Know Your Rights
There are many ads in the newspaper and on the internet promising a great career and good pay as a security guard. This is not often the reality. Many security guards receive low pay, no benefits and have little protection on the job. Understand the requirements of your job and know your rights. It’s up to you to stay safe and be alert to bad employers or training scams.
Do I need a security guard licence?
Yes. If you are a security guard, private investigator, bodyguard, bouncer or loss prevention personnel, the law requires you to hold a valid licence. You can be charged if you are working without a valid licence under the Private Security and Investigative Services Act, 2005. You are responsible for getting the licence, not your employer. This means you can change employers and not have to renew your licence. You are also responsible for renewing your licence before it expires
Employers or potential employers can find out if you have a licence by contacting the Private Security and Investigative Services Branch or looking at the on-line registry which lists all licence numbers, but not your name or other private information.
Do I have to take a training course?
Yes, you must take a training course and are required to pass the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services’ exam before you can apply for a security guard licence. If you fail the exam, you have to pay for it again. Once you pass the exam, you may apply for a licence. Names of all students who pass the test will be sent to the Ministry.
Keep track of your expenses: the training program fee, exam fee, licence fee, and your uniform. You may be able to claim these expenses on your annual income tax return and reduce the income tax you have to pay.
Make sure that your course includes First Aid and CPR training. These skills are required to complete the general training and qualify for a licence.
Not all training programs are the same. Many agencies require that you pay them in order to get security guard training and even “guarantee” employment. A training program should be approved by the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services. Only the businesses listed on their website can give you the required training and help you make an appointment for the exam at a registered examination test centre. Beware of false promises or training that does not prepare you properly to pass the test!
Are you being paid minimum wage?
You must be paid at least minimum wage for every hour you work. As an employee you are also entitled to overtime pay, vacation pay and public holiday pay.
My boss pays me in cash. Is this legal?
Some security guards, often night club security, are paid in cash. This is legal. But the boss must give you a record or “pay slip” every time you are paid. You may not be eligible for Employment Insurance (EI) or other benefits.
Are you getting a break?
Some security guards report that they don’t get breaks because they work alone and cannot leave the site. Every worker is entitled to 30 minutes (or two 15 minute breaks) unpaid, within a 5 hour period.
3-4 hour minimum.
If you are called into work for a shift, you must be paid at least 3 hours if you are sent home early. This is only if you were scheduled to work more than 3 or more hours that day.
Some guards complain that companies choose guards for certain locations based on race or age for example. If you feel you are being treated differently due to your age, race, gender or another human rights ground, call the Human Rights Legal Support office. They can help you determine if you are facing discrimination.