Planning to have your baby in Canada or just curious about costs? Every labor and child delivery in Canada is different. While many deliveries might occur without complications, others require the use of special techniques to lessen the risks to both mother and/or child or address any foreseen complications.
Canada’s world-class public healthcare system is open to all Canadians. This usually comes in form of a state-funded Medicare system, hence, the cost of childbirth is covered depending on if it is a public or private ward. To access the healthcare system in Canada, tourists, visitors, and non-residents will have to pay if they are uninsured.
Childbirth – An Overview
Around the world, about 385,000 babies are born daily, totaling about 140 million babies each year! Childbirth can be done in various ways depending on the medical condition and physiology of the mother and the unborn child.
Vaginal delivery is the most common and safest form of childbirth but it might not be advisable for some women, hence, the need for alternatives like – vacuum delivery and cesarean delivery (C-section).
Vacuum delivery involves having a plastic cup attached to the baby’s head by suction and the baby is gently pulled out from the birth canal. C-sections on the other hand, involve cutting open the mother’s stomach and is usually done when any of the following situations occur:
- The baby is not in the head-down position
- Distress case
- The baby is too large to pass through the pelvis
Canadian parents are eligible for both maternity and paternity benefits, that is if they have worked for at least 600 hours in the previous year. There is an 18-month parental leave option that allows a parent to receive up to 33% of their regular weekly earnings, or a 12-month option that give parent 55% of their regular weekly earnings.
Childbirth in Canada
Canada is a developed country with excellent health care. Its citizens enjoy major health benefits and childbirth is one of them. Canada is also one of the few developed countries that allow ‘Baby Tourism’ or ‘Birth Tourism’.
In fact, besides the United States of America, Canada is the only other G7 country that grants birthright citizenship. That is, non-citizens can travel to the country to have a child and go back to their country afterward.
This automatically makes any child born in Canada a Canadian citizen. This child will have rights to all of the benefits that Canadian citizens enjoy such as; free health care services and free education.
Also, by the time the child is 18 years old, he/she can choose to sponsor his parents and have them live in the country as permanent residents. This all sounds amazing and can be easily done if you follow due process.
Cost of Childbirth in Canada For Citizens
The Canadian healthcare system is publicly funded. This means citizens and permanent residents have free access to the system. For citizens, the cost of childbirth is free but can cost between a few hundred to a few thousands of Canadian dollars for a private ward, home delivery, or C-section.
Below is the breakdown of the cost:
Prenatal visit and care
Birth and delivery in the hospital
C-section in the hospital
Home birth delivery with delivery
Cost of Childbirth in Canada For Non-Citizens
According to the Canadian Citizenship Act– paragraph 3 (1) (a), any individual born in Canada are Canadian citizens regardless of their parent’s status.
This Act, however, excludes children of foreign diplomats. Before moving to the cost of childbirth in Canada for non-citizens, there are certain processes you must take into account. They include;
- Visa Application
- Having your child (Documents needed)
- Cost of Having a child
- Registration of your child’s birth
If you want to have a child in Canada, you will get the medical care that you need. However, the Canadian healthcare system won’t cover the costs. The cost of childbirth for non-citizens in Canada is based on several factors, some of which include:
- Cost per province in Canada
- Medical facility – hospital vs. mid-wives
- Delivery type – Normal delivery vs. Caesarean section
In Canada, having a child as a non-citizen without international insurance can be quite expensive. The table below shows the breakdown of the cost:
Average costs with international insurance or Medicare
Average costs without insurance
Prenatal fetal screening
Antenatal care, one visit
Vaginal delivery at a hospital
0 – 1,000
5,000 – 8,000
Caesarean section at a hospital
0 – 1,000
10,000 – 12,000
Home delivery with a midwife
860 – 2,500
The total cost ranges from C$18000-C$23000. This is not including the cost of traveling and accommodation, feeding, and miscellaneous costs. In the end, you might spend up to C$30000 or more for the entire childbirth journey.
However, in provinces like British Columbia where birth tourism is well developed, some agents offer a package of services for pregnant women (non-citizens). This package includes midwife services, three-month accommodation including a month after birth.
This however does not include feeding and prenatal care. The cost for this package is about C$25000 and with the addition of round-trip flight, food, and other unforeseen costs, it might cost over C$30000. In Provinces like Quebec, it might be lower.
Visa Application for Non-Citizen
Baby tourism is quite popular in Canada as it is one of the few developed countries that give access to automatic citizenship regardless of the parent’s citizenship or residency status.
Baby tourism is legal and a tourist visa has to be issued to intending parents. Bear in mind that the expectant mother might be denied a visa without any reason.
Therefore, it is important to have all documentation to support her intention to return to her home country. Also, she has to show her financial solvency.
A Tourist Visa will be easier to get by an expectant mother if she provides a paycheck for services and a letter from the doctor who will birth the baby. Once, the application has been approved, you can go on to make travel preparations.
The procedure and what is allowed is not quite different from the regular tourist visa except that the sole purpose is for childbirth. This visa is temporary; hence you cannot stay permanently, apply for citizenship or Canadian issued documents.
It is only valid for 6 months or less. Note that it does not allow an expectant mother to claim medical and social benefits given to Canadian citizens.
There are several steps you must follow in your application process, among which are:
- Confirm eligibility for the aim of giving birth
- Submit the required document for a Canada visa for giving birth
- Send in your application
- Wait for processing and response
- Send your passport for stamping
It is advisable to state that you are pregnant in your declaration letter. Also, in the forms where you are asked if you have a medical condition, the answer should be “NO” because according to the Canadian Government, pregnancy does not qualify as a medical condition. After your document has been submitted, you can then proceed to pay the visa application fee and your application will be submitted.
Document Required to Birth a Child in Canada
To have your child in Canada, you will need certain documents when you go to the hospital. They are;
- Your birth plans
- Your medical records (if they are available)
- Healthcare/Insurance cards
- Passport and Visa
- Social Insurance Number (if applicable)
Registration of Your Child’s Birth in Canada
There is no one-size-fits-all process for the registration of your child’s birth in Canada. The process varies by province so you would have to check with the local authorities for more information on the registration process.
For example, in Ontario, your child’s birth must be registered within the first 30 days after birth. After registration of your child’s birth per the provincial law, you will apply for a long-form birth certificate as proof of your child’s Canadian citizenship.
Afterward, you can apply for your child’s Canadian passport. You will need the following to apply:
- Completion of an application form
- Proof of your child’s Canadian citizenship
- Two passport photos
- Proof of parentage/legal guardianship
- A guarantor
- Payment of applicable fees
After going through the above-mentioned application process, your document will be sent to the Canadian Government for evaluation.
Hospital Stay for New Moms in Canada
Whether as a citizen or non-citizen, the average stay at the hospital after childbirth for new moms in Canada is 2-3 days (for vaginal delivery) and may extend to 4 days if the birth was through a C-section.
You may want to take your prenatal medical records, extra comfort items, toiletries, and clothes for you and the baby for your stay in the hospital.
All odds seem to be in favor of Canadian citizens are they spend little to no fund as regards childbirth in Canada. But for a non-citizen, you might have to break the bank to afford the cost of childbirth in Canada, especially if you are without international insurance.
On the bright side, your child automatically becomes a Canadian citizen and enjoys all of the child benefits that indigenous citizens enjoy. This, however, doesn’t make you a citizen but when your child is 18, he/she can invite you over and you become a permanent citizen (a long-term benefit).
As a non-citizen, you might want to carefully consider your financial situation before you decide to have a child in Canada.