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Episode 54: American Expats in Canada - Meet Brian and Michael

Podcast posted on by Evelyn Ackah in Podcast

Episode 54: American Expats in Canada - Meet Brian and Michael

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Calgary immigration lawyer Evelyn Ackah speaks with her clients Brian and Michael, American expats in Canada who moved to Calgary in September of 2018. Brian Owens and his husband Michael Dettner had the opportunity to move from Tennessee to Alberta, Canada for Brian's job as Artistic Director for the Calgary Film Festival. Brian accepted the job, and the film fest contacted Evelyn Ackah and Ackah Business Immigration Law to get his LMIA as a senior highly Skilled Foreign Worker. Brian started work in Calgary a few weeks later. Michael needed to apply for a Canadian visa for an open Spousal Sponsorship and received a 2-year Temporary Resident work permit before moving to Canada, which Ackah Law handled. Brian and Michael's American expats in Canada journey includes living through COVID in a new country while trying to qualify for permanent residence, which they finally received in 2023. This is their expat story.

The Calgary International Film Festival retains Ackah Business Immigration Law for guidance on immigration matters.

Evelyn, Brian and Michael discuss:

  • Why moving to Canada in 2018 was the best decision they ever made
  • As Americans, why did they want to move to Canada
  • Had they ever lived outside the United States before
  • What surprised them most about expat life in Calgary
  • Although they moved here together, Brian already had a job offer in Canada, while Michael - the trailing spouse - had to apply for Spousal Sponsorship. How did this make their immigration journey’s different?
  • Now that you’ve lived in Canada for 5 years - and lived here through the pandemic, experiencing all the delays getting your paperwork approved, what were their biggest misconceptions about living in Canada - good and bad?
  • Are their friends mainly Canadians, Americans, expats or…???
  • Before moving to Canada, what did their friends in America think about this decision?
  • Brian and Michael have lived in Canada for a while and become Canada permanent residents, what do their American friends and family think now?
  • If another American asked for advice about moving to Canada, what would you tell them?


About Evelyn Ackah

Evelyn Ackah is the Founder and Managing Lawyer at Ackah Business Immigration Law. We work with individuals and business owners from all over the world who want to cross borders seamlessly. For more information on immigration to Canada or the United States, Ask Evelyn Ackah at Ackah Business Immigration Law today at (403) 452‑9515 or email Evelyn directly at contact@ackahlaw.com.

The Ask Canada Immigration Lawyer Evelyn Ackah podcast by Calgary Immigration Lawyer Evelyn Ackah was named #1 Best Canada Immigration Podcast in 2022 by Feedspot.

BOOK YOUR FREE CASE EVALUATION

Transcript:

Evelyn Ackah:

Hello everyone, it's Evelyn Ackah from the Ask Canada Immigration Lawyer podcast. Thank you so much for joining me today. I have the great pleasure of introducing you to my wonderful clients, Michael and Brian, and I'd like to introduce you and say thank you so much for joining us. You're one of our first clients on our podcast.

Michael Dettner:

Wow.

Brian Owens:

Glad to be here.

Michael Dettner:

That's quite an honor.

Evelyn Ackah:

Well, your story, we've been living it together for a long time, so I thought it really earned some time, and I think it's a wonderful testimony to your patience and trust in our firm because it's been so challenging. So why don't you tell me, Brian, initially, what brought you to Canada, because you took the lead on this.

Brian Owens:

So, I am the artistic director of Calgary International Film Festival. So I'm giving away the end of the story there. But the way it began is I was previously artistic director at the Nashville Film Festival in Nashville, Tennessee. And on opening day of the 2018 Nashville Film Festival, I received an email from a head-hunter asking if I would be interested in sending my resume up for this position. Needless to say, my immediate response was, "Can I have a couple weeks to think about this because I have a festival getting ready to go?" But I talked to Michael, and we were like, "Well, let's at least explore this."

And while I was running Nashville Film Festival, I had my friend, Joy, who's good at these things, polish up the resume and get it ready to go because I'd been there for 10 years, I hadn't even thought about it.

Evelyn Ackah:

Wow.

Brian Owens:

So she did her work. We got everything done, submitted everything to the head-hunter, made it through the first round, did the pre-interview, the second interview. And then lo and behold, gosh, it wasn't even that much later in 2018, seemingly. It was only in July right that I flew up. They flew me up, I was one of the two finalists in July of 2018. So just three months later, and by August got the news that I had received the position and began working with you to make the move up here to Canada.

