Commissionaires is Canada’s largest private sector employer of veterans and the only national not-for-profit security company.
Captain Edward Walter, a retired officer of the Crimean War, founded The Corps of Commissionaires in England in 1859 to help veterans make the difficult transition back to civilian life and employment. He convinced friends and acquaintances that the exemplary discipline, loyalty and dedication to service that veterans possessed could be put to excellent use in business. He succeeded in finding jobs for seven veterans, thereby launching the Corps of Commissionaires.
The idea of forming a Canadian version of the British Corps of Commissionaires was first proposed by the Governor General of Canada, HRH the Duke of Connaught, in 1915. He wanted to provide a social safety net for soldiers who had difficulties finding employment upon completion of their service.
The Canadian Corps of Commissionaires was eventually founded in 1925, specifically to employ Canadian veterans of the First World War. We were initially established in Montreal, then Toronto and Vancouver, to look after these men and women and provide them with transitional and permanent jobs, primarily in the security field. The Right Honourable John Buchan, Governor General of Canada, became the Corps’ first patron in 1937. Viceregal patronage has been an 81-year tradition since then.
In the early years, we mostly provided guarding services for government institutions. From 1925 to 1948, Commissionaires expanded throughout Canada.
In 1950, with the opening of the St. John’s, Newfoundland division, Commissionaires was operating services from coast to coast.
By 1982, Commissionaires exceeded 10,000 employees.
With the advent of advanced technology and more specialized, highly skilled staff, Commissionaires has expanded to offer a broader range of services catering to the evolving needs of clients, and the advanced skills of our employees.
Today, Commissionaires employs 22,000 men and women of all ages and walks of life who serve in 1,200 communities across the country. Veterans of the Canadian Armed Forces and RCMP account for 4,500 of our employees, and serve at all levels of the organization, from security guard to CEO. We provide outstanding security and security related services to federal and provincial facilities, municipalities and police services, air and seaports, private sector organizations including utilities and commercial buildings, and homes across the country.
Commissionaires is not an agency of the federal or provincial governments. We are a private, self-supporting, not-for-profit organization, continuing a proud tradition that started more than a century and a half ago. By operating in this manner, we are able to fulfill our original mandate of providing meaningful work to ex-military personnel, while providing our clients with quality service at competitive rates.