Canadian Security Magazine

New hope for a national training standard

By Brian Robertson   

Features Opinion

It has always seemed a no-brainer that if you are going to have provincial regulations that make training mandatory for licensed security personnel like security officers and private investigators, there should be one national training standard that is recognized and used in every province.

more and more provinces introduce mandatory training requirements, it
becomes more and more of an absurdity that the training requirements
are different in every jurisdiction.

There was a time when it
seemed that the training standard for security officers set down by the
Canadian General Standards Board might form the basis for a de facto
national standard. But both Ontario and Quebec decided not to use the
CGSB standard when they developed their own, and provinces like B.C.,
Saskatchewan, and Manitoba — all of which have used the CGSB standard
in past — show no signs of continuing to do so now that the CGSB
standard has stretched from 40 hours to 56 hours.

Many folks in
the security industry mistakenly blame provincial regulators for the
fact that there is no inter-provincial harmonization of training
standards. But ever since the Law Commission of Canada’s “In Search of
Security” conference in early 2003, the provincial Registrars have been
meeting together regularly, and conscientiously working together to
arrive at more harmonization. The hold-ups have always come from higher
up the food chain, from the provincial politicians to whom the
bureaucrats answer, from the respective Minsters of Justice or Pubic
Safety or Community Safety for each province.

But as of Jan. 16,
there is reason for significant optimism that the creation of (and
adoption of) national training standards is coming, and sooner than we
had expected. On that day, the Premiers of every province in Canada
signed two amendments to the agreement which governs how
inter-provincial trade is carried out in Canada. One of those
amendments deals with labour mobility. It says that, as of April 1 of
this year, the Provinces all agree that if a person has been certified
to work in a particular occupation in one province, then no other
Province can require that person to submit to any additional training
or testing requirements if he applies to be certified to work in that
other province.


Translation: once you’ve met the training
requirements for licensing as a security officer or a private
investigator in one province you’ve met the training and testing
requirements for licensing in ALL of the provinces.

Don’t believe me? Send me an e-mail
and I’ll send you a copy of the agreement. To be sure, there is lots of
discussion going on, even as we speak, regarding whether or not the
terms of this new amendment to the Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT)
are supposed to apply to provincial security licensing requirements.
The predominant legal opinion among provincial security regulators,
however, is that they do apply, and discussions are already underway on
the difficult topic of just how the Provinces will be able to meet the
requirements of the agreement, given how much time, money and effort
many of the provinces have recently put into developing their own
training standards.

Although the new labour mobility provision
under the AIT is supposed to come into force on April Fool’s day of
this year, only a fool would expect to see the emergence of a single
national training standard or even anything like inter-provincial
recognition of each other’s standards before the Easter Bunny arrives.
If past experience is any indication, it will probably take anywhere
from three to five years before the “bugs” get worked out. It is
axiomatic of security regulation that the devil is in the details.

are people who will read this column who have been advocating for
better and more consistent training standards for the security industry
for decades. Those people should take heart ”“ something really big
happened on Jan. 16. A paradigm shift has occurred. The question has
switched from “Will we ever see national training standards?” to “How
soon will we see national training standards?” And in a time when good
news is sparse, this is good news indeed.

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