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Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security



Tuesday, May 7, 2013

[Recorded by Electronic Apparatus]



    Welcome, everyone. This is the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security on Tuesday, May 7, 2013. We're continuing our study of the economics of policing in Canada, and we're very pleased to have our first witness today. His name is Mr. Sandy Sweet, the president of the Canadian Police Knowledge Network.
    Our committee wants to thank you for being here today. We were wondering how some of that online training of different police happened and, hopefully, we're going to learn a little bit more about that now. I'll turn the floor over to you.
    Thank you. I guess I could have done this through video conference and it would have been more true to form, but that's all right. I just have a few short comments to make, an opening statement of six minutes and 32 seconds, by my watch last night. Hopefully that will prepare some context for the questions that will follow.
    The Canadian Police Knowledge Network is a federally incorporated not-for-profit entity that partners with the police community to develop and deliver technology-enhanced learning. We are the leading provider of e-learning in the Canadian police and law enforcement sectors.
     I am here today to share my thoughts and experience regarding police training in the context of the economics of policing discussion. I have participated in two of the regional sessions, as well as the summit that occurred here in January.
     Though there has been much dialogue about the sustainability of the current policing model, I found it interesting that there has been little or no discussion about training as it relates to potential efficiencies. In this country we consume about $1 billion a year in police training. That's 8% of the overall $12 billion on policing, yet nobody is looking at this strategically as a way to do things better. That's what I'm going to talk about today.
     My objective is to share what I know about the benefits of technology as it relates to training both economically and otherwise, and its potential to be part of the overall solution—and I stress that it's part of the overall solution. It's not the be-all and end-all. The work we've done has shown many advantages of taking a more strategic, collaborative, and sector-wide approach. Above all, we know that we can enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of training with improved use of technology.
     Don't get me wrong, I think that police training in this country is mostly done very well. I'm not here to bash trainers to any extent. But I also think the model must continually evolve and must improve to gain efficiencies to meet new learner expectations as well as to keep pace with the changing needs of front-line police officers.
    I don't believe that technology is the be-all and end-all. You can't learn how to swim online. There are some things they have to show up and do face to face, and we're not going to eliminate that. What we're going to do is make the best use of the time spent in classrooms and make sure that knowledge transfer happens as efficiently and effectively as possible.
    A little background on CPKN. We've been around since 2004. As I said, we're not-for-profit. Currently we have about 100 courses in our catalogue, many of those in French as well as English. We have about 75,000 registered users. If you think of the Canadian police community, there are about 70,000 front-line officers. We do police and law enforcement, so we have a pretty good penetration in terms of across the board. And collectively those users have completed about 400,000 courses online. So we've been around for a while, and we kind of know this business as well as anybody in this country.
    Interestingly, we have an 85% approval rating from end users from the use of the courses. Again, we are building effective courses that people like. Our mandate is to increase accessibility, scope, and cost-effectiveness of training. We also play a significant role in introducing innovation to this sector.
    Interestingly, our model does not rely on any annual government funding. Revenues are generated based on a very low cost pricing model where individual police services can calculate the value in the ROI themselves. So we're not-for-profit, we're run in a very businesslike fashion. I like to tell people we're not for deficit. Last fiscal year I think we broke even, or we were ahead by $10,000, and that's where we like to be, just barely breaking even.
    The reasons for our sustainability and success are really three-fold. E-learning has some very well-known value propositions. The first and foremost—and I won't get into all of them—is that you can take four hours of classroom training and distill it down to about one hour online. So if you think of the efficiencies of that, there's ample opportunity for value when you put that across all police training. Build it once, use it many times. You collaborate on that. We have courses that we've been using now for five or six years. We update them and keep them modern, but it's the same content. So you don't have to keep bringing in new subject matter experts, or continually using different people across the country. It's about anywhere, anytime access.
    Secondly, our model is very collaborative. I am the head of an organization of about 20 people, none of whom is a police officer, none of whom are former police officers or subject matter experts. We rely on the police community to identify priority training topics, to come to us with the content and the subject matter experts. What we can do is turn that into an effective online training experience. It's about cops teaching cops cop stuff, but in a very different delivery mode.
     The third thing we have going for us right now is the whole network of relationships that we've built up over time. We're connected with every police service in the country: all the major police training academies, the Canadian Association of Police Boards, the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, and on it goes.
    Our board of directors is the main selling point for our network. You've had some of these people already here in front of you. Commissioner Chris Lewis of the OPP is on our board, as are Chief Andy McGrogan, from Medicine Hat, and Geoff Gruson from the Police Sector Council. In the past, people like Julian Fantino have been on the board. He was chair for a few years until he got busy doing something else. I'm not sure where he is these days.
    The model we've created is a best practice, really. In a sector well known for its stove-pipe tendencies and for its jurisdictional rigidity, we've been able to break down some of those silos and build courses that work across the country.
    As it relates to the economics of policing, while all of the things I have just talked about are great, but we believe that we're just scratching the surface. We can go much further. I talked about the $1 billion. There's ample opportunity for efficiencies there and that's what we have to concentrate on. On the $1 billion, if you were to ask most police services what their training budget was, they would look and see the line item “training budget”, and that would cover trainers' salaries, classrooms, supplies, tuitions, and those sorts of things. But it doesn't count, in a lot of cases, are things like travel and accommodation to go get training, backfilling, and overtime for people who are off on training. But most importantly, what it doesn't count is the amount of time of those bums in chairs. The people in the classroom are getting paid, so we have to calculate that. When you bring all that into account, it's $1 billion a year. There's stuff we can do around that.
    We have tons of studies—as I said, we've been around since 2004—demonstrating the ROI of moving from traditional classroom to an online or blended approach. We can talk about those. Also, research shows that online training, if done correctly—which I say because there's a lot of schlock out there—can be equal to or better than classroom training. That's the goal of this, to build really effective stuff.
    So why are we only scratching the surface, given all the hard evidence to the contrary? There are lots of barriers to change, as we know. Everybody loves the status quo; nobody likes to change. There are cultural, financial, and technical issues.
    The cultural bias is the hardest to overcome. Most of the people in this room, some of the younger people maybe not, grew up in classrooms. We are used to having that kind of training, consuming training in that way. There are a lot of institutions that are built up to train that way. Despite that hard evidence, we have to break the status quo. This is disruptive innovation. It's about shaking things up.
    I want to stress that training in this country, by and large, is done well. I'm not saying to throw that model out, but I think we can do it better and that we can do it better in lots of ways.
    The last thing I want to talk about is that regardless of what I think or what anybody wants to do, change is going to happen. We know that. We know there are forces at work here that are larger than any of the status quo forces. Demographics, technology, and economics are all things that are converging right now.
    On demographics, we know that younger people and most front line police officers are in that demographic. An average hire these days is around 26 or 27 years old. About 50% of front line police officers have less than five years experience. You put those two things together and you know that most front line police officers are young.
     They embrace it, and are fully adapted to consuming information and training through technology-based mediums. It's not simply a preference. Research is showing they actually process information differently than other generations do. I'll leave it to you to define other generations. But I'm in that group and we must respond to that change.
    They don't sit in the classroom very well for two weeks. They just don't. They don't learn stuff. They have their hands in their pockets. They're texting people. They're doing things. You tell them what they have to learn, tell them by when they have to have it learned, and they'll come back ready to do the face-to-face, hands-on stuff.


