After much frustration trying to deal with the Private Security and Investigative Services Branch in Ontario, the association representing professional security agencies across Canada has made a strategic move and hired an executive director to help give it a stronger voice when dealing with government.
The week before Christmas, Ross McLeod, president of the Association of Professional Security Agencies (APSA) announced that Marco D’Angelo, a professional lobbyist with experience dealing with bureaucrats will work on a six-month, part-time contract for APSA. This is the smartest move the industry could make at this point — a hire they probably should have made years ago when discussions were first taking place with the Ministry.
D’Angelo comes to the role with experience not in the security industry but in dealing with government bureaucracy. He is also executive director of the Ontario Traffic Council, providing a voice to the engineering, education and enforcement sectors of the traffic management industry in Ontario.
APSA’s membership includes about 18 companies representing 30,000 individuals in the private security industry.
It seems as though the leaders of APSA, weary of their exchanges with Ontario’s Private Security Investigative Services Branch, decided it was best for all involved to have a new point person lead the discussion.
“This is something we’ve wanted to do for some time now,” McLeod said. “Now is the perfect time because we have so many issues going on right now — we have a perfect storm with the downward pressure on bill rates due to the recession, the upward pressure due to the increase in minimum wage and the new regulations and testing from the province.”
McLeod says he hopes D’Angelo can help “stabilize and move issues forward.”
D’Angelo has an MBA from École des Hautes Etudes Commerciales in Montreal. Before joining the OTC, he was the director of public affairs for the Canadian Urban Transit Association.
D’Angelo’s first task will be to tackle the length of time it is taking to get a security guard licensed and working in Ontario.
“Lisa Kool (Ontario Registrar/Director of PSISB) will say it’s taking six to 11 days, and that may represent part of the process, but there are too many hands in the process right now and it’s taking longer than that,” says McLeod.
I hear it’s taking three-to-five weeks after a guard receives the required 40 hour training in Ontario before they can get their hands on a licence.
While APSA claims to be a national organization, 70 per cent of its membership is in Ontario and the executive director hire appears to be a strategic one for Ontario members.
However, Ontario is not the only province where guard licences are tough to obtain — apparently taking three to five months in Alberta when you factor in all of the steps.
The leaders of APSA have made an investment in their collective futures by hiring D’Angelo on a trial basis. Something tells me six months will just be the tip of the iceberg. This could become a full-time commitment.