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Commissionaires

The_Falcon

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Brihard said:
I came within a hairsbreadth of becoming a commissionaire, to the point of completing their eight or nine day training course. Fortunately my unit was able to land me gainful employment while I waited for my Ontario security Guard license to show up in the mail. So much the better; my photo on my license makes me look fat. Anyway, when talking with one of the hiring guys, he said that they're sitting about 30% CF/RCMP vets these days. My interview was basically a formality- when I walked in and handed them a resume that said 'CF' I was for all intents and purposes hired. Luck, as it would have it, saw me land a Cl B as ops/training NCO at my unit instead.

Pretty much same thing with me, only I did end up working for like 4 weeks at the Keele Street Half-Way house, before I landed Class B at CFRC.
 

dapaterson

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Brihard said:
So much the better; my photo on my license makes me look fat.

You make career choices based on whether or not your photo makes you look fat?

>:D
 

mariomike

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Hatchet Man said:
Pretty much same thing with me, only I did end up working for like 4 weeks at the Keele Street Half-Way house, before I landed Class B at CFRC.

Pride of the Junction for 30 years ( if it's still there? ). Now that the area has gone from dry to wet, I wonder if they will close it?
 

Davionn

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mariomike said:
Pride of the Junction for 30 years ( if it's still there? ). Now that the area has gone from dry to wet, I wonder if they will close it?

Oh, it's still there!  No sign of it closing, either (despite the wet status of the area).
:nod:
 

McG

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I am not sure younger vets would be particularly interested in greater access to being a commissionaire.  Guys getting out young seem to do so either jaded or with specific aspirations on civi street.  I could see maybe as a second career for medical releases, but that does not seem to be the focus of discussion.

Feds ask whether commissionaire jobs should go to low-income vets
Bureaucrats review whether Corps of Commissionaires program should be revised to help poorer vets

Dean Beeby
CBC News
18 Dec 2014

The security guards known as commissionaires, usually Canadian Forces veterans, who protect the lobbies of federal buildings are better paid than other guards in the private sector – but those good wages may not be going to the right people.

That’s one of the conclusions from an internal study that suggests the commissionaires program could be revised to ensure younger, lower-income veterans get first crack at the jobs.

The finding is part of a recent review by Ottawa of its contracts with the commissionaires, a non-profit group founded in 1925, and favoured by the federal government since 1945 to help discharged soldiers find employment as they transition to Civvy Street.

Ottawa spends more than $200 million annually for guard services from the Corps of Commissionaires, which currently employs about 8,000 veterans.

The government’s current standing offer expires by 2016, and the Treasury Board Secretariat – the agency responsible – examined whether it’s getting good value for taxpayers’ money.

The evaluation, finished in August and recently made public, estimates the Corps of Commissionaires charges about six per cent more than private-sector competitors for the same work, with most of that extra cash going to boost the wages and benefits of the guards.

The review found that most federal departments are happy with the arrangement, and that the program does not seem to be hurting the private sector.

But the authors noted that most of the veterans benefiting from the program are older and better off, suggesting the work could be spread to where it’s needed most, that is, to younger, poorer vets.

“Low income was found to be more prevalent among veterans released at young ages, yet the majority of veterans who obtained employment with the Corps as security guards were former non-commissioned officers over the age of 50,” says the report.

“Privacy limitations prevented the evaluators from examining why low-income veterans were not employed in higher numbers with the Corps.”

The report recommends that the government consider transferring the program to a department other than Treasury Board “to ensure that employment support for veterans is managed within the broader context of federal support to veterans.”

The authors do not indicate which department might provide a better home, but the obvious candidates are Veterans Affairs or Employment and Social Development Canada, both of which have social-service mandates.

A spokeswoman said the Treasury Board agrees with the recommendation.

“We are in the preliminary stages of consulting with other government stakeholders on the options,” Fiona MacLeod said in an email. “We are targeting to complete the consultation by March 2015.”

A spokesman for the Corps of Commissionaires said the organization is not convinced any transfer is needed.

“The policy is obviously working well,” John Dewar, chair of the national business management committee, said from Victoria.

“Why change it? … It’s clearly delivering what it was intended to do. … We see no really compelling reason to fix it.”

Dewar challenged the claim that the corps provides jobs to primarily higher-income vets, noting that 70 per cent of all veterans have no pensions.

Since 2006, federal policy has required the Corps of Commissionaires to give a minimum of 60 per cent of contracted work hours to veterans, which as of that year also includes ex-RCMP officers honourably discharged.

