Injured Temporary Foreign Worker Likely To Be Sent Home

By Marwa Badra | February 18, 2015

Certified Immigration Consultant Marwa Badra: This is a sad story that won’t make your day, but it does bring up the interesting subject of temporary foreign workers and health care:

Maria Victoria Venancio was typical of most of the temporary foreign workers who come to Canada in their early 20s. She was looking for stable work in a comfortable country where she might one day be able to settle her family.

So she took up a job at an Edmonton-area McDonald’s in 2011, and even appeared to be on the track to management when, one day, she was clipped by a car while commuting to work on her bicycle.

Now the 29-year-old woman is a quadriplegic. Because she’s not a citizen, she has limited access to health care. And because she can’t work, she is facing deportation.

“I can still use my arm, I can still use a computer and I can still talk. I’m thinking, if they give me a chance to stay I can still work, or I can still study,” she told the National Post on Monday, hours after a Citizenship and Immigration hearing declared she had no status — reprieve on compassionate and humanitarian grounds is still being considered.

It is certainly a sad and unfortunate situation. My heart goes out to her. However, from an immigration point of view, I do not believe that she should be allowed to stay in the country. She was admitted as a temporary worker to the Canada and if she is no longer to able to perform the job she was hired for, she must return to her home country. That is the way the rules work, though I could perhaps see it differently if her injury was job related.Regardless, immigration officials are taking into account two things: 1) that she was here on a temporary work permit and 2) the cost of her health care to the Canadian tax payer.

While a decision to deny someone’s ability to stay in or come to Canada on health grounds may sound heartless, it’s a decision that Canadian immigration officials make all the time. Even in regards to children, there can sometimes be difficulties.
Having said all of this, I think temporary foreign workers should be told to buy private medical/disability insurance when they apply for work permits. This would be similar to what immigrant parents do under the Super Visa program. Buying such private insurance could save someone a lot of grief down the line.
While the article does point out that the woman may seek relief on humanitarian and compassionate grounds, I am doubtful that this will work. Right or wrong, I believe this woman will be sent home.