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Founded in 1852, Université Laval is the oldest centre of education in Canada and was the first institution in North America to offer higher education in French. With 44,000 students, 17 faculties and more than 400 programs, Université Laval is recognized as one of the top ten research-intensive universities in Canada. It manages 230 research teams and centres and receives more than 265 million dollars per year in research income. The university welcomes international students and has signed about 570 partnerships with universities in 65 countries.
Université Laval’s main campus covers 1.2 km2. More than 30 buildings are linked by 3.7 km of underground walkways and over half of the campus grounds are dedicated to maintaining sports fields, natural grasslands, wooded areas, and more than 125 different species of trees and birds.
According to Paul Naud and Serge Demers, the Director and Assistant Director of SSP at Université Laval, Quebec City may have one of the lowest crime rates in North America, but their university has long recognized the need for vigilance when it comes to safety and security on campus. For one, school shootings in other cities, provinces and countries are a grim reminder of how violence can erupt without warning and take innocent lives. Other threats or risks cannot be ignored—thefts, vandalism, traffic or safety hazards, verbal or physical conflicts, pandemic outbreaks, and a host of possible 911 emergencies.
Mr. Naud, a member of SSP since 1986, explains,“Université Laval’s safety and security-related challenges and priorities require us to be thorough, attentive and proactive in all that we do. Not only are we effectively responding with technical and operational resources, but we also offer multiple training sessions and awareness programs. We are also investing in state-of-the-art technologies and collaborating with leading experts to develop rapid and efficient campus-wide prevention and response action plans.”
Serge Demers, a member of SSP since 1999, adds, “We could not possibly achieve this without a reliable team of skilled, highly-trained professionals. It takes the right kind of people to coordinate and carry out a wide range of sophisticated plans, protocols, systems and operations.”
Commissionaires has a longstanding working relationship with Université Laval that dates back to 1954. For the first 23 years, commissionaires were mostly contracted as security guards and patrollers. In 1977, Université Laval advanced its safety and security mandate by creating a dedicated Security and Safety Service (Service de sécurité et de prévention – SSP).
Led by a core group of specialists, the SSP team is committed to continuously strengthening its campus wide safety and security measures. These include but are not limited to emergency planning and preparedness, crime and loss prevention, fire prevention, investigation, management of dangerous materials, and action plans in the event of pandemic outbreaks, to name but a few.
Mr. Naud says, “Commissionaires are an integral part of our safety and security solutions. In fact, three out of every four members of our SSP team are commissionaires.”
Over the years, Commissionaires has continued to win contracts as a security service provider of choice for Université Laval. In direct response to the growing needs of SSP, Commissionaires continues to evolve and align its service offerings. In addition to guarding and patrolling at Université Laval, today’s commissionaires also assist with 911 centre dispatch, reception, fire safety, parking and traffic control, training, as well as various specialized security-related assignments.
In 2009, about 4000 foreign students from 110 countries around the world were enrolled in programs at Université Laval.
Mr. Demers says, “The fact many commissionaires have experience in the military is quite appropriate for our needs, not only because of their skills and training, but also because of their life experience. Campus life is filled with a diverse and multicultural faculty, staff and student population. For commissionaires who have previously been deployed on missions overseas, they come to us with first-hand awareness of various other countries and cultures. In many cases they have picked up second and third languages. This allows them not only to be sensitive to—but to integrate with—the thousands of different personalities they greet, watch over and support every day.”
Paul Naud concludes, “Commissionaires are disciplined and reliable. They respect our chain of command, make valuable contributions to our core team, and are dedicated to fulfilling their technical and operational responsibilities. Université Laval and SSP are very satisfied with their services.”