Canadian Security Magazine


By Brian Robertson   

Features Opinion

Traditionally, bouncers at bars, pubs and nightclubs have not been viewed as private security personnel.  In the last seven or eight years, two things have begun to change that.  (1) Some bars have moved away from hiring their own bouncers and begun using contract security.  (2) Three of the largest provinces in Canada (Ontario, Quebec and B.C.) have brought in new security licensing legislation which will require bouncers to get licensed as security guards. 

Significantly, however, two provinces have bucked this trend.  When
Manitoba introduced amendments to its legislation about a year and a
half ago, and extended it’s licensing requirements to the proprietary
sector, it specifically excluded bouncers. The province chose instead
to directly introduce a mandatory training requirement for bouncers
through the Manitoba Liquor Control Commission (MLCC).

when MLA Len Weber submitted his discussion paper on private security
regulatory reform to the Alberta government a year and a half ago he
also recommended that bouncers (as well as casino security) be excluded
from private security licensing requirements because they are already
licensed by the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission (AGLC).

provincial alcohol and gaming commissions equipped to regulate bouncers
in their role as security personnel? The answer is no.

Both the
MLCC and the AGLC have in fact introduced mandatory training programs
for bouncers within the last year. The AGLC proudly announced it’s new
program Feb. 1. And what does the AGLC see as the necessary level of
training for bouncers who are involved in violent physical altercations
with members of the general public every day? Answer: attendance at a
six-hour classroom seminar followed by three chances to get 16 out of
20 questions right on a one-hour, 20-question multiple choice exam.


a bit thin?  Manitoba’s idea of adequate training for bouncers is even
more insubstantial. Bouncers in Manitoba can complete their mandatory
training requirement by going online and writing a 25-question
unsupervised multiple choice test. The “trainee” has 90 minutes to
complete the test — presumably because it is a completely open book
test, and it could take a slow reader up to five minutes each to look
up the 17 correct answers needed in order to pass.

There are
provinces where bouncers are not licensed or trained as security guards
nor subjected to any mandatory training requirements by provincial
liquor control commissions. Compared to these provinces, Alberta and
Manitoba are making an effort. But it’s hardly enough, and in Manitoba
the inadequacy of the training requirement for bouncers is made clear
by comparison to the new training requirement for security guards. In
Manitoba, a night watchman working on the graveyard shift in a
warehouse needs to complete a 40-hour training program, but a bouncer
working in a busy nightclub in downtown Winnipeg only needs to write a
short, open-book, online quiz. Does that make sense?

that if the same night watchman wanted to work in B.C., he would have
to complete a 64-hour training program, including a day-and-a-half of
training on physical arrest and control tactics (delivered by a police
academy-qualified use of force instructor). Ontario and Quebec will be
introducing similar training standards, and all three provinces are
making sure that bouncers are included on the list of those who will
need to receive practical skills training on how to use force without
injuring people.

Len Weber deserves enormous respect for the
report he published last year, but the woefully inadequate nature of
the training program for bouncers currently being rolled out offers
eloquent proof that he got at least one of the details wrong. Bouncers
need to be regulated as security officers and Alberta’s private
security legislation should recognize this. Ӣ

Brian Robertson runs Diligent Security Training and Consulting and can be reached at

Print this page


Stories continue below


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *