Canada is a pretty great place to live, and obviously people from around the world recognize that. It might be why birth tourism in Canada appears to be on the rise. People are travelling to the country while pregnant and having their babies within Canada's borders so that their children are granted citizenship.
In fact, the prevalence of birth tourism in Canada is higher than ever, and it is rising fast. Data collected by Andrew Griffith, a fellow at the Environics Institute and the Canadian Global Affairs Institute, shows that the rate has increased 13 percent in just one year. "It’s going up faster than immigration rates, faster than the overall population of Canada," Griffith told CTV News.
According to the data itself, there were 4099 births from non-residents in Canada during the one year period ending March 2019. That number accounted for 1.4 percent of all births in Canada. The 10 hospitals where these births were most frequent were all in either Ontario or British Columbia.
Canada is one of only a few developed countries in the world that offers birthright citizenship under the principle of "jus soli" or "the right of soil." This means that any child born in Canada, regardless of their parents' citizenship status, automatically becomes a Canadian citizen.
The child is then eligible to reside in Canada, pay Canadian tuition fees, and receive social benefits. Having a child in Canada does not grant the parents of that child any advantage in obtaining permanent residence.
Birth tourism is not illegal in Canada, but it does put a strain on hospitals. "Our system is not built to provide services (for) people (from) out of the country," Dr, Fiona Mattatal told CTV News. "I’m worried as someone in the health-care system, we are already dealing with cutbacks. (Birth tourism) is causing strain in the system, and we are helpless to do anything about it."
Some hospitals have taken preventative measures, such as charging an upfront payment of $15,000 for delivery and post-natal care. The Conservative Party of Canada also voted to make a ban on birthright citizenship party policy.
Disclaimer: Cover photo used for illustrative purposes only.