A new adventure begins
If you follow me on LinkedIn, you had probably noticed that on 30-June-2022 my job title changed to, "Between positions at the moment." That day was my last day of work at OC. I had worked at OC for 20 years in various positions ranging from Hall Director to Chair of the Division of Bible, but back before Christmas 2021 I received a Zoom call that signaled to me that it was my time to move on.
That Zoom call was from Dr. Stan Porter. Stan was my PhD mentor at McMaster Divinity College (MDC). He called to say that MDC's Vice President Academic (VPA) was retiring and to ask me if, by any chance, I would be interested in the position. I responded with, "Let's talk." Well, those talks turned into negotiations, and eventually I accepted the offer. So, I finished out the 2022SP semester at OC as strong as I could. I didn't want simply to "lame duck" my way to the finish line.
As it turns out, the process to get me to Canada has been a bit more complex and has taken longer than any of us had really anticipated. You see, in order for MDC to officially hire me, they had to go through a process called "Labour Market Impact Assessment" (LMIA). Basically, this is a government-required process by which MDC was required to demonstrate that they couldn't find any qualified Canadian citizen candidates who were willing to apply for and, potentially, fill the position. It sounds like it was an expensive process for MDC, too. They hired an immigration lawyer to help complete the process, and there was a fee that had to be paid to the government. Fortunately, they were willing to do what was necessary to get me there.
The LMIA process was eventually completed and the outcome was positive. However, that wasn't quite the end of the matter. I still needed to go to the Canadian border and be interviewed. It was actually still possible that I could be denied a work permit, in which case, I would not be able to reapply for one for five years. Obviously, that would have ruined everything. But, the lawyer that MDC had hired helped me prepare a dossier (that's French for "collection of documents" or as I like to put it "pile of papers") so that I would have at hand the kinds of information that they typically ask about during those interviews, including such things as financial statements, basic biographical info for my extended family, my CV, the official offer letter from MDC, and a host of other things.
On July 17, in the wee hours of the morning, the ever lovely CJD and I flew to Buffalo. There we rented a car and headed for the Peace Bridge. We stopped at the Ft. Erie port of entry into Canada, where both of us were granted work permits without any sort of hassle or difficulty--praise the Lord! From there, we drove to Burlington, ON, and settled into our hotel. On Monday the 18th, we headed over to MDC, where I took a tour of the renovated building, checked out my new office, received my laptop, and took care of some other onboarding processes. I have to say that while getting my work permit brought a great sense of relief, this visit to MDC brought a strong sense of excitement!
Pretty much the remainder of our time on this trip was spent looking for a place to live. I lost count how many rental properties we looked at on Monday afternoon and Tuesday, but we didn't have much success finding anything we really felt comfortable with or that would be available to us on August 1 (many were not available until Sep 1, which would have meant living in a hotel for a few of weeks). So on Wednesday, our last day on our trip, our real estate agent took us out to look at a couple more places--a townhouse and a detached home that had just popped up on her search. The townhouse was very nice (and big [2200 sq. ft.]), and we thought that if the other house wouldn't work, it would do just fine. But then we visited the house. Almost immediately, the lovely CJD wanted it. It ticked nearly all of the boxes on our wish list, and it is not a far drive to my work or to a Go station for Sydney to catch a train to her school in Toronto. Someone else was making an offer on the place at the same time we were, so we offered a bit more money and provided all of the paperwork the landlord asked for right up front. So, we ended up getting it!
We accomplished almost everything we needed to while on the trip. As of this post, I am still waiting on Service Canada to issue me a social insurance number (CJD got hers already). Then, I can finish paperwork with HR and officially get on the payroll. And we can also set up a bank account.
We ordered PODS for moving. They will be dropped off in our driveway on 28-July. We'll fill them up, and then they will begin their journey to Canada, which can take 8 to 10 business days. Hopefully, there won't be any hassle with customs.
There is still a lot to do in a short amount of time. Please keep us in your prayers.