June 6th, 2013
The Daily Gleaner – Michael Staples
Canada’s Corps of Commissionaires is pushing for standardization of training for security companies in the province.
The organization believes a standardized policy is needed to ensure clients that members are trained to an appropriate level.
Peter Kramers, CEO of the New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island Division of the Canadian Corps of Commissionaires, said training and licensing standards exist in all the provinces except for New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia.
But Nova Scotia is in the process of coming up with the appropriate legislation to ensure standards are being met, he said.
“I think it’s important to ensure clients that we are well trained,” Kramers said in a recent interview.
“And that we train our members to a certain standard so they understand what they have to do and what their legal responsibilities are, and to ensure that we, as a company, meet our legal requirements, not only towards our clients but also towards the people of the province of New Brunswick.”
Kramers said he met with the Department of Public Safety in the fall to discuss the issue.
“However, it is not No. 1 on the government agenda at this stage,” he said. “There is a certain amount of resistance from security guard companies in that it increases their overhead cost because training costs money.”
Deborah Nobes, communications director with Public Safety, said the department is always interested in hearing ideas on how it might improve the laws that govern regulated industries.
“We are presently in discussions with the Canadian Corps of Commissionaires about their ideas on training and we appreciate their input,” she said.
Nobes said it’s really too early to say where that process may lead.
Kramers said commissionaires have an exact training program that meets Canada General Standards Board specifications.
“I am not sure I can say the same about all the other security companies in New Brunswick.”
Currently, Kramers said, each company does its own training to meet its own standards.
Because commissionaires have a significant number of federal contracts across the country they are required to meet certain criteria for security guards and supervisors.
“We have a very stringent training regime for our members right now,” Kramers said.
“They have to do an online training session before they are even hired. Once they are hired, they cannot work until they complete a five-day, classroom-based course on their responsibilities as security guards.”
In other provinces, potential security guards have to write a provincially mandated licensing exam. But to get to that point, they have to undergo a certain amount of training so they are aware of their legal rights and obligations as security guards, Kramers said.
“It’s done across Canada now, so I can’t see any reason why it can’t be expanded into the province of New Brunswick and, for my concern, Prince Edward Island, as well. Providing a standardized training regime throughout the province would ensure that we meet a certain level of professional standards.”
Other companies providing similar services simply have to request a security guard licence on behalf of an individual, he said.
“That individual can perform security guard duties without any further training. That’s the status quo within the province of New Brunswick.”
Kramers said the danger of keeping the status quo is that the industry as a whole isn’t putting its best foot forward.
John Clarke, the commissionaires training manager for New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, said it’s important to have standardized training across the province because it brings an air of professionalism to the industry.
“I think it would probably solve a lot of issues that might crop up from someone not being trained, not knowing the powers of arrest or not knowing a municipal bylaw,” he said.
Clarke said the organization is involved in training people all over New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.
“It’s not just the new people,” Clarke said. “We have trained some instructors.”
Commissionaires is a not-for-profit security solutions organization that has been protecting Canadians for 87 years. Their mandate is to provide meaningful employment to veterans of the Canadian Forces and RCMP.
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