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Government does listen

In June of 2003 the Province of Ontario published a discussion paper on private security regulatory reform. On August 23 of this year, almost 50 months later, the Private Security and Investigative Services Act finally came into force, as did over a dozen regulations made pursuant to that Act. Although we in the province of Ontario are now in the midst of a hectic period of transition, the end is in sight. A year from now, there will be close to 60,000 licensed security employees in the province of Ontario, and mandatory pre-employment training for private investigators and security guards will be an established fact of life.


 


October 12, 2007
By Brian Robertson

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One reason it has taken so long to put legislation on the ground in
Ontario is because the government has taken the time to get input from
industry. Before the first draft of the new legislation was prepared,
industry representatives were invited to comment on the discussion
paper. Before the PSISA Act passed third reading at Queen’s Park, the
Standing Committee on Justice Policy heard two full days of public
testimony. Before regulations were drafted, Ministry staff held a
year-an-a-half of meetings and discussions with the Private Security
and Investigative Services Advisory Committee (PSISAC). Before
regulations were published, draft regulations were posted on the
Ministry website for public comment. Any industry representative in
Ontario who is now claiming to have had the PSISA sprung on him with no
notice and no opportunity for input has just not been paying attention.

However, there is a big difference between being given the chance to
speak and being heard. Many industry leaders and others have made
submissions to the government all the way along. Has it made a
difference? Have there been changes in direction as a result of
industry input?

The answer in Ontario is yes, and there are two very specific examples.

In March of this year the Ministry posted a draft regulation on use of
vehicles. The draft prohibited the use of flashing lights of any sort
on security vehicles of any kind. Thirty written submissions were sent
to the Ministry. Twenty-nine of them complained about this provision.
When the final version of the regulation was posted on E-laws in July,
the offending provision had been removed.

In May of this year it became clear that the Ministry intended to go
ahead with the licensing of proprietary security personnel as early as
this fall even though the basic level mandatory training requirements
for individual licensees wouldn’t be in place until sometime next year.
The Ministry subsequently decided to put off implementation of the
requirement for the licensing of proprietary personnel until next
summer. At a series of information meetings held with industry
representatives around the Province in August, Jon Herberman indicated
that the Ministry’s decision not to require the licensing of
proprietary personnel until mandatory training is in place was based on
the submissions made by various industry representatives who objected
to the idea of licensing without training.

Ontario’s new Act and new regulations are now in place. But the new
legislation is still being drafted in Alberta and Nova Scotia, and the
regulations are being worked on in British Columbia and Quebec. If you
work in one or more of these four provinces there is a lesson to be
learned from the Ontario experience. Don’t miss the opportunity to tell
government what you think about what they are planning for you and your
industry.

Brian Robertson is president of Diligent Security Training and Consulting based in Toronto, Ont.


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