    With technology, we know that change is ubiquitous; it's not standing still. Gaming, simulations, community practice, massive open online courses, mobile learning, just-in-time learning, and operational support tools.... RoboCop kind of stuff is not very far in the future. This is where we're going. We can't stand still; we have to pursue this.
    As it relates to the economics, what's interesting is that training is the first thing that's cut. When you budget cut, training is easy; it's just sitting there. As we know, it's deferred maintenance. You're going to pay the price for that at some point. If we do this right we can benefit the police community. Build it once, use it many times; it's cost effectiveness that way. We can reduce the amount of effort going into training by minimizing resources required to produce training, thereby minimizing duplication. And we can convert a significant portion of the time officers currently spend in training to time on the job, where we want them. This improves productivity without impacting quality.
    To sum up, to do it right we have to have research, best practices, and sector-wide collaboration. I think the $1 billion is a good target and should motivate us.
    Thank you.


    Thank you very much.
    We'll go into the first round of questioning.
    We'll start with Ms. Bergen.
    Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
    Thank you, Mr. Sweet, for being here.
    Actually, I have been asking a few questions about training. You're right, in that it seems like not a lot of people have a lot to say about it or have seen it as an issue. This is the first time I've actually heard a price tag associated with it—the $1 billion. That was out of $8 billion, you said?
    If you look at the StatsCan report, it's $12 billion a year that we spend on policing in total.
    And $1 billion of that is training?
    The reason I'm interested in it is that I've just come back. I was at RCMP Depot Division in Regina a few weeks ago. There is classroom training, clearly, but there is also the simulators they use for driving, firearms training, as well as real-life scenarios. They actually showed us a screen that was a whole wall. The person who was showing us was the police officer. A man was getting out of a car and approaching him. They said this actually happened in the States. The police officer ended up dying. They went through every scenario where they were able to bring the man down.
    Do you know what I'm talking about?
    Yes, I've seen that.
    It's very, very interesting.
    What I found to be very positive was that there's a real consistency in the training model as well as the police advice: whatever situation you're in, here are the values and here is the cycle you're going to go through in your thought process and what action you're going to take.
     I'm really interested in the online training. In my mind, I just see the on-line training as somebody sitting in front of a computer reading some information and then answering questions. It's pretty basic. Am I missing something? When I see what happened at Depot, how can that be translated into an online course?
    It's a great question. I think in the future we're going to look at a bunch of different tools. They're doing the simulations at Depot and at a couple of other places. Depot certainly leads the country in that area, especially the firearms training around skills acquisition.
    There are many things you can do around knowledge transfer, before people ever get into a simulator, to make them understand the IMIM model—the use-of-force model—and the theory behind it before they actually exercise it.
    We're also starting out using some gaming technology in some of our online courses so that you can get into an immersive simulation in the midst of a course. You can do the knowledge transfer, do some of the theory piece, and then let people practice in an online scenario. It's no different from playing a Grand Theft Auto on Play Station 2—that kind of thing.
    As I said, it's still early days for us, but five years ago we wouldn't use video in a course, whereas now video is in all our courses. We know that we have to evolve; technology isn't standing still.
    Think of those young cadets at Depot and if you could give them access to some sandbox they could play in before they actually got into the full-fledged scenario. It's a very expensive piece of infrastructure they have at Depot, and that's why people aren't replicating it across the country yet.
    I think what we'll see is a continuum of classroom training—you're always going to need the face-to-face stuff—immersive simulation, gaming technology, online knowledge transfer, and communities of practice, with operational support tools and immediate feedback. You see now on police shows the vast amount of video available because people have cameras in their cars, and now people are starting to wear those cameras. Those are going to be training opportunities in real-life situations.
    That's why I say that what we need, going forward, is research, best practices, and a sector-wide approach to finding what the training model of the future looks like. It's all about getting the best skills for people for the least amount of cost.
    There's great stuff happening in Depot. For example, in the firearms training they do, they prove that you can sit with the simulator and do just as well as somebody beside you with a real gun, but at a fraction of the cost and certainly with no risk.
    Yet police organizations don't change very quickly, so they want more and more research. I think what we have to do is convince people that there are new ways of doing things. As long as you qualify with a real pistol, it should be fine.


    After being there and seeing the amazing facilities they have, not only the simulators for driving training or other purposes, but the real-life.... They have full houses built, bungalows and two-storey houses, and they go in and do real raids. It's amazing.
    When I saw it I thought: we need to be using this, I'm thinking, at the federal level.
    Is it something the federal government could do, to offer this to police services to come and have their training provided—of course, covering the costs, etc.—to make better use of Depot?
    I know we're talking about your company and what you do online, and I want to talk more about that—I'm sure there will be more questions—but with your experience, do you think this is something the federal government could do: to offer Depot as a training facility?
    I know there's capacity at Depot to do more training. The Regina police are right there, and the Saskatchewan Police College is right there, and they take advantage from time to time of that capacity.
    I think the model of shipping people around the country to train them is passé. I don't think the future of police training is in bricks and mortar; I think it's around technology-enhanced learning of the best kind.
    That's a fairly long view I'm taking. In the interim, could we take advantage of that capacity just to prove that it works and to get people used to it? There could be another regional centre in Chilliwack, B.C., and another one across the country—that sort of thing. But bringing everybody to Regina, in my mind, because of the high cost of policing, is adding to police training costs.
    The travel—
    It's part of that billion dollars that nobody is looking at.
    Thank you very much.
    We'll move to Mr. Garrison, please, for seven minutes.
    Thank you very much, Mr. Chair, and thank you, Mr. Sweet for being here today.
    My background is in post-secondary education. In the criminal justice course we try to offer new methods of delivering. I'm interested in your saying that you're not receiving any funding; that you're doing it all from cost recovery on the courses. My question may end up being a compliment: it's a rare program that can actually cover overhead costs out of the course fees. There are lots of programs you can run in which people are willing to pay for the courses, but not many people are willing to pay for the infrastructure that allows their delivery.
    Can you say a bit more about how you managed to do that? I'm guessing I may be offering you a compliment, because I've never seen this happen.
    Thank you for that. We're proud of the fact that, nine or ten years on, we are sustainable and that we haven't raised our prices since we started. What we depend on is low-cost, high-volume. So over time if you look at our growth curve, it started out very low, as technology traditionally does, and then we hit the hockey stick or the tipping point and it's taken off. That allows us to make some incremental investment in terms of additional capacity and additional technology, but our pricing is.... The average cost for one of our courses is less than $25. So when you think that replaces about a day in the classroom, you can't get a day in a classroom for $25 for an individual.
    It's funny that when we first started we only had two comments about our pricing. One was, “Wow that's cheap”. The other was, “Why do we have to pay anything?”. We've found ways to ensure that we....
    As I said, we're 20 people and our budget is less than $2 million a year, but our revenue is right around the same and we just keep chasing that. We deal with the RCMP, the OPP, with Toronto, three organizations that cover half the police officers in the country. We have coast-to-coast—Vancouver, Calgary, whatever. We find that every police service is different, but we find the sweet spot with them where they like what we do. So it works for us.
    You also talked about the need for funding research and also for doing studies of best practices and those kinds of things. I'm guessing that those go beyond the costs that you're actually covering now. Can you talk a little bit about the situation for research and better ways to deliver training?
    It's very difficult. We've had a couple of research projects where we've found independent third parties to come in and look at our courses and evaluate them, and we can learn from that. One was funded by the Canadian Police Research Council, which is now part of National Defence. It was great. I think that project was about $100,000. We put about $100,000 worth of in-kind effort into it, but we came out with some very tangible results that we could communicate to people. But it's a very labour intensive way to.... It's not just a matter of sitting there and you go pick it; you really have to follow the application process.
    We've worked closely in the past with the police sector council. I think Geoff Gruson was in front of this group. Part of the funding they had was for research and, again, we had independent third parties come in.
    But it's tough to go out and find that. We've recently started talking to universities, and most large police services across the country have a great affiliation with their local university or community college. That helps them not just with training, but with higher education as well. So we're hoping to tap into that to get people interested. You know, post-secondary education is changing dramatically as we speak as well. They have the same economic challenges facing them as policing does. So their model of how they deliver courseware is changing. So they are interested in us because we have 75,000 registered users. What a great sandbox for them to play in, in terms of research.


