- New Obligations for Employers under the Private Security Act
- October 28, 2010 | Author: Maude Grenier
- Law Firm: Norton Rose OR LLP - Montreal Office
On July 22, 2010, the Private Security Act[i](the "PSA") came into force in its entirety. While certain sections relating in particular to the Bureau de la sécurité privée became law close to four years ago, all the provisions of this new law, which establishes a more well-defined framework governing the private security services industry, now apply to firms and individuals that carry on activities falling within its scope.
OBJECTIVES OF THE PSA
The PSA replaces the Act respecting detective or security agencies,[ii]which required detective and security agencies and agents working within such agencies to hold permits and which had not been overhauled since its enactment in 1962. The new PSA aims to modernize the legal framework for the private security services industry and strengthen public security, among other things by extending its reach to cover six classes of private security activities, namely: 1) security guarding; 2) investigation; 3) locksmith work; 4) activities related to electronic security systems; 5) the transport of valuables; and 6) security consulting. Individuals who engage in these various activities on behalf of enterprises other than enterprises that carry on a private security activity must also hold licences.
REQUIREMENT TO HOLD A LICENCE
Under the PSA, any person operating an enterprise that carries on a private security activity must hold an agency licence. An enterprise that employs one or more individuals engaged in private security activities but does not itself carry on a private security activity does not have to obtain an agency licence.
The PSA and its regulations prescribe a number of conditions for obtaining an agency licence. The enterprise seeking the agency licence must operate at least one establishment in Quebec, be solvent, hold a liability insurance policy providing it with coverage of at least one million dollars ($1,000,000) per incident, and furnish security. In addition, its representative must, among other things, be of good moral character and never have been convicted of an offence related to the activity for which the licence is sought, unless the representative has obtained a pardon.
Contrary to the former act, the PSA now provides that an individual who carries on a private security activity exclusively for an employer whose business does not consist in carrying on a private security activity must hold an agent licence where the private security activity is the employee's main activity.
Accordingly, a security guard, whether employed by a security agency or a retail store, will now have to hold an agent licence.
Moreover, the immediate superior of an individual carrying on a private security activity must also hold an agent licence.
The PSA prescribes a number of conditions for obtaining an agent licence. Among other things, the applicant must be at least 18 years of age, of good moral character and never have been convicted of an offence related to the activity for which the agent licence is sought, unless the applicant has obtained a pardon. In addition, the agent must successfully complete the necessary training in keeping with the type of activity. Provision is nevertheless made for an agent licence to be issued in the absence of completion of the training prescribed by regulation where the applicant's knowledge and skill are equivalent to the prescribed training.The training requirement does not apply to the immediate superior of an individual carrying on a private security activity where the superior is not engaged in such activity.
TIME LIMIT FOR OBTAINING A LICENCE
In future, any person that, on March 3, 2010, was operating an enterprise carrying on a private security activity but was not subject to the Act respecting detective or security agencieswill have six months from that date in which to obtain an agency licence for the class of security activity carried on. Similarly, any individual who, on July 22, 2010, was carrying on a private security activity or was the immediate superior of such an individual will have six months from that date in which to obtain an agent licence.
For the duration of the six-month period, these persons may continue to carry on their private security activities unless, during that time, they are turned down for a licence by the Bureau de la sécurité privée. The PSA advises applicants that in order to be certain that their licences are obtained within the six-month time limit, they should make sure their applications are received by the Bureau de la sécurité privée at least three months before the deadline.
[i] R.S.Q. c. S-3.5.
[ii] R.S.Q. c A-8.