RED DEER, Alta—A temporary foreign worker severely injured when he was shot during an attempted robbery three years ago no longer has to leave Canada and return to the Philippines this summer.
Jaysen Aracon Reyes, who is 28, says he is happy that he was recently granted a new three-year work permit by Citizenship and Immigration Canada.
Reyes came to Red Deer, Alta., in May 2013 under a two-year temporary foreign worker permit to work at a gas station.
But that September, a would-be robber fired a sawed-off shotgun into his face.
Reyes suffered permanent injuries, underwent numerous surgeries and has needed psychological counselling for trauma and depression.
The man who shot Reyes was sentenced to nine years in prison.
Reyes was unable to work after the shooting, so was granted a temporary visitor visa that was to expire Aug. 30. But an immigration officer contacted Reyes after his story appeared in the media.
Reyes said he was hoping to be granted permanent residency on humanitarian and compassionate grounds. He would eventually like to become a Canadian citizen.
He also wants to get back to work, probably in Cochrane, Alta., where he now lives, but his doctor recently decided to perform one more surgery on his left hand. The doctor at the Foothills Hospital in Calgary also removed another shotgun pellet near Reyes’s right eye. The worker says he still has nine pellets in his face.
His physical injuries include damage to an eye, the loss of a thumb on one hand and a finger on the other, facial scars and arm deformities. He had raised his hands to protect himself as the thief pointed and fired the gun at his face.
Reyes continues to receive physical therapy in Calgary four days a week. He hopes to be working again in about two months.
He said he is very bored and frustrated, but is working to put the “bad memories” behind him.
Reyes had come to Canada to work and send home money to help his mother and siblings. He said he will do that again once he gets back to work.