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Seven Steps to Help You Understand Your Travel Insurance Policy Wording

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There are several times during the process of purchasing travel insurance when you will want to review and understand your policy wording. The policy wording is the document that, when combined with a confirmation of coverage (COC), forms the insurance contract.

Your licensed broker can provide you with a copy of the policy wording to read before you purchase a plan, review the policy wording with you and answer your questions during your purchasing decision. They will also give you a copy after your purchase as part of the contract, along with your confirmation of coverage.

This blog post is intended to help you understand how to read your travel insurance policy wording, including steps to take to find the appropriate sections for eligibility, pre-existing conditions, exclusions, and more. Remember, every part of the policy wording is important . For the best understanding of what will and will not be covered, read the entire document.

Refer to the eligibility requirements to see if you are eligible to purchase coverage. If you do not meet the requirements listed under this portion of the policy wording, you are not eligible for coverage and will need to find a different policy to meet your needs.

Review the details regarding pre-existing conditions , which may be found under a policy exclusions section or in its own dedicated portion of the policy. The section discussing pre-existing conditions states the requirements that must be met for pre-existing conditions to be covered by the policy (if coverage is available), including the period for which any pre-existing condition must be stable and controlled.

Another step to understanding travel insurance policies is to be aware of the policy’s maximum schedule of benefits . Review this section to understand which coverages are available under the plan you are considering. This section will often list plan coverage limits as well. For a detailed overview of each type of coverage available, go through the individual coverage sections of the plan. These sections, such as the parts detailing trip cancellation and emergency medical coverage , will help you understand the coverages available for those situations, as well as learn what to do if you need to make a claim.

Once you have reviewed the maximum schedule of benefits, refer back to the full exclusions section of the policy. There you will learn which activities and circumstances will not be covered under the plan. For example, some plans do not cover injuries as the result of extreme activities like skydiving.

Use the policy wording definitions section to clarify terminology in the document with the terms the underwriter acknowledges. Often in a policy, words capitalized or bolded in the text are words which are found in the definitions section. For example, the Travelance’s Visitors to Canada Emergency Medical Insurance policy wording defines ‘ Accident’ as “ a happening due to external, violent, sudden or fortuitous causes beyond your control which occurs during the period of coverage.”

After you have reviewed your eligibility, pre-existing conditions, maximum schedule of benefits, exclusions, and definitions, go through the claims information section of the policy wording. This part of the policy wording includes contact information as well as a review of how to submit a claim.

Review any remaining areas of the policy wording and to make sure you understand your travel insurance policy, ask your licensed insurance broker any questions you may have about the policy wording as you read it. Your broker may point out additional areas in the policy that are specific to your needs.

The above steps are a guideline and suggest one effective way to read your policy wording. Your licensed insurance broker may provide an alternative method. Regardless of how you read the policy wording, it is important that you understand your role in the travel insurance contract and what to do in case of an emergency. Be sure to ask plenty of questions as you look at purchasing any travel insurance plan, to make sure you find the plan that is right for you! For more information, read our blog post on How to Read and Understand Your Policy Wording .

If you plan to purchase travel insurance, talk to your licensed broker or a Travelance representative today.

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How to Better Understand Your Travel Insurance Policy 

COVID-19 changed the way many of us planned for travel. We’re all different types of travellers, comfortable with different levels of risk. But one thing we all have in common: our need to feel safe and protected is paramount. That’s why, more than ever, travel insurance is so important to consider, whether you’re travelling out-of-province , over the border or internationally.  

Reading your travel insurance policy before your departure will prevent you from making any assumptions about coverage or benefits, by knowing what you are and aren’t covered for. In this post, you’ll learn more about the various components of a travel insurance policy.   

Not sure how to choose the right coverage? Opt for the policy that suits you best by asking the right questions to your travel insurance broker or financial advisor .  

financial advisor consulting an older couple on travel insurance

Before you buy travel insurance

Understanding your travel insurance policy starts with learning more about the type of coverage you have. Before you buy, identify the types of travel insurance that’ll best meet your needs and confirm the coverage limits to know the exact amount of protection you have. At this point, it’s also a good idea to compare coverage from your credit card or group insurance plan and determine if you have the coverage you need.  