Evelyn Ackah:

So what happened with you then is, thank goodness for us and our film festival, is that we had to do a labor market impact assessment for you. Because though you're educated and have all this experience, we have to basically show why you are the ideal candidate over a Canadian. And obviously, working with the executive search firm, they had spent months head-hunting. And so it was easy to justify that you were the right person for the role. So that's what took a little bit of time. And then we did that. And then you got your work permit.

Brian Owens:

Yes.

Evelyn Ackah:

Right. And then when you came up first, and then Michael came up after, right?

Michael Dettner:

Right.

Evelyn Ackah:

you did the move.

Michael Dettner:

Right.

Evelyn Ackah:

What did you think about moving to Canada?

Michael Dettner:

Oh, how politically correct do you want to be?

Evelyn Ackah:

Run.

Michael Dettner:

Run for the border. Yeah. We've always been, I mean, we've been together since 2000. I mean, it's 22 years now, and we had to wait 15 years to actually get married.

Evelyn Ackah:

Married, yes.

Michael Dettner:

Which, I thank God, it happened. And oh, thank God it happened. But we never thought it would. But over the course of a bunch of years, some things were happening in the US that I think the writing was on the wall. It's like things are about to get really insanely bad. I mean, clinically, insanely bad. And we looked at each other one fateful night in November of 2016, and we said, "We're leaving." We were going to go, actually, there's a beautiful place in central Mexico that we still might retire to, I don't know. But we immediately, I found a realtor and we started looking for places to... We knew we needed to get out. And if you follow the news now, Tennessee, the State we moved from, things are getting worse.

Evelyn Ackah:

Yeah. Yeah.

Michael Dettner:

That makes it all worthwhile. Plus it's Canada, it's Calgary, it's beautiful.

Evelyn Ackah:

It's cold compared to where you've been.

Michael Dettner:

It's a bit chilly.

Brian Owens:

It is cold.

Evelyn Ackah:

It was your first winter. You guys were freezing. Have you lived outside the US at all, ever?

Brian Owens:

No. For neither of us.

Evelyn Ackah:

This is a big move.

Brian Owens:

Yeah, it was a very big move.

Michael Dettner:

We traveled alot.

Evelyn Ackah:

People don't realize, even if you're American, this is a big move.

Michael Dettner:

Yeah. Oh, yeah.

Evelyn Ackah:

You're coming to Canada and you think, "Oh, you're coming from Africa or Asia, and my goodness, it's a big move." Even from the US, it's a really big move.

Brian Owens:

You bet.

Evelyn Ackah:

Everything is different. So what were the challenges for you? Forget the immigration for now. What did you find the hardest thing to adapt to?

Brian Owens:

Oh, for me, honestly, it was the climate. Now, granted, I grew up - actually, we both grew up in Indiana - and cold winters were the norm. But then we'd also, again, I said we spent 10 years in Nashville, Tennessee, where, yeah, you got cold snaps from time to time, but never like this. So that first February we were here when it never got above freezing. It was frequently minus 40.

Michael Dettner:

Oh, that first winter, my God!

Brian Owens:

That was an adjustment, for sure.

Evelyn Ackah:

You were thinking, "What did I do?"

Brian Owens:

Yeah.

Michael Dettner:

That first morning that I took the dog out when it was minus 40...

Evelyn Ackah:

Oh my God.

Michael Dettner:

"Wow. It's cold." But what I've learned is, I actually really like the cold.

Evelyn Ackah:

Really?

Michael Dettner:

Well, you can always put on another sweater, you know, you can only take so much off without - [crosstalk 00:05:49].

Evelyn Ackah:

You could look very cute in the winter with all of those cute things. And, you know, you can do it up. I hear you.

Michael Dettner:

Yeah, I've sort of learned to prefer the cold, which is good because we're in it right now.

Evelyn Ackah:

You're in the cold. We're here in Calgary. What do you think surprised you the most about living an expat life in Canada?

Michael Dettner:

We were talking about this earlier, in some ways there were very few surprises. It was just like, we get along with anyone.

Evelyn Ackah:

That's true.

Michael Dettner:

I mean, you've put up with us for four and a half years.

Evelyn Ackah:

A long, long time.

Michael Dettner:

I know. I know.

Evelyn Ackah:

I know, I mean, did you meet other expats? I wonder sometimes if expats kind of just stick together a little bit sometimes.

