The Canadian Snowbird Association (CSA) is a 100,000 member national not-for-profit advocacy organization. It is dedicated to actively defending and improving the rights and privileges of Canadian travellers.
For over 25 years, the CSA has effectively advocated on behalf of its members and the travelling public on a range of issues such as the preservation of health coverage, reimbursement for out-of-country medical emergencies, access to prescription medications, and much more.
A chronological list of our many accomplishments can be found below.
The Government of Canada has recently provided clearer guidelines for Canadian travellers returning home from abroad. If you have recently returned to Canada and you have no symptoms , you must QUARANTINE (self-isolate) yourself. This is mandatory. You are at risk of developing symptoms and infecting others.Read More
On March 26th at midnight, the Government of Canada will be invoking the Quarantine Act in order to impose a mandatory 14-day self-isolation for all travellers returning to Canada.Read More
On March 21st, Canada and the United States will temporarily restrict all non-essential travel between our two countries for 30 days in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.Read More
In light of ongoing developments resulting from the coronavirus (COVID-19), the Nova Scotia provincial picnic, which was scheduled to take place on Tuesday March 24, 2020, has been cancelled.Read More
The Government of Canada is now officially recommending that Canadian travellers abroad return to Canada. Further, the Government of Canada has also issued an official global travel advisory that all non-essential travel outside of Canada be avoided.Read More
As snowbirds make their preparations to return home to Canada, it is important that they heed the advice of public health officials regarding Coronavirus disease (COVID-19).Read More
In light of ongoing developments resulting from the coronavirus (COVID-19), the Ontario provincial picnic, which was scheduled to take place on Tuesday March 17, 2020, has been cancelled.Read More
The Canadian Snowbird Association (CSA) on behalf of its members, and all Ontario travellers has filed a legal challenge against the Ontario Government’s cuts to out-of-country emergency insurance coverage.Read More
Dear Snowbirds, Canadian Snowbird Association Directors are available for presentations in your local communities.Read More
CSA is reminding Ontario travellers that OHIP’s Out-of-Country (OOC) Travellers Program is scheduled to be terminated on January 1, 2020.Read More
On Sept 19, 2019, U.S. Senators Marco Rubio and Rick Scott introduced the Canadian Snowbirds Act, S. 2507 in the U.S. Senate.Read More
U.S. Senators Marco Rubio and Rick Scott introduced the Canadian Snowbirds Act, legislation that would allow some Canadian citizens to spend up to eight months a year vacationing in the United States, two months longer than they are allowed to stay now.Read More
It has come to our attention that there is a discrepancy between the residency rules of the Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec (RAMQ) and the Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ).Read More
OHIP’s Out-of-Country (OOC) Travellers Program , which provides reimbursement for Ontario residents who face unexpected medical emergencies while abroad, will officially be scrapped on October 1, 2019.Read More
Toronto – The Canadian Snowbird Association (CSA) announced Wednesday their opposition to the Ontario government’s proposal to terminate OHIP’s Out-of-Country (OOC) Travellers Program.Read More
Toronto – Before embarking on their trips, Canadian travellers should be mindful that, in most cases, their health coverage does not follow them abroad. Only the Canadian territories and the province of Prince Edward Island are obeying the requirement of the Canada Health Act to provide portable universal health care for the more than 55 […]Read More
Dear Snowbirds, The speculation and vacancy tax is an annual tax paid by some owners of residential properties in designated taxable regions of B.C.Read More
Several drugs containing the ingredient Valsartan are being recalled by their manufacturers. A potential carcinogenic impurity was found in the Valsartan used in these products which could cause health problems as a result of long-term exposure.Read More
As part of the 2017 budget, the government of Saskatchewan both raised the rate of the Provincial Sales Tax (PST) from five per cent to six per cent and applied PST to an increased number of goods and services including travel medical insurance premiums.Read More
Toronto – Hurricane Irma, a dangerous Category 5 storm containing the most powerful winds ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean, has already hit the Caribbean and may well be headed for Florida. Florida Gov. Rick Scott has declared a statewide state of emergency to ensure local officials have enough time, resources and flexibility to get […]Read More
In the recent 2017 budget, the government of Saskatchewan announced that it was raising the rate of the provincial sales tax (PST) from five per cent to six per centRead More
The CSA is pleased to announce that the Department of Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living has now clarified their position on the term certificate, indicating to the CSA in writing that it is only a recommendation and not a requirement for Manitoba travellers.Read More
Spending the winter in the sunny south sure beats contending with the ice and snow of our Canadian winters. If you are truly going to enjoy the fruits of the snowbird lifestyle experience, preparation is key.Read More
