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Episode 22: Caring Competence: American Expat Linsey Jorn Talks About Moving To Canada

Podcast posted on by Evelyn Ackah in Podcast

Episode 22: Caring Competence: American Expat Linsey Jorn Talks About Moving To Canada

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Canada business immigration lawyer Evelyn Ackah spoke to American expat and Ackah Law client Linsey Jorn about why she moved to Canada, and what it's like to move to Canada from the United States.

Linsey and Evelyn discuss her families immigration success story:

  • The tragedy that made Linsey and her family decide to move to Canada
  • Why did they choose to move to Kelowna, Canada?
  • Why Linsey left her 1st lawyer and instead hire Evelyn Ackah at Ackah Business Immigration Law to manage her immigration application?
  • How long it took to get their application approved
  • Applying to attend school in Canada
  • Starting a business in Canada and hiring Canadian employees
  • The most important quality in hiring an immigration lawyer
  • Living in Kelowna versus living in Colorado
  • NAFTA intercompany executive transfer
  • Dual American / Canadian citizenship
  • Making friends and how Canadians are different from Americans

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HOW TO MOVE TO CANADA: A GUIDE FOR AMERICANS LOOKING NORTH

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For more information on immigration to Canada or the United States, contact Ackah Business Immigration today at (403) 452‑9515 Ext. 100 or 1-800-932-1190 or email us directly at contact@ackahlaw.com.

Transcript

Evelyn Ackah:

Hello everyone, this is Evelyn Ackah from Ackah Business Immigration Law on our Ask Immigration Podcast.

I'm so excited today because I have one of my favorite clients. It's the first time I'm doing a client interview for my podcast, and I have the lovely Linsey Jorn joining me from Kelowna. Welcome!

Linsey Jorn:

Thank you for having me.

Evelyn Ackah:

Thanks for doing this. I really appreciate it. So I want to ask you a bunch of questions. I want to know all about how you got to Canada, but let's talk first a little bit about your background. Obviously, you have a family business that you and your husband operate and you were settled, living in Colorado. What happened? What changed your mind to make you think about Canada?

Linsey Jorn:

Right. Yeah. So we were pretty much living our best life in Colorado, like you said. Everything was settled, things were good. And the main catalyst was there was gun violence at our son's school.

Evelyn Ackah:

Wow.

Linsey Jorn:

Yeah. And one child was killed and multiple suffered injuries and it shook us and it shook the community.

Evelyn Ackah:

Yup.

Linsey Jorn:

Our goal was to just find a way to feel safe again, have our kids be going to school, trying to resume some kind of normalcy.

Evelyn Ackah:

And it must have been hard. That's a lot of trauma and shock, and then with children, how you as parents process, and how kids are processing to make that decision. That's a serious commitment though, Linsey, because a lot of parents would just be like, "Let's go find you a therapist or let's change schools," you decided to change countries.

Linsey Jorn:

Yes. And I realize it's not something that everybody can choose.

Evelyn Ackah:

Yeah.

Linsey Jorn:

It happened to be an option for us. My husband had been hearing about Kelowna for decades actually from people he'd worked with, people he'd sold cars to. And so, it was on our radar as a place that we wanted to visit eventually, someday.

Evelyn Ackah:

Yes.

Linsey Jorn:

And I think the prevailing feeling was just that there's been such a political gridlock in the United States regarding guns and gun safety, and it's a touchy subject and it seems to be stagnant. And so, we just felt like, who's really going to help the situation? And we felt like the answer was no one really.

Evelyn Ackah:

No one, yeah. I think you're right.

Linsey Jorn:

Yeah.

Evelyn Ackah:

It's so politicized, and there's no rational discussion really about it.

Linsey Jorn:

Right.

Evelyn Ackah:

It's very polarizing. So you make the decision that you're moving to Canada. So give me some sense of timeframe then for you. How long did it take after lots of discussions and did you decide, "Okay, how am I going to get there?" And I know I wasn't your first lawyer, but I am your best lawyer.

Linsey Jorn:

You are our best lawyer, sure.

