Alberta Politician Says Deporting Paralyzed Worker Would be Inhumane

February 19, 2015 Updated: February 19, 2015

EDMONTON — An Alberta Tory backbencher says more needs to be done to help a temporary foreign worker who has been ordered out of Canada after being paralyzed in a road accident.

Thomas Lukaszuk says forcing Maria Venancio to return to her native Philippines because she can’t work would be “inhumane” and “un-Canadian.”

In 2011, Venancio was struck by a car while biking to her job at an Edmonton McDonald’s.

Since then, Venancio has technically been in Canada illegally since the rules of the TFW program state that if she can’t work, she must return to the Philippines.

Venancio’s lawyer says her contract with McDonald’s entitled her to some medical benefits, but he says she did not receive them so they are looking for compensation from the fast-food franchise.

Lukaszuk says she’s getting free treatment through a research program at the University of Alberta Hospital, but because she doesn’t have an Alberta Health Care number, she isn’t covered for diagnostic tests such as MRIs.

“These doctors are treating her somewhat in the dark, not being able to do what they would do for you and me,” says Lukaszuk.

Venancio’s lawyer, Chris Bataluk, says she would not get the same medical care in her native Philippines and adds that because she comes from a rural area, getting around in a wheelchair or getting a job there would be difficult.

Venancio has applied to become a permanent resident, with her future now in the hands of the Canada Border Services Agency. A date for that hearing has not yet been set.