Brian Owens:

It's interesting. Most of our friends that we've made here are actually Canadian, but we've also made friends... A surprising number of friends from Brazil, actually.

Michael Dettner:

Yeah.

Evelyn Ackah:

Oh, wow.

Brian Owens:

Yeah, a lot of other people who also immigrated here. Interestingly, it's only until we moved into this apartment though, we actually have a neighbor who moved here from Houston, Texas.

Evelyn Ackah:

Oh, my god really!

Brian Owens:

Really, it's our first friend who's also an American.

Michael Dettner:

Yeah, just living up there.

Brian Owens:

But yeah, I'd say most friends Canadian. But we have met several immigrants just from other parts of the world. Well, I mean, there was one point where our favorite pizza joint, owned by Serbian immigrants -

Michael Dettner:

They're very, very good friends.

Brian Owens:

Yeah, our pharmacists is Nigerian.

Evelyn Ackah:

I remember you told me about them. Are they still there?

Brian Owens:

Oh yeah.

Evelyn Ackah:

Okay, good. We're going to have to check it out.

Michael Dettner:

Kari and Gaga, they're the best.

Brian Owens:

But no, we kind of realized as we rode around the circle of the places that we visited most frequently, almost all of them were owned by fellow newcomers, which was kind of -

Evelyn Ackah:

That's so cool.

Brian Owens:

It was nice to support them. From all over the globe, so yeah.

Evelyn Ackah:

That's so cool.

Michael Dettner:

That's one word that I picked up on almost immediately when we got here, was "newcomers." We're used to foreigners. Or illegal aliens.

Evelyn Ackah:

Oh my goodness. It's a different term.

Michael Dettner:

There's Newcomer Services. I came here with no job.

Evelyn Ackah:

I remember.

Michael Dettner:

Which was a little stressful. And I found out through the newly opened Calgary Public Library. I went there, I found out they had newcomer employment counseling and services through Mount Royal. They immediately - no fee paid for by our taxes - they hooked me up with a career counselor, who, within three weeks, I had a job.

Evelyn Ackah:

Wow. Wow. Wow.

Michael Dettner:

A good job.

Evelyn Ackah:

Yeah.

Michael Dettner:

And it cost nothing.

Evelyn Ackah:

That's a great thing. I remember you told me. You were just in shock.

Michael Dettner:

I was like, "Oh my god, Evelyn, I just got a job."

Evelyn Ackah:

I have to tell people about that because I don't even know all the services. That's the one thing when we bring you in and you're able to work, it's kind of like my hands are finished now. And I feel like if we could provide more support on the challenges, especially of the spouse that is not maybe the primary, because it's hard. And that's why I love that they let spouses work. Whereas in the old days, you would sit here and you couldn't work.

Michael Dettner:

Well, I mean, I could probably do that for a while.

Evelyn Ackah:

You wouldn't mind? No, it makes you crazy. I've seen it. It's a challenge. And so it's nice to be able to work and to meet a community of your own friends at work and have that social life. Otherwise, this can be quite alienating.

Michael Dettner:

Yeah. And then I would carry over things, my whole adult life, I've been in the US Episcopalian, which is Anglican.

Evelyn Ackah:

Yeah, here.

Michael Dettner:

And so I immediately started attending the Anglican Cathedral here in Calgary. So, a large percentage of my friends are sort of elderly British women.

Evelyn Ackah:

Yeah. That's the makeup of these churches, you said.

Michael Dettner:

I fit in pretty well.

Evelyn Ackah:

That's so cool.

Michael Dettner:

But yeah, it's been pretty ama - wherever we go, we make friends. Not bragging. We like people.

Evelyn Ackah:

I think it's true.

Michael Dettner:

But that was the hardest thing, actually. That was the biggest adjustment, is we had been here for barely a year and suddenly this pandemic...

Brian Owens:

Yeah.

Evelyn Ackah:

Oh.

Michael Dettner:

Happens.

Evelyn Ackah:

Yes.

Michael Dettner:

And we were literally trapped in a two bedroom apartment for...

Brian Owens:

A year, basically.

Michael Dettner:

A year.

Evelyn Ackah:

Oh my goodness.

Michael Dettner:

I mean, your next-door neighbors couldn't visit. It was so... And there were no murders committed, obviously.