Evelyn Ackah:

But how you decided you were going to come.

Linsey Jorn:

Yeah. So the shooting that we experienced happened May 7th of 2019.

Evelyn Ackah:

Okay.

Linsey Jorn:

I believe May 9th we decided that we were going to move.

Evelyn Ackah:

Wow.

Linsey Jorn:

It was that impactful.

Evelyn Ackah:

Yup.

Linsey Jorn:

And so, we did find someone, we did find some counsel and our goal is to get to Canada and have the kids start a new school year here.

Evelyn Ackah:

Yes.

Linsey Jorn:

And that starts here in September.

Evelyn Ackah:

Yup.

Linsey Jorn:

And so, it was a bit unrealistic to think that we could actually get here that quickly because it was about three months.

Evelyn Ackah:

Yeah.

Linsey Jorn:

We landed here August 4th.

Evelyn Ackah:

Yes.

Linsey Jorn:

So I decided to go back to school at Okanagan College here, in their audio engineering program.

Evelyn Ackah:

I remember. You came to school, and then your family was able to come with you. That was the plan. That was the only option you got from your previous counsel. I don't understand that. How was that?

Linsey Jorn:

And so, we submitted everything that they asked, they submitted our application and it was denied.

Evelyn Ackah:

Oh my God.

Linsey Jorn:

So at that point, and then that previous counsel suggested that we just wait. And that didn't sit right with my husband or myself.

Evelyn Ackah:

Yup.

Linsey Jorn:

And so, we actually have legal counsel in Jacksonville where our company is headquartered and we said, "Hey, do you know anyone that we might talk to about immigrating to Canada?" And they gave us your name.

Evelyn Ackah:

That's so great.

Linsey Jorn:

Thank goodness.

Evelyn Ackah:

Thank God.

Linsey Jorn:

So we got on the phone with you and you gave us hope. We were so deflated before we talked to you.

Evelyn Ackah:

I know. I remember that. Yeah. I remember just thinking, "These people are packed. They're ready. Everything is... And they're waiting."

Linsey Jorn:

We were ready to come.

Evelyn Ackah:

Yeah.

Linsey Jorn:

And I remember you said, "There's no real reason that an American citizen would be denied schooling opportunities here in Canada."

Evelyn Ackah:

Yeah. If you've been accepted to a school, you can show you can pay it, why is your application refused? I didn't understand it.

Linsey Jorn:

Yes. And that's exactly what we had done. I had fully paid for my time in school. We had a lease here that we had already paid on. It was set. So we ended up still trudging ahead. You and your team put together our application in all of its completeness, which we figured out hadn't really previously been done, and we drove to the border and I knew that I could reach you-

Evelyn Ackah:

Yes, you did.

Linsey Jorn:

... by text or phone, that you'd be there for us, and it was a beautiful, easy experience.

Evelyn Ackah:

I was so happy. I remember when you guys got through, I was like, "Yes." And it happens every day. We get all excited when our clients get through, but we expect it, but we always know there's a small chance who you get could be somebody who doesn't know the law, or low level, less knowledge, or just a jerk having a tough day. Right? So there's always that room for some discretion. So there's always the joy at the end when our clients are approved. So then you came in and that was it. You started school? Kind of sort of, maybe?

Linsey Jorn:

I started school. Getting here August 4th, the kids really had a whole month to settle in, feel like Canada was going to start being their home before they even started school, and that was just, it was fantastic.

Evelyn Ackah:

I remember. And then, I remember saying, Why are you studying when you really don't want to be studying, and you guys have a family business? And so you have options." And so, we started talking about the NAFTA intercompany executive transfer for your husband, and then we prepared an intercompany work permit application for him.

Evelyn Ackah:

And then, he was approved, and then, because we set up your company and everything else, then your husband got a work permit, and then you didn't have to go to school anymore and you got your open spousal work permit, right?

Linsey Jorn:

That's right. Yeah. I completed that. The company transferred for him in November, 2019. And then we had his work permit. I was able to wrap up at school and say goodbye and start working again. It was fantastic.

