Vicky Venancio was a temporary foreign worker who came to Canada because she needed to support her parents, both of whom have health problems. One day, while biking to work, Vicky was hit by a car and was left quadriplegic. Although she was entitled to health benefits, her employer, McDonald’s, refused to give these to her, reasoning that because she was on her way to work and was not at work when she was injured, they were not responsible. Vicky was subsequently terminated and had to find other ways to get treatment. Fortunately, a University of Alberta research program allowed her to get free treatment while taking part in their research project. Without this, Vicky would have been left without any way to meet her health needs.
Vicky’s case shows all too well how the Canadian government treats temporary foreign workers. Rather than seeing them as human beings, the Canadian government sees them as disposable commodities. Vicky came here and worked. She paid her taxes, she became part of her community in Edmonton, and she built her life here. In short, she made sure to contribute economically and socially to Canada. And what does Canada do the minute she gets sick? It ignores the manifold contributions she has made and asks her to leave. Even worse, by calling her a ‘burden’ because she was left quadriplegic, the Canadian government also implies that people who are not able-bodied are less human and doesn’t seem to consider that folks with disabilities are also productive members of society.
And if you want to hear Vicky speak, and if you want to learn more about the temporary foreign worker program and issues of global migration, come to our Global Migration Conference. It will be held on Saturday, April 21, from 10 am until 4 pm at the Edmonton Clinical Health Academy (ECHA) building at the University of Alberta. Registration is free, and there will be food. Click here for more info.
Reblog from Ethel Tungohan, Ph.D. http://gradstudentdrone.tumblr.com/