    In terms of users of your courses, I know that in post-secondary education we've talked about alternative methods to delivery. The presumption was that people in rural and remote areas would be able to access this, and people who, say, are working non-traditional hours, but wanted to study. But actually, in the college that I worked in, we found out that they weren't those who accessed these things at all. In fact most of the people, as you talked about, were people who found this method of learning more amenable to their learning styles. We were still left with difficulties reaching those other people in rural or remote areas. So when you talk about online training and those kinds of things, could you talk a little bit about whether you're meeting the challenge of rural and remote areas?
    There are issues around bandwidth. We don't like to design our courses to the lowest common denominator so that they work everywhere, but for somebody with high-speed Internet, they're just not taking advantage of all the media richness that can be available. So we kind of play with that, finding the right balance there.
    Two of our largest police organizations in this country, the RCMP and the OPP, both have large geographic areas to cover and therefore huge challenges on the training side. The OPP has done some interesting things in terms of having remote satellite classrooms. I think there are five or six across Ontario. They don't have to bring everybody into the academy in Orillia; they can bring them into Thunder Bay or wherever, and have them access training that way.
    From a technical point of view, delivering courseware is for us much less challenging than it used to be. You know, the dial-up kind of days are.... You still hit them in remote places in the north; we still have issues. We've found some ways around those, with DVDs. There aren't very many of those people, so you just use a different alternative for delivering that.
    We find that we've had great buy-in from those places, because they get access to training that normally they would have to fly out to get—spending thousands of dollars on it.
    Thank you very much.
    We'll move to Mr. Norlock, please, for seven minutes.
    Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
    Through you to the witness, thank you for attending today.
    I'm very interested in the training, and in the training through the new modules. Some of us who have been out of the business for quite some time saw the introduction of that, and the benefit of it.
    I wonder if you could talk about the regulatory regime around training. A great deal of the police training, at least as far as I can recall, was mandated because of coroner's inquests, because of inadequacies found in policing and the need to bring officers.... I think of this particularly with regard to pepper spray, the proper use of the ASP.
    I wonder if you could talk about some of the reasons why. I know that continues on today, with a scheduling nightmare around what the OPP refer to as “block training”.
    For those who may want to know, that's when you take an officer out of the detachment and they go through intensive training once a year for four days.
    I wonder if you could you talk about that, and about the ability of smaller police forces to provide the same quality and quantity of training as opposed to some of the larger forces that you talked about.


    There's a whole bunch there, but I'll try my best.
    No surprise to anybody here, policing in this country is seen by most people to be a provincial jurisdiction. There are police acts in each of the provinces across the country, with varying degrees of police training prescribed in them.
    Ontario has adequacy standards. It's very clear that in order to be a police organization in this province, you have to be able to do this, that, and the other thing in terms of the expertise you must have on your police force. Then you train to those standards.
    In other provinces, B.C., Alberta, and Saskatchewan—Manitoba now has a new police act—people are moving in that direction. We're being more prescribed as opposed to laissez-faire around that. A lot of it comes from liability, the liability that gets exposed through inquiries, such as the Dziekanski inquiry or whatever.
    To go back to a point I made earlier, when you see an inquiry, training is one thing that always comes out of it—you've got to train better here—and yet when the budget is cut, training is the first thing that goes. There's a dichotomy there.
    I think we will never have a national training standard in this country. “Never” is a long time, but I don't see that coming. But you can have policing.... If you take the jurisdictions out, policing in any province compared with the next is very similar. So if you concentrate on those commonalities, you can get best practices and build good training around them.
    For instance, the Alberta Solicitor General built a series of courses on investigative skills education. We've taken that, and it's now being used in British Columbia as well as Prince Edward Island. There is an opportunity for other jurisdictions to learn from one jurisdiction.
    So as it relates to that big question about training standards across the country, we're kind of in a world of hurt there because of the provincial jurisdictions. You know, it's about that sector-wide approach and about the collaboration; I think we can go at that.
    I forget the last part of your question.
    I guess you explained it in the differences right across Canada.
    The next question I had was who's doing the major part of police-associated research; in other words, best practices, what works best, what are the most modern...? It used to be we went to one of the Michigan universities for a lot of the studies. I know in the OPP we looked at them, because they had one or two of their universities, one in particular. I know the University of Western Ontario does some research into that sort of adopting of best practices or leading-edge stuff. Usually we compare ourselves with police forces in the western world that have similar laws and similar challenges to ours. I wonder if you could comment on who's doing the bulk of research. If you're running a police organization, who do you go to? Who do you look at for some best practices or some cutting-edge stuff?
    It's a great question, and I think one of the weaknesses in our current model is that there is no one place for that. Actually the police community is very good at finding out themselves who's doing something interesting and going off and seeing if it would apply in their local jurisdiction. But from a research perspective, Chris Murphy at Dalhousie is doing interesting things; Mike Kempa from Carleton is doing interesting things; at Simon Fraser University, they're doing interesting things.
    Police services tend to team up with a local university, and that's the flavour they're very comfortable with. Linda Duxbury is another one from here in Ottawa who has done great work in policing and other areas. There's no one place. In the U.S. they have PERF. In the U.K. they have their national police college. Those are central bodies that are made for this type of information-sharing, repositories, if you will, for what's going on. The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police has a role to play in that through their annual conferences, but it's not formalized, it's more ad hoc.