Brian Owens:

I will say, our next door neighbor, we actually became closer to her during the pandemic when speaking across the balcony -

Evelyn Ackah:

Balcony.

Brian Owens:

... barrier wall between our balconies. She was like, "Do you guys like English muffins? I just made some fresh ones." And she handed them up over.

Evelyn Ackah:

Oh.

Michael Dettner:

Mysterious hand appears.

Brian Owens:

So once you were able to start hanging out together again, then we started hanging out and we stayed friends ever since, and that was kind of fun.

Evelyn Ackah:

So great.

Michael Dettner:

Yeah, she's the best.

Evelyn Ackah:

I mean, COVID really, really took a toll. I mean, not just on you that were already here under work permits, but it affected everything. I mean, this should not have taken four years. Is that how long it's taken?

Michael Dettner:

Yeah.

Evelyn Ackah:

It should not have. It should have been two and a half years. But because of COVID, as you know. And with your patience, everything was harder and everything took longer. And I have to say, I can't imagine the frustration, but you guys were just so lovely. And I know you're waiting and waiting, and everything, but it was just constantly telling clients, "We have no idea. COVID." And at some point, you just feel very helpless. And I just think that it must have been concerning, you know? You must have had your freakouts?

Brian Owens:

Oh, oh my God, did we have our freakouts.

Michael Dettner:

Oh, my God, did we have our freakouts. Well me,

Evelyn Ackah:

I know you.

Michael Dettner:

How long have you known me, Evelyn?

Brian Owens:

We got over everything. I think there's a stress in limbo that a lot of people, unless you've truly experienced it, they can never quite understand. This sort of feeling that there's someone out there who could snap a finger and send me back when I really don't want to go back.

Evelyn Ackah:

Exactly.

Brian Owens:

And even though, I think, with our chances it was probably minimal, very minimal. But even the fact that there might have been a 1% chance out there just is enough to add this level of daily stress that unless you live it, you don't quite understand it.

Evelyn Ackah:

Oh, I get it.

Michael Dettner:

There did come a point, probably about a year ago, where I think we both, we hadn't given up, but it was like, "It's just been too long and it's been too stressful. Let's look at Mexico again."

Evelyn Ackah:

Mexico is always the backup.

Michael Dettner:

There was a very brief time where we had that conversation. It's like, "Do we just need to assume this is not going to happen?" And it happened.

Evelyn Ackah:

I knew it would happen, but I mean -

Michael Dettner:

Oh, my God, what a day that was.

Evelyn Ackah:

... it took so long. And I have to say that I think it's also the idea of do you want to buy a place? Do you even want to invest in friendships? You start to feel like, do you want to get a new job? Because you're just like, eh, it changes how you make decisions, doesn't it?

Brian Owens:

Oh yeah, for sure.

Evelyn Ackah:

Now that you know you are a permanent resident, the card hopefully will come any day now.

Brian Owens:

Yes, absolutely. The card. But -

Evelyn Ackah:

Then it's done. Then you can, if you want to, you can become a citizen. But you know that you're secure and you can decide how much you want to get your roots down. So you think it affected that for you? Right?

Michael Dettner:

I think we want to do that.

Evelyn Ackah:

Well, I think should.

Brian Owens:

Well, I think we will approach it for sure. But it is, the one thing that it really did impact was the idea of buying. I was so afraid. I'm like, I'm not going to invest in a piece of property that could eventually I'd be forced to sell, and who knows what the market's going to be like.

Evelyn Ackah:

Exactly.

Michael Dettner:

The market is so crazy right now.

Brian Owens:

Who knows what it's going to be like.

Evelyn Ackah:

Yeah. Exactly. It makes perfect sense. I mean, I tell most people when they come here, don't buy, give yourself time. Go around,check out neighborhoods. Don't do what I did when I moved here from Toronto. I arrived in four days had to find a place. I bought a house. Thank God I loved it. I still do. But I mean, when you're coming from outside, it's even harder because you don't have credit. That's the one thing. Right. You come and you're starting over again.

Brian Owens:

Well, it was funny. I felt like a college freshman. The states are first year of college, college years. Because it's literally, here's your credit card. It's a thousand dollars limit.

Evelyn Ackah:

I know.

Michael Dettner:

But If you've -

Evelyn Ackah:

Painful, When you start.

Michael Dettner:

But when you pay it off three times a week. By the time our PR came through, our credit is kicking butt right now.

Evelyn Ackah:

Of course.