Evelyn Ackah:

Oh my God. And then, COVID hit. So how has it been since you've settled into Kelowna? So what have you been doing with the business? Because I know your husband, you were even looking at employees, and office space, and all these other things. What developments happened with Remora?

Linsey Jorn:

Yeah, it's been great here. So far, we have two full-time Canadian employees.

Evelyn Ackah:

Wow.

Linsey Jorn:

Those are fantastic people.

Evelyn Ackah:

Good.

Linsey Jorn:

We're looking for a third and are in interview processes now. It's been wonderful.

Evelyn Ackah:

That's great. Did you get an office space or is everyone... Before COVID, do you have an office space?

Linsey Jorn:

Yes. We have a-

Evelyn Ackah:

You talked about sharing space or something, right?

Linsey Jorn:

Yes. coLab in downtown Kelowna.

Evelyn Ackah:

coLab, yup. Great.

Linsey Jorn:

Which is actually where we've met some fantastic people and people that we've hired.

Evelyn Ackah:

Awesome.

Linsey Jorn:

And they have a nice protocol there so we're still able to go into the office as needed. We've also been fortunate that we can conduct business over Zoom and we're really, we're software-based anyways.

Evelyn Ackah:

Exactly.

Linsey Jorn:

So it's been fine.

Evelyn Ackah:

Good. And the kids, are they in school? But now, with COVID, are they also at home?

Linsey Jorn:

Well, no, they're actually at school. Interior health hasn't been as affected, the interior health regions, so we have very low numbers.

Evelyn Ackah:

Awesome.

Linsey Jorn:

There's lots of protocols in the schools, everyone follows. And the contact tracing here is second to none, in my opinion.

Evelyn Ackah:

Wow.

Linsey Jorn:

I feel like they're very thorough.

Evelyn Ackah:

Like you're in the safest place in Canada.

Linsey Jorn:

That's how it feels. I can't-

Evelyn Ackah:

For real. Because it's never been now, right now, in Calgary, it's going bad. And the GVRD, where my family's from, it's going bad again. So you guys are in a sheltered nook.

Linsey Jorn:

It does feel a bit like a little bubble.

Evelyn Ackah:

I love it. I love it. Good. So tell us about the process on the client perspective. I always like to hear, how did the process feel? Did you feel with working with Ackah Law that you were getting what you needed? We always want to improve what we can do. So from email updates, forms, calls whenever needed, what was the experience like? And is there anything that made it different for you or that we could have improved?

Linsey Jorn:

I would say there's no improvement that I could give.

Evelyn Ackah:

Oh, you are my favorite client.

Linsey Jorn:

Well, one of the things that you had told me about was what's the most important quality in choosing a lawyer, and hiring a lawyer? And caring competence is the phrase that came up for me.

Evelyn Ackah:

I like that. Caring competence.

Linsey Jorn:

Caring competence.

Evelyn Ackah:

Yeah.

Linsey Jorn:

Knowing the law, knowing what the government needs, what they want, everything in place, all the T's crossed and I's dotted. And then, knowing that if I have a concern, if I have an issue, if I want to ask a question, my email will be responded to timely.

Evelyn Ackah:

Yup.

Linsey Jorn:

I know that there will be a communication that will be helpful and be what I need.

Evelyn Ackah:

Absolutely. That's so important to us. I really appreciate that because that's what we strive for is that 24 hour turnaround, same day or the next day has to be, and that's a protocol in our office for all our clients, and so we really work hard at that. Occasionally things go to junk and then I always say, "Pick up the phone." We always pick up the phone if we need to.

Linsey Jorn:

Right, and then that's... Yeah. I've never had a moment where I wasn't able to get in touch.

Evelyn Ackah:

Good.

Linsey Jorn:

Or get a reply.

Evelyn Ackah:

Good. I'm so happy to hear that. Exactly. Thank you. So tell me, how has life been? Is it different living in Kelowna versus living in Colorado? What's really different for you?

Linsey Jorn:

It is. Obviously, Kelowna is a smaller town and I grew up and lived my whole life in metros so-

Evelyn Ackah:

Yeah, me too.

