Ontario Against Removing ‘Citizenship by Birth’

As recently reported in the TheStar.com – 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.

Ontario Says ‘No’ to Removing ‘Citizenship by Birth’

Ontario Deputy Immigration Minister, Chisanga Puta-Chekwe, was quoted in a letter, written to Ottawa dated September 6, 2012, as stating:

“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’. At this time, there is insufficient data to demonstrate the demand placed on Ontario’s economy or public services from ‘birth tourists,’”

The spokesperson for Ontario Immigration, Minister Michael Chan said the Ontario government has not changed its position in recent days.

“While citizenship is the sole responsibility of the federal government under Canada’s constitution, any proposed change to citizenship policy can have profound impact on the provinces and territories. Adequate time needs to be taken to understand the full implications of any change in policy. Canada needs to get this right, in partnership with provinces and territories.”

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.

The Cost Doesn’t Warrant the Change

There are fewer than 500 cases a year of children born here to foreign nationals. However, Ottawa is still keen on removing citizenship by ‘birth on soil’ making the financial cost alone monumental.

In support of their argument the Ontario government said such changes would pose financial and administrative burden on the province and clients, especially the “vulnerable segments of the population.”

Increased Proof of Citizenship Difficulties Ahead

Ontario’s response letter was also quoted as stating:

“Successive generations could encounter increasing difficulty in proving their citizenship as they may need to provide proof of their grandparent’s citizenship.”

We will report more on this and other related immigration stories as the information becomes available.

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Michael Niren

About Michael Niren

Michael is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. He is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Canadian Bar Association’s Citizenship and Immigration Section and the Associate Member of the American Bar Association. Read more

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