Not all travel insurance plans are created equally. Policies can be customized based on individual needs, health, age, and activity preferences. Coverage also differs from one travel insurance provider to another. So, when you buy, it’s important to not only compare the price, but also how the plan will protect you in case of any travel mishaps. 

Being well-informed about your policy and the reasons why your travel insurance claim could be denied can help you avoid costly surprises, both during and after your trip. 

same sex couple with child at home in front of a laptop

Tips to help you navigate your travel insurance policy 

To help you understand your travel insurance plan better, we’ve compiled a few guidelines to apply when reading your policy wording. Take the time to go through the policy; it can be overwhelming at first glance, but if you know what to look for, it can help you become more familiar with your coverage. Plus, if you need clarification, you can always pick up the phone and check in with your insurance professional or travel insurance provider’s customer service team.  

Here are some key components that you should look at:  

  • Important Contact Information 
  • Period of Coverage 
  • Benefits 
  • Covered Risks 
  • Exclusions 
  • Pre-existing Medical Conditions 
  • Sports & Activities 

Important contact information  

If your travel insurance provider offers emergency medical assistance , keep a record of the contact numbers (along with the international access codes for your destination) listed in the policy document. In case of a travel medical emergency abroad, knowing how to contact your travel insurance company will help you notify them as soon as possible and get the right care and information during your time of need.  

TIP: If you’re a TuGo policyholder, you can also download the TuGo Wallet app on your smartphone for direct access to us, if you’re in a medical emergency. Download for iOS or Android. 

canada life travel insurance policy wording

Period of coverage

Depending on the travel insurance coverage you choose, the period of coverage helps you clarify when your coverage kicks in, and when it expires.  

For example, your Multi Trip Annual Travel Within Canada plan might cover you for a maximum of 35 consecutive days per trip, with coverage starting on the date of each departure from your home province and ending each time you return back to your home province or on the expiry date of the policy (whichever occurs first).  

Coverage Benefits

To learn more about the benefits of your Emergency Medical policy , evaluate the eligible medical and related expenses that the company will cover and how you’ll be reimbursed. Here are 2 key things to note: 

  • Orient yourself with key definitions , such as what is a medical emergency and what isn’t ? What is the meaning of a medical treatment? How does the company define a pre-existing medical condition?  
  • Benefit limits outline the maximum amount that you’ll be reimbursed. Confirm these limits for different emergency medical benefits such as hospital allowance, fracture treatment, dental services, childcare, return of pets & return of vehicle.  

Check out these related articles and/or FAQs to help you better understand your Emergency Medical coverage: 

  • Who handles the hospital billing when a medical emergency happens abroad?  
  • Will the travel insurance provider reimburse my out-of-pocket expenses?  
  • When and how does medical air evacuation happen?

For non-medical insurance policies like Baggage Insurance and Rental Car Protection , take note of the key terms and conditions . For instance, in case of lost, damaged, or delayed luggage, know exactly what is covered and the different requirements needed to help you open a claim smoothly . 

canada life travel insurance policy wording

Covered Risks

In case your travel plans get delayed, cancelled, or interrupted, Trip Cancellation & Trip Interruption Insurance helps you get reimbursed for prepaid, non-refundable unused travel expenses if you have to cancel or interrupt all or part of your trip.  

Covered risks in your policy identify the valid reasons for cancelling or interrupting your trip that the insurance company will provide coverage for. For example, some of the reasons covered by TuGo are: 

  • Medical reasons – i.e., a medical condition, death or quarantine of you, your travelling companion, or a family member. 
  • When an official travel advisory has been issued by the Canadian government for the scheduled travel dates after the date the trip is booked or the insurance is purchased. The travel advisory must be in effect on the scheduled departure date or within the 7 days before. 
  • The cancellation of a common carrier (e.g., your flight) for any reason other than bankruptcy, insolvency, or quarantine.  
  • Natural disasters or unforeseeable events which render your or your travelling companion’s principle residence uninhabitable or place of business inoperative. 
  • Subpoenaed for Jury duty or court appearance during your period of travel. 
  • The non-issuance of you or your travel companion’s travel or student visa for reasons beyond your control. 
  • Loss of Permanent employment provided you had been employed for more than one year. 
  • A job transfer which results in the relocation of you or your travelling companion’s principal residence. 
  • The cancellation of business meeting at your final destination. 

