More than seven-in-ten Canadians still want the federal government to investigate the full extent of the practice.
Vancouver, BC [November 4, 2022] – Canadians are currently not paying as much attention to the issue of “birth tourism” as they did in 2020, but a sizeable majority believe the practice should still be scrutinized, a new Research Co. poll has found.
In the online survey of a representative national sample, 28% of Canadians say they have followed media stories related to the issue of “birth tourism” in the past year “very closely” or “moderately closely”, down 13 points since a similar Research Co. poll conducted in August 2020.
British Columbians and Quebecers are significantly more likely to be paying attention to news related to “birth tourism” (36% and 34% respectively) than their counterparts in other Canadian provinces.
“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.
Over the past few years, there have been reports of unregulated “for profit” businesses that have facilitated the practice of “birth tourism” in Canada. More than half of Canadians agree that “birth tourism” can displace Canadians from hospitals (54%, -2) and can degrade the value of Canadian citizenship (53%, -6).
More than three-in-five Canadians (64%, -7) believe “birth tourism” can be unfairly used to gain access to Canada’s education, health care and social programs—a point of view shared by 76% of British Columbians.
More than seven-in-ten Canadians (73%, -5) believe the federal government should establish a committee to investigate the full extent of “birth tourism” in Canada.
“A federal inquiry into the full scope of birth tourism would not represent a political liability for the federal government,” says Mario Canseco, President of Research Co. “Majorities of Canadians who voted for the Liberal Party (82%), the Conservative Party (77%) and the New Democratic Party (NDP) (72%) in the last federal election are on board.”
Almost half of Canadians (48%, -6) think the country should ponder establishing new guidelines for birthright citizenship, while more than a third (37%, +3) would prefer to keep existing regulations.
Support for developing a new framework to birthright citizenship in Canada is highest in Ontario (50%), followed by Manitoba and Saskatchewan (49%), Quebec (48%) and Alberta, British Columbia and Atlantic Canada (each at 47%).
More than three-in-five Canadians (62%, -5) agree with the notion that birthright citizenship may have made sense at one point, but now people have taken advantage of existing rules.
Results are based on an online study conducted from October 24 to October 26, 2022, 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.