The Government of British Columbia has joined its counterpart in Ontario in questioning the federal government’s proposed crackdown on “birth tourism” , whereby female foreign nationals enter Canada in order to give birth on Canadian soil in order for their offspring to automatically attain Canadian citizenship.
A 2013 report, obtained under an access to information request and marked “secret”, revealed that the federal government has been considering revising this provision for some time. The report found fewer than 500 cases per year, out of 360,000, that could be considered so-called “anchor babies”. The proposed changes to Canada’s jus soli birthright provision has been met with scepticism by immigration experts, as well as the governments of British Columbia and Ontario.
British Columbia Jobs Minister Shirley Bond told The Vancouver Sun in an email that her office has written to the federal government seeking greater “clarity” about the proposal. The letter expressed “concern about any financial and administrative costs that may result from this policy shift,” according to Bond, who added that she expects Ottawa to provide “adequate notice” of any changes.
Any adjustment to the provision would force each province to modify the existing birth certificate regime to account for the country of citizenship, as births are registered by the provinces. Ontario and British Columbia together represent more than half of the population of Canada.