News / Edmonton

Edmonton temporary foreign worker faces deportation after car crash left her in wheelchair

A 29-year old temporary foreign worker left paralyzed in a horrific car crash now faces deportation because she can’t return to work.

Maria Victoria Venancio came to Canada in 2011 to work at a McDonalds and while cycling to work in 2012 was hit by a car. The collision left her a quadriplegic, but she has since regained the use of her arms.

She said it would be extremely difficult to return home.

“The Philippines is not too accessible and I don’t want to remove what I have gained here, being independent,” she said.

At a hearing Monday, her deportation status was confirmed, but she won’t be deported unless she loses an appeal at a second hearing later this year.

Venancio wants to stay in Canada and retrain for a new career.

“I am hoping and praying they can still give me an opportunity to stay here,” she said.

She said not knowing if she will be able to stay has been extremely stressful.

“Since the day I received the papers, I have been worried about it. I couldn’t sleep,” she said.

She said her family misses her, but they know Canada is a better place for her now.

Venancio's lawyer, Chris Bataluk, said Monday they expected to have the deportation order confirmed, but they hope an appeal will allow her to stay on compassionate grounds.

He said her first prognosis was much worse, but through hard work she has been able to regain some independence and he would hate to see that lost.

“She's becoming more independent and here in Canada, where we have things we take for granted like paved streets and DATS buses, she has an opportunity to progress,” he said.

Alberta MLA Thomas Lukaszuk joined the group of supporters who came for the hearing and said it shows that the temporary foreign worker program has flaws that need to be addressed.

“It needs a massive revamp. It needs to account for circumstances like this one,” he said. “The system is not actually accommodating that human dynamic.“

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