Jul 17, 2024

Evangeline Cayanan and daughter McKenna Rose. Photo from Migrante Alberta.

April 16, 2023 - The fight to stay has been won by a woman from the Philippines who lost her status as a temporary foreign worker and faced deportation along with her Canadian-born daughter.

 On April 6 this year, Evangeline Cayanan received word from Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) that she has been granted permanent residency status, ending an eight-year struggle for the right to remain in the country.

 With this development, the Edmonton-based mother and her seven-year-old daughter McKenna Rose can now begin to build a better life for themselves.

 “My issue is not unique. There are many more like myself in the same situation. While I truly appreciate the good news about the application, I hope the government will also look into the rest of five hundred thousand undocumented migrants,” Cayanan said in a statement.

An account by the Alberta chapter of the migrant-advocacy group Migrante recalled that Cayanan lost her status as a temporary foreign worker in 2015 because of “abusive employers”. 

“While trying to pursue pathways for her to stay, Vangie gave birth to her lovely daughter McKenna Rose,” the group related.

Her child was later diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD), needing special attention.

Meanwhile, Cayanan became an active volunteer in the community, joining Migrante Alberta.

“In 2016, Vangie along with her organization started the McKenna Rose campaign, a public campaign for Canadian born children of undocumented parents to access healthcare in Alberta,” Migrante Alberta recalled. 

“It was a successful campaign that since 2017, many other children are benefitting from it to this day. Through that work she received a Human Rights Award from the John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights.”

Cayanan was supported in her fight by the law firm Nanda & Company.

“My lawyer Manraj Sidhu and his team worked tirelessly on my behalf to fight my case and prevent me from being unfairly forced out,” Cayanan said in the statement.

Sidhu, for his part, commended Cayanan for her “perseverance and patience”.

Cayanan also thanked Randy Boissonnault and Blake Desjarlais, Members of Parliament for Edmonton Centre and Edmonton Griesbach, respectively, for advocating on her behalf.

In the same statement, Migrante Alberta noted that the success of Cayanan’s case is a “clear indication that with the right legal representation and strong support from the community, individuals can overcome even the most daunting immigration challenges”.

An April 7, 2023 report by CBC recalled that Cayanan first came to Canada in 2010 as a temporary foreign worker. She spent a brief time in Ontario and moved to Edmonton in 2011.

“She lost her status after she reported two employers for alleged abuse, including unsafe working conditions, harassment and discrimination,” CBC journalist Wallis Snowdon reported.

Cayanan became undocumented in 2015. In the same year, her daughter McKenna Rose was born. 

"I can finally breathe … because I have been living in the shadows," Cayanan told CBC.

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