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Giving Birth In Canada As A Permanent Resident

Pregnancy is one of the stressful, life-changing times in a person’s life. Apart from the constant physical and mental transitions that happen during this time, there is the fact that at the end of it all, you will have a brand new human being to take care of.

A lot of pregnant people are so overwhelmed by being pregnant that they don’t spend a lot of time thinking about what happens next. A lot of pregnancy stress can be reduced if you start to make plans for the birth – and the baby – early on. If you are not a citizen of the country you are giving birth in, you may have some extra things to think about.

What Does It Mean To Be A Permanent Resident?

Permanent residents of Canada have the right to live, work, and attend school in Canada, with no restrictions. Permanent resident status does not have an expiration date: you don’t have to apply to get it renewed in the same way you do with a driver’s license.

What this means is that you have the right to health care in Canada, and that includes prenatal care such as doctor’s appointments and ultrasounds, as well as the delivery itself. While each province and territory has its own rules as to how health care is managed, in general the services you will get include the following:

  • All prenatal blood work, lab tests and ultrasounds that are deemed necessary by your doctor
  • Care and hospital stays relating to pregnancy complications
  • Care during labour and delivery, regardless of whether it is a vaginal or Caesarian section birth
  • Postnatal care for both the newborn and the birthing parent
  • Care for the newborn in the neonatal intensive care unit, if needed
  • A hospital bed in a general perinatal ward for 2-3 nights after delivery

Do I Have To Provide Proof Of Permanent Residence To Receive Care?

The only time you have to provide proof of your legal status in Canada is when you apply for health care services in the province or territory you live in. If you meet the eligibility criteria – meaning you have legal status as a permanent resident and that your primary home is in the province or territory you are applying in – you will receive a health card. You will be required to present this card any time you access health care services.

What Citizenship Will The Baby Have?

Canada has birthright citizenship. This means that all babies born on Canadian soil automatically receive Canadian citizenship, regardless of the citizenship or legal status of the parents. The only exception to this is babies born in Canada to foreign diplomats, who instead become citizens of the countries their parents are representing.

Will I Receive Documentation Of My Child’s Citizenship?

After the birth of your baby, you will be able to apply for long-form and short-form birth certificates for your child, as well as a provincial health card. The birth certificate will serve as proof of citizenship over the course of your child’s life. The hospital you are giving birth at will tell you how to apply for all of the documentation you need.

childs citizenshipAre Permanent Residents Entitled To Parental Leave?

Anyone who is legally living and working in Canada is entitled to pregnancy and parental leave. If you have worked for at least 600 hours during the previous year, you are likely to be eligible for payments from the federal Employment Insurance fund. Your payments will not match your regular salary, but some employers in Canada will pay you a top-up amount.

The leave allowance is divided as follows:

  • 15 weeks of leave are allocated exclusively to the birthing parent who is unable to work due to pregnancy and childbirth.
  • 35 weeks of parental leave can be taken by the biological, adoptive, or legally recognized parents. This time can be shared by both parents.
  • Extended parental leave is available for a maximum of 61 weeks. This can be shared by both parents. The payout from the Employment Insurance fund is reduced during the extended parental leave.

You have the right to all these forms of leave if you are a citizen, a permanent resident, or a foreign worker with a temporary resident permit.

What If The Baby Is Born Outside Of Canada?

A baby born outside of Canada to a Canadian permanent resident is not entitled to Canadian citizenship, unless the other parent is a Canadian citizen. The citizenship of the baby is determined by the laws of the country the baby is born in. If you plan to continue living in Canada, you will have to apply for permanent resident status for your child. Fortunately, Canada has some of the friendliest immigration policies in the world. As long as you have legal permanent resident status and meet the residency requirements, you will be able to sponsor your child’s application.

A Possibility Of Dual Citizenship

Depending on your nationality, your baby may be entitled to dual citizenship. This is allowed under Canadian law – you just have to check the rules of the country you are a citizen of.  In most cases, you will have to register your child’s birth with the appropriate government.

Support For Permanent Residents Who Are Pregnant

Pregnancy can be stressful, especially if you are a new arrival in a country where you don’t have a support system or an idea of how things work. At Birthright Canada, we believe that pregnant people should never feel alone. We are here to offer you guidance and support, to tell you how and where to find resources and services for yourself and your baby. Whether you want information about your options, or you need to know how to access prenatal care, or you simply need someone to talk to, give us a call and allow us to be part of your journey.

Pregnancy can be scary, but it does not have to be. We will ease some of your stress through this journey.

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