As you finalize your trip, learn more about your destination to better understand the kind of coverage you’ll need. Based on your research, you’ll be able to confirm if your policy will reimburse you in case you need to change your travel plans last minute, due to events beyond your control.  

Exclusions & Conditions

Most travellers are under the impression that once they buy travel insurance, they’ll be covered no matter what. Like any type of insurance, there are some events and conditions that may simply not be covered by travel insurance.  

Before you travel, arm yourself with knowledge on these general exclusions or conditions applicable to all plans that could impact your coverage: 

  • A medical condition that is the result of you not following treatment as prescribed to you by your doctor, including prescribed or over the counter medication. 
  • The consumption or use of illegal or controlled drugs  
  • Participating in an activity or sport not covered by your policy   
  • Your commission or attempted commission of a criminal offence or illegal act based on the law where the cause of the claim occurred. 

Pre-existing Medical Conditions

Depending on the plan you purchase, your policy may/may not provide coverage for medical conditions and/or symptoms that existed before your trip. Check your policy to see how it defines “pre-existing medical condition” and “stable/stability” . You’ll also want to review how unstable pre-existing medical conditions can impact claims . 

canada life travel insurance policy wording

Adventure Sports & High-risk Activities

Among all the areas covered by travel insurance, this is one of the areas where providers can differ the most. Before you plan any adventurous sports or activities, make sure they’re covered by your policy. Look for plans where your intended activity is specifically mentioned and whether it’ll cover you if you’re participating as a professional athlete or a coach. Study the policy’s exclusion list carefully to ensure that you’re better prepared when participating in these activities.  

Not all travel insurance providers cover adventure sports and activities, but we do! TuGo’s Emergency Medical Insurance covers you for activities like hiking, ziplining, bungee jumping or even parasailing. Plus, for adrenaline seekers, our Sports & Activities Coverage goes beyond to cover sports and activities like scuba diving , backcountry skiing/snowboarding , downhill mountain biking , mountaineering and more.  

Just like any financial contract, time taken to understand your travel insurance policy always pays off in the long run—whether you’re a seasoned snowbird, a first-time backpacker, or a family on their annual vacation. If you have any questions about understanding your travel insurance policy, share them in the comments below. 

Safe travels, Melissa

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in November 2020 and has been updated for freshness and/or accuracy.  

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The complete guide to travel insurance for Canadians

While travel insurance is not mandatory for Canadians travelling abroad, it is highly recommended. The cost of medical emergencies and other unforeseen events can be very expensive when you are outside of your home country. Travel insurance gives you peace of mind while you are away and financial protection from medical expenses in another country.

canada life travel insurance policy wording

What is travel insurance?

  • Why should you buy travel insurance for trips outside of Canada?
  • What should travel medical insurance cover?
  • Does travel insurance cover pre-existing medical conditions?

Which is the best travel insurance company?

Who needs travel insurance, frequently asked questions.

Travel insurance offers several different types of protection to Canadians leaving the country. For example, if you have a medical emergency while travelling, travel insurance will cover the cost of your treatment. Additionally, if you need to cancel your trip due to an emergency, some travel insurance policies can reimburse you for any non-refundable expenses.

While travel insurance is not required by law in Canada, it is highly recommended, as the cost of medical emergencies and other unforeseen events can be very expensive when you are outside of your home country. Therefore, making insurance part of your travel plans can give you peace of mind while you are away.

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Travel insurance is a type of insurance that helps to cover the cost of medical care if you become sick or injured while travelling. It can also protect you from financial loss if you have to cancel or interrupt your trip.

What are the different types of travel insurance?

