Commissionaires offer work, camaraderie for Sask. veterans

Friday, December 30, 2016

South Saskatchewan Commissionaires has more than 600 members

CBC News Posted: Nov 11, 2016 10:46 AM CT 

When a soldier leaves the army, finding meaningful work and a purpose is vitally important. That's where the Commissionaires come in.

Veteran Robin Lane, who served for 12 years and participated in the Gulf War on the HMCS Huron, told CBC Radio's Morning Edition that seeing veterans, or as he put it "the old guys," out working long after their service made him want to be a part of the Commissionaires.

'Perhaps they need some meaningful employment and they come to us and they find it's a very, very easy transition into an organization that knows the traditions and has other veterans in it.' - Colin King, South Saskatchewan Commissionaires CEO

He now works at the Regina International Airport as the security supervisor.

"I really enjoy my job every day," said Lane.

The Commissionaires started as a way to employ veterans after the First World War. They hire more than 1,000 veterans and service people across Canada every year, mainly to provide security services. The South Saskatchewan Commissionaires started after the Second World War and now has more than 600 members. 

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"The vast majority — over 92 per cent — of what our company makes goes back to the Commissionaires, in terms of pay and benefits," said Colin King, a retired lieutenant colonel and CEO of the South Saskatchewan Commissionaires.

He said Armed Forces veterans or former RCMP members are often looking for something to do.

"Perhaps they need some meaningful employment and they come to us and they find it's a very, very easy transition into an organization that knows the traditions and has other veterans in it," he said.

For many of the veterans, the camaraderie of their service is reflected in the camaraderie of fellow Commissionaires.

"It's a common ground that you stand on. It's just a wonderful thing to be with," said Lane.

In addition to employment, the Commissionaires also offer a home watch program to keep an eye on property, and a senior watch program that provides checks on elderly parents and gives them company.