Having a Baby in Canada as a Visitor

There are lots of misconceptions out there about having a baby in Canada as a visitor. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada clearly provides policy, procedures and guidance to be used by immigration officers when assessing visa applications for visitors who indicate their wish to have their baby in Canada. This post should provide clarity to visitors on this issue.

The Law on Citizenship by birth according to Citizenship Act : Under paragraph 3(1)(a) of the Citizenship Act, persons born in Canada are Canadian citizens. This right applies to all persons born in Canada, irrespective of the status in Canada of their parents, other than persons born to accredited diplomats.

The Law according to Immigration, Refugee and Protection Act (IRPA): There is no mention in the immigration on the right to citizenship. Therefore, giving birth in Canada does not represent a violation of any terms to conditions which may apply to applying a visiting visa. Thus, there is no provision in IRPA to refuse a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) because an applicant has an intent to give birth in Canada.

How a Visa Application is Assessed when there is an intent to have a baby in Canada by a visitor: Assessment of the application should focus on the requirements applied to all applicants for a TRV. The fact of the pregnancy may be an element in the assessment but only in so far as it affects the assessment of the primary requirements for issuance of a TRV:

  • Funds available for the Visit: The assessment in the case of an intent to have a baby in Canada would include having enough funds to cover the medical cost associated with having a baby in Canada while visiting. Cost of giving birth in Canada as a visitor can range from $7,000 to $15,000. This cost is higher if there are any medical complications such as birth through Caesarean Section or the baby required intensive care at birth.

  • Proof of that applicant will leave Canada after approved stay – Does applicant have strong ties in their home country to show that they will leave Canada after their stay in Canada?

  • Admissibility of applicant – In order to be admitted to Canada, all applicants are required to pass the following admissibility test which includes security, medical, criminality and so on as listed in the IRPA

Therefore, consideration of the pregnancy and the stated or apparent intent to give birth in Canada must relate back to one of these essential requirements for TRV issuance as listed above.

Having a baby in Canada as a visitor is commonly referred to as Birth Tourism. In recent times, a petition to end Birth Tourims in Canada received enough signatures –( 8,886 signatures to be precise) to be tabled in the House of Commons.

According to Yahoo News,

"A petition that seeks to end “birth tourism” has gotten enough signatures to get introduced in the House of Commons —which could mean changes to the Citizenship Act.

Kerry Starchuk of Richmond, B.C., says some foreign women are using Canada as a birthing ground for their babies in order to make sure their children have citizenship and access to the country’s social, health and educational services.

“I don’t have a problem with a baby,” she told the Vancouver Sun. “I have a problem with the long-term consequences.”

Her petition, sponsored by Richmond PC MP Alice Wong, collected more than 1,000 signatures within a matter of hours when it was posted online on June 16 — surpassing the 500 needed in order to be referred to the House of Commons.

The petition seeks legislation to “fully eliminate birthright citizenship in Canada unless one of the parents of the child born in Canada is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada.”

Canada and the United States are the only G7 countries that confer citizenship to babies born on North American soil to foreign mothers."

There are two major reasons for this petition and the include;

Unpaid Medical bills – The cost of having a baby in Canada can be extremely high for visitors in Canada as stated above. Therefore, some visitors who may not be fully aware of all the cost are unable to pay the bills and leave the country. This is highly frown upon by Canadians and residents in Canada whose taxes are used to fund the health care system.

Long term Benefits – Kids born in Canada automatically become Canadian Citizens even if they don’t end up living in Canada, they can come back to Canada at time and enjoy all the benefits of being Canadian such as health care, quality education, social benefits and so on. These benefits are all funded and supported by Canadians and residents living, working and paying taxes in the system. Therefore, these kids whose parents contribute nothing to the system, end up enjoying these benefits. This is unconsidered an unfair by many.

These are considered unfair and hence, the petition (Petition E-347) to end Birth Tourism.

The Petition was presented in the house of commons on October 19th 2016. The house of commons has 45days to respond. Until then, the current laws according to as stated above still apply.

Sources Parliament of Canada Yahoo News Immigrations, Refugees and Citizenship Canada Citizenship Act Immigration and Refugees Protection Act

#birthtourism #citizenship

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