A Canadian woman on June 16 launched an online petition to end birth tourism to Canada. This petition has since garnered more than 5,500 signatures, surpassing the required 500 signatures to be referred to the House of Commons for the government to respond.

Kerry Starchuk of Richmond, British Columbia, wants the Canadian government to “enact legislation which will fully eliminate birthright citizenship in Canada unless one of the parents of the child born in Canada is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada.”

In the petition, Starchuk says that birth tourism takes advantage of taxpayers, since once the child reaches 18 years old, he or she can sponsor parents or other family members to benefit from the Canadian education system, public health system, and other social security programs.

While no official statistics exist regarding birth tourism to Canada, Richmond Hospital reported “299 non-resident births out of a total of 1,938 births for the year ended March 31” — 295 of them to Chinese mothers, according to a Vancouver Sun report.

The Vancouver Sun also reports that in 2015, “Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada approved 390,292 multiple entry visas for Chinese nationals, allowing the holders to come and go from Canada up to six months at a time for up to 10 years.” Only 27,739 were approved in 2010.

Official Canadian government statistics show the number of permanent residents who list China as their source country has decreased from 42,584 in 2005 to 24,640 in 2014.

There have also been calls in the U.S. for the elimination of automatic citizenship for babies born to foreigners, and three Chinese postnatal centers in California were exposed in visa fraud, tax evasion, and money laundering cases in March 2015.

While it is not illegal for visitors to give birth in the U.S. with a complying financial statement, and no one can be rejected entry of the country due to pregnancy, authorities warn visitors their intention of entering the country must be in line with the statement on their visa. There may be serious consequences if immigration officers find dishonest behavior — Canada and the U.S. are the currently the only countries understood to have this provision.

First Editor: Edward White
Second Editor: J. Michael Cole