Brian Owens:

That is a bit of an advantage, is like you get to start over having learned all the mistakes that you made when you were a freshman.

Evelyn Ackah:

Exactly. Exactly. That's the thing people don't think about is that it's not so easy to just say, "Hey, everything I have in the States, I can bring. You're starting over."

Michael Dettner:

Oh yeah. That was one of the things, one, you were asking about some of the challenges getting here. Of course, he had to be here immediately once his job or his work permit was done. He had to be here. And so there were two and a half months, two -

Evelyn Ackah:

Where you were apart.

Michael Dettner:

Where it left me back in Nashville with all of our stuff of 18 years and our dog and my job having to quit that, and a lease that we had just signed six weeks prior, which we had to pay. We had to, that cost a fortune.

Brian Owens:

That was a mistake on our part.

Michael Dettner:

But basically I was like, if it won't fit in a box, it's not coming.

Evelyn Ackah:

Really.

Michael Dettner:

And so we donated and sold and what's the place where you take things?

Brian Owens:

A consignment store.

Michael Dettner:

Consigned.

Evelyn Ackah:

Yeah, consigned.

Michael Dettner:

Basically everything that was not, that I couldn't pick up and move myself.

Evelyn Ackah:

Really? I didn't know that.

Michael Dettner:

And then this was, yeah. And the best part is our friend Joy, who he mentioned earlier and our dog a little, little. She's no longer with us, but.

Evelyn Ackah:

Yes, sorry.

Michael Dettner:

And me in a U-Haul truck for four days driving from Nashville to Calgary in December.

Evelyn Ackah:

Oh.

Michael Dettner:

I was never so ha...,this is why we don't have cars, actually. We're totally dependent on public transportation.

Evelyn Ackah:

Yeah.

Michael Dettner:

Good. I don't care if I ever drive a vehicle ever again in my life. It was awful.

Evelyn Ackah:

But so you started over. I love that. I didn't realize that. I mean, I would be just giving up your stuff, but then it's also expensive to move. And relocation is expensive, so you can buy anything you need. Right? I think that's a good idea.

Brian Owens:

Well, and we had a few family pieces, but those went off to my niece and things like that, so we didn't get rid of anything that -

Evelyn Ackah:

They can stay in the family, the things.

Brian Owens:

Yeah exactly. We didn't have family -

Evelyn Ackah:

Oh, that's wonderful.

Michael Dettner:

Yeah. Throwing heirlooms in the garbage or anything. I never liked this. Anyway.

Evelyn Ackah:

What does your family think about you both now being permanent residents of Canada?

Brian Owens:

Oh, they're very happy.

Michael Dettner:

They're happy. Yeah.

Evelyn Ackah:

Are they? They're not jealous. They're not upset that you abandoned them.

Michael Dettner:

Oh, they're so jealous. So jealous.

Brian Owens:

I mentioned my niece, and she actually lives and works in Montana now, so not very far. But -

Evelyn Ackah:

That's great.

Brian Owens:

She and her boyfriend keep thinking, how do we get up there? And I'm like, well, you're still young. You have a chance. So you should really think about it. But yeah, I mean, that's the nice part is with her being so close, we have seen her a few times now that once the border reopened.

Evelyn Ackah:

That's great.

Brian Owens:

And my sister's been up here. My mom hopes to get up here soon. We'll see how that goes. She's a little up in years. And my other sister, if my mom's able to come my other sister will be the one that brings her up here.

Evelyn Ackah:

Oh, that's so great.

Brian Owens:

So yeah. They're very happy.

Evelyn Ackah:

They know you're happier. I Mean.

Brian Owens:

Oh yeah. Absolutely. Absolutely.

Evelyn Ackah:

That's good.

Michael Dettner:

Yeah. Wow. Some people are a bit jealous.

Evelyn Ackah:

Well, you can always send them our way.

Brian Owens:

Absolutely.

Michael Dettner:

Great.

Evelyn Ackah:

It'll be easier, but no more Covid. Oh my goodness.

Michael Dettner:

Right.

Evelyn Ackah:

So if an American friend or somebody you know is, even your niece is like, how can I get to Canada? What would you tell them? What would be the advice about moving that they would need to know, besides forget the immigration stuff, but how would you prepare them for the change? I mean, Canadians are different than Americans.

Michael Dettner:

Get a lawyer.

Brian Owens:

Well, there's that.

Michael Dettner:

Call Evelyn.

