The outlook of birth tourism in Canada has changed dramatically since the pandemic, understand what those changes are.
What is Birth Tourism?
Birth tourism refers to non-resident parents coming to a country outside of their own to give birth for the purpose of obtaining citizenship or health care for their newborn(s). Canada is one of the only two remaining G7 countries that still have birthright citizenship. As per the Canadian Citizenship Act, all babies (with the exception of children of foreign diplomats) born on Canadian soil are automatically granted citizenship.
Furthermore, Canada is one of few developed countries in the world that still offers unconditional citizenship to children born in the territory. This means that regardless of their parent’s origin, babies born in Canada are entitled to reside in or visit to Canada at their own discretion and enjoy free healthcare and education among the other social benefits.
Challenges Around Birth Tourism?
That said, there are challenges associated with birth tourism that make the process of doing so complex, and for some, inaccessible.
Generally speaking, Canadian obstetricians are not interested in accepting patients from outside the country as doing so complicates liability and insurance coverage issues for Canadian hospitals which therefore makes it difficult for doctors to accept them as patients. While immigration consultants who work with foreigners looking to deliver their child in Canada do exist, their efforts to find temporary housing accommodations and secure referrals to Canadian doctors who are willing to treat foreign patients are not always successful. Additionally, the cost for foreigners to deliver a baby in Canada can range anywhere between $10,000 – $20,000 and that number does not factor in transportation or housing costs which in the market are not insignificant
How Birth Tourism Has Changed Since The Pandemic
In recent years, the COVID’19 pandemic has made it so that international mobility was difficult or impossible and accordingly birth tourism rates in Canada plummeted. Since the reopening of borders and abolishment of most travel restrictions that rate has started to increase. In fact, birth tourism rates in Canada are currently going up faster than those of immigration rates and overall population rates. In the last year, there has been a 13 per cent increase as reported by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI).
Births in Canada by Mothers whose Place of Residence is Outside Canada
Aside from situational factors that have interfered with the feasibility of birth tourism, some Canadians reject the idea entirely. As of recently, many petitions as seen on Canada.ca have been created to defy birthright citizenship and unconditional citizenship. Said differently, many people hope to restrict granting citizenship by birth on Canadian soil to all but those children who have at least one parent who is either a citizen or permanent resident of Canada. Therefore, with the increasing barriers of birth tourism, it is difficult to
say how much longer the opportunity for birth tourism will last.
Benefits of Birth Tourism
While the benefits of birth tourism heavily outweigh the costs for the child, that does not necessarily hold true for the parents. Birthright citizenship and unconditional citizenship do not extend to the parent(s). While the child born in Canada reaps the benefits and privileges that come with Canadian citizenship status, the parents do not and they are not awarded any special treatment to obtain permanent residence or visa such that most have to return home after the birth.
Birth tourism is a safe haven for many and while it is inaccessible for some, it is possible for many with forward planning and the effective use of available resources. For anyone seriously considering delivering a baby in Canada, below are some tips to help you plan:
- Choose a City: Large cities (like Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver) will usually offer a wider range of medical services to foreigners in comparison to smaller, more rural cities.
- Deciding on When to Come: According to Statistics Canada, February is the least popular month for baby deliveries in Canada. Specifically, between the years of 2017 and 2021 (inclusive), there were on average 20% less births in February than the highest month (July). This means that planning to deliver a baby in February will translate into more readily available medical care and other related services.
- Types of Housing/Accommodation Availability: According to skyviewsuites.com (a leading Canadian furnished rentals company), temporary furnished accommodation are significantly less expensive (by as much as 20% – 30%) during the winter. Of course, the downside is that you will have to brave the infamous Canadian Winter!
Frequently Asked Questions Around Birth Tourism
Q: Can a visitor give birth in Canada?
A: Yes. Giving birth in Canada does not represent a violation of any terms or conditions that may be applied to a temporary resident. Such a child may live in or travel to Canada as they please without a visa and are eligible to receive free health care, education, and social benefits.
Q: Can a child born in Canada become a Canadian permanent resident or citizen?
A: If a child is born in Canada, the child automatically receives Canadian citizenship status.
Q: How does birth tourism impact the parents?
A: The concern with birth tourism is not just economic. Physicians sometimes face difficulties providing necessary pregnancy and after-birth medical care for birth tourists, particularly those who choose to spend less time on the post-partum ward compared to local patients. The lack of follow-up care is said to increase health risks for the mothers and their babies who might not receive adequate care from maternity hotels after leaving the hospital.
Q: What are the costs associated with birth tourism?
A: The medical costs can range from $10,000 – $20,000. Among other factors, transportation costs will vary depending on where and how far you are coming from. Housing costs will vary depending on which city you choose to travel to. Those looking for housing accommodations in Canada can visit svsrelo.com
. SVS Relo is a Canadian company that services all the major cities in Canada and offers housing accommodations.