Canadians leaving the country or their home province have the option of getting two main types of travel insurance: travel medical insurance and trip cancellation/interruption insurance.

Travel medical insurance

Travel medical insurance can help to cover the cost of medical care if you become sick or injured while travelling. It can also help to cover the cost of travel if you need to be transported to a hospital in another country. This emergency medical coverage is the most common type of travel insurance. It can sometimes be referred to as travel accident insurance or travel health insurance.

Trip interruption insurance (aka trip cancellation insurance)

Trip cancellation and trip interruption insurance can help to reimburse you for the cost of your trip if you have to cancel due to an unforeseen circumstance. This can include illness or bad weather, or other situations that may delay or cancel your trip (lost baggage, transportation delays, etc).

Some insurance providers also sell comprehensive travel insurance policies that include both of these types of coverage.

Learn more about the difference between travel medical insurance vs. trip interruption insurance . 

Why should Canadians make travel insurance part of their travel plans?

If you plan to travel outside Canada ‒ even for a single day ‒ you should buy travel health insurance before your trip or vacation.

There are a number of risks you face when travelling, and travel insurance can help protect you from financial loss in the event of an emergency. If you need medical assistance while abroad, travel insurance can help cover the cost of your medical bills and care. And if your trip is cancelled or interrupted, travel insurance can reimburse you for non-refundable expenses.

Travel insurance is an important consideration for any trip, and it’s especially important if you’re travelling to a country with high medical costs or risks.

Where can you get travel insurance in Canada?

Canadians can obtain travel insurance for a trip away from Canada through several different avenues:

  • Travel agent The travel agent through which you booked your trip may have access to travel insurance plans as well. Most travel agents deal with a single provider so they don’t typically offer the most choice of plans.
  • Employee or group insurance provider Your group benefits provider may offer the ability to purchase additional travel insurance through your group plan. Again, one downside to this approach is you are unable to compare the prices and plans of different carriers.
  • Credit card coverage If you booked your trip on your credit card, you may also be entitled to some insurance coverage. Check the details of the policy before your trip so that you know of any limitations to your coverage. You typically cannot buy supplementary travel insurance through this plan, as it is an added benefit of your credit card agreement. Learn more about credit card travel insurance and its limited coverage.
  • Insurance broker An insurance broker (like  PolicyAdvisor ) can present you with several different choices of policies, providers, and premiums so that you can choose the coverage that would best suit your trip and budget. They can also offer insight into the claims process and guide you to which company would work best for the type of vacation or travel away from Canada you plan on making.

What should travel medical insurance cover for trips outside Canada?

No matter where in the world you are travelling, there are 3 basic medical expenses your travel health insurance policy should always cover: medical evacuation from your travel destination if required, coverage for any pre-existing conditions you have, and repatriation (covering the cost of transporting your remains should you pass away during your trip).

Every travel medical insurance policy is unique, as one has many options when applying for coverage.

Most travel medical insurance policies typically cover:

  • Emergency medical treatment for illness or injury
  • Prescription medications
  • Emergency dental treatment services
  • Essential medical equipment (crutches, wheelchairs, slings, braces, etc.)
  • X-rays and other diagnostic laboratory procedures (bloodwork, ultrasounds, etc.)
  • Required ground, air or sea ambulance services
  • Follow-up post-medical appointments with health care providers
  • Medical evacuation
  • Ambulance travel to the nearest hospital
  • Meal expenses and accommodations while waiting for medical care

Travel insurance protects you from the unforeseen costs of medical emergencies and trip delays when on a trip outside of Canada.

Does travel insurance cover pre-existing conditions?

Most travel medical insurance policies do not cover a pre-existing medical condition by default. One should always check the wording on their policy to see if a pre-existing medical condition may or may not be covered during trips outside of Canada.

In some cases, if you have shown no symptoms or diagnosis of a pre-existing medical condition for 180 days prior to the effective date of the policy and have not had treatment for the condition during that time, it will not be considered a pre-existing condition during your coverage period.

