Canadian immigration law is very specific about the rights and responsibilities of visitors and non-citizens. It also changes frequently, so it is important to know your rights. In particular, the rights of children are well documented and very important to understand.
Babies born in Canada have certain rights, and that includes babies born to foreign representatives. The Canadian government presides over immigration law, and they make the rules. Provincial governments provide support locally, as well as upholding Canadian law.
“In almost all developing countries, children and young people make up the majority of the population — up to 70 per cent in some cases. If children are to shape the future, we must all strive to ensure that they are aware of their rights and that these rights are observed, protected and safeguarded.”
If a child is born in Canada, that child receives Canadian citizenship. This is true even if the parents are not Canadian citizens. Babies born in Canada automatically become Canadian citizens at birth without the need for any application process.
Howerver, there is one exception to that rule. Under Canadian law, “babies born to foreign representatives in Canada enjoy special status under the Foreign Missions and Organizations Act (FMIA) and are covered by section 3(2) of the Citizenship Act, but do not acquire citizenship by virtue of their birth”.
Parents of babies born in Canada have many rights and responsibilities, and they must be aware of them. It is important to know and follow the law, especially as a foreign representative. There are many government and private agencies that can help.
Registering the Birth
The Office of Protocol is in charge of safeguarding Canada’s image at home and abroad. They protect Canada’s interests globally. This office also acts as a source of information about Canadian law to official visitors and diplomatic corps services, including foreign representatives.
Babies born to foreign representatives must be registered. If a child is born in Canada, the parent must inform their mission or organization of the birth. The organization is then required to notify the Office of Protocol and provide documentation such as the Live Statement of Birth or other relevant evidence.
This must be done within 30 days of the birth. It is not necessary to notify the agency of the birth when the father or mother is a Canadian citizen or Permanent Resident of Canada, because in this case, the child does become a Canadian citizen.
It is necessary, however, for missions and international organizations to submit a request for the accreditation of the newborn as soon as possible, along with a certified copy of the Long Form Birth Certificate.
This should be done as soon as possible after the birth, in order to avoid any difficulties with the parents’ status in Canada as foreign representatives, and to avoid any disruption of privileges and benefits.
Rights and Responsibilities
Babies born to foreign representatives in Canada do not become citizens at birth, but they do have rights. They enjoy special status under the Foreign Missions and Organizations Act (FMIA) and they do not have to leave the country, provided the parents notify The Office of Protocol of the birth.
As with other foreign representatives who are not born in Canada, they may eventually become naturalized citizens. According to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, as long as the residency requirements are met, the child has the same rights as the parents.
Those rights include treatment that is fair and comparable to the treatment of other diplomatic persons, duty and tax exemptions, exceptions and immunities as set out in the FMIA, the right to stay in Canada as long as the parents remain legally, the right to obtain legal representation if there are issues, and access to all rights and privileges outlined in the Geneva Convention.
However, because of their citizenship status, they cannot apply for a Canadian Passport or Canadian Citizenship Card. Although it is important for the individual to have a birth certificate, having a birth certificate issued in Canada is not enough to confer citizenship.
It is important for foreign representatives in Canada to understand their rights and responsibilities, and those of their children who are born in Canada. The organizations for which they work must be aware as well, and in most cases are able to provide resources to help the new parents.
Babies born in Canada to foreign representatives are not citizens, in accordance with the Citizenship Act. The government “reminds heads of Diplomatic Missions, and all heads of international organizations, that babies born in Canada do not become Canadian Citizens even though they have a Birth Certificate”.
Therefore, parents are not eligible to apply for a Canadian Passport or a Canadian Citizenship Card on behalf of their child. Any such application may be treated as fraudulent and prosecuted as such. Foreign representatives should be informed of this by the organization or mission they are representing.
Parents must report any documentation that they received by mistake that states that the child is a Canadian citizen. They should immediately contact the Office of Protocol or their own supporting mission or organization to inquire about where to return any document received in error.
If you need help with any issues regarding your rights under Canadian immigration law, you can contact the Immigration and Citizenship Liaison Officer in the Department’s Office of Protocol. They can help with any concerns regarding the law and your rights. If you want to become a citizen, they should be able to answer questions about that as well.
Sometimes citizenship is denied in error and there is a formal appeal process to handle that. Parents will want to get support with that very complex procedure.
At Birthright Canada, we can provide information and assistance regarding citizenship and immigration for parents who are planning to give birth in Canada. Services are available in many languages. You do not need to go through the rigours of pregnancy and childbirth with uncertainty about citizenship rules. Give us a call, and we will talk to you about your options.