Canadian Expat responds to Report on Consular Services to Canadians Abroad
In a news release from Global Affairs Canada, Minister Freeland mentioned that she agrees with the Auditor General's 2018 Spring Report on Consular Services to Canadians Abroad. The report includes seven recommendations:
- standardize its lessons-learned reports and action plans after crises;
- expand its communications and outreach strategy;
- keep Travel Advice and Advisories up to date and ensure they are reviewed regularly;
- strengthen processes and training specific to arrest-and-detention cases;
- examine performance variations in passport delivery and improve data quality;
- enhance monitoring of urgent document delivery; and
- review and update service standards and resource allocation.
The Canadian Expat applauds the fact that Minister Freeland has taken the time to recognize the importance of Canadians Abroad and that the Auditor General's report is a critical document to ensure that services to the Canadian Expat population remain strong.
In particular, the Canadian Expat is encouraged by the second in the list. The recommendation to 'expand its communications and outreach strategy' is, I believe core to the effectiveness of not only our Consular Services, but of our Trade Services as well.
Canadians abroad in general are very interested in being involved with our Embassies and Consulates around the globe. The problem is that the resources do not exist within most of these organizations to fully engage with the community of Canadian Expats and this is where there could be some improvement. I would like to see a dedicated expat engagement officer located at each and every diplomatic office around the world, whose sole role is to engage with Canadians living and working in their jurisdiction. There are many countries such as Switzerland, China and Inda that do this already very successfully with very real and tangible benefits to those that live abroad but also to their respective cultures and economies. The logic is simple, a highly engaged expat population is less likely to get into serious trouble with the law (cost savings). That same population of Canadians living abroad will also be more likely to be involved with promoting Canadian products (economic benefit to Canada). Having a highly engaged community would also assist in collecting valuable intelligence about the economic and political situation in the region that they live (effective diplomacy, economic intelligence).
About the Author
Allan Nichols lived in Japan for close to 10 years, representing Canadian and other international destinations along with luxury tourism products to both wholesale and retail travel agencies throughout Asia. As an expat, he relied heavily on the personal networks he formed between other Canadians, Canadian business councils, Chambers of Commerce and the Canadian Embassies and Consulates that are located around the world.
Eventually, Allan moved back to Canada with his Japanese wife and two children, both whom were born in Japan.
Allan understands the amazing impact that an engaged Candian Expat community can make on the economy of Japan. Feel free to send an Email to Allan should you have any questions.