1. WHAT ARE THE MANDATORY REQUIREMENTS TO OBTAIN A SECURITY GUARD LICENSE IN ONTARIO?
- You must be 18 years of age or older.
- You must be eligible to work in Canada.
- You must have a clean criminal record (Not all criminal offences disqualify you).
- You must successfully complete security guard training from an authorized training entity and pass the Ministry test.
2. HOW LONG IS THE TRAINING?
40 hours including Emergency First Aid and 33.5 hours without it. This can be completed at your own pace.
3. HOW MUCH CAN I EXPECT TO GET PAID?
For those just starting out expect to be paid between minimum wage to under $20/hr depending on the site and client. However, if you are hired for an in house position, where the employer hires you directly instead of through a security company or doing protection of a high net worth individual you can make over $20/hr. Like any other job, the amount you are paid depends on your experience, training and your responsibilities. Those with law enforcement backgrounds and use of force training will more likely be able to obtain in house positions and high profile sites. A supervisor or mobile supervisor (a supervisor that patrols in a vehicle) would be paid more than a guard of that company. If you work on a short term assignment such as labour disputes, working 12-hour shifts for 7 days a week, for example, you can earn overtime at 1.5X your regular rate.
4. I HAVE SCHOOL, ANOTHER JOB OR OTHER COMMITMENTS CAN I WORK ON A CASUAL OR PART TIME BASIS?
Yes, you can work as a “floater” or “spot fill” where you call into the company you work for and pick up shifts when you are available. This is ideal for those that do not have a fixed availability. There are also part-time positions such as weekends only. There is assignment based work where you may work outside your area for several weeks and return home once the assignment is over such as for labour disputes and personal protection.
5. WHAT CAN I EXPECT WORKING AS A SECURITY GUARD?
You will interact with a variety of people and see behind the scenes of events, businesses and other operations you normally would not be able to or would have to normally pay to gain admission to. It is common for shifts to be 9-12 hours in length. There are positions where it is more customer service oriented involving answering phones and greeting visitors such as at a condominium. Other sites are more hands on involving removing undesirable individuals such as at nightclubs and bars. At some sites you will work with several other guards such as at a mall or sporting event. Other times you will work alone and have very little interaction such as for fire watch. Some sites there will be more frequent conflicts. Others only an occasional fire alarm or medical. Management expectations also varies. At some sites management wants to be kept in the loop at all times, other sites only during major incidents. Although incidents and day to day activities may vary at a site, once you are familiar with the procedures, each day will follow the same format with the same contractors showing up and employees eg. opening up in the morning, cleaners on site, hourly patrols and lock ups in the evening.
6. CAN YOU GUARANTEE EMPLOYMENT?
While we can not guarantee employment, there is a position for everyone whether you prefer interacting with people or rather be left alone, have computer skills or know very little about using computers, have work experience or just starting to work. There will always be a need for security personnel as people want to have peace of mind and feel secure. Licensed security guards are also needed to satisfy insurance and legal requirements. Even if you have never worked in security, skills gained from previous jobs can help secure a security position.
7. CAN I WORK FOR MORE THAN ONE SECURITY COMPANY AT A TIME?
Absolutely, as a licensed security guard you can work for any licensed security company and any employer that hires their own security personnel in Ontario. Keep in mind, by working for multiple security companies at once, you reduce commitment to each company, reducing the opportunity for promotion and better-paying sites.
8. WHAT SKILLS ARE ESSENTIAL FOR BEING SUCCESSFUL AS A SECURITY GUARD?
Good judgement is critical. Although you will be able to contact a supervisor or manager when you are unsure how to act, there will be times you have to make a decision on your own. Management may be occupied, there may not be enough time to speak with management or you may be working during the night. Written and verbal communication skills are essential in de-escalating situations, completing incident reports and interacting with colleagues and management. Finally, depending on the position you may need to write emails and complete other documentation.
9. I AM NOT ABLE TO STAND OR WALK FOR LONG PERIODS OF TIME CAN I STILL WORK AS A SECURITY GUARD?
Although there are many positions that require you to be on your feet for long periods of time, there are positions where you can sit at a desk or at your post to perform your duties.
10. MY ENGLISH IS NOT STRONG CAN I STILL WORK AS A SECURITY GUARD?
While the high profile sites will likely require strong English skills, there are positions available that involve looking after equipment and fire watch where there is little interaction with others.
11. IS IT DANGEROUS WORKING AS A SECURITY GUARD?
Working as a licensed security guard gives you additional responsibilities including responding to emergencies and potentially dangerous situations. However, your safety is always first. You are not expected to put yourself in harm’s way. The police are better equipped to deal with these situations. For higher-risk sites, it may be mandatory to have 2 guards patrol together. The guards may also be equipped with a tactical vest, a baton and handcuffs. For sites with a large number of people, there are always numerous guards, supervisors and sometimes paid duty police officers available to assist at any given time.
12. WHAT IS THE TOTAL COST TO GET LICENSED?
First, you must successfully complete our security guard training program which costs $119 (one time cost). If you do not currently have an emergency first aid certificate you will need to complete training $75-$120 depending on the provider. We have relationships with training providers and would be able to provide a discount. Finally, the total cost to complete the test is $75.15 and to obtain the Ontario Ministry issued security guard license (valid for two birthdays after the date issued) the cost is $80. This comes out to around $350 total which can be earned back in a few shifts. It gives you access to a large number of jobs that would be unavailable to those without a security license.
Ontario Security Hub aims to be your trusted source in becoming a licensed security guard in Ontario. Start your online security guard training by creating an account and we will walk you through the process.