Union calls for alternate licensing system for security guards amid pandemic

 

A dearth of security guards could threaten Ontario’s public health and safety, said the largest union for security guards in the province.

According to a recent letter from UFCW Local 333 to Premier Doug Ford, the union believes a lack of available security guards undermines the Province’s ability to enforce and maintain social distancing measures amid the pandemic.

According to the letter, written by Jeff Ketelaars, secretary-treasurer of UFCW Local 333, Ontario’s front-line employers, including food and other essential retail stores, hospitals, long-term care homes, and commercial and government locations including detention centres, require an additional 1,500 guards at least.

Security guards are vital frontline workers, first responders, and essential to protecting the health and safety of the Ontario public throughout the year, and certainly during this pandemic crisis,” Ketelaars said in the letter.

However, part of the reason there is a lack of guards available is due to the fact guard testing, licensing and renewal offices, have been deemed non-essential, and have been closed by the Province.

Ketelaars is calling for the Province to implement an alternate system to address the need for more security guards.

In Quebec, for instance, the government has implemented a system where security guard online training and testing has temporarily replaced the traditional face-to-face licensing system until the pandemic is over,” he said.

An alternative system here, delivered by the government solely, or jointly with security guard companies, could overcome the current obstacle to addressing the shortage of security guards while also providing thousands of good new jobs; including for individuals displaced and unemployed because of the pandemic,” he continued.

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