Paralyzed Edmonton temporary foreign worker seeks permanent residency

A Temporary Foreign Worker who was paralyzed in a collision is facing deportation because she can't work, Monday, Feb. 16, 2015. Global News

EDMONTON – A disabled temporary foreign worker is facing the possibility of being forced to leave Canada after a collision left her paralyzed and unable to work.

Maria Venancio was paralyzed from the chest down after being hit by a vehicle while riding her bike to work in June 2011.

On Monday morning, she was joined by her supporters for a preliminary hearing, where an exclusion order was issued.

The decision about her removal from the country will be determined at a later hearing with the Canadian Border Services Agency.

Venancio’s lawyer says she has filed an application for humanitarian and compassionate status, which would allow her to stay in Canada as a permanent resident.

“She is working with her doctors and the [University of Alberta] here and actually making some tremendous progress in her mobility,” explained Chris Bataluk, Venancio’s lawyer.
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“She’s told me recently she’s been able to stand on her own, which from when we dealt with her car accident a few years ago was almost unimaginable.”

Bataluk and Venancio argue she wouldn’t make the same progress if she was to return to the Philippines, where the level of health care isn’t as high.

“When the doctor told me that I couldn’t walk anymore, I’m just going to be like a dead vegetable, but still right now I’m able to move around on my own, and I’m starting to be more independent,” said Venancio.

Venancio was a contracted employee with McDonald’s. Her contract entitled her to some medical benefits which she said she did not receive. Her lawyer said they will be seeking compensation from the franchise.

“Even though I’m in a wheelchair, I’m still hoping and trying to still help my family,” said Venancio.

It’s uncertain when Venancio will find out whether she’ll be allowed to stay in Canada or if she’ll be forced to return to the Philippines.


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