Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Migrant Workers Who Survived Crash That Killed 11 Others Want to Stay in Canada

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Migrant Workers Who Survived Crash That Killed 11 Others Want to Stay in Canada

Article excerpt

Injured migrant workers want to stay

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TORONTO - Eight months after their bodies were mangled in a horrific crash that killed 11 people in southern Ontario, two Peruvian migrant workers said they hope to stay in Canada even if lingering injuries and debilitating pain keep them permanently on the sidelines.

Juan Ariza and Javier Abelardo Alba-Medina were among 13 poultry farm workers in a van that drove through a stop sign and into the path of a freightliner truck in the rural community of Hampstead, northeast of Stratford, on Feb. 6.

Ten workers from the van and the truck driver were killed in one of the province's deadliest collisions.

Speaking Tuesday with the help of an interpreter, Ariza and Alba-Medina said they are still undergoing treatment for their injuries and worry about their fate once their visas run out, particularly if they remain unable to work.

"It worries me a lot," Ariza, 35, whose visa expires in February of next year, said in Spanish.

"In the state that we find ourselves in, we would be a burden to our families, our country."

Alba-Medina, 38, said they haven't heard from federal officials regarding their immigration status, but advocacy groups are providing legal support to help them navigate the system.

His visa won't run out until February 2014, but he said the thought of leaving is disheartening.

"We've fought so hard to overcome all these struggles and then to go back to our country only to have all the little opportunities we've worked so hard to accomplish through rehabilitation taken away from us because of the circumstances surrounding injured workers like us back home," he said through the interpreter.

Several rounds of surgery for the pair have helped repair the damage caused by the collision, but both still rely on canes and painkillers to get them through the day, they said.

Both men have been living in a nursing home in London, Ont., while they undergo daily physiotherapy and counselling.

Their health-care expenses have been covered by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board through provincial health insurance. …

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