The organization needs some flexibility to hire non-vets because there can be shortages of bilingual guards in locations such as Ottawa or Montreal, and shortages for staffing federal buildings in locations where few vets live.

The corps says it hires about 1,000 veterans a year, full- and part-time, and currently employs about 20,000 people altogether, 42 per cent of them veterans.

A 2011 study showed that veterans experience a 10 per cent drop in income, on average, in the three years after their release from the military, though the drop is triple that among women and medically discharged personnel.

“A unique issue that veterans continue to face is the lack of recognition of the CAF [Canadian Armed Forces] work experience by potential employers,” said the Treasury Board evaluation.
http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/feds-ask-whether-commissionaire-jobs-should-go-to-low-income-vets-1.2878185
 

Stoker

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Might be a option for some.  I'm not sure how the older commissionaires are going to take this if it happens, the Corps is very cliquish and I would love to see a younger generation of veterans guarding our bases.
 

stokerwes

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I think its mostly older vets is because with their pension and the salary of the corps they can get by.
A younger vet with no pension could not live on the pay from the corps alone.
 
J

jollyjacktar

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Might be a option for some.  I'm not sure how the older commissionaires are going to take this if it happens, the Corps is very cliquish and I would love to see a younger generation of veterans guarding our bases.
Where to begin...  I do work with them on the side and have for the past 5 years.  I was initially badgered at my long term plans and would I be leaving the CF anytime soon to go with them full time.  There are many issues with the Corps that make them not as attractive as they could be.  They're just another security company out there amongst many, the pay is not necessarily any better than the others and in quite a few cases are well below the competition.  They don't have benefits.  No pension plan.  Like any other security company there's no real job security as your contracts are at the whim of the clients.  DND, at least here locally have laid off many of their CNS staff to meet with the new budget realities of the past few years.  There is no way in hades that I'd consider leaving the CF to go with them full time unless I had no other option.  They don't leave me with that comfort factor that I would want with a long term employer.  There are younger people who are with them in the various sites and they don't have any problems in being accepted by the pack, age is not an issue, nor is a lack of military background as this also has changed greatly over the passing years as well.
 

Stoker

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jollyjacktar said:
Where to begin...  I do work with them on the side and have for the past 5 years.  I was initially badgered at my long term plans and would I be leaving the CF anytime soon to go with them full time.  There are many issues with the Corps that make them not as attractive as they could be.  They're just another security company out there amongst many, the pay is not necessarily any better than the others and in quite a few cases are well below the competition.  They don't have benefits.  No pension plan.  Like any other security company there's no real job security as your contracts are at the whim of the clients.  DND, at least here locally have laid off many of their CNS staff to meet with the new budget realities of the past few years.  There is no way in hades that I'd consider leaving the CF to go with them full time unless I had no other option.  They don't leave me with that comfort factor that I would want with a long term employer.  There are younger people who are with them in the various sites and they don't have any problems in being accepted by the pack, age is not an issue, nor is a lack of military background as this also has changed greatly over the passing years as well.

That's good info to know. I'm glad you have had a positive experience working there. Personally I have had many problems with the staff at the gates, the parking office or the ID section over the years. I think we were lucky that something serious didn't happen with the slack attitude some of the commissionaires display at times. Perhaps bringing in some younger blood with a military background would be a positive thing over time.
 

Tibbson

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I had a long chat with one of the provincial personnel managers for the Corps last year and I learned that the Corps is trying to rebrand itself (my word for it, not his) in order to survive.  Apparently the "protections" they enjoy by being the security service of choice for DND is set to be reevaluated in a couple of years and the Corps itself expects the contracting process to be blown wide open for bids from other companies.  They anticipate they will still retain many positions in and around DND but I was also told that we can expect Brinks, Paladin, Group 4 and other security firms working our gates, front desks and other security positions by virtue of putting in cheaper bids for the contract positions.  As a result the Corps is looking to diversify into corporate security, disaster planning, transportation security....and other fields in order to remain competitive.  Add that to the elimination years ago of the prior military service requirements (the Cmre working my front desk right now is from Zaire and has never served a day in uniform in his life).  I wish them luck but none of what I heard made them an attractive option for future employment.
 

McG

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If Comissionaires are to be the government security provider of choice and a Veterans' second career support mechanism, would a crown corporation not make more sense than a private corporation (even if it is not for profit)?
 