Some conditions may get excluded from your travel medical insurance coverage during the underwriting process. A pre-existing condition exclusion could include:

  • heart disease
  • high blood pressure

They can also include relatively mild conditions for which you have taken prescription medication such as:

  • sleep apnea
  • anxiety and/or depression
  • bipolar disorder 
  • other  mental health conditions

Insurance providers will look at the specific state of your illness or condition to evaluate the risk associated with the pre-existing condition. They then make their decision accordingly for your travel insurance plan.

Some providers offer policies that will cover pre-existing conditions, though the premium will be higher to compensate for the added risk.

One should request an explanation of the limitations and restrictions on any pre-existing medical condition, tests, and treatments they may have had.

How do I ensure I keep my universal public health insurance if I am taking a trip outside of Canada?

Depending on the length of your trip and the province or territory you call home, a long absence from Canada can result in your universal public health coverage lapsing.

For instance, for Ontario residents, if one plans to be outside Canada for more than 6 months, your Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) can lapse and you won’t regain your coverage until after you’ve spent several consecutive months in Ontario.

To ensure one retains OHIP status, they need to:

  • Have a valid health card
  • Make Ontario your primary residence
  • Be physically in the province of Ontario for 153 days a year in the two years preceding your time away from Canada

The rules for medical plans in Canada’s other provinces and territories differ slightly but are generally the same. Check with your region’s territorial health authority to see what rules you need to follow to retain your provincial or territorial health plan status before you leave for your trip.

At PolicyAdvisor, we partner with the country’s best travel insurance providers to present you with the most choice and best option for your insurance needs. Whether you are vacationing abroad or sponsoring a super visa application for a loved one, we’re here to help guide you to the best provider.

Some of the best travel insurance companies in Canada include:

  • Up to $10,000,000 CAD in coverage up to age 85+
  • Several different plans for trips outside Canada or lower-cost options for trips within the country
  • Robust options for multi-trip plan policies
  • Can include Emergency Medical Insurance, Baggage Loss, Damage & Delay, Flight Accidents and Travel Accidents, and added discounts for a travel companion
  • A Canadian travel insurance brand managed by iA Financial Group
  • Does not require medical underwriting until age 60
  • Offers Emergency Medical Insurance, Trip Cancellation & Trip Interruption Insurance, Accidental Death & Dismemberment Insurance, Non-Medical Packages, All-Inclusive Holiday Packages, and more options within those categories

Group Medical Services (GMS)

  • Offers up to $5,000,000 CAD in coverage and up to $500,000 for COVID-related emergency medical expenses
  • 24/7 worldwide support available in several different languages.
  • Direct payments: GMS can directly pay service providers instead of you paying out of pocket
  • Virtual medical services available for minor emergencies that don’t require in-person care

Allianz Global Assistance

  • Allianz Global Assistance is one of the world’s largest travel insurers
  • Largest network of global medical providers
  • Can help you navigate healthcare options in several different geographic locations
  • Offers up to $10,000,000 CAD in coverage

MSH International

  • Canuck Voyage travel plan offers up to $7,000,000 CAD in coverage up to the age of 79
  • Different plan options for visiting the US, international destinations, and within Canada
  • Discounts for travel companion
  • Partial refunds possible if you decide to voluntarily cut your trip short

Destination Canada

  • Annual, Multi-Trip, and Daily Rated Plans available
  • Up to $5,000,000 CAD in coverage up to the age of 74
  • Accommodates return of vehicle for trips taken over Canada’s land borders.

Besides vacationers leaving Canada for trips abroad, some specific groups also require travel insurance.

Students attending school outside the country may need the protection of a travel medical insurance policy. Many colleges and universities (and student unions) provide access to extended medical care through their group benefit plans. However, this coverage is sometimes only in effect during the school year or fails to offer the same protection as an independently owned policy you can secure before leaving Canada. Learn more about travel insurance for students .

Amateur athletes leaving Canada for competitions or training should also secure an independent medical plan for the duration of their trip. Learn more about travel insurance for athletes .

