Guidelines to Writing Government Representatives

Release date : May 27, 2013

Guidelines to Writing Government Representatives

  • Begin with the appropriate title of the public official. For example, correspondence written to a Minister should be addressed as, “The Honourable (first name and surname), Minister of (name of governmental department).”
  • Maintain a polite and courteous tone throughout the letter or email.
  • Use plain and straightforward language.
  • Clearly communicate the purpose for writing the representative.
    • The first sentence should be a clear statement of purpose.
  • State who you are and where you are from. Be specific – government representatives are more mindful of their constituents.
  • Include your current contact information (address, phone number and email).
  • Keep your letter or email brief and to the point (one page maximum).
  • Stay focused on a single issue or request.
  • Clearly convey your request and the reason(s) for the request.
    • For example, if the request is to extend the time allowed out-of-country while maintaining your health coverage, emphasize the personal benefits that would result from such a change.
  • Use examples or evidence to support your request.
    • Ensure that any facts or statistics cited are correct.
  • Thank the government representative for taking the time to read your letter or email.
  • Please copy the CSA on the letters and emails that you send.

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).

Our Key Issues

Preservation of health coverage for frequent travellers

  • Provinces and territories determine the amount of time that permanent residents can spend outside of their home province or territory while still retaining their provincial health coverage. The CSA is pushing for changes in every province and territory that would allow Canadians to travel up to seven months or six months with an unlimited number of short-term trips (23 days) anywhere in the world, while still maintaining access to their health benefits.

Access to emergency health coverage when travelling

  • One of the five pillars of the Canada Health Act is portability. Sub-paragraph 11(1)(b)(ii) of the Act clearly establishes that portability includes emergency health services provided to Canadian residents while outside the country. The Act states that where emergency health services “are provided out of Canada, payment is made on the basis of the amount that would have been paid by the province for similar services rendered in the province.” The requirement under the Canada Health Act to ensure that Canadians get the same access to emergency health services outside Canada as they do in Canada is still being largely ignored by most provinces.

Access to prescription drugs for use during travel

  • Most provinces and territories do not ensure that travellers can get the same period of coverage from their prescription drug plans as from their other health plans.  The CSA is advocating for changes to allow travellers to be covered for a supply of prescription medication equal to the permitted travel time out of their province or territory. The CSA is also pushing for provincial and territorial governments to reimburse the cost of medication prescribed by appropriately accredited physicians and dispensed outside the province or territory.

Access to voting rights for travellers

  • The only jurisdictions left in Canada without fixed elections are Québec, Nova Scotia, the Yukon Territory and Nunavut, although legislation was proposed in Québec last fall that would establish fixed election dates if it is passed. This continuing trend allows Canadians to plan their travel and still exercise their democratic rights. Further, the CSA is also pushing for more effective vote-by-mail processes, which will improve the way in which travelling Canadians can vote while abroad.

Availability of government information

  • Most governments are improving the quality and availability of online information for travellers. Provincial and territorial Health Department websites need to continue to consolidate information for travellers in one, easy-to-find location. Elections websites must ensure that information is easily accessible and application forms for distance voting are available online.

For more information related to our key issues, please review the most recent edition of The Canadian Traveller’s Report Card. An online version is located in the publications section of our website.

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