January 21st, 2016
By Mirelle Sylvester, Ottawa Life
You probably see a Commissionaire or two every day. You may even spot one when you're travelling through an airport. They stand out with the white or blue crisp button down-shirts, sweaters, and epaulets and you may notice that some are wearing military medals too. That's because Commissionaires are primarily former members of the Canadian Armed Forces, RCMP or police departments.
Commissionaires, the organization, was founded in 1925 following the First World War, when many returning veterans were unemployed and lacking a social safety net. Out of this need, Commissionaires was born. Initially operating in Montreal and then expanding to Toronto and Vancouver, the organization provided returning veterans with meaningful transitional or permanent employment.
Throughout the years, Commissionaires have expanded across Canada, into more than 50 offices, in every major city and 1200 communities. Over 90 per cent of revenue is driven back to members by operating a self-sustaining enterprise. The business is a not-for- profit private company employing more than 20,000 men and women. Currently Canada’s leading security services provider, Commissionaires offers more than just security guarding. Business services now include non- core police services, mobile patrols, training and process serving, in addition to identification services (fingerprinting, electronic criminal record checks, oaths and affidavits and pardons/record suspensions).
The thriving business provides services in federal and provincial buildings and facilities, as well as with utility companies, hospitals, airports, campuses, condominiums, ports, municipalities and more, typically delivering guarding, access control, by- law enforcement, crime scene security, photo radar, and traffic control.
Veterans play a very important role with Commissionaires. Currently, Commissionaires is the largest private employer of veterans in Canada, and offers veterans full-time, part-time and casual employment.
Canadians care very deeply about helping our veterans. In a survey commissioned by Commissionaires in 2014, over 96 per cent of Canadians believed that our country has an obligation to help veterans find meaningful employment once they have completed their military service. Commissionaires do just that, providing essential training, development and advancement for veterans to ease the transition into civilian life and employment.
Each year, Commissionaires hire more than 1,000 former members of the Canadian Armed Forces and RCMP. The skills and training that veterans bring to the organization allow Commissionaires to serve a variety of both private and public sector clients, such as air and sea ports, border crossings, commercial enterprises, government facilities and institutions.
Commissionaires provide an important service assisting and protecting people and property, but the organization’s mission is to provide meaningful employment to those who have served our country.
The next time you see a Commissionaire at your office, campus, condo, airport or government building, thank him or her for contribution to Canada.