Snowbirds are typically retired Canadians who spent the cold winter months abroad, or at the very least outside their home province. They should also ensure they have financial protection secured for the duration of their trip given the higher risk for medical emergencies at their age. Learn more about travel insurance for snowbirds .

Do I need travel insurance coverage for trips inside Canada?

As government health insurance plans vary among the provinces and may not provide emergency return home benefits, you should consider travel accident insurance for trips both inside and outside of Canada.

Provincial and territorial health insurance plans may have limits on the reimbursement of the medical emergency expenses incurred while in another province. For example, ambulance services, emergency dental treatments, and prescription drugs might not always be covered by insurance plans outside your province of residence, so you may need to pay out of pocket for these services.

To protect yourself from any unexpected medical emergency, illnesses, or injuries, you should always buy additional health insurance coverage for emergency medical even when you’re travelling within Canada.

What is the average cost of travel insurance in Canada?

The cost of travel insurance is determined by many variable factors including the type of insurance you purchase, your age, the duration of the trip, and the amount of coverage you are getting. A rule of thumb is travel insurance should typically cost 5% of your trip. Of course, these costs can elevate for extended stays outside of Canada, such as a long vacation, or if you are studying abroad or working for an extended period in another country.

Another way to save money on travel insurance is to purchase policies together if you have a travel companion. Some providers offer a 5% discount on policies purchased in tandem and even offer a family policy if you are travelling with your family as a group.

Can Canadians get travel insurance coverage for trips to the USA?

Yes, trips to the United States of America are one of the most common reasons Canadians purchase travel insurance. If you’re planning a trip to the US, travel insurance is a good idea. While the country has excellent medical facilities, travel medical insurance can help cover the cost of an unexpected medical emergency.

Some of the reasons to consider travel insurance to the USA are:

  • The elevated costs of emergency medical coverage and procedures
  • The high costs of prescription drugs
  • There are no reciprocal agreements for healthcare between the USA and Canada, so your provincial government health insurance plan will not be accepted
  • The cost of accommodations in major US vacation destinations. You or your travelling companions may need to spend time at your destination recovering before you are ready to travel home

Can I get travel insurance after I have left Canada?

Yes, it is definitely possible to find travel insurance options once you’ve left Canada. However, there may be exclusions on your plan.

Policies purchased after the start of a trip generally won’t take effect until 48 hours after you buy them. The waiting period is designed to prevent someone from purchasing and utilizing a policy after they have been injured or hospitalized with an illness.

canada life travel insurance policy wording

Does travel insurance include COVID-19 coverage?

Most travel insurance policies cover aspects of medical emergencies and setbacks that may arise if you contract COVID-19 during your trip. This can include the cost of quarantining after contracting the virus or the cost of cancelling a trip because one has contracted COVID.

With that in mind, each policy is different and you should examine your policy documents before you make any assumptions about the virus’ effect on the trip that you are covered for.

Read more about travel insurance and COVID-19 .

Should I buy an individual policy for each trip I have planned or an annual travel policy?

If you travel outside of Canada often (more than twice per year) it may be worthwhile to purchase an annual travel policy. Many of the providers we partner with offer annual options for their travel medical insurance policies that grant policies for unlimited trips during the coverage time period.

This can help you in two ways:

  • You save money on premiums
  • You eliminate the need to arrange separate insurance policies for each trip you take or each leg of a multi-trip journey

Speak with our advisors to see if an annual travel insurance policy makes sense for your plans.

Read more about annual multi-trip travel insurance . 

Can a travel advisory affect my travel insurance?

Typically, travelling from Canada to a destination that has a travel advisory will not be covered by travel insurance if the advisory is in place before you depart. If an advisory is placed by Health Canada or other governmental departments after you’ve arrived at your destination, your coverage will be intact.