Brian Owens:

She said, aside from the immigration. So while you're exactly right, I do think one of, well look for jobs that fit your niche, obviously, because that's how we ended up here. But don't wait if you're young, because it's easier if you're younger to get up here.

The other thing is, and I experienced this with part of my family, I was told over and over again, oh, the taxes are going to kill you. The taxes are going to kill you. The taxes are going to, but it's also what I would say to an American friend.

But when your health insurance premium is not being deducted out of your paycheck, that's the one thing that was kind of shocking -

Michael Dettner:

I'm bringing home more -

Evelyn Ackah:

Yes.

Brian Owens:

Both of us. Our take home pay is -

Evelyn Ackah:

Of course!

Brian Owens:

It was -

Michael Dettner:

Much, much higher. And yeah. And

Evelyn Ackah:

People don't think about that. I hear this a lot. Well, you guys have to line up and you have socialist healthcare.

Michael Dettner:

No. That's something that I jotted down to talk about. Our families cannot believe that we're not having to line up for death panels and die in the streets waiting for the one doctor that, all of Canada ...

Evelyn Ackah:

Oh my God. It's a myth.

Michael Dettner:

There's an absolute propaganda campaign in there. And so we got here, and because we're old, I guess. I'm on some medication and I have high blood pressure.

Evelyn Ackah:

Yeah. We all are on something.

Michael Dettner:

I'm like, well, I've only got a couple of weeks left. How am I going to do this? Am I going to have to smuggle it across the boarder? So I called right across the street, and less than a block away was a medical clinic. And I had been here for maybe a week, and I'm like, I need to get on this nightmare that I'm about to endure waiting forever.

And I called over to the clinic and I said, "hi," I just explained the entire thing. "Yeah, I just moved here. I'm so excited."

And the receptionist was like, "Okay, I, so what you're asking is you're asking for a family doctor?"

I said, "Yes."

She said, "So we need to arrange a meet and greet."

I said, "Yes."

She said, "And you said, you're, look, you're close by."

I said, "Yeah."

She said, "Can you be here in an hour and a half? Dr. Collins has an opening."

I was like, "Today?"

Evelyn Ackah:

Yes.

Michael Dettner:

Literally an hour and a half later.

Evelyn Ackah:

Wow.

Michael Dettner:

I had the most comprehensive medical history taken, labs done.

Evelyn Ackah:

Wow.

Michael Dettner:

And I stopped at the desk on the way out, and she's like, "What are you doing?"

I'm grabbing my wallet just instinctively. She's like, "We don't know. What do you, no."

Evelyn Ackah:

Yeah. Isn't that great? You don't have to think about the credit card or whatever you need to pay.

Brian Owens:

It's for real. There's only this year that I finally stopped grabbing my wallet to pull my card out. And I'm like, oh, I don't have to do that.

Michael Dettner:

And it's the best medical care. My background is in healthcare. I mean, I know good healthcare. It's the best, most thorough medical care I've ever found.

Evelyn Ackah:

Wow. So I've been sick in the States. I think we went to Disneyland and I had some awful, I think I had bronchitis and it was not fun with children and everything. And I was hacking. So my sister and I found a clinic early one morning. We drove there. I was in and out. What I loved about it was, yeah, you paid. But it was like in, see the nurse, see the doctor, get your puffer. Pay the hundred dollars for this and $50 for that. All in the same place, and you're out. And I thought, wow, that was pretty efficient. I didn't have to go to the pharmacy. I didn't have to, you know. But I hear what you're saying is that there are pros and cons on both sides. Right?

Brian Owens:

Oh yeah.

No, no system's perfect. But I did, when you go for your annual exam and you'd go get your labs, you literally just walk down the hallway in the States. That was a nice thing -

Evelyn Ackah:

Here you got to book an appointment.

Michael Dettner:

Every doctor's office has a lab facility on site, which is nice.

Evelyn Ackah:

That's super nice. That's super nice.

Brian Owens:

So yeah, I'm not going to say any system's perfect.

Evelyn Ackah:

No,

Michael Dettner:

But I did find out -

Brian Owens:

Access is so easy here.

Michael Dettner:

When we had to get our immigration medicals done. Of course, we have to pay out of pocket for that, which was, that was whatever. But that included labs. I'm like, oh my God, I've got to go to the lab and get these two tests, tuberculosis and I don't know, syphilis or something. Turns out we're fine.

