A woman from the Philippines who came to Canada as a temporary foreign worker is worried she will be sent home after car crash left her a quadriplegic.
The 29-year-old, who wants CBC to identify her as “Andrea” instead of using her real name, came to Canada in 2011. She was struck by a car two years ago while she was biking to her job at McDonald's.
The crash left Andrea unable to walk, meaning she could no longer work. She is so heartbroken by what happened that she hasn’t been able to tell some of her family in the Philippines.
"My mother right now, she doesn't have any idea,” she said. “It's been almost three years, what happened to me."
Andrea’s disability has also affected her status in Canada. Her visa wasn’t renewed because she can no longer work. And since she is in Canada illegally, she has no medical coverage.
Andrea is enrolled in a research program at the University of Alberta, where she is able to get free physical therapy.
Though she will always need to use a wheelchair, therapists believe Andrea could walk short distances with crutches.
"She's looking at hundreds — maybe more than that — possibly thousands of hours of therapy to get from where she is now to being able to walk around,” said physiotherapist Donna Livingstone.
Andrea said there aren’t as many supports available for disabled people in the Philippines. So she worries about what will happen if she is sent back.
She has made one last effort to stay in Canada — applying for permanent residency on "humanitarian and compassionate grounds"
If the government approves her application, Andrea said she would like to go to university and become a social worker.