Paralyzed Filipina temporary foreign worker ordered to leave country, asks for compassion

By on February 18, 2015


Filipina temporary foreign worker Maria Victoria Venancio (screenshot from CTV News footage)
Filipina temporary foreign worker Maria Victoria Venancio (screenshot from CTV News footage)

EDMONTON — A disabled temporary foreign worker from the Philippines has been ordered to leave Canada but is asking that she be allowed to stay on humanitarian grounds.

Maria Venancio was paralyzed in June 2011 when she was riding her bike to work and was hit by a car.

She’s been issued an exclusion order, which means she must leave the country for at least a year.

A decision about her removal is to be determined at a future hearing before the Canadian Border Services Agency.

Chris Bataluk, Venancio’s lawyer, says she has filed an application to be allowed to stay in Canada as a permanent resident.

He says Venancio wouldn’t get the same kind of health care treatment in the Philippines.

“She is working with her doctors and the 1/8University of Alberta 3/8 here and actually making some tremendous progress in her mobility,” Bataluk said Monday.

“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.”

Venancio said she was originally told by a doctor that she wouldn’t be able to walk again.

“But still right now I’m able to move around on my own, and I’m starting to be more independent,” she said. “Even though I’m in a wheelchair, I’m still hoping and trying to still help my family.”

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

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.