Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

New licences set for security guards

Renewal dates worry some firms

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The burly men standing by the gates to your favourite watering hole are entrusted to step in if things get rowdy, but they may be a bit confused about who manages their licences.

Security guards across Manitoba will be staggered into a new licensing system this year following regulation changes that took effect this week.

The provincial government said Tuesday all security guards and private investigators must be licensed directly through the province, instead of employers applying for licences on their employees' behalf. All licensees must also complete criminal-record and child-abuse-registry checks.

The changes are meant to streamline operations. Employers will no longer need to file licence applications on behalf of their employees, while security guards no longer need to wait for their employers to license them.

"The benefits of these changes are to the employer and the individual. The individual will own their own licence and can take it with them if they move companies, and the employer can validate them with us rather than apply for them," said Charlene Giese, registrar for the Private Investigators and Security Guards Act.

However, one Winnipeg security company is hesitant to relinquish that duty -- especially with some looming renewal dates among employees.

"I'm a little concerned that the new regulations might actually slow us down. It's hard trying to reach some of our guards. They're out working," said Jay Penney, operations manager at Impact Security Group. "Before, we'd file it for them and it'd be done quickly."

Penney said that because some of his employees' licences are due for renewal within the next 30 days, he is working hard to confirm that everybody is properly informed that they will need to renew.

The updated regulations allow the registrar's office to do inspections to ensure both security companies and their employees are following the rules.

Giese said that for most currently licensed security guards, there is no rush. Their renewal dates are right on their licences.

"They'll be converted into the new system at that time. The deadlines are staggered throughout the year -- one year from date of issue."

The act also extends training licences to six months and allows trainees to work if they have completed criminal-record and child-abuse-registry checks.

These new regulations have been a long time coming.

In October 2007, the owner of a security company pleaded guilty and paid a $500 fine for hiring an unlicensed security guard who turned out to have pending drug charges.

The charges were discovered after the security guard got himself into additional legal trouble when he used a baseball bat to beat the driver of a stolen vehicle that had crashed into him while on-duty.

kristel.mason@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 5, 2011 A7

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