The Ontario government says it will not support Ottawa’s proposal to remove citizenship rights to children born in Canada to non-citizens and non-residents.
“In our view, there is not enough evidence to justify the effort and expense required for such a system-wide program change. Citizenship and immigration Canada has not quantified the extent of fraud resulting from ‘birth tourism,’’ said Ontario Deputy Immigration Minister Chisanga Puta-Chekwe.
“At this time, there is insufficient data to demonstrate the demand placed on Ontario’s economy or public services from ‘birth tourists,’” he wrote in a letter to Ottawa, dated September 6, 2012, after a technical briefing on the plan. A copy of the province’s response was obtained by the Star this week.
A recent story, based on a copy of the “secret” proposal by Citizenship and Immigration Canada, has revealed that Ottawa is keen on removing citizenship by “birth on soil” even though the fewer than 500 cases a year would not justify its costs.
In fact, Ottawa’s own review acknowledged that any changes to distinguish different classes of Canadian-born babies would require provinces to alter birth certificate registration and issuance process in order to issue birth certificates indicating the holder’s citizenship status.
According to the report, any delay in issuing proof of citizenship could lead to problems in access to provincial services such as health care for children. There could also be higher risk of individuals producing fraudulent citizenship certificates as the process became more restricted. The Ontario government said such changes would pose financial and administrative burden on the province and clients, especially the “vulnerable segments of the population.”
Another key concern is the “danger” of inconsistency should provinces decide to implement the proposed changes differently. For example, some provinces might choose to update the birth certificate to include citizenship status, but others might opt to issue a separate identification.
If Ottawa insists on proceeding with the changes, Chan’s office said it must allow a longer implementation time for any meaningful consultation with the provinces.
Attorney Colin Singer Commentary:
Citizenship is a requirement to vote in all federal elections and falls exclusively under federal jurisdiction. However the provinces also have jurisdiction over the right to vote in provincial elections. This benefit is one that all Canadian citizens hold dearly and can also be given to Canadian permanent residents.
Source: The Star