    Thank you.
    I just wonder if you could now talk about training. I know you probably would be reticent to do this, but you can couch the wording. When it comes down to the cutting edge in Canada, who's exploring avenues that seem to be bearing the best fruit? Who could we point our researchers at, or who could we point ourselves at to take a look at what they're doing, especially in the field of how that training accommodates making that officer do the work of one and a quarter; in other words, to make that officer a more efficient and effective law-enforcement agent?
    Wow, that's a tough question.
    Time is up. We're going to have to just move to the next one.
    If I may, since I've run out of time, perhaps the chair would want to explain that an answer can be given to us at a later date.
    For any of these questions, if you don't have a way of segueing it into, say, Mr. Scarpaleggia's or another round, you can always submit an answer.
    Mr. Scarpaleggia, go ahead, please.
    You were saying, Mr. Sweet, that we spend about $1 billion in Canada across all police forces—federal, provincial, and municipal—on training. You mentioned that the software-based training would save money. Have you thought about or analyzed or projected what the cost curve of training would look like if police forces across Canada used online training to its full potential and if the online training was brought up to the highest standard? In other words, there would be some initial investments so that figure might go up and then it might go down. Do you have a sense as to what the future could look like if we invested what we need to invest to get the best and most up-to-date world-class online training that would be picked up by the maximum number of police forces in Canada? I know that's a very big question. I understand, but do you have a sense of where we're headed? The $1 billion is going up. Is it going to go down if we follow your recommendations? Do you know how much it's going to go down?
     It's 10% to 30%.
    It could go down 10% to 30%?
    Remember, what I'm talking about is not dollars, because people don't have a billion dollars in their training budgets. They have some of that in their salary budgets, if you will. What you're doing is freeing up that much in terms of resources to do other things with, but if you save 10%, that's $100 million worth of resources. If you put that into $100,000 per police officer, how many new police officers is that? That's 1,000 new police officers. That's the order of magnitude we're talking about. If it's 30%, on the high end, do the math. It's significant. With incremental investment on the front end, you're talking about.... Over the next three years if you put in somewhere between $10 million and $20 million, that little amount of investment could get you that payback year after year after year. That's the order of magnitude.
    That's interesting. So you have thought about it, obviously.
    How many people are in your organization, per se?
    We have 20 full-time employees.
    Twenty full-time employees.
    Is there a lot of training software out there? Is it really difficult to come up with the best training software? Are there many suppliers, or is there just one really good training software for, I don't know, pulling over a drunk driver or something? I'm just pulling anything out of the air. Or is there quite a lot out there you have to evaluate, and so on?
    We don't have a competitor in this country. There is nobody doing what we're doing in terms of the breadth and the depth of training courses that we have in our catalogue. We get phone calls every day of the week, every week of the month, from private sector companies who want to have access to our 75,000 users. They say, “Wow, we have this great thing. Let's partner on this”. They'll take 80%, and we'll take 20%. We've worked with private sector partners before and have had good partnerships with them. There's nothing wrong with that.
    But of the 100 courses we have in our catalogue, my team has built probably 60 or 65 of those. The other 35 or 40 have come from either the RCMP, the Toronto Police Service, the Calgary Police Service, Durham. There are pockets of e-learning units that occur in the Canadian police community, and they come to us with the courses they've developed and we make them available to every cop in Canada sort of thing. So yes, we're a developer, but we're also a platform for collaboration and sharing.
    Our challenge, quite frankly, is keeping up with technology and making sure our topics are relevant but also our courseware is relevant, especially in terms of what younger people need. We know that the courses we build today are different than the ones we built three to five years ago. The challenge for my team is what our courseware will to look like in three to five years, which brings in gaming and simulation. It's probably shorter and just in time than it is longer. We'll also in the future do instructor-led training, which we don't do now, and that sort of thing.
    I'm not sure if I wandered off with that.


    You answered it perfectly.
    Maybe you mentioned this, but how are you funded? Where does the money come from?
    We're funded by revenues. We had funding. I live in Prince Edward Island. Our head office is in Charlottetown. We started up with funding in 2003 that came from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, from Holland College in Prince Edward Island, as well as the National Research Council. That money has been long gone. That was a start-up of three to five years to get us up and running as our revenues started to grow. About five or six years ago we started to break even, and we've been sustaining ourselves based on revenues since.
    You are really an entrepreneurial enterprise, at the end of the day.
    It's not for deficit.
    You also offer these courses not only to the police forces but to police programs. For example, in my riding we have John Abbott College, which has a police tech program.
    Yes. We have a subset of our catalogue that's available for police foundation students.
    As an aside, we've also just recently launched a separate catalogue of courses in private security, the Private Security Training Network, because we had private security people coming to us all the time. Our police people and our board of directors weren't comfortable with private security having police training. We've repurposed some of that. We also launched the Canadian Corrections Knowledge Network last week. Again, it's very corrections-specific things that we're doing. We're trying to use that CPKN policing model in other sectors but all under the same umbrella and all for the benefit of Canadian policing.
    Thank you very much, Mr. Sweet.


    Mr. Rousseau, please go ahead. You have five minutes.


    Thank you for being here.


    My first question is this. Who really manages the content? Do the various police forces manage the content? Is it constantly updated? Is it verified? When there's legislation-related or legal content, do members of the bar or others review it for objectivity and accuracy?
    Thank you for that question.


    I'm sorry, my French is not good enough—
    It's okay, Mr. Sweet.
    —to respond en français.
    The content is a key part of our model. As I explained earlier, I don't have one subject-matter expert on staff. So we rely on the Canadian police community to supply the content and the subject-matter expert that our techies deal with to create the online course. We have a content provider agreement for every one of our courses that very clearly lays out the roles and responsibilities. They are responsible for ensuring that this content is accurate and up to date, and that it has passed the various thresholds that you're talking about, whether it's legal or standard operating procedures, the police act, whatever.
    Then it has to be reviewed once a year, at a minimum. If something changes three months down the road, they will typically call us, and the beauty of online training is that you can change it on the fly. It can be up to date the next day with the new common law...whatever. So yes, it's looked at. Every one of our courses is looked at to make sure it's accurate and up to date all the time.



    Are the courses available in French and in English across the country?
    Could you please repeat the question?
    Are all the courses available in English and French?


    No. Right now of the 100 courses we have, I think 40 or 45


    are available in French.


    Anything that we have built with the federal government, obviously, has to be available in both official languages. We have a relationship with ENPQ, École nationale de police, and they actually are doing some translation for us and are our agent in the province of Quebec.
    That's good.
    We provide end-user support en français. So if you're a police officer in Laval and you have an issue, if you phone our help desk you will get support en français.
    It has not been a huge priority for us to move as quickly as we can or maybe should have in the province of Quebec, and we're doing that now with the ENPQ. Montreal does some very interesting things online in using e-learning. We've had some relationships with La Sûreté as well.


    A moment ago, we were talking about the updating process.
    Are there different subjects that come up? Do new courses come up, for example, on subjects like different ethnicities or the different cultural communities that make up our demographic landscape? Are there courses dealing with the use of new drugs? Do you do update the content from that perspective?


    Yes, and again, the model is that we rely on the police community to identify new topics and we ask them, can you build something on this? Diversity is huge. So we have a series of courses on diversity, from aboriginal awareness to items of religious significance.Then it's building a series of courses. Especially in large cities with the ethnic diversity we have, police officers need to understand where the various groups are coming from in order to police better. So we have a series of courses on that.
    We have a series of courses on officer wellness, everything from fatigue management to healthy eating, to officer drinking and driving. It's helping them out. We have a course on preventing officer-involved collisions. So for a police officer going from point A to point B, making sure they get to point B. That's actually been one of our most successful courses, which we recently distributed to the Hong Kong Police College. We're also dealing with Australia; they're interested in that course.
    That came out of the OPP having an issue around smashing cars. They just smashed too many cars; too many people were getting hurt. They wanted everybody trained on that in a short period of time, and so they came to us. We built a three-hour course, and they had 97% of their people take the course, and the following year collisions went down 25%.
     Thanks very much, Mr. Sweet.
    Mr. Rousseau, thank you.
    Mr. Payne, please. You have five minutes.
    Thank you, Chair, and my questions are through you to the witness.
    Thank you for coming today. It's important information that you're providing. I was interested to learn that my chief of police, Andy McGrogan, is on your committee.
    I know that there's a lot of training that goes on, and in particular the Medicine Hat Police Service will quite often take recruits from the Lethbridge community college. So I'm just curious as to what kind of interface you would have with the college. You did talk about bums in chairs versus online training, and I know that the college obviously puts these individuals through their training program at the college and there obviously must be bums in chairs. But is there some particular program that you are providing to them or they to you that is important for those individuals who are learning to become police officers?


