PIs and security guards find freedom in licensing

New amendment gives individuals more control over how they work

Licensing changes in the Private Investigators and Security Guards Act of Manitoba, effective immediately, have caused mixed feelings in the security and investigation community.

“As a small business, it is going to help me a lot,” said Jack Lima, owner of Feel Free Personalized Security. “Now, if they have the proper licensing I can hire (someone) right on the spot.”

Before the amendments, businesses themselves would have to process the licensing paperwork before the individual could do any work, which would typically take a couple of weeks.

With the changes, all licensing must be done directly through the province by the individual themselves.

Lima, whose company handles security for home builders, said his business has been caught in a bind in the past where he would lose contracts because he could not hire people in time.

For Manitoba Justice, the changes were enacted with the goal of creating a consistent system across the country.

“We wanted to be standardized across Canada,” stated Charlene Giese, the registrar of private investigators and security guards.

Giese, who is responsible for the administration and enforcement of the act, and for all individuals who fall under it, added that many other provinces are also changing to streamline the licensing process.

There were some lone wolf operations out there that in the past might have been on the edge of the envelope.

Reg Trowell, co-owner, Dauk-Trowell and Associates

She also noted that two full-time inspectors have been added for education and compliance purposes.

Janie Duncan, president of Duncan Investigations, is not as optimistic about the changes in policy.

“I don’t really agree with it. If the government feels that the public is at risk in terms of an investigator’s duties, they can suspend without notice, without telling the investigator,” said Duncan.

She believes this could be as easy as a person making a false statement in order to get the investigator in trouble.

Duncan believes the new system will be more costly and cause more liability in the long term, especially for the investigators.

Reg Trowell, co-owner and co-founder of local investigative company Dauk-Trowell and Associates, looks at the new amendment as a positive revision for the registrar.

With over 30 years of experience as an RCMP officer doing all kinds of investigative work, he believes the changes in the act have cut off an oversight that enabled some businesses to avoid compliance while at the same time having security companies wait a minimum of two weeks to hire an individual.

“(The amendment has) strengthened their role and ability to audit the investigative companies and audit the security guard companies and take disciplinary steps if they are found to be in breach of the regulations or the act,” Trowell stated. “There were some lone wolf operations out there that in the past might have been on the edge of the envelope.”

Published in Volume 65, Number 16 of The Uniter (January 20, 2011)

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