COVID-19 travel FAQ

Travel suspension during the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Our staff, both at Compassion Canada and around the world, are closely monitoring developments. Our top priority is preventing the transmission of the coronavirus among the children we serve.

For this reason, we are currently suspending all travel to our frontline church partners until further notice in an effort to do everything we can to limit the additional spread of the virus and reduce strain on the already-taxed medical systems in the countries we serve.

Coronavirus Quicklinks:

Below are some important FAQs regarding COVID-19 and Compassion Canada’s response:

[Update as of July 15, 2020 at 4:50 p.m. EST]

How does the travel suspension affect children in our program?

One of the strengths of our child development program is that our local church partners directly implement the program in their local communities. They are uniquely positioned to provide support and do not depend on our ability to travel in order to ensure children and their families receive the love and care they need.

Why has Compassion made the decision to suspend all travel?

As the global Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation evolves, the safety of sponsored children, churches, supporters, and staff is the highest priority and of utmost concern to Compassion. Please know this decision was not made lightly, and we are also disappointed that this pandemic has impacted our trips and visits in this way.

One of the main reasons for the suspension is to limit the amount of potential virus exposure to the children and churches we serve. People in areas of significant poverty with limited healthcare resources are some of the most vulnerable during crises such as these. Another reason for our decision is the dynamic nature of government travel restrictions, which can change often and could result in being quarantined either upon arrival in the country or before you can return home. Under the current circumstances Compassion cannot ensure that you have a safe and optimal experience on your trip or visit, and this is a top priority for us.

How does Compassion decide to cancel trips and visits?

Compassion looks at a variety of factors when assessing the viability of any given trip or visit. Regarding the current health crisis, a coordinated, multidisciplinary task force is meeting regularly to understand the risks and mitigation opportunities and to make decisions accordingly. This team includes Compassion International’s Senior Safety Specialist and representatives from our departments of Risk Management, Legal, International Security, Travel, Trips and Visits, Communications, Global Program and others.

At Compassion Canada, we follow the International team’s recommendations, as well as the guidelines and recommendations from the government of Canada, and have currently suspended all travel until further notice.

Has Compassion canceled any trips or visits so far due to coronavirus?

Yes, we have canceled all trips and visits as of March 15, 2020, until further notice.

Are you accepting trip registrations for future trips?

No, we have cancelled all trips until further notice, so we are not accepting registrations at this time. Once we are able to begin planning trips again, we will be sure to update our Group Trips page with dates and registration details and will send out invitation emails to sponsors.

Are you accepting future Custom Visit requests?

At this time, many of our national offices and Compassion centres are closed. Resources for planning visits are limited, as local staff are focused on providing essentials for all of the children in our program. We will accept new visit requests for dates in 2021, but please be advised that we will hold your request in pending status until we resume normal visit planning. Compassion is re-evaluating the situation on a regular basis, and when we receive information that normal operations have resumed in your destination country, we will contact you to begin processing your visit request at that time.

I am planning my own travel to my sponsored child’s country. Can I drop off a gift at the Compassion centre or national office?

While travel is suspended, our national offices will not permit any visitors to meet sponsored children, visit local Compassion centres, or visit national offices. Because of these precautions, it will not be possible to drop off a gift for your child at their Compassion centre, the child’s home, or the national office. If you would like to mail a gift to your sponsored child while you are in-country, please contact us, and we will provide you with the mailing address for the national office.

Where can I find more information about coronavirus?

Because the conditions are changing frequently, we recommend checking out Public Health’s website or the World Health Organization’s website.

Is my sponsored child in one of the countries affected by coronavirus? How is Compassion protecting children from the virus?

We are working closely with our frontline church partners and local governments to follow local and national guidelines put in place as each country tries to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus. All of the countries where we work have been impacted by coronavirus in some way. To learn about the most recent updates in your sponsored child’s country, you can check here.

Coronavirus Quicklinks:

Written by: Compassion Canada