Canada has issued and updated multiple travel advisories in recent days, providing guidance for Canadians travelling abroad in several different countries.
What you may not know, however, is that Canada also has a list of countries that it advises residents to avoid all travel to because their safety and security could be at risk.
According to the Government of Canada, travel advisories give residents official information and advice on situations in other places that could affect their well-being, including when security or health conditions in a destination have changed.
There are four kinds of risk levels that the advisories are sorted by; level one, which advises Canadians to take normal precautions, level two, which advises taking a high degree of caution, level three, which advises against non-essential travel, and level four, the highest level, which warns Canadians to avoid any and all travel to a country.
“You should not travel to this country, territory or region. Your personal safety and security are at great risk. If you are already there, you should think about leaving if it is safe to do so,” the government website says.
While you may be aware of some countries on Canada’s do not travel list, others may come as a surprise. Here are eight countries currently on the do not travel list and why Canadians should avoid them.
Details: The Canadian government advises against all travel to Venezuela due to a significant level of violent crime in the country, as well as unstable political and economic situations and a “decline in basic living conditions, including shortages of medication, gasoline and water.”
The country has one of the world’s highest homicide rates, according to the government. It warns that violent crimes are particularly frequent in the capital, Caracas, and they occur against both visitors and locals alike.
Gang and organized criminal activity is also rampant in the country.
Worsening the situation are power outages, which are said to be common in many parts of the nation.
During these outages, communication and transportation can be impacted, and the government warns that rioting, fighting and theft can occur.
Details: Canadians are advised to avoid all travel to the West African country Burkina Faso due to the risk of violence amid an evolving political situation.
The country experienced a coup d’etat, or a sudden violent overthrow of government, in Ouagadougou (the country’s capital) in September 2022, when the president of the transition in Burkina Faso was removed from office by soldiers.
Canada warns that demonstrations in the capital are likely and that even peaceful protests can turn violent.
Kidnapping is also a threat in northern areas of the country, the government warns.
The threat of terrorism persists too, with possible targets including tourist attractions, restaurants, shopping centres, hotels and other sites visitors may frequent.
Central African Republic
Details: All travel to the Central African Republic should be avoided due to “extremely unstable” security conditions and violent crime, the Canadian government says.
A nationwide curfew is currently in effect in the country amid the situation. According to the goverment, armed groups, who are present throughout the country, are responsible for the deaths of thousands of people since 2012, including humanitarian workers.
Canada warns that security forces aren’t able to guarantee the safety of civilians, particularly outside of the country’s capital, Bangui.
Demonstrations may also occur in the country and can easily turn violent.
Details: Canadians have been advised to avoid all travel to Yemen since May 2009, due to “ongoing armed conflict, terrorist attacks, and kidnapping.”
According to the Government of Canada, an ongoing civil war in the country has created a “highly unstable” security situation.
“If you attempt to travel to Yemen, you expose yourself to grave risk. In addition to threats from war, terrorism and kidnapping are ongoing threats.”
In addition to this, the feds warn that their ability to provide consular services to Canadians in the country is “extremely limited.”
Details: Canadians have been advised by the government to avoid all travel to Haiti due to the threat of kidnappings, gang violence and “the potential for civil unrest throughout the country.”
The security situation in the country is described as “volatile.”
According to NPR, Haiti has had no president since its last one, Jovenel Moïse, was assassinated in 2021.
The country is currently experiencing shortages of fuel, water and food, and “access to cash and commodities of all kinds” is limited.
Kidnappings are said to be common in the country. Since September 2020, hundreds of Canadians and other foreign nationals have been abducted, according to the government.
Details: With the exception of the capital, Niamey, Canadians are warned to avoid all travel to the West African country Niger due to the risk of terrorism and kidnapping.
Travelling outside of the capital is not advised, particularly after dark. According to the government, nighttime attacks on tourists have occurred in most parts of of the country.
Kidnapping is a risk throughout the country.
“There’s a high threat of kidnapping from terrorist groups throughout Niger. This includes the capital, Niamey,” says the advisory.
Terrorist groups have also kidnapped foreign nationals.
Details: “Avoid all travel to Somalia,” warns the Canadians government. “If you are currently in Somalia despite this advisory, you should leave immediately.”
The security situation in Somalia has been described as “volatile,” amid an unpredictable political situation and an existing threat of terrorism.
The rule of law in the country is said to be “virtually non-existent.”
Canada’s advisory also warns that travellers to the country will not be able to receive consular assistance if in distress as there is no resident Canadian government office in Somalia.
Details: Canadians are advised against travelling to Libya due to “armed conflict, a high risk of terrorist attacks, an unpredictable political situation and a high crime rate.”
Particularly, there is a high threat of terrorism and kidnapping in the country, with foreigners being common targets.
Demonstrations, which take place throughout the country, can turn violent and cause disruptions to transportation, the government warns.
Those in the country are advised to leave by commercial means as soon as it’s safe to do so.
This article’s cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.