Injured Temporary Foreign Worker Granted Second Chance At Life In Canada

July 27, 2015 News
Vicky Venancio was injured months after arriving in Canada has been given permission to stay, and work, in Canada.

Vicky Venancio was injured months after arriving in Canada has been given permission to stay, and work, in Canada.

A temporary foreign worker in Edmonton has been given a second chance at life in Canada after a traffic accident in 2012 left her paralyzed and facing deportation to the Philippines.

Vicky Venancio, 29, has been granted a two-year work permit by the federal government, allowing her to live and work in Canada while her application to stay permanently on compassionate and humanitarian grounds is processed.

“It’s a good opportunity and I’m very grateful for that,” she told CTV Edmonton. “It’s been a while that we’re fighting for it and its really good news.”

Venancio came to Canada from the Philippines as a temporary foreign worker in 2011. One year later, she was struck by a car while riding her bike to work and suffered a severe spinal cord injury.

While she has regained limited use of her arms and legs, Venancio has been diagnosed as a quadriplegic and relies on a wheelchair and a walker for mobility.

The injury left her unable to perform her job. As a result, Venancio lost her status as a temporary foreign worker, her health benefits were cut off, and she was told she’d have to return to the Philippines.

Venancio has spent the last three years fighting the decision.

“I wanted to prove to Canada that I’m not a burden and that I can contribute something for our society,” she said. “If I’m in the Philippines, I wouldn’t get this progress that I have right now on my physio and, at the same time, the freedom.”

Tim Uppal, the Minister of State for Multiculturalism, gave Venancio the good news in person on Friday.

“I really wanted to be able to sit down with her and give her the good news that she doesn’t have to worry about being asked to leave the country,” he said.

Uppal is also the MP for the riding of Edmonton-Sherwood Park.

While Venancio’s case is unique, Uppal said she isn’t being given special treatment.

“This is really the (federal) government doing the right thing, doing the fair thing,” he said.

The Alberta government only provides health coverage to temporary foreign workers for as long as they have valid work visas.

Since Venancio’s work permit was not renewed following her injury, the province said there was nothing it could do to provide her with health coverage.

Instead she has been receiving her desperately-needed medical treatment and physiotherapy as part of an independent research project at the University of Alberta.

With Uppal’s help, Venancio is hoping the province will restore her health benefits now that she has a new work permit.

In the meantime, Venancio is hoping to find a job that accommodates her disability.

“At least now…I am able to work contribute something for our society and be useful in Canada,” she said.

Source: CTV Edmonton