    You're talking specifically of Lethbridge College?
    Well, it could be any particular college, but certainly I know the community college in Lethbridge does provide trainees for the police force.
    Yes. Actually Andy McGrogan is the new chair of our board as of last Thursday—
    Okay, I'll have to congratulate him.
    —so you can pat him on the back for that, yes.
    There are 16 police academies across the country and we work with each one of those to varying degrees. JIBC would use probably five or six of our courses as part of their cadet training program. Similarly, the Atlantic Police Academy uses five or six. Depot uses some of our online courses. As for Lethbridge, I'm not so sure. I just don't know how many courses they would use.
    What's really working in general, whether it's in police services or academies, is a blending of technology and classroom. You don't eliminate the classroom, but if you're going to do an interviewing course in a classroom, a lot of police training academies and police services are asking their people to take the online course first. It's a two-hour course. It gives you all the basics. Then you can come in and talk about interviewing and do some role playing and that sort of thing.
    So a lot of the police training academies across the country are doing that. Saskatchewan Police College is doing that as well.
    One of the other things you talked about was how your model must be evolving all the time and particularly with changes in on-the-ground policing. I'm just wondering what you're getting from the on-the-ground police officers that helps you in terms of developing programs or updating programs that you might already have.
    It's interesting. The two biggest issues we're dealing with right now are around social media. It goes both ways: how do police services use social media to their advantage, and how do they intercept or understand what bad people are doing when they're using social media? And that includes all the various groups, whether it's Occupy or Idle No More, or any kind of crowd-sourcing kind of thing going on.
    So they're looking for courses on that and we're looking for subject matter experts on that. What it comes down to is the whole field changes very quickly. So you have to chase that.
    The other issue coming out of Boston was anti-terrorism, front-line police officer anti-terrorism. And actually we had just launched a course. The RCMP had developed it. We hosted it and made it available for free to police officers across the country, and as soon as that situation hit in Boston, we had a big uptick in people wanting to know, if you see something, say something, that sort of thing.
    We try to be really responsive but we can only be as responsive as the content allows, if you will. We can't just put training out there until it has been vetted through the whole process that we use.
    In terms of a prospective instructor and educator, there are risks with online training. What are they, and how do you know that in fact police officers have actually learned what they should be learning in some of these online programs? I think it's important, obviously, that they learn it. And then secondly, is there a way that you check or that the police force can check to make sure that they have actually learned those particular skills and then can take them into the field?
    I won't bore you with our design and development process, but it's based on sound adult learning principles. There's self-testing and testing that occurs throughout the modules. All the courses are broken up into modules. Every course has an exam. At a minimum you know that person got 85% on that exam, or it is pass-fail. There are various grading methodologies.
    But that doesn't mean that they still understand things six months or 12 months out. That's the research we talked about earlier. We've had two chunks of research done to make sure that longitudinal retention was still there.
    You come back to learning styles. In the classroom it's the same thing. How do you know that people understood that in a classroom six months out and 12 months out? It's part of what we have to get better at, in terms of skills retention and skills perishability. People qualify on firearms every year or two years. Should it be every six months or every 18 months? We don't know. It's just arbitrary. That's the way we've done it; that's the way we do it.
    But I think we have to get better at that sort of thing. We're vigilant about it now. We don't just think that it happens. Also there's an onus of responsibility on police officers. When they take a course and they pass that course, now it's assumed that they have that skill or knowledge to go out and do their job. If something happens in an inquiry, the first question is, “Were you trained? What was the course training standard? How long ago was it?” It's a big part of what we do.


    Thank you very much.
    Unfortunately, our time is up today. We have our next group waiting for us.
    We do sincerely thank you. This is the first briefing I've ever had on the Canadian Police Knowledge Network. We understand a little bit how new technology has changed the way that our police forces are trained. We can only imagine as technology continues to change and grow that you will be part of it as well. We thank you for the good work that you're doing.
    We're going to suspend momentarily to let Mr. Sweet move out of his position. We'll ask the commissionaires if they would move up towards the table. Thank you.
    We'll call this meeting back to order.
    This is the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security. We're continuing our study of the economics of policing in Canada.
    I don't know if it was last year or a number of years ago, but the commissionaires made their rounds and did some meetings with members of Parliament. I had the pleasure to meet with them. I learned a few things then and I know other members of Parliament did as well. Members of the committee had recommended that they come and appear before us.
    In this hour we're hearing from the commissionaires. Captain Paul Guindon—if I mispronounced your name, I apologize—is the chief executive officer of the Commissionaires of Ottawa. Colonel Douglas Briscoe is the executive director of the national office of the Canadian Corps of Commissionaires.
    We thank you again for appearing before us and helping us with our study. Canadians know about the good work of the commissionaires all across Canada. You're a fairly high profile group that we've all seen at different public buildings around the Hill and here in Ottawa.
    I invite you to make your opening statements. Tell us about what you do. We'll begin with Mr. Guindon, please.


    Mr. Chair, ladies and gentlemen, good morning. I am very pleased to be here today.


     As your chairman said, I am retired naval Captain Paul Guindon, the CEO of Commissionaires Ottawa, but I do represent the Canadian Corps of Commissionaires as the chairman of our national business management committee. With me is retired Colonel Doug Briscoe, who is the executive director.
    We're still doing our rounds, by the way, Mr. President, so we haven't completed it quite yet.
    The Canadian Corps of Commissionaires is a national institution at the service of Canada's veterans. Created in 1925, it is driven by its social mandate to provide meaningful employment for veterans of the military, the reserves, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Commissionaires is a uniquely Canadian solution for veterans by veterans, who lead and manage the organization. It is a fully self-supporting private organization founded on the core military values of dedication, responsibility, and mission, and fuelled by the talents and experiences of veterans. It is also a not-for-profit organization, returning about 95% of its gross revenue back to its veteran and non-veteran members while sustaining a thriving, national, self-funded private enterprise.
    Commissionaires has 45 offices and a presence in 1,200 communities from coast to coast. In fact, it is the largest private sector employer of veterans in Canada. We currently have 8,000 veteran employees, and we are hiring 1,000 additional veterans per year. This is crucial because approximately 70% of all veterans do not have a government pension and are not eligible for Veterans Affairs programs. In the majority of cases, the income veterans receive through Commissionaires is their only revenue. No veteran who is seeking and can perform a job is turned away, providing them with much-needed remuneration. Because we are a not-for-profit organization, the services provided by Commissionaires to the Government of Canada are at cost.
    While many of you are aware of the work we do guarding federal buildings, you are likely to be less familiar with how we have been working with police services in communities across Canada. This has now become an important area of business for us, and it is currently employing approximately 1,000 of our members. This is a line of business that has grown incrementally. While our federal guard services contract gives us a footprint across the country, where these guard service jobs are located and where veterans are located do not always match up. In some parts of the country we have lots of veterans but few federal guard service jobs. We want to develop other opportunities for our veterans. Our local offices built up this non-core policing initiative community by community, contract by contract, in an organic fashion. Most of the growth was initially in western Canada, but now all of our offices are involved in non-core policing. There is a strong fit between the skills of veterans and the needs of police services. There is a common emphasis on discipline, responsibility, and public service. Police services appreciate Commissionaires because of our ability to train and retain reliable employees who can fit in with a police structure.
    We did a recent survey to identify all the alternative service activities provided to police agencies. We are performing over 60 separate functions. We have attached a list at the back of our statement. It is a very interesting list because it suggests all the functions that do not necessarily have to be provided by a sworn, uniformed police officer. And in employing Commissionaires as alternate service delivery, these police services are achieving three objectives.
    The first, and most important, is to ensure their sworn officers are doing priority policing tasks and being relieved, to the extent possible, of routine, repetitive tasks. Police services want their officers to maximize their face time on the streets and in the communities.


