Three-in-Four Canadians Call for Investigation into Birth Tourism

More than half think Canada should consider establishing new guidelines for birthright citizenship.

Vancouver, BC [September 4, 2020] – A sizeable proportion of Canadians believe the issue of “birth tourism” requires the attention of federal lawmakers, a new Research Co. poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative national sample, 78% of Canadians agree with the federal government establishing a committee to investigate the full extent of “birth tourism” in Canada.

“Birth tourism” is the practice of traveling to a specific country for the purpose of giving birth there and securing citizenship for the child in a country that has birthright citizenship. Canada allows expectant mothers who are foreign nationals to gain automatic citizenship for their children born in Canada.

There have been reports of unregulated “for profit” businesses that have facilitated the practice of “birth tourism” in Canada. Two-in-five Canadians (41%) say they have followed media stories related to the issue of “birth tourism” in the past year “very closely” or “moderately closely”.

“Residents of British Columbia are more likely to be paying attention to this issue, partly because of the situation that has unfolded in the City of Richmond,” says Mario Canseco, President of Research Co. “Almost half of British Columbians (49%) are following stories about ‘birth tourism’, compared to just 34% of Albertans.”

Seven-in-ten Canadians (71%) think “birth tourism” can be unfairly used to gain access to Canada’s education, health care and social programs. In addition, more than half of respondents agree that “birth tourism” can degrade the value of Canadian citizenship (59%) and can displace Canadians from hospitals (56%).

Two thirds of Canadians (67%) believe birthright citizenship may have made sense at one point, but now people have taken advantage of existing rules. Canadians aged 55 and over are more likely to agree with this view (76%).

A majority of Canadians (54%) think the country should “definitely” or “probably” consider establishing new guidelines for birthright citizenship, while 34% would “definitely” or “probably” maintain existing regulations.

Support for a new approach to birthright citizenship in Canada is highest in Manitoba and Saskatchewan (66%), followed by Alberta (60%), British Columbia (56%), Atlantic Canada (53%), Ontario (52%) and Quebec (48%).

Results are based on an online study conducted from August 28 to August 30, 2020, among 1,000 adults in Canada. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region in Canada. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Find our data tables here and download the press release here. 

For more information on this poll, please contact:
Mario Canseco, President, Research Co.