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One unified voice

Security professionals have often written in this magazine about the desperate need for those employed in the industry to take an active interest in the business they work in and to speak out about issues that affect them.



March 23, 2007
By Jennifer Brown


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Brian Robertson, the Ontario region chairperson for the Canadian Society for Industrial Security (CSIS), has written numerous times about how there are many security industry associations, but few seem to talk to each other or work together to speak to government on behalf of the industry.

The security industry is represented by several industry associations including CSIS, ASIS, the Canadian Security Association (CANASA), the Association of Professional Security Associations (APSA), the Commercial Security Association — but I have never heard them speak together with one voice on issues such as regulation.

If anyone speaks for the industry as a whole, it’s Graham Ospreay, past-president of CSIS and chair of the Canadian Security Certification Authority. Graham is the lone wolf leading the charge for private security in Ontario, serving on the Private Security and Investigative Services Act Committee (PSISAC). When CSIS put out the invitation for its monthly dinner meeting held Jan. 31, it indicated the evening would include a review of recommendations made to date on Bill 159. About 65 people attended — an impressive number for a CSIS meeting, but given the importance of this issue, I expected more would have attended.

Ospreay presented the recommendations (see story page 8), but he also warned the attendees that the industry must wake up and participate in a meaningful way. He said that far too few people had expressed their concerns regarding the legislation.

The police associations are well-represented at the PSISAC meetings. The police union representatives are voicing their opinions — such as what the standards should be for uniforms, cars and use-of-force training. By voicing their opposition to issues of concern to their membership, the police union reps are doing their job and by all accounts, doing it very well.

Private security out-numbers police four to one in Canada, but because it does not have a collective voice, it is not the loudest voice when it comes to issues such as what is happening with Bill 159.

CSIS estimates there are 253,000 people working in the security industry in Canada — a significant voice if harnessed under one banner.

Ospreay is calling for a Canadian Security Sector Council that would work with government to address issues such as skills development, safety standards and recruiting and retaining workers. Other benefits would include much-needed industry cohesion and improved governance. A sector council sounds like a good organizational structure for a group that is currently too fragmented for its own good.

Jennifer Brown, Editor