Tibbson

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MCG said:
If Comissionaires are to be the government security provider of choice and a Veterans' second career support mechanism, would a crown corporation not make more sense than a private corporation (even if it is not for profit)?

They may be the security provider of choice now but the point I was making is that its expected to change.  Private security companies have complained for years about how they were shut out of government contracts for security within DND and while the Commissionaires have been protected in the past I'd expect that to change based upon what I heard. 

Some have said that the Cmres will still retain the bulk of the contracts because of the need, in some cases, for Cmre to have security clearances but I don't see that being much of a stumbling block.  Cmre's who want to keep working will just quit and get hired on with the new company.  They'll take their security clearances with them and the remainder of the staff will get theirs through the system. 
 

McG

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Security clearances don't follow when one releases.  Unless something has changed recently, even going CF to PS requires the security clearance be redone.  I cannot see this as an advantage for Commisionaires. 

In any case, I was not attempting to provide a counter point to your post.  Rather, I note government desire to impose increased use of veterans on a private company to meet a government obligation to support transition.  If the government's goal is to use infrastructure security as a means to enable veteran transition, then does a crown corporation not make more sense?
 

Brasidas

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It's a place for marking time, be it as a broken ex-cpl or a retiree cushioning their income. Why would I stay there beyond the short-term? To pursue my dream of becoming a photo radar operator?

Long hours, less-than-awesome pay, and a variable schedule. No real prospects in the long term. Some posts work for students, with few responsibilities between patrols besides consciousness, but they're working to do something else, not advance in the Corps.

I'm fine with their preferred status, but it has little attraction to me and my friends as a place to stay.
 

George Wallace

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Schindler's Lift said:
........  Cmre's who want to keep working will just quit and get hired on with the new company.  They'll take their security clearances with them and the remainder of the staff will get theirs through the system.

That is a questionable statement, especially when one takes a look at the ages of most Cmre's.  I highly doubt that other Security Companies will look at hiring people who in some cases may be over CRA in some sectors. 
 

Alberta Bound

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I think that in 1925 forming the Commissionaires as a way to provide permanent or temporary employment for veterans was quite a forward looking idea. In the days before many other social safety nets, some people felt it important to give veterans some opportunities.  I agree. Today we are struggling to find other appropriate programs to do the same thing for a newer generation of veterans. Many seemingly not as successful as we would hope.

Now the C of C has not evolved as much as it could have in the last 90 years. Therefore the types of opportunities they offer don't necessarily meet what today's veteran is looking for. Most CF or RCMP members I know that are looking for post service careers (not just retirement employment or a flexible job during schooling) are not looking for what the C of C is offering. Most want secure, well paying careers that interest them.

Having said that. The C of C is providing employment for some ex members of the CF and RCMP. Would it be nice if that service could be expanded in such a fashion that more ex CF members have opportunities that interest them. Sure. Not sure how the Govt could do that. Don't have much hope they can.

Now the Govt of Canada is never going to transition the duties the C of C or many other contractors into real PS positions. That would tie them to higher pay, benefits, dramatically less flexibility, longer hiring timelines, and many other issues that they avoid by contracting out.

Well there is my two cents.



 

The_Falcon

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MCG said:
Security clearances don't follow when one releases.  Unless something has changed recently, even going CF to PS requires the security clearance be redone.  I cannot see this as an advantage for Commisionaires. 

Actually that's not entirely correct, there is a CANFORGEN (between 07-11 somewhere in that range), that discusses how one can take their CAF security clearance with them upon release.
 

TCM621

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Ex-Dragoon said:
It looked more professional back when we had the Force Protection teams on the gates for the Dockyard.
No it did not. They couldn't hold a rifle properly half the time. I lost count of the times I walk past some one with their rifle just flopping around on their patrol sling.

However,  I get your point.  We should a armed military member at the gates of places like the Dockyard or the aerodromes at airports bases. Just give them a (loaded!) browning in a holster not a C7. Even the most dedicated troop fees lazy if he is standing around all day carrying a rifle and it gets in the way. If they really felt a C7 is needed, then keep it in a rack in the guard shack.

Commissionaires do a fine job for a lot of the other things they do but having a man to old to be in the military guarding a military base is just wrong. As for things like deportment and professionalism , I know one of the guys who runs the Commissionaires (he is a family friend) and they are working to address it.  However they are a huge organization with a bureaucracy to match. Most of us just ***** about it but if their is a real problem make sure it gets documented.


Edit: just realized I answered a 3 year old post. Oops. Oh well, points still stand.
 
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