Linsey Jorn:

Yeah, the pace is different. Driving is different.

Evelyn Ackah:

Is there any traffic? Not really, right?

Linsey Jorn:

Yeah. Once you get here and you get spoiled, then you do think there's traffic, but there's really not.

Evelyn Ackah:

Oh my God.

Linsey Jorn:

I would say too that a common imagination about Canadians is that they are polite and kind and I certainly found that to be true. And even if there is some sort of argument that I see, it usually ends up in a fine way.

Evelyn Ackah:

Yeah.

Linsey Jorn:

Things don't seem to escalate.

Evelyn Ackah:

You're right.

Linsey Jorn:

And I noticed that that's something I had to get used to, because where I'm from, you expect things might escalate further and further, and here they just seem to diffuse.

Evelyn Ackah:

Good.

Linsey Jorn:

Everyone remembers their humanity in the end.

Evelyn Ackah:

Yeah. I think that's great. I'm so glad to hear that. What have you found? When you've lived in metro, I have to, you're used to a certain level of diversity. How would you describe the diversity in Kelowna? I've been there, obviously, quite a bit too. It looks different, right?

Linsey Jorn:

Yeah. It's certainly not as diverse as places that I've lived, but it is growing.

Evelyn Ackah:

Good.

Linsey Jorn:

And I even saw on Kelowna Now, it was this morning or yesterday, they're starting to have inclusivity, what are they called? Not a convention, but just a seminar.

Evelyn Ackah:

Yeah. Workshops, and things like that.

Linsey Jorn:

The landscape is changing for sure. And I see it in my kids' schools and it's great.

Evelyn Ackah:

That's great. The thing with immigration is it really brings people. When I moved to Alberta, I was like, "I'll never live in Calgary. I'm from Vancouver or Toronto. I've never lived in a cow town," that's what we call it, but in 20 years of going back and forth for business, it's changed so much because of immigration.

Evelyn Ackah:

We've got Venezuelans, and Mexicans, and Filipinos, and other Asians, and people from all over the world because of oil and gas and immigration. And so, I think Kelowna is just there now is changing. There are caregivers there, there are people from other countries there working in restaurants and businesses that maybe they can't find people. Right?

Evelyn Ackah:

Do you find that it's an older community, Linsey? Because people in Alberta think of Kelowna a little bit more like a retirement or a second home type of place sometimes.

Linsey Jorn:

That population definitely exists and thrives, but I would say it's a beautiful cross-section of everything. There's tons of families, tons of up and coming people in the workplace. Yeah. It's-

Evelyn Ackah:

I heard that real estate is even going up right now. Everybody is looking to leave from Alberta or from the GVRD and move to Kelowna and the surrounding area to be in the bubble that you're in. They want to pay for the bubble.

Linsey Jorn:

There have been several houses just on our street recently that have gone up for sale and they're sold within a week.

Evelyn Ackah:

Wow.

Linsey Jorn:

Yeah. They're going like hotcakes.

Evelyn Ackah:

I heard that. So are you renting still since you moved?

Linsey Jorn:

Yeah.

Evelyn Ackah:

Because that's the thing, the whole transition for clients. I always say, "Don't come up and buy if you can. Take your time, because you want to know you're in the right community, the right region, whatever. And once you buy, it's a commitment."

Evelyn Ackah:

And as you know, now we're working on your permanent residence and I always feel like, take your time. Let's get you your permanent residents. Or if you find something you love, because you lose your credit history usually when you come to Canada, right? You almost have to start over from the Canadian context, so it takes people two to three years usually before they buy that forever home.

Linsey Jorn:

Yeah. And I'm sure it's the same everywhere, but certainly coming to Kelowna, there are so many interesting spots to choose and different perspectives, different views of the lake, different everything. And I feel like it will take maybe two to three years to really figure out where we'd like to be for good.

Evelyn Ackah:

Yup.

Linsey Jorn:

So yeah, I think renting has been great for us.

