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What is "birth tourism"?

The controversial practise has been a hot topic in Richmond and B.C. for many years
The controversial practise has been a hot topic in Richmond and B.C. for many years

So-called “birth tourism” is when pregnant, non-Canadian women fly into Canada in order to give birth and secure citizenship for their babies.

In addition to receiving benefits, like healthcare and education, when the children become adults, they can also sponsor their parents to immigrate to Canada.

The Canada Border Services Agency has said previously that pregnancy is not a reason in itself to refuse entry to the country to a tourist.

However, if a foreign national is seeking entry to Canada for the purpose of undergoing medical treatment and can’t show he or she has the money to pay for it, then that person could be deemed as a potential excessive demand on health service.

The practice has been a hot topic for many years, especially in Richmond, due to its Chinese population and proximity to Vancouver International Airport.

Between April 2021 and March 2022, B.C. hospitals recorded 110 non-residents of Canada who paid to give birth, based on data obtained from the Canadian Institute of Health Information (CIHI). Last year, 194 such births were recorded.

However, in the year prior to the pandemic, a record 868 self-paying non-residents — the vast majority of whom are understood to be Chinese nationals on tourist visas — garnered automatic citizenship for their newborns.

Richmond Hospital has been, for many years, at the epicentre of the industry, with 502 non-resident births in 2019-2020.

And the so-called “birth hotels” in the city are not breaking any laws.