Canadian Security Magazine

Security Director of the Year 2023: Joey Bourgoin

Neil Sutton   

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There are projects that sound routine when they’re just a concept, but grow into game-changing stuff when the plans become real and ideas are put into practice.

To hear Joey Bourgoin tell the tale, CIBC was ready to update its physical security systems with the new CIBC Square facility in downtown Toronto acting as a catalyst for change. While that is no small undertaking, Bourgoin led a team that tackled so much more.

Bourgoin’s role in CIBC Square “started about seven years ago,” he says. “I was brought on in the very early days for a little project that ultimately led to our new global headquarters.”

CIBC Square is a three-million-square-feet structure comprising two office towers of 49 and 50 storeys and an elevated park that will be open to the public. The south tower opened in 2022 and began welcoming CIBC staff after the pandemic. The north tower is scheduled for completion in 2024. The building now serves as CIBC’s new headquarters, the bank being the majority tenant occupying approximately 70 per cent of the real estate.


The business case for CIBC Square included moving a disparate workforce across the Toronto region into a central location, says Bourgoin, senior director of enterprise physical security, CIBC. As a result, “we looked at our physical security programs (and) initiatives, and the overall mandate at CIBC and how we approach physical security,” he says.

From there, an opportunity was identified to “launch a new program that can evolve, leveraging modern technology, systems and solutions to better protect our bank’s people, information and assets,” explains Bourgoin.

In recognition of his leadership and project management during the CIBC Square transition and implementation, Bourgoin was awarded Security Director of the Year 2023 by Canadian Security’s advisory board.

From square one to CIBC Square

Bourgoin, a graduate of Sheridan College’s police foundations program, gained experience in security and loss prevention working for several retailers, including a role in Starbucks’ safety and security team. He joined CIBC’s security department in 2014, working in different disciplines until he was tapped for a pivotal role in the security of CIBC Square five years before its scheduled opening date.

A new building was the ideal platform to rethink security infrastructure and consider a more holistic approach. “We looked at the core basics of security — typically, intrusion, alarms, access control and video — and we looked at the opportunity to modernize,” says Bourgoin.

From a technology perspective, CIBC looked to unify security systems as well as offer centralized management.

“Our primary goal was something that can scale to our needs and can scale across the entire enterprise,” says Bourgoin.

The advantage of a facility like CIBC Square, still in the construction phase, is that security systems can be planned out well ahead of time. Major projects like this also encourage and reward collaboration between different departments. Bourgoin says that from the outset, corporate security had a strong voice in the conversation.

CIBC Square (photo: CIBC)

“We, within the corporate security team, had built a great relationship and rapport with our executives in real estate and technology over the years. As this project came up, it was identified very early on with our key stakeholders that they wanted to have corporate security at the table to work on this program and initiative before the first shovel even went into the ground,” says Bourgoin.

“We were at the table and we were one of the first groups engaged when we started looking at our CIBC Square strategy and vision.”

Security is, of course, more than security these days — it can also be a key business enabler. “We looked at everything we could do to make our business partners’ day-to-day lives easier while mitigating risk and leveraging the technology needed to add value across the enterprise,” says Bourgoin.

“Joey’s visionary leadership, forward-thinking, and innovative approach have been pivotal in both design and execution, integrating security into every part of CIBC Square,” says Michael Brzozowski, a security team member at CIBC. “Joey’s ability to foster collaborative relationships across the many teams at CIBC has been vital in aligning the security strategy with business objectives.”

New security culture

CIBC Square officially opened two years later than originally planned due to pandemic-related delays. “We had an evolving and fluid construction schedule. It required us to constantly pivot and reassess,” says Bourgoin.

Well-worn concepts of office life were also challenged thanks to COVID protocols and the work from home movement. CIBC’s security program adjusted to meet this new reality.

Bourgoin and his team took the opportunity to change the way security is viewed throughout the organization.

Traditionally seen as a clandestine occupation and the sole responsibility of a dedicated department, Bourgoin wanted to shake up those conventions and make security something that all CIBC employees could participate in.

“We wanted to shift from a mindset of, ‘If you see an issue, call security’ to a mindset where security is the accountability of all employees at CIBC,” says Bourgoin. “To observe, report and challenge… to really increase that security culture throughout our campus and our organization.”

That approach has received endorsements from multiple departments within the CIBC organization, including the C-suite. New training, orientation protocols and awareness campaigns have been implemented across the enterprise, encouraging all staff to take some ownership of security.

A proponent of constant education, Bourgoin has also encouraged his own staff to develop and hone their skills.

Bourgoin, an ASIS International member for more than 15 years, has participated in the association through its Toronto chapter and also as assistant regional vice-president for the ASIS Canada Young Professionals group. Bourgoin holds the ASIS Certified Protection Professional (CPP) designation and recommends certification to his colleagues as both a knowledge builder and career enabler.

Thus far, most of his team members have achieved the CPP, one has earned ASIS’s Associate Protection Professional (APP), and others are working towards a Physical Security Professional (PSP) certification.

“Ultimately, for me, ASIS, the membership, the networking opportunities… It’s really made me the security professional I am today,” he says.

In addition to his volunteer work with ASIS, Bourgoin served on the Professional Advisory Council for the Public & Private Investigations Diploma Program at his alma mater Sheridan College from 2015 until 2021.

Thinking outside the Square

With a solid security plan in place for CIBC Square, Bourgoin’s attention has turned to how it can be implemented across CIBC’s global footprint.

“This will be a full transformation of our systems end to end,” he says.

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