Evelyn Ackah:

That's perfect. I'm looking forward to you and your family getting the permanent residence application done, which is coming up soon. We've got it ready to go for January, I believe, once you hit your 12-month mark, and a part of the process was talking to an accountant and having all of that stuff set up and payroll. So there's a whole process because we want to make sure when you're ready, we got all the paperwork, and then becoming citizens. Is that something you think of? Do you think you'll be dual or just remain as permanent residents?

Linsey Jorn:

A goal would be to become a citizen here.

Evelyn Ackah:

Oh, that's so great.

Linsey Jorn:

Absolutely. I would love it.

Evelyn Ackah:

You could be dual. So you don't give up your American. As you know, I have a son that's also American and Canadian and I think it's great. If you can be dual, it gives you all the choices and it gives the kids the choice too. If they make decisions down the line on their own to maybe return, they can always go home, or they can stay here and continue to expand their lives in Canada.

Linsey Jorn:

Yeah. The more the merrier on that.

Evelyn Ackah:

We need more people to come to Canada, and honestly, we need them to come to regions. Most people would have immigrated to Vancouver, right?

Linsey Jorn:

Right.

Evelyn Ackah:

Toronto, Victoria. Those are the kinds of places usually immigrants go because they usually want to be with people they know, or their communities, or whatever culturally. So I think it's great when people come and choose more of a mountain lifestyle or an outside the greater region, like the metro areas. So what was the reason? Was it purely because your husband had thoughts about it and thought it was a great place? Or did you do your research as well before you chose?

Linsey Jorn:

Yes. Mainly what he had heard about Kelowna. And also, coming from a mountainous area, that was something that we didn't want to leave that behind.

Evelyn Ackah:

Yup.

Linsey Jorn:

And really, we haven't.

Evelyn Ackah:

So the lifestyle, are you big skiers and all of those things every winter? Yeah, you're outdoorsy people?

Linsey Jorn:

We snowboard.

Evelyn Ackah:

Great.

Linsey Jorn:

And we love that. And hiking. We rented a boat a couple of times this summer-

Evelyn Ackah:

Wow.

Linsey Jorn:

... on the lake There's just so much to do here.

Evelyn Ackah:

Yeah.

Linsey Jorn:

There's really, every season has something to offer.

Evelyn Ackah:

That's fabulous. Sounds like you're doing a commercial for Kelowna right now, I need a place.

Linsey Jorn:

Well, it's true and it's from the heart.

Evelyn Ackah:

I know, I know.

Linsey Jorn:

And it's a beautiful place to be, and to speak to the international community too, I've made friends here from the UK, from South Africa, and Jamaica. It's a beautiful mixture of the world and different perspectives.

Evelyn Ackah:

Yeah. I think we know, as Canadians, we take it for granted sometimes and, yes, I love America. I've got my best friends are there, live there, close family there, but I've always loved coming back to Canada. And I'm always so like, "Oh, I'm back in Canada." That feeling you get when you come back. And I think we're really appreciating it now, how we're dealing with COVID compared to down south, and just our politics and our mildness.

Evelyn Ackah:

Sometimes I think we're almost too mild as Canadians, but I think the values we have, they continued to permeate. We didn't start off from a war, we weren't created in the same way, and I think that's really changed how our communities have evolved over the years since we became independent from the UK.

Evelyn Ackah:

And so, yeah, I think it's wonderful you're here. And what tips would you give to somebody looking to consider moving to Canada? What to look out for? What are watch outs, and also what are some of the benefits or the strategies, especially as a family? It must be a lot of work, or must have been a lot of work for you, Linsey, to just settle the children or are they just... Kids are so resilient. I always say that, but I think there's definitely some transition for everybody.

Linsey Jorn:

Yeah, there absolutely is. One thing that I did was I joined Kelowna Moms Facebook group.

Evelyn Ackah:

Great.

Linsey Jorn:

So I tapped into the moms in the community and I got a lot of responses, a lot of where to shop for certain things, where to find the things that I was accustomed to and just explore that way with the help of an existing community.

Evelyn Ackah:

That's awesome.

Linsey Jorn:

Yeah. And I think, especially for moms, that's a great way to start somewhere. And just being friendly, getting out in the neighborhood and talking to your neighbors.