    The second objective is to contain costs in a challenging economic environment where all government agencies are being asked to do more with less.
    And for Commissionaires, it is also about providing a broader range of employment that better matches the skill sets of modern-day veterans of the Canadian Forces, the RCMP, as well as other police services.
    While our non-core policing business has grown in an incremental fashion, we have determined, as a national group, to put more resources and effort into this area across the country. We will be focusing on the following, as an example: detention services, arrest and release processing, prisoner monitoring and transportation, summons and subpoena services, crime scene security, bylaw enforcement, electronic ticketing, non-criminal fingerprinting and police clearances, photo radar operation, inventory and front desk management, and 911 dispatch.
    We will be putting additional resources in these areas for two principal reasons: budget constraints will create more business opportunities in this area for our organization, and we have recognized the changing reality of modern veterans. No longer are our people exclusively retirees looking to supplement their pensions. The recent war in Afghanistan and the rapid turnover and early retirement of police and military members have resulted in a younger and more dynamic veteran than we have seen in decades. In some cases the level of training our veterans bring to the table is unprecedented.
    Our challenge is to remain relevant to our police and military community by offering this highly skilled and typically younger group of veterans meaningful, rewarding, and financially sustainable employment. Not every veteran will want a static guard job, so we want to provide more choices, along with the opportunity for higher pay. This is also an area in which we are employing many retired veterans of police forces, which we believe is complementary with our social mandate.
    We note in the committee transcripts so far that most of the discussion on policing economics has been focused on municipal police forces. You may also want to explore federal alternative services at every opportunity. The RCMP is the provincial police force in a number of provinces. We are sure there are a number of areas where the private sector could save the RCMP time and money, which in turn would allow the RCMP to stay focused on their core competencies.
    Corrections Canada, for example, should also be looking at how they could use the private sector to reduce costs and increase efficiencies. We can see a number of functions that could be performed by the private sector, such as escort duties, some guarding, some parole services.
    In our testimony we would like to highlight a unique program in which we support the RCMP. This is the guards and matron program, in which over 2,780 mostly part-time jobs are provided in many regions of the country. The RCMP does the recruitment and training locally, and we provide the back-office support, HR and pay services. This is an important service but particularly so in remote areas and aboriginal communities. We are proud to support the RCMP in this area.
    These alternative services will continue to be a growing part of our business because it is an opportunity to create more employment opportunities for our veterans. We have included a couple of case studies with our statement, and we will certainly be pleased to answer any of your questions, monsieur le président.


    Thank you very much.
    We'll move into our first round of questioning, and we'll go to Mr. Hawn, please, for seven minutes.
    Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
    Thank you to our witnesses for being here.
    I have a number of questions, some requiring short answers and some maybe a little longer.
    You talked about your workforce being composed of CF veterans and RCMP, but that's not your total workforce. What percentage would fall under the veterans, police, RCMP, and what percentage would be other than?
    Nationally we have approximately just short of 20,000 employees, of which almost 3,000 are part time, so that is 17,000. We have 8,000 retired members from the RCMP and the military, veterans, so it would be about 40%, 45%.
    Okay. You talked about 95% of the remuneration going to veterans or employees. Is that just in the form of wages, or are there other benefits that they get?
    That's in the form of wages and benefits, both combined.
    Okay. Benefits meaning health care...?
    Absolutely: uniforms, dental programs, medical programs, free training, and that sort of thing.
    I've met a lot of very chronologically experienced commissionaires in my day. Is there an age limit for the Commissionaires corps? Is it strictly based on health and...?
    No, there isn't an age limit per se. I think that's an older perception of what the Commissionaires are. We're a much younger force than we were, but that perception remains.
    There are more veterans coming to us. The Canadian Forces members are retiring at an earlier age; I believe the average age now is 39. We're getting those people coming to our door. That's why this opportunity is important: because we think we can match some of the skill sets required for this work to the skill sets of those people leaving the forces.
    You bet, and that's important.
    My next question is on the training in some of the new areas that you're looking at getting into, some of which have potentially a fairly significant physical element attached. The opportunity to get younger retirees or people who are leaving the military and police obviously gives you the opportunity to expand into those areas safely and effectively.
    With respect to training and training delivery, you mentioned local training with the RCMP. Are you getting it also in local police forces? Is it in-house training that you do? Can you describe your training delivery?
    In fact, we have both classroom and online/e-learning training methods. We train our guard force in accordance with provincial legislation and regulation. As well, we train them also because not all provinces have a training regulation or legislation on legislating private security. In the Maritimes, the Atlantic provinces are not quite there yet. We also train using the CGSB, which is a federally endorsed training standards curriculum. We've combined the two, and that's what we train to across the country.
    But we also provide a lot of training in leadership and management, which is not regulated and not mandated across any of the provinces. We have two levels of courses. In order to provide management and leadership training to our field management, we also provide first aid, CPR, and defibrillator training, which is not necessarily mandated in each jurisdiction either.
    We do have a robust training program. When we get a contract in parking enforcement with a city, let's say, there will be specific training for that commissionaire to do her job. It's targeted training that we also provide, which we either design ourselves or in cooperation with the city or the police agency.


    We've heard from a lot of experts in various communities. Prince Albert and many others are taking a community approach to crime prevention, policing, and so on.
    Because of the level of maturity of a lot of your members—and I don't mean maturity as in chronologically experienced—especially your new members, such as veterans, RCMP, and so on, who are coming to you with qualities of discipline, self-confidence, leadership training, and so on, do you see the commissionaires assuming a larger role in that kind of community approach to policing?
    It's something that we haven't thought about in the past, but I would say yes. By the way, we do employ five generations in our workforce. In itself that may not seem important, but it is, and especially when you get into work that is a bit more demanding in terms of stress and management.
    I'll give you a good example. It's not slated as non-core police work, but it's mall work in shopping centres. We have a contract.... Well, all shopping centres are not necessarily easy sites for a private security provider to work in, but you need the right mix of people. I was visiting Sudbury. We do security at one of the malls there. It took us a few months to realize that often a generation will deal better with their peers within the same generation, so we have a mix in our workforce, not only in terms of statistics but also in terms of who we put on the ground.
     With that in mind, and obviously with the right training, I think we would certainly be capable of doing that sort of work, but that has not been our focus so far.
    I guess that would lead me to my next question in terms of employee monitoring and development and so on, the whole training thing, and putting people in the right place with the right skills and so on. Are there career paths within the Commissionaires? Or is it really job dependent or location dependent and that sort of thing? How do you handle the advancement of a commissionaire?
    Yes. We have a performance management program. We do a monitor report on each and every member. Of course, it depends, because we have 16 divisions, as we call them, across the country. Some are larger and some are smaller. In a larger environment, it's much easier to provide a career path.
    For example, here in Ottawa, we have commissionaires who have been with us 10, 15, or 30 years and who started as a guard and are now a part of management. They started as guards and now are part of the cadre of instructors and trainers that we have. So yes, there is a career path, and we do track performance.
    Thank you, Mr. Hawn.
    We'll now move to Mr. Rafferty, I believe, for seven minutes.
     Thank you very much, Chair.
     Thank you very much for being here. I appreciate this opportunity. I think it was last month that you were in my office and I had a half an hour or so with you. As is usually the case, five minutes after you left, I thought to myself, “Oh, I should have asked this question”. Now I get the opportunity.
    All the commissionaires are not necessarily veterans, though. What would be the percentages of veterans and others in the present workforce?


