Ministry fast-tracking CSC’s licence to operate in Ontario
The head of the association that represents private security firms in Canada says the fact Contemporary Security Canada has been awarded the G20 and G8 contracts for pedestrian screening has caused “pandemonium” in the industry.
“We’ve had some intense discussions about this at APSA in the last few
days,” says Ross McLeod, president of the Association of Professional Security Agencies based in Toronto. “I’ve been doing RFPs and tenders for 30 years in
this business, and it doesn’t pass the smell test.”
McLeod says the industry is outraged for two reasons — first, because Contemporary Security Canada is not currently licensed to provide security
services in Ontario, and second, it is offering to pay guards $20 to
$24/hour — about twice the going rate. If guards working for other companies leave their current employers to work for Contemporary during the G20/G8, it forces those companies to find a way to backfill their current commitments.
”¨“By offering that ridiculous pay rate to fill the manpower they need,
we are now open to tactical pressures from the people we have hired to be in place for our own clients during that time," says McLeod.
On May 31, Contemporary Security set up a hiring office at Humber College in Toronto and was taking applications up until today.
Contemporary held the $97-million security contract for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics. On its website Contemporary says they will be "Supervised by the RCMP and Integrated Security Unit" and will be responsible for providing "airport-type pedestrian security screening, including inspection of persons and items at the G8 and G20 sites."
APSA’s membership includes 18 security companies representing over
30,000 security practitioners and over 70 per cent of the security
force in Ontario alone.
“Even at that time, it was late, really,” says McLeod. “But, when it disappeared
from MERX, we thought it was gone and didn’t think too much about it.”
Jean Taillon, CEO of G4S Secure Solutions, says G4S also bid on the G20/G8 business, and he has concerns about how the contract was awarded.
"G4S Secured Solutions has had past experience, both in London and in Pittsburgh, providing G8/G20 security and consulting and included these services in the RFP response and was ready to provide this expertise. The lead time and response time allowed for the bid makes you question transparency in the process."
Others have gone so far as to label Contemporary’s ability to land a major contract without being a licensed company in Ontario "Securi-scam."
"The criteria for becoming a licensed security agency in Ontario is a three-phased process that takes around six to eight months to complete. Considering that Contemporary has been in the country for three years and would have known about this contract up to a year ago, it begs the question why aren’t licensed in this province?" says Paul Carson, president of ASG Security, based in Toronto.
McLeod says he met with the heads of the Private Security Investigative Services Branch (PSISB) last week and was assured by the Registrar that the matter would be investigated.
In a statement from the office of the Hon. Rick Bartolucci, Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services, senior communications adviser Laura Blondeau said:
"The RCMP did in fact hire CSC (Contemporary Security Canada) and Ontario learned of this after the fact. Now Ontario is working to process CSC’s application to become a licensed agency in Ontario. Ensuring the public is kept safe during G20 is our government’s priority. The process for granting a company an agency licence is rigorous. All private security agencies and their staff working in Ontario must be licensed, per our legislation."
Todd Severson, project director with Contemporary said in a statement that the company is not currently active in Ontario, but is working to achieve all licensing requirements prior to the G20/G8 activities starting less than three weeks from now.
“As part of CSC’s preparations for the G8/G20 Summits, CSC has been working with the ministry responsible for licensing private security companies to complete all of the necessary requirements to obtain an Ontario Security Agency licence. CSC is not currently performing any security services in Ontario, but will ensure all regulatory requirements are met before security screening begins. We are confident that we will be fully compliant and meet all prerequisites in the time frame required.”