Hiring a security guard for your business or event is a sound investment for multiple reasons. Security personnel can greet and direct your guests, enforce security protocols, protecting you, the people around you, and your property.

The latter can particularly come in handy if you operate in an area where the crime rates are high, there is a lot of foot traffic, or if you sell expensive products.

However, in most countries, employing security requires a bit of research. Read on to find out how to hire a security guard in Canada.

Consider The Guard’s Duties

The job description of the security personnel is one of the major factors determining who is the right candidate for the job. For example, if you need someone to protect high-value products or if you operate in a high-crime neighborhood, you need someone equipped to handle stressful situations and who conveys sufficient authority to deter criminals.

On the other hand, if the guards’ job description entails providing direction or information, you’ll need someone who is more approachable and can establish trust with your clients. Write a list of skills and character traits you want your security personnel to possess and add it to the job description you provide to potential candidates.

They should also match the benefits and salary range you are offering. Look into the fair wage for each skill set in your community to determine the optimal salary range.

the guard's duties

Equipping a Security Guard

Apart from the right personality for the job, security personnel may also need to be fitted with other special equipment, including uniforms and firearms. In Canada, security guards are only allowed to possess firearms in very specific circumstances, such as guarding high-profile products and people.

Even then, they may only use their weapon if there is a clear threat to them and the life of the people surrounding them. Some Canadian provinces even stipulate that the guard you hire has specific firearms training, while others leave this decision up to you.

equipping a security guard

Inquiring About Training and Experience

Failing to do this step could put you or your property in grave danger, so make sure to ask the right questions. They should be designed to help you assess your applicant’s emotional intelligence and whether they can communicate and restrain an intruder. Behavioral tests are also recommended as they show how candidates would respond in typical situations on the job.

Here are some of the questions this test can include:

  • How would you lower the risk of damage and injuries in a particular situation?
  • How would you handle a situation that escalated to violent behavior?
  • How would you encourage visitors to follow safety protocols?
  • When would you consider involving law enforcement?

If you are hiring security guards through a third party, they will help you filter candidates. If you are looking to hire someone directly, then the recruiting process will also be your responsibility.

training and experience

Running a Background Check and Asking for References

Ethical conduct and trustworthiness are crucial qualities in security personnel, so running a background check on potential candidates is an absolute must. After all, you must ascertain that their everyday interpersonal skills are on point. Ask for several references that highlight their skills so you can determine whether it’s something you have a need for.

If the guard needs to use a vehicle, they should have a clean driving record and a currently valid driving license. Armed guards in Canada also need to have a Possession and Acquisition License (PAL) to carry firearms and no prior felonies.

background check

Things You Need to Know About the Possession and Acquisition License (PAL)

Whether you are hiring a guard in Canada through an agency or by yourself, it’s still recommended to familiarize yourself with the licensing process of the PAL.

Here are some of the pressing things you need to know about this:

  • Applicants should finish the Canadian Firearms Safety Course (CFSC). Through this, they learn all the basic firearm safety practices.
  • If guards want to own or handle restricted weapons, they also need to take the Canadian Restricted Firearms Safety Course (CRFSC).
  • Candidates must pass a safety exam with a minimum score of 80%.
  • It takes 45-60 days for a PAL application to be processed.
  • Candidates applying for licenses for restricted firearms may have to provide additional paperwork.

Hiring Security Guards Through Agencies

In certain Canadian provinces, you can only hire a security guard (especially an armed one) through an agency authorized by government regulatory bodies in your area. If this applies in your province, you must ensure that you hire through a reputable security agency. Otherwise, you may face fines, even if the agency was at fault for not providing you with the right candidate.

If you are hiring an armed security guard through an agency, you should also ask for proof about the origins of the firearms your guard will use. The weapons may be provided by the agency or acquired by the individual candidates. In either case, they should be obtained legally.

The reputation of the security agencies is another factor worth looking into. Because the proof about the candidates’ licenses can only be considered reliable if the agency providing it can be trusted in the first place. A great way to verify an agency’s reputation is by looking into the experiences former clients had with them.

security guards agencies

Comparing Costs

As with any other product or service obtained through a third party, comparing costs for security personnel can save you a lot of money and time. Here are some of the factors that may determine the costs of hiring a guard:

  • The need for firearms
  • The nature of the items or persons that need to be protected
  • Different types of licenses and permissions
  • The contract type agencies have with the individual candidates
  • The training the guards have

Final Thoughts

You have now learned the crucial steps for hiring security personnel in Canada. Following them will allow you to find a professional guard that’ll provide adequate protection for you, your staff, and your property.

Remember, if you want to employ an armed guard in Canada, you’ll need to adhere to an added set of legal requirements. Apart from personal qualifications, there are also different regulations for firearms throughout the country. These may vary from one province to another. Make sure to look into what rules and regulations apply in your area of residence.