The trouble with birth tourism

Robert Sibley of The Citizen on birth tourism. As per my earlier post (‘Birth tourists’ believed to be using Canada’s citizenship laws as back door into the West | National Post), while the CIC consultations earlier this year were helpful in clarifying the nature of the problem, and suggesting that it was more widespread among more communities, it was not ‘hard’ evidence with ‘hard’ numbers. It was rather ‘informed anecdote’ without the due diligence of applying more rigorous statistical analysis based on medicare billing and other records.

It may be adequate to give the government cover to change Canadian legislation – and there is, in today’s globalized world, a case to be made. However, CIC has not managed well previous policy and program changes, with the result that the number of  Canadians granted citizenship fell 37 percent in 2012 (from an average of 172,000 during 2007-11 to 113,000 in 2012), and the waiting period increased to 25 months (Australia’s is 6 months). And like all changes, the linkages between citizenship and related federal and provincial policies (e.g., vital stats) require detailed attention to get the balance right between improved citizenship integrity (needed) and efficient service to Canadians.

So a note of caution to Sibley and others: current implementation problems in citizenship can undermine the policy rationale.

The trouble with birth tourism.

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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