Air-born: Will baby delivered mid-flight get Canadian citizenship?
Published Monday, May 11, 2015 11:02AM EDT
Last Updated Monday, May 11, 2015 11:37PM EDT
A baby born over the Pacific Ocean during a Canada-to-Japan flight could have grounds to become a Canadian citizen, no matter where her parents are from.
Parentage will be the first factor in determining Canadian citizenship for baby Chloe, who was born in international territory, immigration lawyer Kelly Goldthorpe of Green and Spiegel LLP told CTVNews.ca.
Chloe was born mid-flight on an Air Canada aircraft heading to Tokyo from Calgary.
Goldthorpe says, even if both the child's parents were from another country, they could apply to have her declared a Canadian citizen because the aircraft was registered in Canada.
"An application is made for Canadian citizenship and then they would look into it further," she said Monday, explaining that, "The connection to Canada would be either over Canadian soil, Canadian parent or registered Canadian aircraft."
Canadian officials would have to determine the exact coordinates of where the child was born, to ensure it was over international waters, Goldthorpe said.
Citizenship rules differ from country to country, and Goldthorpe could not say whether the child will be given Japanese citizenship. That issue is outside Canadian jurisdiction, she said.
A Citizenship and Immigration Canada spokesperson said Chloe's parents will likely have to apply to have their child declared Canadian.
"In cases like these… CIC can only determine that a person is a Canadian citizen after having received a formal application and supporting documents," CIC spokesperson Remi Lariviere told CTVNews.ca by email.
Babies born in Canadian airspace are automatically extended Canadian citizenship, regardless of parentage.
It happens more often than one might think. Last year, a Qatar Airways flight from Miami to Doha diverted to Gander Airport in Newfoundland when a passenger went into labour. The woman's baby was born in Canadian airspace, before the aircraft touched down, meaning the child could automatically be considered a Canadian citizen.
But those requirements could change in the future, Lariviere said.
"Canada is reviewing citizenship policy with regard to the specific issue of birth on soil or birth tourism," he said, adding that the current rules "depreciate" the value of Canadian citizenship.
Lariviere said Canada's citizenship-by-birth requirements are "inconsistent with other avenues to access Canadian citizenship, which require attachment to Canada."