    In the present workforce, it's about 45%, or 8,000 out of 17,000 full-time employees.
     Yes, and as I look at this list of things and the direction you're going in, it looks the Commissionaires organization is going to be quite aggressive as they move forward into the more traditional policing sorts of areas. I'm looking at things like 911 dispatch and those sorts of things that require particular skills.
    Is there a minimum number of veterans on a percentage basis that you want to maintain, though, in your organization? Because I think that's certainly worthy, the work that you do, and the support that you provide veterans, but I wonder, as things become more specialized—you know, not chasing guys who are parked wrong at the airport—and as things change, is there going to be a bit of a struggle to ensure that you have veterans and that you keep the percentage up?
    That is exactly one of the reasons why we want to do more in terms of alternative service delivery for police agencies and the so-called non-core policing. Because in many cases.... The 911 dispatch, which we do, does require certain skill sets, specific skill sets, and often, if not all the time, has a job rate that is a little higher than it is for your standard security, your private security guard. We want to get into this business more in order to attract more veterans.
     The veterans today, as Doug pointed out, are younger when they come out of the forces. Seventy per cent of them have no pension, but they're not always interested in a lower-paying job, a job that is not challenging or does not use their skills. By exploring other job opportunities, and also by, in the past, developing new business lines, we've been able to attract the newer veterans. This is sort of a recruiting campaign at the same time.
    Yes, we want to have more veterans in there, within our ranks. Eight thousand is not enough. As I said earlier, we're recruiting about a thousand a year. Yes, there are some who are retiring at the same time, but we are much more aggressive in our recruiting approach, our recruiting effort. This is another means to do that.
    As you've moved forward, and as you are moving forward, have you found that police services, and I suppose municipal police services in particular, have been quite amenable to opening their doors to the Commissionaires?
    Some are.
    Or is a bit of an education, a bit of a struggle?
    Yes, it is a big education. In fact, the onus is on us to do that. Some are more open than others. We might have been seen as a threat to their workforce in the past in some quarters within their organization, but we have made some headway. Police agencies or municipalities have used the opportunity to launch pilot projects, not only to see if this would work, but also to see if it would bring benefits or be more efficient.
     I'm thinking about Sault Ste. Marie, for example. Three years ago, they decided to look at an ASD approach to do their parking enforcement. They came to us and hired us. In fact, about a month ago, I was reading their yearly report of this pilot project, which was presented to city council. It is a good success story.
    Was there an indication of how much money they saved?
    Yes, it was $500,000 a year.
    Mr. John Rafferty: Using your service.
    Capt(N) Paul Guindon: Yes. In terms of percentages, it's about 30%.
    Okay. Good.
    I don't know how much time I have left, but perhaps you can make some more comments about the guards and matron program, particularly with your reference to aboriginal populations or remote populations. I wonder if you could just expand on that a little bit.
    The guards and matrons program is from Manitoba west, which we do under a competitive contract. It's to provide jail guard services on a part-time basis, because there's no need for full time all the time in many communities. But it's all north of 60...and south as well; Doug will expand a tiny little bit on this.
    Basically, the RCMP detachment will select the person to be hired. We do the HR process, the hiring process, the payroll and all of that, the administration of it, and they provide the training. It is local employment provided to aboriginal people.
    Can you expand, Doug, a little bit?


    I think this is another area where we can work in conjunction with a police force to enable them to get on with the other core policing activities they have, such as crime prevention.
    I think this has been an amazingly successful program, with the RCMP identifying selected individuals in these communities and giving them the training, and us taking care off all the back-end support.
    I'm curious, why just Manitoba west? We have a new consolidated courthouse going up in Thunder Bay, federal and provincial, and it might be a good opportunity for commissionaires to be there.
    In the Atlantic provinces, the program does not exist yet. However, we are in communication with the RCMP to see if we can do it there the same way as in Manitoba west. In Ontario, such a program does not exist.
    Mr. John Rafferty: Okay. Thanks.
    Thank you very much.
    We'll move to Mr. Leef, please, for seven minutes.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    Thank you to both our witnesses.
    Do you have a breakdown now of your per-officer costs for training, uniforming, other services, in comparison with...? We've heard figures on the cost per officer to equip, train, and put them in the field for policing services. Do you have that breakdown?
    I don't have the details here, but I can give you some information. We'll gladly provide more details.
    For example, to uniform one of our guards, it's about $500 to start, and about $150 year after year.
    In terms of licence costs, in most cases that's paid fifty-fifty. It's about $45 a year to operate as a security guard.
    Now, for training, ongoing training, our basic course is nine days. In most cases this is relatively economical, because they're not an employee yet, but for courses after that, the guards will be paid for it. We have a number of courses that range in length from four days to ten days, so it is fairly substantial.
    Within the private security market, we certainly train more. I mean, honestly, truthfully, you cannot really compare the Corps of Commissionaires with any of our competitors in terms of training and all the programs we have.
    As for putting a price tag on that, an exact price tag, I don't have that with me.
    Many of your employees would already come into the Corps of Commissionaires with a pretty substantial training history, in some cases.
    In some cases, but in other cases not.
    As I said, we have a workforce of five generations. We have the 19- and 20-year-old kids, and when I say “kids”, I mean young adults who are in their last year of college, in police foundations studying to become a police officer, or at university, especially in the summer. We hire a lot of them part time.
    They know zero about security when they come to us. They're starting their work lives. We're there to develop their leadership and management skills as well.
    With a more seasoned employee, it doesn't have to be a veteran from the military; it can be a veteran from a police service agency, or someone who was in the banking world or some other walk of life.
    I would just add one other thing. We are Canadian General Standards Board compliant in our courses, and we also monitor and audit our training using ISO 9001:2008, so there's a cost associated with those two elements as well in training our people for the workforce.


