At some point in the growth of your business, you may find it necessary to hire security personnel to keep your facilities safe. Hiring security officers helps protect your assets and inventory from theft, improves the safety of your workers, and helps you keep control over who goes in and out of your buildings. But not all security is equal, and part of your challenge as a manager is to find the right people for the job and ensure they meet the high standards Canada sets for gun laws and the granting of a security guard licence.
Choose Good People
Putting together a good security team starts with hiring good people. During the hiring process, in addition to the normal application and interview process, it’s generally a good idea to invest in a background check for security guards. The advantages of screening your security hires for a criminal history are obvious, but you have to be careful about how you use the information you gather from the investigation. Rules vary by province in Canada, but you are generally required to treat all applicants as equals. What this means in practice is that, if a certain offence disqualifies one applicant, it must disqualify every applicant. Another quirk of the law is that, in some provinces, you are not allowed to disqualify a new hire for offences that are unrelated to the job. For example, a prior conviction for cheque fraud might not be held against a forklift operator in Newfoundland, as the job has nothing to do with money. Complications like these can make running pre-employment background checks on prospective security guards a bit complicated, but given the wide range of duties a security officer undertakes, from desk duty to audits and driving around the building perimeter, most serious crimes are probably covered.
Make Sure They’re Qualified
Once you hire your guards, it’s partly your responsibility to make sure they’re in compliance with the law. Canadian firearms law can be strict, but most of it is easy to understand. In general, Canadian citizens need to pass a criminal check and gun safety course to legally possess a regulated weapon. Authorization to carry may be denied for a history of violent or threatening behaviour, or if the court finds other cause to refuse a licence. To work as security guards, your employees must earn a special licence, granted at the provincial level by the local Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services. The licence certifies that the holder is trained in first aid, Canadian law, basic reporting procedures, and force theory. Working as a guard without a licence is a crime, and it may see the offender fined, imprisoned, or both. Peace officers are not eligible for such licences while actively employed with police agencies. As with any legal matters, you can only really be sure you’re in compliance if you check with an attorney who specializes in the law; you want to make that your first step when you’re ready to start looking for new security personnel. Security staff can be the most challenging part of the team to recruit and screen for quality. Keeping them qualified and well-trained is a continuing expense for any business, but it all pays off in the end by creating a safer, more productive workplace for everybody.