Toronto – The Canadian Snowbird Association (CSA) announced Thursday, that after multiple discussions between the CSA and representatives from the state of Georgia, the requirement of non-English driver’s licence holders to possess an International Driving Permit (IDP), while operating a vehicle in the state, will be rescinded.Read More
As many of you are aware, the cross-border information sharing program, known as the Entry/Exit Initiative, was scheduled to be expanded to include Canadian and American citizens on June 30, 2014.Read More
The CSA is pleased to announce that the Saskatchewan Government has, effective January 1, 2016, formally increased the amount of time residents may be absent from Saskatchewan, from six to seven months (over any 12-month period), while still retaining continuous provincial health coverage.Read More
As most of you are aware, the Canadian Snowbird Association has successfully worked with a number of provinces in Canada on the issue of residency requirements and eligibility for continuous health coverage.Read More
In a recent article which appeared on CBC News’ British Columbia website, it was suggested that Canadian citizens are only allowed to spend 120 days in the United States each year. For clarification purposes, the Canadian Snowbird Association would like to remind travellers to the U.S. that this information is incorrect.Read More
In our Member Advisory issued on March 28, 2014, we discussed the joint Canada/U.S. declaration titled Beyond the Border: A Shared Vision for Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness. The purpose of the program is to “to enhance our security and accelerate the legitimate flow of people, goods and services.”Read More
Effective August 1, 2014, residents of Nova Scotia will be able to spend up to seven months outside of the province, each calendar year, and still retain their Medical Services Insurance (MSI) coverage.Read More
On February 4, 2011 the Canadian and U.S. governments issued a declaration known as Beyond the Border: A Shared Vision for Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness. The purpose of the program is to enhance security and increase the legitimate traffic of people, goods and services.Read More
The Canadian Snowbird Association (CSA) is pleased to report that effective May 16, 2014, eligible residents of New Brunswick may now be absent from their home province for up to 212 days, for vacation and visiting purposes, and still retain their Medicare coverage.Read More
In late 2012, the Canadian Snowbird Association distributed a survey to our Alberta members asking whether they would like us to work with the Alberta Government to increase out-of-country health coverage from six to seven months.Read More
We requested the Manitoba government extend the time Manitoba residents could spend outside the country from 6 to 7 months and still retain their provincial health coverage.Read More
Guidelines to Writing Government Representatives – If you require any assistance, please do not hesitate to contact our office toll-free at 1-800-265-3200 (English) or 1-800-265-5132 (French).Read More
Dear Alberta Snowbirds, As you may have heard, the CSA has been successful in our most recent campaign in British Columbia related to increasing out-of-country stays.Read More
The Canadian Snowbird Association applauds the inclusion of the JOLT (Jobs Originated through Launching Travel) Act in the comprehensive immigration reform legislation filed April 17th in the United States SenateRead More
FAQs – Seven Month Absence in a Calendar Year for Longer Term Vacationers – Amendments have been made to the maximum period of time a resident can stay out of the province and continue to maintain Medical Services Plan (MSP) coverage.Read More
The Canadian Snowbird Association has been working tirelessly on your behalf to extend the time that snowbirds from British Columbia can spend outside of the country from 6 to 7 months and still maintain their provincial health coverage.Read More
Dear Snowbirds, Elections BC has fulfilled its commitment to the CSA by improving access to voting rights and availability of government informationRead More
VICTORIA – Amendments introduced today to the Medicare Protection Act will create authority to set regulations that would allow British Columbians who take longer-term vacations out of the province, such as “snowbirds”, to stay on holidays for an extra period of time.Read More
Despite recent legislative amendments made in Florida, an International Driving Permit (IDP) is NOT REQUIRED in order for a visitor to legally operate a vehicle in the state.Read More
OTTAWA – The Canadian Snowbird Association (CSA), represented by Executive Director Michael MacKenzie were pleased to meet with National Revenue Minister Gail Shea this week to discuss changes at the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).Read More
Travellers leaving Saskatchewan for an extended period are now able to get up to six months of prescription drugs processed online through the Saskatchewan Drug Plan, saving them upfront out-of-pocket costs and the inconvenience of seeking reimbursement afterwards.Read More
The advocacy work of the association is funded entirely through member donations which are held in a separate account, independent of the daily operation budget of the association, known as the Special Action Fund (SAF). The SAF is utilized when the CSA does not have the time to seek donations, and must engage immediately in government lobbying and consultation.
Recently, the Ontario Government announced that it is moving forward with plans to cancel the Out-of-Country (OOC) Travellers Program effective January 1, 2020. This program provides reimbursement to Ontario travellers for certain medical emergencies which transpire while residents are outside of Canada. The move is unprecedented and will make Ontario the only province in the country to terminate all funding for emergency medical services obtained while abroad.
In response, the CSA has used the resource of the SAF to mount a legal challenge against the Ontario Government for this blatant violation of the Canada Health Act.
It is paramount that we take a stand and put an end to the Ontario Government’s illegal actions, not only for Ontario travellers, but for travellers in jurisdictions across Canada which may attempt to implement similar policies.
The CSA has also employed the Special Action Fund for advocacy work south of the border. The association is currently working on extending the length of time eligible Canadian retirees can spend in the U.S. annually. This “Canadian Retiree Visa” or “Snowbird Visa” would permit Canadian snowbirds to spend up to eight months in the United States every year – a two month increase from the current six month limit. At the time of printing, this proposal can be found in multiple bills introduced in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate.
Previously, the SAF was utilized to overturn Florida’s requirement that all foreign visitors operating a motor vehicle in the state obtain an International Driving Permit (IDP). After 9/11, it was also used to oppose a bill that would have limited Canadians to a 30 day visit to the United States.
Please consider donating to the CSA’s Special Action Fund at the link below.
Until her retirement in 2004, Karen Huestis was the co-owner and operator of Crestwood Golf Club in Manilla, Ontario. Ms. Huestis has had an extensive and varied career, holding positions at Bell Canada, Air Canada, and the Lindsay Golf Club. Ms. Huestis has been a member of the Canadian Snowbird Association board of directors since 2012 and has volunteered at the annual Snowbird Extravaganza since 1995. Prior to being elected president of the CSA, she served as association secretary from 2012 to 2014 and served as CSA treasurer from 2014 to 2017. A lifetime member of the CSA, Ms. Huestis brings a wealth of non-profit experience to the association. She has previously served as president, vice-president, and secretary of the Woodville Country Chords. In addition, Ms. Huestis has also served as the treasurer of the Seagrave United Church. Ms. Huestis’ snowbird-related interests include the Canada Health Act and the ownership of U.S. property. In her free time, Ms. Huestis enjoys barbershop singing, clogging, golfing, and reading. Karen Huestis and her husband Bill reside in Warkworth, Ontario and winter in Spring Hill, Florida.
Mr. Steeves recently retired following a distinguished career in municipal government serving as Director of Administrative Services, and Director of Transit & Parking Services with the City of Fredericton, New Brunswick. The highlight of Mr. Steeves' years of volunteering was recognized being recipient of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Award; and by Rotary International with the presentation of the esteemed Paul Harris Fellowship Award. Volunteerism includes serving as Director and 1st Vice President of the Canadian Snowbird Association (CSA); firefighter with Riverview Fire-Rescue, Auxiliary-Constable with New Brunswick Highway Patrol; Past-President of Big Brothers/Big Sisters; board of directors with Jobs Unlimited - an employment agency for physically and mentally challenged adults; chair of the United Way campaign; and a provincially licensed and bonded auctioneer for 28 years conducting dozens of fund-raising auctions annually raising several hundred thousand dollars for local charities and service clubs. For eleven years, he also served as the annual voluntary coordinator of the very successful New Brunswick Picnic in St. Petersburg, Florida. Ron and his wife Judy are life-time members of the CSA, and reside in Fredericton, New Brunswick and Clearwater, Florida.
Mr. Foster has had a long and distinguished career in education, as a teacher, guidance counsellor and vice-principal. He began and ended his teaching career with the same school board, the Swift Current Public School Division. During his thirty-four years he participated on all the committees of the division. He also served as the director of the golf and curling clubs and past member of the Kiwanis Club. He also served as Public Relations and Marketing Director for the Swift Current Broncos of the Western Hockey League (1986 – 1994). John and his wife Joan reside in Swift Current, Saskatchewan in the summer and Mesa, Arizona in the winter.
