The company was in trouble, but who really knew that. I found over the years that I worked at Crown that my friends, family, and any one I met had never heard of the company. It did not advertise to the public, it marketed through agents and brokers. It also meant that though it was apparently the 18th largest insurance company in North America, I never saw much about it in the business newspapers.
Then, one day in 1991, the announcement came: a company from Saskatchewan (holding company for the richest family out there) had bought up control of Crown Life, and was going to move the company to Regina. That was news; it even came up in the Ontario Parliament question period, the opposition blaming the government for losing business/jobs from the province.
If you want to downsize your company staff, I can think of no better way to do it than pickup your company and move it 1000 miles, especially from the biggest city in the country to a relative hinterland. Current staff was offered the chance to move with the company, all expenses paid, or stay to a certain date and get a good-sized settlement. This was 1991, and Ontario was in a recession, so even if the settlement was good, opportunities for a new job were bleak. So, I decided to go to Regina. Looking ahead a bit, I can tell you that I and my family lived in Regina for 4 years. (A lot of people did not move, usually citing love of Toronto, wanting to stay near family, and many other good reasons)
I always tell people (truthfully) that I do not regret moving to Regina, but neither do I regret leaving Regina after those 4 years. I had grown up in Toronto and lived/worked in area of Toronto ever since. So, when I have been writing these posts, the place all this happened to me did not really affect what happened, it was in a big city, I commuted, lived in suburbs, like many millions of people. Regina was different, in both life and work, and that difference will come out in some of my future posts.
But it was over a year before I actually moved; a group of ‘pioneers’ went first to get started, using temporary space while a new head office was built and such. In the meantime, that Canada Pensions IEF project was still underway, had delivered some of the first parts of the system (structured by Business Areas), but it would not be done before the business unit made its move to Regina, and no one on the project team was going to move (they all felt skill in IEF was marketable, and I think that was true for a while). The unit management persuaded the team to keep working in Toronto after the move till the system was done, and they delivered a good system.
By that time, I was in Regina, about the only person with IEF exposure who made the move. One thing that I worked on first was a program by Texas Instruments for sponsoring education on IEF at universities, and we got the program set up for the University of Regina. I actually went out and spoke about IEF, systems development and Crown Life to a senior class. I didn’t think I made any impression, but apparently some students learned IEF.
I know this because the Canada Pensions IEF project did finish, and the Toronto team members all went on their way. So, the business unit had to get people in Regina to support and enhance the system, and usually new people need time to learn about a system before they can be productive; but, one thing the unit did was hire some UofR grads who had learned IEF, and because they could read the Data Model and Action Diagrams, they were productive almost immediately. It proved that systems generated from commonly known modeling techniques were a whole lot easier to maintain and enhance.
Unfortunately (and I feel I have to say that a lot), that Canada Pensions system was the first and last IEF system built at Crown Life…