  • There are two types of travel coverage: travel medical and trip interruption/cancellation
  • Travel medical insurance is considered more crucial as medical bills and expenses in a foreigh country can grow substantially during an emergency while you are abroad
  • There are several comprehensive options for travel coverage from some of the biggest insurance providers in Canada

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The information above is intended for informational purposes only and is based on PolicyAdvisor’s own views, which are subject to change without notice. This content is not intended and should not be construed to constitute financial or legal advice. PolicyAdvisor accepts no responsibility for the outcome of people choosing to act on the information contained on this website. PolicyAdvisor makes every effort to include updated, accurate information. The above content may not include all terms, conditions, limitations, exclusions, termination, and other provisions of the policies described, some of which may be material to the policy selection. Please refer to the actual policy documents for complete details. In case of any discrepancy, the language in the actual policy documents will prevail. All rights reserved.

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Was your WestJet flight cancelled this weekend? Here's what you need to know

Thousands of passengers affected after surprise mechanics' strike on july 1 holidays.

canada life travel insurance policy wording

'So disappointed': Toronto travellers frustrated by WestJet cancellations, delays

Social sharing.

Roughly 33,000 travellers have been impacted by the unexpected news on Saturday morning that WestJet had cancelled a slew of flights after mechanics announced a surprise strike.

Here's what you need to know about how to get moving and/or compensated if you're among the affected travellers.

  • WestJet cancels 235 flights as mechanics strike in surprise move on busy long weekend

What are the rules in a situation like this?

Airlines have to comply with Canada's Air Passenger Protection Regulations (APPR), which give air passengers using Canadian airlines certain rights by laying out the minimum requirements companies must follow for air travel.

  • Air passenger complaint backlog hits new high, but agency says it's processing complaints faster

The regulations also detail the standards for communication with passengers, and for compensation when flights are delayed or cancelled, or when your baggage is lost. The Canadian Transportation Agency oversees the APPR. 

According to the regulations, affected passengers can expect an update every 30 minutes until they have a new departure time or itinerary.

Can I still get where I'm trying to go?

An airline must offer passengers a choice between helping you continue to your destination or returning to your point of origin with a refund, according to  Air Passenger Rights , an independent, non-profit advocacy group.

WestJet can rebook you on another of its flights or that of a partner airline within 48 hours of your original departure time, said Gabor Lukacs, president of the group.

"But if it cannot, then WestJet will have to take out its corporate credit card and buy passengers tickets on flights of Air Canada or any other competitor — that's the law," he told CBC News Network on Saturday morning. 

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Traveller affected by WestJet delays says vacations 'a hard thing to come by these days'

The APPR say you can even look at flights leaving from other airports within a "reasonable distance" and expect WestJet to help you get to that point of departure.

If the only seats available are in a higher class of service than you originally booked — such as first or business class — the airline must book you on them without asking you to pay the difference, according to the APPR.

If the opposite is true — you booked a higher class of service and can now only fly economy — then the airline must refund you the difference.

Can I take matters into my own hands?

In a statement posted to its website on Friday,  WestJet says there are "limited re-accommodation options available," suggesting it would be difficult for some people to make alternate plans to get where they're going.

On Saturday, the airline cancelled 235 flights and said another 150 wouldn't proceed if a solution to the dispute isn't reached by early Saturday afternoon.

The wing and front portion of a passenger plane with the name WesJet is seen outside of a hangar with the WestJet name as well.

If you run into trouble with WestJet's "re-accommodation options," you could rebook flights yourself and pursue compensation later, Lukacs said.

"If you do want to fly, you do not utter the word 'refund,'" Lukacs  said. "You are not seeking a refund. You are seeking a rebooking. If you are seeking a refund, WestJet will just refund you and wash its hands from your expenses down the line."

He recommends keeping a careful record of your conversations with the airline — even by going so far as to record your conversations — and keeping track of all the expenses you incur.

Small claims court is an option, he added.

What if I want a refund?

The simple answer? You are entitled to get your money back.

"Money back is always an option," Lukacs said. "If you didn't get a flight you paid for, the airline has to give you back your money. That's a no-brainer."

The regulations also say that if you're not at your point of origin when you ask for a refund, the airline must also fly you back home.

But asking for a refund means you might be leaving some money on the table in the long run, Lukacs warned.

Under the regulations, you must receive your money back within 30 days if you go this route.

With files from Jenna Benchetrit

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