The Private Security Industry
Private Security in Ontario refers to anyone performing work for remuneration consisting of protecting person, public and property.
This includes but is not limited to uniformed guards working at construction sites, shopping malls, apartment buildings, etc. It also includes people who may or may not be in uniform, like bodyguards. Bouncers also fall under this category, however, unlike loss prevention officers or bodyguards, bouncers are required by law to wear a uniform. The latter categories, most notably bouncers, have only recently become regulated as Private Security professionals.
The New Act & Regulations
The new “Private Security & Investigative Services Act” took effect in Ontario on April 15, 2010. (It had been in development since 2005, was formalized in 2006, some regulations were implemented August 23rd 2008, more on August 23rd 2009, with new training and testing regulations having come into force as of April 15, 2010.)
A primary goal of this new Act is to help the public more clearly distinguish between Private Security workers and police officers. As such, many of the new regulations are guidelines for the appearance and conduct of security workers, as well as the appearance of security vehicles, uniforms, and terminology. This is a formidable change in the industry as it standardizes and professionalizes Private Security workers.
The Act also brings the Ontario security industry in line with other provinces in terms of regulations and education standards that have been in place for several years.
The Act sets out brand new training and testing requirements. There is now a mandatory 40 Hour Security Guard course, and a written test to pass before a licence to work as a security guard in Ontario can be obtained.
The New Security Guard Training & Testing
As of April 15, 2010, anyone wishing to work as a Security Guard in Ontario is now required to enroll in a 40-hour course, pass a multiple-choice test, and apply for a licence.
The Security Guard Training consists of a 40 Hour Syllabus mandated by the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services. Community colleges, career colleges, and training entities registered under the Private Security and Investigative Services Act are entitled to offer the training. The nominal cost for such training ranges from about $200 to $400. Once completed the training entity will issue the individual a completion code. The individual must now undergo and pass a Ministry regulated test prior to being permitted to apply for an Ontario Security Guard License. NOTE: This test cannot be taken by any person, unless they are in possession of a training completion code.
The Security Guard Testing consists of 60 multiple choice questions in written format. This test is designed to take a minimum of 75 minutes, and a maximum allotted time of 2 hours. This test is offered by a company selected by the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services known as Serco DES, most commonly known as Ontario Drive Test Centre. The nominal cost for this test is $66.55+HST, payable to Serco DES. This test can only be booked and paid for online by visiting www.ontariosecuritytesting.ca
The Security Guard License Application is a process in which the Ministry of Ontario collects the individual’s personal information for the processing of a criminal background check, as well as the successful issuance of said license. This step takes approximately 2 to 4 weeks for completion at which point, if no criminal record is found, a security guard license is issued. The nominal cost for the license application is $80 payable to the Minister of Finance. This fee is currently $80 every two years, as of January 2012.