    Thank you.
    Are there any roadblocks? You're talking about moving into that sort of non-core policing business, and I know you're undertaking that in certain areas. Are there any barriers that are sort of stopping you from really exploding onto that market with policing? If so, are they legislative? Are they cost issues? Is it just a matter of breaking down some of the barriers with police services that may not want to transition over to that change?
    If there are barriers, do you have any recommendations for the committee that we could be involved in to help transition these things or to make it easier to deploy some of the more economical strategies and overcome some of the barriers that you might be able to articulate for us?
    There are a few barriers. I can think of probably two major ones.
    One is the image that private security has projected in the past. Keep in mind that up until recently our industry was not regulated in all quarters of the country. If it was, it was not really enforced very well. We have made a lot of headway. When I say “we”, the provinces have made a lot of headway. It's not as comprehensive as I and the corps would like yet. There's not enough enforcement. The industry has certainly started to shake things up and it is now producing a much better guard out there. The image we have projected is one that we are addressing as well to demonstrate to police service agencies and police service boards that we have changed and we have evolved.
    Another barrier—I'll be very honest with you—is that certainly police associations certainly will see us as a threat, because instead of thinking of us as a complement to the police service agencies, they see us as taking jobs away from them. This is not the intention at all of private security. We are not police officers. We will never be police officers, but we certainly can help ease the work burden—never mind the financial burden—that police agencies are under. If we can do that, they may be better able to redistribute some of their officers, some of their workforce, in areas where they don't have enough. I'm thinking about cybercrime and organized crime. Police agencies would love to have more resources. If we do a bunch of less-demanding jobs for them, they will be able to refocus.
    So there are two major barriers, but change is always a threat, of course, in any organization.
    Thank you very much.
    We'll go to Mr. Scarpaleggia, please.
    Thank you, Captain Guindon and Colonel Briscoe.
    Just to carry on with Mr. Leef's line of questioning, there are areas where you feel you could relieve the municipal police forces of certain duties and, therefore, free up their resources to do other things like investigating cybercrime and so on. Maybe you've mentioned this already, but could you just name some specific tasks for which you feel this could be done? I imagine there are many, because at one point I think you said that commissionaires do 60 separate functions across Canada, so I'm wondering what some of those areas would be in which you could step in for the local police.
    Also, I'm just curious. You said that if a veteran comes to you and wants to be a commissionaire, it's almost certain there will be room for them. Did I misunderstand that?


    No, you didn't. As long as they can be employed and they meet our criteria of a clean criminal background and a few other things, yes.
    That's wonderful, because I've known some veterans who are quite young and who, for various reasons, are having trouble getting gainful employment. I think you provide an extremely important service by allowing veterans who may be at loose ends to find steady, gainful employment that then allows them to build up a record of employment and that may allow them to pursue other career avenues as well. I think that's wonderful.
    As you know, in many communities, we see that in addition to the police they have private security companies that operate cars and may respond to alarms that go off, sometimes accidentally, in people's homes during the day and so on. Are the Commissionaires involved in that kind of service as well? Do you provide security patrols for certain communities in Canada?
    We do provide mobile security patrols and mobile alarm responses, mostly to our clients, but we also have a Homewatch program. We do some of that, but we're not big in that sector. There are a few companies who are very, very big.
    Yes, we do that. Here in Ottawa, you may have seen our cars on the road. We respond to about 1,500 alarms a month, and we have a bunch of mobile patrols. In fact, we're just starting to patrol all the bridges from here to Gatineau. It's the same thing in Pembroke.
     So yes, we do all kinds of weird things, but to go back to your original statement, you asked us for a few examples of what we could do. The list is exhaustive, but I'll give you what I think is a prime example: crime scene security. When there's a crime at a house or building, in order for the investigation to take place, the area has to be secure. There's the yellow tape that you see across the premises, but there's also a watch that has to be there to make sure that anybody who's not allowed to enter the facility or the premises doesn't cross the line.
     Well, number one, I'm not sure that having up to three or four very well-trained police officers and three or four police cars watching and making sure that nobody crosses that line is a police duty, which police officers don't really like to do—and they've told me that—and, number two, you pay premium dollars for that officer to be there.
     This fits perfectly with private security. That's what we do. That's one of our core expertise. That is an example.
    Yes, at the end of our testimony, there's a list of things that we do across the country, but it's spotty, of course. It's not huge. We want to expand it.
    Have you approached a municipal or any police force suggesting that you could do crime scene security or monitoring?
    We have, but now we're putting in a program such that we will coordinate our approach nationally as well as locally. We've realized that we can do a lot more for our veterans by going into this line of business and also do a lot more for police agencies to provide better security of our people as well.


    What has the response been from police forces to your idea that you could provide security at crime scenes? Have you had any reaction yet?
    In some quarters it's positive and they're open to discussing it. In some quarters, which I know very well, it has taken two to three years to get the dialogue going. In other parts, it's a sheer necessity, and they're saying that they can no longer do this and are asking what we could do. So yes, it is improving, but we have a lot of work to do.
    Excellent. Thank you.
    That's fine.
    All right.
    We'll now move to Madame Michaud.


    I'd like to thank our witnesses for joining us today. I, too, want to commend them for their efforts, that is, offering our young and not so young veterans opportunities once they've finished their service.
    We're seeing younger and younger veterans coming back from places like Afghanistan suffering from what can be serious problems as a result of traumatic experiences. You give them an opportunity to work. Within your organization, though, do those individuals who are dealing with difficult circumstances—post-traumatic stress syndrome comes to mind—receive any support?
    Thank you.
    That's a great question. I wasn't sure how I would be able to raise that point. So thank you for asking about it.
    For the past four years, we've been supporting certain government programs. Fours years ago, we signed an agreement in principle with the Department of National Defence in order to formalize an approach that was already being used. Allow me to explain.
    As you know, post-traumatic stress syndrome doesn't affect just soldiers who fought in Afghanistan. And it affects more than just an individual's mental health. It takes a physical toll as well.
    We have one program where the Department of National Defence sends us members of the military who are still part of the forces. They come to us to re-adapt to the work environment. Some are transitioning, meaning they plan to move to the civilian world. Others come to us for a certain period of time, after which they resume military life. That's one of the three or four programs we offer.
    Support is offered to those veterans.
    That's good to hear.
    Is it accessed enough? Unfortunately, we don't believe so. We wish more people would access that support.
    I agree entirely.
    On the subject of gender representation in the corps of commissionaires, could you give me an idea as to the percentage of women you have in your workforce? I'd also like to know whether you are doing anything to actively recruit more women.
    As one of the government's major suppliers, we are required to participate in the employment equity program. And we've been part of that for about three years now. It's fairly recent, so we do have programs. Right now, the percentage is 27%.
    To the question about active recruiting, it is indeed something we do, and it comes under the employment equity program. Our recruiting program is consistent with the government's policies. We are an employer and, as I mentioned earlier, our employees span five generations, both men and women. It makes no difference to us.
    In our workforce, at the office, the percentage of female managers is about 55%.
    Our director of human resources just hired someone in the distance education section, and yesterday I said to her, “Pat, you hired another woman”.
    So in our office, the women in our workforce make up about 55% of our managers.
    Very well.
    That's in management, but what are the percentages for the other parts of your organization? What about security guards, for example?


    It's 27%.
    Would you be able to send us in writing the breakdown of the percentage of women in your organization by position? I'm curious to see those numbers.
    You cited a number of examples in administration, but I'd like to know what the numbers are in the field.
    It's 27% and that's across all positions.
    In Petawawa, for example, we have a woman who is in charge of 135 commissionaires, men and women. And most of our people there are men because a lot of them are veterans. So in that case, the ratio of women is a bit lower.
    We'll see what we can do. We provide that information to the human resources people as part of the employment equity program. Perhaps we could use those figures.


    Thank you very much.
    Our time, unfortunately, is up. We do appreciate your appearing before our committee today. I think you've given us some good ideas as to what you do and maybe how some of those responsibilities can be enlarged. We do thank you for appearing here, and we encourage you to keep up the good work that you do.
    Folks, we are going to adjourn. We will see you Thursday. There will be an agenda out once we understand exactly who all will be able to appear on Thursday for the new study that we're doing.
    The meeting is adjourned.
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