A spectre is haunting Ontario’s Security industry – the spectre of Wage and Representation for its front lines. From CEO to part-time guard (faithfully holding Access Card) the issues of wage and representation are boiling in the hearts and minds of everyone. These are issues of fairness to workers, responsibility to the front lines, and of an industry suddenly realizing its own power and influence.
My post titled “Who Cares about the Guards (and their Wages)” received a tremendous response. In the text below, and as a follow-up – I lay out the plan of how we in Ontario, all segments working together, can achieve the much-needed legislated minimum wage, and adequate professional representation for our guards, and ourselves.
Guards, Field Supervisors, and Mobile Operatives – Learn the Industry, and generate buzz
The biggest challenge that this segment faces, is a lack of understanding of the industry, and of Security Management. Many contract guards blame their employer for “robbing them of” or “pocketing a chunk” of their wages. For the most part, this is irrelevant BS.
Has anyone making this statement actually seen a Profit & Loss Statement for the site they work at? You probably haven’t, because had you seen how very little money contract companies make, if at all (after the guards, their vacation, training, uniforms, insurance, unbillable overtime, vehicle costs etc. have all been paid, and risk factored in), you would probably question “WHY DO PEOPLE WANT TO BE IN THIS BUSINESS”?
Not satisfied? Research how many security companies go bankrupt (or are bought out) each year in Canada…see what I mean?
And let’s be real – companies exist to make money – if they don’t make money, the guards are laid off, so it’s in the interest of the guards that their employers make money, and lots of it.
With all of this and much more in mind, the “race to the bottom” is the only way for contract security companies to remain in business in the cutthroat, shameful security playing field in Ontario. I have been a Contract Security Manager, and I would have loved to increase my guards’ rate by even 25c/hour – but I had none.
The issue of wages is bigger than any condo or hospital security department, bigger than the contract companies employing you and your friends at these places, and bigger than the client employing the companies. It is a provincial issue, and it is that of legislation.
So, educate yourselves on Security Management, and,
- Write to your MP or MPP
- Generate social media buzz
- Establish associations – don’t worry, eventually, when there are a lot of associations, they will merge into one big, strong one.
- Speak with the press about the millions of $$ of asset value you are protecting for $11.85. (http://www.16forsecurity.ca/)
- Stay clear from blaming your employers and contract security – this will only disunite the industry, and defeat the purpose.
- Attend ASIS and industry events – the more guards and front liners attend, the more power you will have to steer the ship to your direction
Contract Security Companies – Band together, and Lobby for Change
Where is your voice complaining to the government of the hardship of running an outfit in Ontario? Where is the lobbying on the floors of ASIS conferences and of other industry associations? When I attend the stuffy security conferences in Toronto, they feel like being in a group of elderly men, glorifying their achievements, terrified of what’s to come. The slogans and messaging seem to be all about how “innovative and progressive” the industry is…yeah right…
No company that I know in Ontario has marketed itself as the advocating force for wage increases in Ontario, and that is too bad…yes, that approach “may” be against the advice of whoever runs your marketing, but the lack of such an approach results in your daily living hell, which looks like this:
It’s time for contract Security companies to unite behind the wage message, network the hell out of their contacts in Queen’s Park, and stand beside the guards and supervisors to openly advocate for the need to legislate a minimum wage. We all need it.
Security Associations – Represent Guards, Canadian-ize, Dump the Police
I do not know of any Canadian-born security association. That’s pretty bad considering that I’ve been in security for 12 years…I am also a millennial, so I will not accept “you should have looked around”….no, if they do exist, they should have made themselves more visible to me, and especially to field guards.
ASIS – for all its benefits and the great foundation it provides for management education and networking – is American, and I question whether the American Headquarters understands Canadian security. There are great chapters of ASIS operating in Canada, but I would rather see the leadership of these chapters (who mostly volunteer – for free – their time and effort) be in charge of a Canadian association, with its own chapters, messaging, publications, and most of all – A PLATFORM TO FIGHT FOR!!
Aside from the fact that ASIS worldwide, and other associations are not lobbying for guards (which I discussed in “Who Cares about the Guards”) they for some reason focus a piece of their attention on catering to police and emergency personnel. WHY?? Do these people not have their own associations and social clubs to go to? I respect the Law Enforcement Community and came out of it myself recently, but I am not comfortable with – through my membership fee – paying for them to have voice, platform, and influence in the Canadian Security industry. There is enough “pure security” talent in Canada, and it does not require the support-turned supervision of the policing community. We should be an equal, worthy, and independent partner, ready to take over some non-core policing roles in our communities.
In addition: The Security industry should stop marketing itself to guards as being a stepping stone to the police forces, that is not acceptable – It is an insult to those, like me, who choose security as a profession.
With the above done, the industry can DIRECTLY approach government, pushing aside the OACP, and explain in earnest what it needs, what its challenges are, and ask – nay – demand, government help.
Safe shift to those reading this in patrol cars and at office tower lobby desks, thinking, “sh.., ain’t that some truth”.