New regulations are impacting security industry
Ontario's security guard industry has adopted a number of new regulations in recent years, and it has been challenging for both employers and bouncers to ensure compliance.
An OPP blitz early in May left a number of bars, nightclubs and bouncers in Waterloo Region facing hefty charges.
Those who were ticketed, along with everyone else in the security industry, are facing the task of ensuring their staff is following the rules.
Brandon Recchia is a bouncer at a local nightclub who knows the demands of the job, and how bad it can get. It's what happens when a bad mix of alcohol and emotions can turn into violence.
"About half an hour before last call, that's when problems start to happen…one minute everything is smooth, the next minute, it hits the fan and you have to react to it."
Now bouncers like Recchia must know the Code of Conduct, in addition to having the right build to deal with sometimes rowdy patrons.
People looking to get in the field of security must renew their licence annually. In addition they have to go through 40 hours of training before completing a ministry mandated test.
The test covers topics like use of force, the Canadian legal system and emergency first aid.
The Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services says the new regulations are designed to "strengthen the professional requirements for security guards and private investigators and enhance public safety."
However, the training can cost several hundred dollars, and licence renewals cost $80 each year.
Some local bar managers say not enough people are willing to fork out the money to meet the new requirements, which makes hiring security personnel difficult.
The Fox and the Fiddle Manager Scott Dwyer says "For months and months we had a sign on our door saying ‘Hiring licenced security guards,' and we were short-staffed with security and it's very difficult to find licenced security guards."
Ashaley Adams manages Titanium Nightclub, she says "40 hours of their life, these people usually have full time jobs, and don't have time to do that too, because this is just a part-time thing."
Tony Atkins offers a security training courts at Tone-Gar Security Services in Kitchener. He says training is important for bouncers, along with everyone else in the security industry.
"When alcohol or other issues comes into play the focus gets limited…when you are dealing with 200 or 2,000 people in a confined space, and something goes wrong, you need to be able to rely on the training and what you've been taught."
But not everyone needs to do the training. Anyone holding a valid licence on or before April 15, 2010 only has to pass the ministry test, which is a 60 question, multiple-choice exam.
That is not a decision everyone in the industry agrees with, including Recchia, who remembers what it was like to do the job before he went through the training.
He says the problem was "just not knowing what I was doing really, not knowing where my powers came from."
Coming up in part three: Bars and nightclubs aren't the only ones feeling the impact of the new regulations. The added costs are also hitting local festival organizers.