in MOBI 1000, assisting with the completion of the risk assessment and travel planning, and providing destination- specific information such as culturally sensitive behavior, personal health and safety, relevant emergency procedures and contacts, etc.

6.       Emergencies

The University’s St. John’s Emergency Management plan guides the University’s response to Emergencies including those experienced by Travelers outside of Canada.  This particular emergency management plan is used, regardless of the originating campus of the Traveler.

Travelers who experience an Emergency while travelling outside Canada should contact the University by telephoning Campus Enforcement and Patrol on the St. John’s campus using 709-864-4100, as soon as possible. This telephone number is used regardless of the originating campus of the Traveler.

Related Documents

Related Policies

Procedures:

For inquiries related to this policy:

Travel Outside of Canada Committee

Sponsor:

Vice-President (Administration & Finance)

Category:

Operations

Previous Versions:

There is at least one previous version of this policy. Contact the Policy Office to view earlier version(s)

Approval Date: 2015-03-12
Effective Date: 2015-03-12
Approval Date: 2015-03-12
Effective Date: 2015-03-12

Contact

University Policies

230 Elizabeth Ave, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1B 3X9

Postal Address: P.O. Box 4200, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1C 5S7

Tel: (709) 864-8000