Mr. Rod Seiling, now retired, has extensive experience in the travel and tourism sector. In November 2006, Mr. Seiling was appointed chairman of the Ontario Racing Commission (ORC), a Crown corporation of the Ontario government responsible for regulating the horseracing industry in Ontario. Prior to his time at the ORC, Mr. Seiling developed a thorough understanding of the horseracing industry through his role as vice-president with the Ontario Jockey Club, executive director of Racetracks of Canada and general manager at Elmira Raceway. In 1993, Mr. Seiling became the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Greater Toronto Hotel Association (GTHA), a member-based organization which represents the interests of more than 170 hotels throughout the Greater Toronto Area. Mr. Seiling’s professional experience is well complemented by his work on a number of boards. Previously, he was named president of the Team Canada 1972 board of directors as well as the Canadian Horse Council. He was also elected to the boards of directors of the Canadian Tourism Commission, the Toronto Maple Leafs Alumni and the Ontario Tourism Council. Mr. Seiling played 17 seasons in the National Hockey League and was a member of the Canadian team in the 1972 Summit Series. Rod and his wife Sharon reside in Waterloo, Ontario and spend their winters in Leesburg, Florida.
Mr. Garry McDonald was, until his retirement in 2012, the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce where, under his leadership, the chamber increased business membership by 60% to over 1,000 businesses. In this role, Mr. McDonald liaised directly with government representatives from all three levels of government on border, transportation, trade and energy matters. Prior to his time at the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce, Mr. McDonald worked as the Senior Director, Revenue Facilities at the St. Clair Parkway Commission overseeing the successful operations of the revenue generating facilities division. In addition to serving on the Canadian Snowbird Association board, Mr. McDonald presently sits on the Bluewater Power Distribution Corporation (BPDC) board of directors and is a board priorities committee member with Goodwill Industries (Essex Kent Lambton). Further, he is currently a director with Rail Advocacy in Lambton and the Residents of Lazy Days based in North Fort Myers, Florida. Mr. McDonald’s previous board experience includes serving as chairman and board member of the Sarnia Hospital Commission Board and serving on the board of the South West Ontario Travel Association (SWOTA). He was a founding director and vice-chair of Tourism Sarnia Lambton and a director with the Chamber of Commerce Executives of Ontario and Canada and the Sarnia Lambton Workforce Development Board. He also served as a director and vice-chair of the Sarnia Lambton Economic Partnership and previously sat on the board of the Canadian Association of Gift Planners (Sarnia Chapter). Garry and his wife Mary Ellen, a retired health professional, business owner and author, reside in Camlachie, Ontario and spend their winters in North Fort Myers, Florida.
James hopes to use his position as a CSA Director to grow the francophone membership and to connect with French CSA members and potential members to make them aware of the many benefits of membership in the association. “There are several reasons why French snowbirds should join the CSA,” says James, “they can get information about border-crossing and out-of-country living in French; they would be joining an organization that recognizes that French is respected and plays an important part in Canadian culture. The CSA is about representing all Canadians when lobbying all types of government.” He has a strong desire to ensure that fellow French-speaking snowbirds are aware of the association’s inclusivity, as well as the numerous benefits of membership, such as the Currency Exchange Program, Medipac’s out-of-country travel health insurance, CSA Auto Club and various publications pertaining to travelling abroad. James and his wife Denise reside in Otterburn Park, Québec in the summer and Homestead, Florida in the winter.
Ms. Wendy Caban, prior to retiring in June 2015, was most recently the Corporate Services Manager and Deputy Clerk at the District of Lake Country, British Columbia. She brings an array of board experience to the Canadian Snowbird Association, participating in board and committee meetings throughout her professional career and was a member of the Interior Savings Credit Union Board of Directors from 2006 to 2015. In addition, Ms. Caban was an instructor at Okanagan College for fifteen years teaching courses for the Legal Secretarial Program as well as courses on business office training. Complementing her professional experience, Ms. Caban has been actively involved in volunteer community service. In 2004, she was named a Paul Harris Fellow in recognition of her substantial contributions to the Rotary Club of Lake Country. Ms. Caban was also the chair of the Municipal Administrative Training Institute as well as the chair of KidSport Lake Country, her local chapter of the national not-for-profit organization that provides financial assistance for registration fees and equipment to kids aged 18 and under. Wendy and her husband Geoffrey reside in Lake Country, British Columbia and spend their winters in Mesa, Arizona.
