Esprit de Corps - November 2016 Issue
Commissionaires provides security services to individuals, businesses and governments as well as meaningful employment to former members of the Canadian Armed Forces and the RCMP.
The skills acquired while in military service or law enforcement are highly valuable in, and easily transferrable to, other professions. The Canadian Corps of Commissionaires, a private, not-for-profit organization with a mandate to create meaningful employment for former members of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), know this and emphasize it when they recruit from the CAF or RCMP.
Commissionaires offers former CAF members a positive, familiar environment and the opportunity to work with others who can relate to their unique training and background. The organization values discipline, morale and training—offering career advancement and other opportunities to its employees.
Established as a security company in Montreal, in 1925, Commissionaires followed the original organization in Britain which was established to provide a safety net for soldiers transitioning into the workforce following wartime. The Canadian Corps of Commissionaires expanded to Toronto, then Vancouver, spanning across Canada by 1948. Today, the organization employs 21,000 people in Canada, from all parts of the CAF, RCMP, provincial and municipal law enforcement, Reserve Force, students, and various private sector industries.
Commissionaires has a presence in every major city in Canada, including 1,200 smaller communities. Employees are trained to the highest standards to deliver a variety of security services such as mobile patrol, non-core policing, fingerprinting, criminal record checks, detention services, and investigations. Opportunities range from full to part-time within low to high-risk positions, making the company a preferred option for anyone transitioning to or from the CAF.
Cmre Alexandre St-Cartier Fortier first worked for Commissionaires as a security guard in Timmins, Ontario and asked for a transfer in 2015 when he was accepted into the Police Foundations Program at Collège Boréal in Greater Sudbury, Ontario. For Fortier, the security training and hands-on experience that he receives from Commissionaires have been perfect precursors to pursuing a career in law enforcement.
Since becoming a college student, the 20-year-old is now undergoing training as a Reservist with 2nd Battalion, The Irish Regiment of Canada. Earlier in life, Fortier was a member of the Royal Canadian Army Cadets and later served with the Royal Canadian Sea Cadets.
In 2015, he received the Lieutenant-Governor’s Community Volunteer Award for Students, recognizing his more than 3,000 volunteer hours amassed during the past 4-5 years. His causes have included helping the Canadian Red Cross (fundraising and first aid support), the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 88 (poppy drives), and Tourism Timmins (security and medical patroller). Fortier has also served as a biathlon coach teaching kids how to fire rifles safely at the range.
Fortier values his training and the new skills he has learned, then and now. Most recently, while undergoing training with his Reserve unit, he says that he has been developing a more heightened attention to detail. “That skill also applies to my work as a commissionaire,” he says.
“Working as a security guard, my duties involve tasks the average person doesn’t deal with,” says Fortier. “We encounter disputes and fights, theft, intoxicated people, and on occasion, have to perform a civilian arrest.”
Fortier is pleased that his security work accommodates his schedule as a student and a Reservist. “As soon as I request military leave, it is approved immediately. As soon as the dates for my training were confirmed, my leave of absence was approved, no questions asked,” Fortier says.
As a relatively new Reservist, Fortier is still undergoing training, but should he choose to participate in deployments or peacekeeping missions in the future, he would still have a job at Commissionaires when he returned home. “It’s a great organization to work for and I recommend it to other Reservists,” Fortier says.
Fortier knows his career will always involve helping others, whether it’s security, policing or soldiering. He says his work with Commissionaires enables him to create safer environments for everyday Canadians, by focusing on incident prevention and diffusion of conflict.
“Our Commissionaires training teaches us how to de-escalate a situation and how to phrase your request in order to get the cooperation and the results you want,” says Fortier.
Commissionaires are easy to find—they’re at airports, seaports, government facilities, campuses, retail establishments, hospitals and private businesses. Whether it’s a courthouse or border crossing, commissionaires like Fortier are actively helping to make Canada safer.