Evelyn Ackah:

Talking to your neighbors. Yeah.

Linsey Jorn:

That's just something, it's a beautiful thing. You'd go for walk in the neighborhood, you meet people.

Evelyn Ackah:

Yeah.

Linsey Jorn:

Everyone in our neighborhood has just been, they want to hear our story. They want to know why we're here. They want to talk about American politics.

Evelyn Ackah:

Oh my God.

Linsey Jorn:

They're like, "What's going on with your guy down there?"

Evelyn Ackah:

Oh, I have to say, we felt it as if it was ours, what was happening down there, and I think everybody was just transfixed by what's been happening with the election and, even no matter what your politics, you're just relieved that maybe there's some stability that's coming. Right?

Evelyn Ackah:

Economically, socially, I really hope that will be the outcome, but we know it's not necessarily, even with one party over another and one leader over another, there's always that sense of conflict, I think, that is very polarizing. So we're watching it because what happens in the States happens in Canada later on, right?

Linsey Jorn:

Exactly. That's one thing, it was almost shocking to me when we moved here to see how invested and tapped into American politics people are because, at least for me, my experience in the States, in the States, you're not as tapped into other governments.

Evelyn Ackah:

Exactly.

Linsey Jorn:

Other things that are going on.

Evelyn Ackah:

Exactly.

Linsey Jorn:

It's kind of blinders on the situation.

Evelyn Ackah:

Yeah.

Linsey Jorn:

And yeah, it's interesting how much people know here.

Evelyn Ackah:

Yeah.

Linsey Jorn:

How invested.

Evelyn Ackah:

We watch so much CNN, you'd think we were Americans, we're just nicer, but we're basically the same on some topics, right?

Linsey Jorn:

Oh yeah.

Evelyn Ackah:

And it really affects business. As an immigration lawyer, when things are bad in Canada, people go down south to expand. So a lot of Canadians have done the opposite of what you and your family have done because the market is bigger sometimes. Or if they have to go to Texas because they're in oil and gas, and they have more client base to choose from.

Evelyn Ackah:

So you can see why the border is so critical and the politics on both sides is so critical because we're quite integrated, but I'm just so happy that you are here, and settled, and working, and the kids are doing well, and everybody is happy because this is why we do what we do. We love it.

Evelyn Ackah:

And I really appreciate your time, Linsey, today to talk to me about your experience and your continued experience with Ackah Law. We love it. And as we been talked about marketing to Colorado at one point, because I was like, "Let's all. That's all we do. We want them all to come to Canada."

Linsey Jorn:

Exactly.

Evelyn Ackah:

So I want to thank you so much for doing this, and being such a supporter, and being on social media supporting us, and giving us props because you know what it's like running a business and it's a lot of hard work. And I'm hoping that your business will continue to be successful and grow in Canada as it is already growing in the US. Do you travel much down there?

Linsey Jorn:

We used to.

Evelyn Ackah:

Yeah, before COVID?

Linsey Jorn:

Since COVID, certainly not.

Evelyn Ackah:

Yeah.

Linsey Jorn:

Yeah, we actually had a conference in Vegas right before everything locked down, so felt lucky about that and-

Evelyn Ackah:

Yeah. We had the last trip, and then it's over.

Linsey Jorn:

Yeah, but then my husband would travel for conferences and speaking engagements, so.

Evelyn Ackah:

Is he still doing that, or slowing down?

Linsey Jorn:

Not currently. It's all on hold, and those conventions aren't even happening.

Evelyn Ackah:

That's right. Or they're all going to Zoom, right? Whatever you can do, you can sometimes try to convert it or wait until next year. Thank you so much, Linsey. I really appreciate you being on the Ackah Law podcast, and I wish you all the best, and we look forward to you becoming a citizen soon, after your PR.


Evelyn Ackah

Founder/Managing Lawyer

Ms. Ackah is passionate about immigration law because it focuses on people and relationships, which are at the core of her personal values. Starting her legal career as a corporate/commercial ...

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