Canadian Security Magazine

New B.C. legislation requires licensing across the industry

By Brian Robertson   

News Public Sector

British Columbia’s new Security Services Act (SSA), which passed third reading nearly a year and a half ago, finally came into force Sept. 1.

B.C. will soon join Manitoba and Ontario in requiring in-house security
guards and private investigators to be licensed, and bouncers,
bodyguards, retail loss prevention officers and Commissionaires will
all now be included under the definition of “security guard.”  But B.C.
will go further than other provinces have, though, in not only
continuing to require security consultants, locksmiths, and alarm
installers to be licensed, but also adding armoured car guards, CCTV
installers, and the installers of electronic access control systems.

B.C. has had a mandatory training requirement for security guards ”“
under a provincial program administered by the provincial police
academy at the Justice Institute of B.C. — in place since 1996.
Security guard licence applicants, including those from the various
newly-regulated sectors, will continue to be required to complete both
the five-day basic level BST1 course and the three-day BST2 course,
which teaches basic arrest and control tactics. Many proprietary
security officers currently working in the province have already
completed these two courses at some previous point in their careers.

A significant change under the SSA is that mandatory training will no
longer be a strictly pre-employment requirement. The province will now
be issuing 90-day “under supervision” licences so that new security
guards entering the industry can get provisionally licensed and go to
work right away, prior to completing training. They would be
required to complete BST1 and BST2 during the first three months of work.  
Private investigator licence applicants will also have to complete
training under the SSA, but the Province will not be prescribing a
particular curriculum.

Different sectors of the security industry in B.C. will be required to
accomplish licensing under the SSA by different implementation dates. 
For example, the Commissionaires will need to be licensed by November
of this year, most in-house personnel will need to be licensed by next
June, and bouncers will have over a year ”“ until next November ”“ to
comply with mandatory training and licensing requirements.


Another unique feature of the Security Services Act is that licence
applicants will now be able to apply for licences with varying
durations.  The Province will issue 90-day, one-year ,two-year, and three-year licences. The greater flexibility that this
will offer to the industry will be particularly beneficial during the
2010 Vancouver/Whistler Olympics, when it is estimated that the total
number of licensed security guards in the province will have to go up
by nearly 50 per cent, but only for a matter of a few months.

Other key features of the Security Services Act include the
introduction of a code of conduct based on the one already adopted in
Ontario, mandatory use of force incident reporting,  and the
introduction of new regulations regarding both the training
requirements for dogs and dog handlers and the purposes for which dogs
may be used.

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