The Immigration office is working to close a loophole which allows any baby born in Canada to automatically become a citizen. (Fotolia)
OTTAWA -- The website for the Happy Postpartum Rest Centre in Vancouver tells prospective clients: "The best gift you can give your newborn is a passport!"
The website -- written in Chinese -- is aimed at bringing pregnant Chinese women to Canada where they can give birth. By virtue of Canadian law, any baby born here becomes a citizen. Pejoratively called "anchor babies," these newborns are used to gain access to welfare and other social programs.
"Child reaches 18, parents can apply for dependents, fast issuance, just about a year," the website reads.
The website for Mississauga-based Mother Baby Home provides similar information.
The phenomenon is not unique to the Chinese. Immigration Minister Jason Kenney is considering how to update the system to close this abused loophole.
"The department (of citizenship) is aware of unscrupulous consultants who encourage pregnant women to travel (here) to give birth, secure citizenship for their child and gain access to Canada's considerable benefits -- all without having a connection to Canada," a Citizenship spokesperson wrote in an e-mail.