'All about the money': How women travelling to Canada to give birth could strain the healthcare system
2020-01-04 from cbc.ca
Women travelling to Canada to give birth to babies who will automatically become Canadian citizens are prompting concerns about the strain they may be putting on the health-care system, The Fifth Estate has found.
Canada is one of fewer than three dozen countries that follow the practice of citizenship based on birthplace, regardless of parents' nationality or status.
At one British Columbia hospital with a high concentration of such deliveries, complaints have arisen that the influx of these non-resident patients — also known as birth tourists — has led to compromised care for local mothers-to-be and struggles for nursing staff.
Some of these patients fail to pay hospital and doctors bills, leaving taxpayers and individual care providers on the hook.
"Most of them, they get the Canadian passport, and then they leave the country," said Dr. Mudaffer Al-Mudaffer, a B.C. pediatrician and neonatologist who sees babies of non-residents when they need critical care. "It affects the integrity of the fairness of the health system."
No statistics are available regarding how many people are travelling to Canada specifically to ensure their child is born here and will have a Canadian passport.
But figures from the Canadian Institute for Health Information and several Quebec hospitals indicate there were about 5,000 non-resident births across the country in 2018, an increase of nearly 15 per cent over the previous year.
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