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What to do prior to your departure and in case of emergencies

Are you going on an exchange program? Are you taking part in the Campus Abroad course? Do you have a research project that requires travel outside of Canada? Are you taking part in a trip supervised by a student association? Discover all the necessary steps to adequately prepare your proposed student activity abroad.

What to do prior to your departure


Declare your international activity

Before you initiate your plans for travelling outside Canada, HEC Montréal requires you to declare your international activity, in order to:

  • Assess the risks your travel entails, and if need be, issue advice and relevant restrictions depending on your situation.
  • Ensure your safety by providing you with access to support and assistance services while travelling.

International SOS’s TravelReady platform is an integrated travel preparation and assistance service. This is the platform you must use to declare your proposed activity abroad. This step is mandatory.


Download the application

After having declared your stay, it is highly advisable to download the International SOS mobile app which is compatible with iOS and Android

This will enable you to:

  • Save your itinerary;
  • Receive safety alerts while travelling;
  • Communicate with experts before and during your trip, using the chat or automatic call feature to a support centre near your location.

Please note: you must save your itinerary in the mobile app to activate emergency alerts and have access to the services offered by International SOS while travelling. The pre-departure declaration of stay will not give you access to all services.


Check your insurance

Before travelling abroad, it is your responsibility to check the validity of your insurance or to purchase additional coverage, depending on your situation.

Travel insurance normally covers:

  • Emergency medical care
  • Trip cancellation and interruption
  • Accidental death or dismemberment
  • Lost baggage

Make sure that you also have personal civil liability insurance, which will protect you in case you cause physical, material or intangible damage to a third party.

These coverages are the most important for ensuring your peace of mind while travelling.

For more information, see Travel and Insurance: Protecting Yourself from the Unexpected.

A group insurance plan is made available by your student association as a complement to Quebec’s provincial health insurance plan (RAMQ) and the Cowan health insurance plan (for international students). This covers travel insurance including trips of up to 120 days, $5 million per accident, and trip cancellation or interruption in case of medical emergency.

For more information, consult the ASEQ site [only in French].

Some students benefit from the group insurance plan of their employer, parents, or spouse. If this is the case, contact your insurer to validate your coverage and purchase additional insurance as needed.

International students

You are automatically signed up for medical insurance offered by Cowan Insurance Group. Premiums shall be billed from the first day of registration. This insurance gives you access to the Travel Assistance program (60 days) for stays abroad.

For more information on the Travel Assistance Program, consult the Cowan brochure [only in French] or email us at incoming@hec.ca.


Update your emergency contacts

List your emergency contacts on HEC en ligne if you have not already done so.


Sign up with the Government of Canada services

Registration of Canadians Abroad is a free service which allows the Government of Canada to notify you in case of an emergency abroad. Sign up with the service.

The government also provides helpful information on safety, health, and travel documents during a trip abroad.

Visit the Travel outside Canada site

See the Government of Canada advisories based on your destination

What to do in case of an emergency while travelling

Receive assistance from International SOS

Regardless of the situation, if you need advice or have questions related to your safety, health, or travel, contact International SOS:  

  • Through the app (live chat and connection to the nearest call centre)
  • By calling the following number: 1-800-743-2356

International SOS provides 24/7 assistance, free of charge. 

Receive emergency consular assistance



Under what circumstances should we declare our stay abroad?

The declaration of international activity is a process made available to you by HEC Montréal. It will ensure peace of mind while travelling and keep you informed in real time. You must declare your international activity 4 to 6 weeks before leaving Canada.

Here are some examples:

  • Study abroad program;
  • Seminar organized by HEC Montréal;
  • Campus Abroad;
  • Field study as part of a research project;
  • Activities and trips organized by student committees or associations;
  • University competitions;
  • And much more.

This mandatory declaration is part of the administrative process for your departure abroad.


What is the detailed procedure for creating a user account and declaring an international activity?

When you declare your international activity on the web platform provided for this purpose, you will have access not only to important information about your destination, but also to resources that will help you prepare your trip properly.

Create an account

  1. Go to my portal /international SOS.
  2. Create an account with your HEC Montréal username (courriel@hec.ca).
  3. Create a secure password.
  4. Your profile is already pre-filled. Simply add your country of residence and a mobile number.
  5. Enter the code sent to you by SMS.
  6. Read and agree to the terms and conditions.

Declare an international activity on the International SOS platform

  1. Login with your username email@hec.ca and password.
  2. Go to the “my trips” tab and click on “Declaration of international activity”.
  3. Enter the details of your international activity as precisely as possible.
  4. Finalize the declaration of international activity.
  5. Turn on notifications to receive alerts about your international activity.
  6. If you are using the app, turn on the location to receive real-time information.

In which situations should you contact International SOS rather than the insurer?

International SOS is not a substitute for travel health insurance.

You should clearly understand when to contact International SOS and when to contact your insurer.

Contact your travel insurance company for any medical emergencies that require consultation and care, in order to get your expenses approved, and to find out about the procedures to be followed.

For all other situations where you might require advice or assistance (medical advice before consultation, natural disasters, evacuations, loss of documents, customs restrictions, etc.), contact an International SOS assistance centre.


What questions should you ask your insurance company?

If you already have travel health insurance, or if you need to purchase additional insurance, you must ask your insurer certain questions without fail, in order to obtain an overall picture of the coverage and exclusions, if applicable.

Here are some examples:

  • What does travel insurance cover exactly? Medical care, trip cancellation, interruption, accidental death or dismemberment, baggage, etc.
  • What is the validity period of the insurance? If you have to extend the length of your stay upon reaching your destination, can your policy be extended?
  • Are there exclusions that pertain to at-risk areas (official advisories from the Government of Canada) or activities deemed dangerous?
  • Are there any restrictions on medical coverage for pre-existing health conditions?
  • How much is the medical insurance coverage worth?
  • Is there any accessible document that explains insurance coverage in detail in the event of illness, and the required procedures for making a claim?

What to do in case of an emergency while travelling

You have declared your international activity and have put the pre-departure advice and travel guides to good use. Once your trip begins, International SOS will provide you with support in all kinds of contexts and situations.

For instance:

  • Baggage loss or theft
  • Safety and transportation (taxis, buses, areas to avoid, etc.)
  • Riots and problematic political situations
  • Natural disasters
  • Health-related advice – access to doctors and nurses who can provide information and redirect you to suitable health centres nearby
  • Legal advice


Regardless of the situation, if you need advice or have questions related to your safety, health, or travel, contact one of our assistance centres through the chat feature on the mobile app, or by calling 1-800-743-2356.

International SOS provides 24/7 assistance, free of charge.


For optimal use of International SOS services, you should have declared your international activity and register your itinerary beforehand. This declaration is mandatory for all members of the student community. The services do not cover personal travel.


Is my personal data protected?

International SOS is an external third-party platform with which HEC Montréal has entered into an agreement to provide you with assistance in the event of an emergency or incident during a professional academic activity outside of Canada.

When you create an account on the International SOS platform, you have to provide your name and institutional address. When declaring your stay, you will need to provide your personal contact details and certain additional information related to your trip, including the type of activity, destination, and flight itinerary. This information is collected by International SOS on behalf of HEC Montréal, in accordance with the School's Policy on the Protection of Personal Information (Politique sur la protection des renseignements personnels) and is required for protecting the health and safety of members of the HEC Montréal community during activities abroad.

You are free to not use the mobile application, or disable its geolocation feature, so as not to receive real-time alerts.

Find out more:

Privacy at International SOS

Politique sur la protection des renseignements personnels – HEC Montréal [only in French]

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