Evelyn Ackah:

Yes, of course you are.

Michael Dettner:

But we, I'm like, this lab test is probably going to cost me like $300.

Brian Owens:

Because that's what it would cost you in the States.

Michael Dettner:

It was $6. Yeah.

Evelyn Ackah:

Oh my God.

Michael Dettner:

$6.

Evelyn Ackah:

I don't even know that. Really?

Michael Dettner:

Yeah.

Evelyn Ackah:

Oh, that's so great.

Michael Dettner:

Can I just give you more? Because it feels -

Evelyn Ackah:

That's really great. No, I think you guys are making a really good point. I mean, we're not perfect because sometimes when you have need a specialist, there's a line. And that's what people say is, it'd be nice if our healthcare adapted to, if those who didn't want to wait, just like some of them go down south and get their knees done in Palm Springs or whatever, private clinics. So if you can afford it and you wanted to, you could skip the line. But there are some things we do line up for, but the fact that it's free,

Michael Dettner:

But you also know -

Evelyn Ackah:

We pay our taxes.

Michael Dettner:

That if you're hit by a bus, you're not going to be left in the street. You're going to be taken and given immediate care. That's very high quality.

Evelyn Ackah:

That's true. Oh, I'm really happy to hear that. Is there anything you guys want to share before we wrap up? I'm so grateful for you. Honestly. It has been a journey.

Brian Owens:

Oh, we're grateful for you.

Evelyn Ackah:

When you guys got your PR. Ah, the whole office heard me scream. Hallelujah. Hallelujah.

Brian Owens:

I know. It was what I just,

Evelyn Ackah:

It like it bothered me too because it was one of the longest files and there's no reason for it. It's basically something just sat on someone's desk and others. You know we're moving and there was no logic. So I couldn't explain it to you. And a couple of the clients that were taking way too long. And so I'm very happy for you and I look forward to your citizenship ceremony. If you decide to go that route, I'll be there with my big Canadiana basket. Really happy for you. But is there anything else you want to share before we wrap up?

Michael Dettner:

It's the best thing we've ever done.

Brian Owens:

Yeah. Could not be happier. Today was a long day of work, but it was also an incredible day. And I look back on that day in 2018 and it felt like it was just kind of a whim. But it's the best decision I've ever made. So glad that we are -

Michael Dettner:

Toss your resume out there. See what happens.

Evelyn Ackah:

He's going to Mexico next. Can't help you with Mexican immigration.

Brian Owens:

I think that's retirement though. I think that actually,

Evelyn Ackah:

That would be a wonderful thing. Michael, you're good. Anything. You're good.

Michael Dettner:

We are so happy. In ways it still feels like brand new, in other ways it's like we've been here our whole lives, and the thing is, the people that care, even though our friends and family back in the States, "Oh, we're so jealous," they're so happy for us.

Evelyn Ackah:

Yeah. Yeah. That's the most important thing. I'm so happy you guys are happy. And it makes me appreciate even more like being a Canadian. I mean, when you help people like this every day, it just makes you really grateful. I love the US. I'm in Austin next week and then I'm back again a month later. I'm speaking at two conferences. I love the US but I always love to come home.

Michael Dettner:

Austin's great.

Evelyn Ackah:

You know. Yeah it is,

Brian Owens:

Oh yeah, absolutely.

Evelyn Ackah:

Always love to come home. And I think there's something to be said for that familiarity. So I'm glad that Calgary's your home now and that you let us help you. Very grateful. And thanks for doing our podcast, guys.

Michael Dettner:

Yeah!

Brian Owens:

Thank you. It was great to see you.

Evelyn Ackah:

Thank you, great work!

Michael Dettner:

We appreciate you. Yeah.

Evelyn Ackah:

Oh, thanks guys. Okay. Bye.

Brian Owens:

Bye-Bye.

Michael Dettner:

Bye-Bye.

Evelyn Ackah:

Thanks for joining our podcast.

Michael Dettner:

You bet.

Brian Owens:

Absolutely.

Evelyn Ackah:

Okay. Let's see. There we go.


Evelyn L. Ackah, BA, LL.B.

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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We made it (albeit after a little drama with the folks at Del Bonita)!

Evelyn, THANK YOU so much for coming to our rescue. We can’t begin to express how grateful we are for your help.

We’re settling into YYC, and are exhausted from the 5-day, 2500 mile, 10 state road trip.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

- Alex and Aliza

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