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Feds studying 'birth tourism' as new data shows higher non-resident birth rates

Last Updated Nov 22, 2018 at 11:43 am PDT

Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Ahmed Hussen rises during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on November 5, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Summary

The government is studying the impacts and scope of ‘birth tourism’ in Canada

A petition tabled recently in the House of Commons calls on Canada to take stronger measures to end birth tourism

New data shows the number of non-resident births may be higher than what Statistics Canada has recorded

OTTAWA — The federal government is studying the issue of “birth tourism” with a view to better understand the scope of this practice within Canada and its impacts.

This comes as new research published by Policy Options today shows the number of non-Canadian residents giving birth in Canadian hospitals is much higher than in figures reported by Statistics Canada.

RELATED: Richmond’s mayor thinks being born in Canada shouldn’t automatically grant you citizenship

Using numbers from the Canadian Institute for Health Information, which captures billing information directly from hospitals, researcher Andrew Griffith found over 3,200 babies were born here to women who aren’t Canadian residents in 2016 — compared with the 313 babies recorded by Statistics Canada.

A petition tabled recently in the House of Commons by Liberal MP Joe Peschisolido calls on Canada to take stronger measures to end birth tourism, saying it abuses Canada’s social-welfare system.

RELATED: Richmond MP presents birth tourism petition to parliament

Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen responded saying his department has commissioned further research in order to get a better picture of the scope of this issue and its impacts in Canada.

Hussen also says Canada does not collect information on whether a woman is pregnant when entering Canada, nor can a woman be denied entry solely because she is pregnant or might give birth in Canada.