During the past year, birth tourism in Canada has experienced a tremendous spike. It occurred in such a degree that it is becoming a national concern. Birth tourism refers to the process when pregnant women who are foreign nationals visit the country as tourists, but then they have their babies within the country and their children automatically become Canadian citizens.
This is creating a lot of problems for the Canadian government since the systems within the country aren’t prepared to take all the strain of foreign babies who become Canadian by default. It seems that they are standing helpless within the situation. According to a Calgary-based obstetrician and gynaecologist, Dr Fiona Mattatal, this is becoming a serious matter which would have to be addressed soon. According to Dr Mattatal, the Canadian health system is already in a situation where inevitable cutbacks were made, and now they have to deal with this added strain.
A Double-Digit Increase in Foreign Births
According to information collected from hospitals all over the country by the Canadian Institute of Health Information, a staggering 4 099 births were registered during the past year ending in March 2019. This is three times the number of foreign babies which were born during 2010 when there were only 1 354 babies born from foreigners, and it is 13% up from the previous year. Even though some of these births can be attributed to students from abroad and non-residents who are employed within the country, the majority of these figures are attributed to birth tourism. Andrew Griffith is a fellow at the Environics Institute as well as the Canadian Global Affairs Institute, and his concern is rooted in the fact that these figures increase at a sharper rate than the immigration rates or the entire population of Canada as a whole.
Canadian legislation offers unconditional citizenship to any child born within the borders of the country. This created a loophole which immigration brokers are currently abusing. Canada offers not only free education but also entrance without a visa. These brokers even go as far as sponsoring parents to travel to Canada to give birth there. Not only is a child who was born within the Canadian border entitled to free education, but also to social benefits available within the country although the parents of the child won’t get any advantage to permanent residency to the country through their child.
Since birth tourism is putting unnecessary strain on hospitals, even though it is not an illegal practice, the specific hospital is now implementing a counteraction by charging an upfront fee which much is paid by parents who want to have their child at the hospital of $15 000. These fees are for both giving births as well as the post-natal care provided. The Conservative Party is also trying to get a ban in place on obtaining citizenship through delivery to end this practice which is costing the citizens of Canada considerably.