Prior to his retirement in 2014, Bob Herman was a law enforcement professional for thirty-four years, including a combined thirteen years as a Chief of Police of the Thunder Bay Police Service as well as the largest First Nations Police Service in Canada. In 2011, Mr. Herman was appointed by the Governor General of Canada as an Officer in the Order of Merit of the Police Forces. In addition to his professional career, Mr. Herman also brings a wealth of board experience to the Canadian Snowbird Association. Mr. Herman was Chair of several committees that oversaw race relations and biased free policing. He was a member of the Senior Management Team for the City of Thunder Bay, Chair of the Criminal Intelligence Service of Ontario and President of the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police. With strong ties to the Thunder Bay community, Mr. Herman has been involved in several community groups including Crime Stoppers, the Masonic Lodge, Scouts Canada and Little League Baseball. Previously, Mr. Herman was a member of the Army Reserves for fifteen years and was named Honorary Chair of the 2011 Ontario Special Olympic Winter Games. Bob and his wife Sharlene divide their time in Canada between their summer camp near Upsala, Ontario and their residence in Wasaga Beach, Ontario. They spend their winters in Winter Haven, Florida.
Ted Popel has a long and distinguished career as an Insurance Professional with expertise in the Special Risk and Travel Medical Field, including risk evaluation, client/broker contact and product design. Ted has earned a reputation for being an effective negotiator, innovator and marketer and is experienced in all aspects of risk management. Ted has designed and executed special risk marketing plans, targeting specific niches such as universities, associations, and financial institutions. He also has a proven track record for design and implementation of administrative systems and procedures. Ted’s experience in the insurance industry has seen him hold senior positions in several respected life and property/casualty insurance companies including Confederation Life, Retirement Plan Services, Continental Insurance, Insurance Company of North America and Seaboard Life. Ted has volunteered with the CSA for 20 years and has been a lead team member at CSA’s Extravaganzas and Winter Information Meetings. Ted and his wife Quina reside in Scarborough, Ontario and spend their winters in Port Charlotte, Florida.
Mr. Slack has had a long and distinguished career in education. As a teacher, principal and later supervisor of student teachers, he began his teaching career at the Galt Roman Catholic School Board, continued with the Carleton Roman Catholic School Board, and later the State University of New York. During his career in education he was actively involved in the establishment of classes and programs for dependently handicapped students. For over ten years Bob was a presenter of retirement planning workshops for the Ontario Teachers' Federation. He also served as an educational consultant for the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture. In addition to a regular teaching career, he was employed as a part-time lecturer at the University of Ottawa as well as served as a municipal councillor for the Township of Goulbourn. A member of the Canadian Snowbird Association, Mr. Slack has been a volunteer with several organizations. He has served in numerous capacities with the Catholic Principals' Council of Ontario, including two terms as president. A past-president of the Richmond District Lions Club and Richmond Snowrovers Snowmobile Club, he has also been active in minor hockey. Bob Slack and his wife Lois reside in Athens, Ontario.
If you have an urgent or time-sensitive matter that requires an immediate answer, please telephone the CSA office and speak directly with a staff member. During peak periods, when we are experiencing a high volume of e-mail messages, it could take several days to receive an answer by return e-mail.
In light of ongoing developments related to the COVID-19 pandemic, and in particular, the Ontario Government’s mandatory closure of non-essential services in the province, the Canadian Snowbird Association (CSA) office will begin operating remotely effective March 25, 2020. During this time, CSA staff will still be available to members by phone and email but will not have access to our member database. As a result, certain tasks may be limited. We appreciate your understanding during these difficult times.
1-800-265-3200 / email@example.com
Canadian Snowbird Association
180 Lesmill Road,
Toronto, Ontario, Canada M3B 2T5
9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Monday to Friday (Eastern Time)
Tel : 1-800-265-3200
Local : 416-391-9000
Fax : 416-441-7007
Member Services Coordinator
Member Services - Manager
Medical Professionals for Travel Medical Insurance!
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The OFFICIAL news magazine of the CSA.
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A collection of CSA checklists, fact sheets and guides important to the Snowbird Lifestyle.READ MORE +
20+ Events across the USA and Canada.
An important document for any traveller.
In the event of a medical emergency while travelling, a Personal Health Record can help unfamiliar medical professionals to quickly assess your health condition.
Canada Club! listings are to promote and enhance the snowbird lifestyle by acting as the facilitator of communications between Canadian snowbirds while temporarily resident in foreign countries.READ MORE +
The Snowbird lifestyle is unique.
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CSA Graphic License Plate Program for members of Canadian Snowbird Association that are Ontario residents.READ MORE +