More pregnant moms from around the world than ever before are popping into Canada to have their child.
Birth tourism, which involves foreigners visiting Canada to have their child born here so it will gain instant citizenship, has gone through the roof in the past year, going up a whopping 13 per cent, according to a report by CTV News .
And the increase in birth tourism — pregnant women posing as tourists — is becoming a national issue, according to one medical professional.
“This is going to be an issue Canadians are going to have to discuss,” Dr. Fiona Mattatal, a Calgary-based obstetrician and gynecologist, told CTV News. “Our system is not built to provide services (for) people (from) out of the country. 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.”
The double-digit increase in non-resident births was discovered in data collected by the Canadian Institute for Health Information from hospitals across Canada, with the exception of Quebec. In the year ending March 2019, 4,099 non-resident births were recorded, more than triple the number (1,354) from 2010 and 13% more than the previous year.
Some of those births can be attributed to foreign students and non-residents in Canada for work reasons but Andrew Griffith, a fellow at the Environics Institute and the Canadian Global Affairs Institute, believes the majority involve birth tourism.
“It’s going up faster than immigration rates, faster than the overall population of Canada,” Griffith said in an interview with CTV News. “The laws were never intended for people to fly in and fly out.”
Canada is one of the few first-world countries to offer unconditional citizenship to children born here. I mmigration brokers advertise that loophole in Canadian law, noting that citizens can get free education and travel here without a visa, in addition to sponsoring their parents to come here.
The CIHI data shows hospitals in Ontario and B.C. had the most non-resident births.
Richmond Hospital in B.C. had the most in 2018-19, recording 454 non-resident births during that time. That accounted for 23% of all births at the hospital.
Mackenzie Richmond Hill Hospital in Richmond Hill, Ont., Birchmount Hospital in Toronto and St. Paul’s and Mount St. Joseph Hospital in Vancouver were also in the top 10.
Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2019