Toronto Sun Editorial: Birth tourism in Canada needs to be addressed

Doing some further work, based upon more accurate (and higher) numbers than those collected by StatCan and the vital statistics agencies, that will form the basis of an upcoming article in the next month or so.

As the previous government learned during its efforts to qualify birthright citizenship (What the previous government learned about birth tourism), not as simple to address as it may appear:

Canadians on social media recently clued in to a curious blog from Nigeria that encourages the practice of birth tourism.

“Top Tips for Having Your Baby in Canada from Nigeria” is the name of an actual blog post on the popular Nigerian travel site, Naija Nomads, that encourages people to give birth while on a trip to Canada to secure Canadian citizenship for their child.

The author discusses her own experiences giving birth in Canada and why she did it. “Canada offers more benefits for its citizens (immigration policies are better, free health care + college education is cheaper)” and that “Canada is cheaper to have your baby.”

The author offers detailed advice ranging from visa applications to where in the country to plan the birth. “Ontario is where most people have their babies but who knows, Quebec or Nova Scotia might be better for you.”

The blog posted a series of tweets further discussing the issue, but appears to have deleted them after Sun columnist Anthony Furey drew attention to them.

But this incident brings renewed focus on an issue that has become increasingly concerning in Canada.

A Postmedia report from June revealed that the number of babies born at Richmond Hospital in British Columbia now account for about 20% of all deliveries.

“We are reaching a tipping point,” said Liberal MP Joe Peschisolido, who represents the riding of Steveston – Richmond East. “Nurses have told me that this is displacing folks from giving birth in Richmond.”

Peschisolido created an e-petition to back his efforts to get his government’s cabinet to clamp down on the issue.

“In response to birth tourism, Australia and New Zealand changed their laws, granting citizenship to babies only when at least one parent is a citizen or a legal resident,” Postmedia reported.

Canada ought to consider something similar. It’s difficult to blame people like the Nigerian blogger for taking advantage of something that is allowed by law.

The Conservatives recently voted in favour of a policy resolution put forth at their annual convention to end birth tourism.

It was a tight vote and a controversial one. But the integrity of our immigration system matters.

If the issue is also straining our resources, as reports suggest, then that too must be addressed.

Source: EDITORIAL: Birth tourism in Canada needs to be addressed

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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