Canadian Security Magazine

Regulatory update: Private security regs to change in five provinces

By Brian Robertson   

Features Opinion

By this time next year five Canadian provinces will have entirely new private security legislation in place.

In the west, by next summer British Columbia will have completed the process of licensing and training all sectors of the proprietary industry under the new Security Services Act (SSA), which came into force last fall.

Alberta will likely have published the regulations under its new
Security Services and Investigators Act (SSIA) ”“ which was passed last
fall but has not yet come into force.

In Ontario the testing process will be up and running ”“ and training
will be underway – for the 60,000+ security guards and private
investigators now licensed under the Private Security and Investigative
Services Act (PSISA)
, which came into force two years ago.

The long-awaited Regulations under Quebec’s Private Security Act (PSA)
– which has been on the books for nearly three years now will have been
finalized, and the Act itself may finally have come into force.

Depending in part on how a change of political party in Nova Scotia
will change things, that province should be introducing its new
security legislation ”“ tentatively entitled the Security Services Act
(SSA) — in its legislature.


In British Columbia, the Security Services Act came into force in
September. Since that time the number of licensed security personnel in
the province has more than doubled, as various sectors of the
proprietary industry (including employees of the Commissionaires,
armoured car guards and in-house retail loss prevention officers)
have all come under licensing requirements of the new Act. Many of the in-house security officers, all of whom have to be licensed by Sept. 1 may have already obtained their licence. The last
group to come under licensing will be bouncers, who will need to get
licensed by Nov. 1 of this year.

B.C. has had a mandatory training program administered by the police
academy at the Justice Institute of B.C.  since 1996, but this spring
there have been a number of changes made to the training requirements,
representing the first major revision of B.C.’s training requirements
to be made in 13 years. B.C. used to have a system under which all
guard category licensees had to complete both a 40-hour classroom based
course and a 24-hour control tactics course. As of March 1 of this
year, the only across-the-board training requirement is the completion
of an updated version of the 40-hour classroom-based course. The
updates which have been made bring B.C.’s new Basic Security Training
(BST) course closely in line with the new course that will be used in
Ontario. In both cases there is less emphasis on training on
“industrial security” procedures and more emphasis on verbal
communication skills for use in conflict situations, and on familiarity
with the standardized use of force “models.”

As of Sept. 1 licenced security officers in B.C. will be permitted to carry and
use handcuffs for the first time in decades. They must, however, first
complete the JIBC’s new Advanced Security Training (AST) course, which
is an amalgam of the JIBC’s old BST2 control tactics course and a
course on handcuffing techniques. This training must be delivered by
one or more of a relatively small  group of qualified instructors who
have been identified for the purpose by the police academy.  In this
respect, the B.C. program seems to be anticipating the approach to use
of force training that is also likely to be adopted in Ontario over the
course of the next few years.

Alberta’ new Security Services and Investigators Act passed Third
Reading and received Royal assent at the end of last year, but has not
yet come into force.  In February the Ministry of the Solicitor General
and Public Security released a “Proposed Directions Discussion Guide,”
for the purpose of soliciting industry stakeholder input on what
directions it should take in drafting the regulations under the new
Act. That consultation is completed, the regulations are being drafted,
and are expected to be ready for the fall.

When the Proposed Directions Discussion Guide was published in
February, Alberta became one of the first provinces to overtly
acknowledge that  it would be drafting its training requirements in a
manner consistent with the labour mobility provisions under the
Agreement on Internal Trade.  Those provisions, signed off on by all of
the provinces in January, appear to compel provincial security
regulators to recognize each other’s pre-employment training standards
when faced with licence applicants who have moved from one province to
another and don’t want to have to train again if they have met the
training requirements and been licensed in one province and would now
like to get licensed in another.

The deadline for proprietary security personnel to become licensed
under Ontario’s new Private Security and Investigative Services Act
(which came into force two summers ago) came and went last August, and
there are now well over 60,000 licensed security guards and private
investigators in the province.   The deadline for security employers to
get their vehicles and uniforms into line with new regulatory
requirements is this August .

Mandatory training has still not arrived in Ontario, but seems now
likely to do so in the early part of next year.  The pieces required
for mandatory training have now all but come together and include:

Ӣ Training curriculae for both security guards and private investigators.
”¢   A  new draft training regulation which sets out that the
qualifications for instructors has been or is very soon to be released.
Ӣ Work is nearing completion on the development of the multiple choice tests which are to be used.
Ӣ The province is in the process of selecting an outside agency to
contract to administer the testing process, after issuing an RFP in
late May.

Ministry representatives are hopeful that testing will be up and
running shortly after the beginning of the new year.  Completion of
training and testing will become a pre-requisite for licensing a couple
of months after that, and those who are already licensed prior to the
implementation of the training requirement will have the opportunity to
“challenge” the training requirement by writing the standardized test
prior to their licence renewal dates over the course of the ensuing
12-month period. As many as 75,000 guards and investigators will write
one or the other of Ontario’s two new licensing tests over the course
of the 18-month period between Jan. 1 of 2010 and Aug. 1 of 2011.

The gap between the passage of new legislation and the implementation
of any of the changes called for under that legislation has been
longest in Quebec, where the Private Security Act went onto the books
in September of 2006 and where the province have not yet had the
opportunity to publicly post even a one draft regulation. Much of the
delay in Quebec has been attributable to changes in government and/or
changes in the Minister’s office.  But that is not to say that there
has been no activity.  Industry consultation committees have been
working diligently over the course of the last couple of years, and
Ministry representatives are hopeful they will be ready to go public
with some of the results of that work by the end of this year.

In Nova Scotia, the progress of that province’s proposed new Security
Services Act has also been held up by political developments far
removed from the bureaucratic business of legislative drafting, as a
minority government there had to face an election on June 9 and now the
New Democratic Party is now in power. Nova Scotian security industry
members will have to wait and see whether or not private security
regulatory reform continues to be given any priority once the
government and the legislature are able to turn their attentions away
from the business of electioneering and back to the business of
law-making. But if some version of the new act gets First Reading next
winter, the regulatory landscape in Nova Scotia — as in B.C., Alberta,
Ontario, and Quebec — could look quite different this time next year.

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