ICoCA Certified Member since March 2022
Origins and Mandate: Veterans serving Veterans
The Canadian Corps of Commissionaires (Commissionaires Canada) is the largest provider of security in Canada. It is a social enterprise with a mandate to provide meaningful employment for veterans of the Canadian Armed Forces, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), their families, and others who wish to contribute to the security and well-being of Canadians. Commissionaires Canada was founded in 1925 to ensure that veterans returning from the European battlefields had work if they needed it – a role Commissionaires has been committed to ever since.
“The core military values of dedication, responsibility and a sense of mission are important to us and fundamental to our success as a business”, said Geoff Hamilton, Chair of the Commissionaires National Business Management Committee and CEO of the Great Lakes Division. “We have always understood the value, skills, and experience of veterans, particularly as it relates to providing security services for clients with unique needs.”
Senior managers at Commissionaires are overwhelmingly veterans of the Canadian Armed Forces, RCMP and police services. Governance oversight is provided by all-volunteer boards at the local and national levels. The members are predominantly distinguished veterans, but also include prominent business, accounting, legal and social leaders to ensure operations run as an effective and efficient modern business.
Responsible Operations in the Modern Era
Today Commissionaires employs around 22,000 people across Canada. Together they protect people, property, businesses, and information in over 1,200 communities. While much of their work entails traditional security guarding, the spectrum of services ranges from threat risk assessment to computerised monitoring and surveillance, security control centre operations to outsourced police services such as security details and by-law enforcement. Moreover, Commissionaires is a prominent player in related offerings like cybersecurity, security training and identification services including background checks, digital fingerprinting, and pardon applications.
“We see our environmental, social and governance commitments as a corporate responsibility that factors into everything we do”, said Mr. Hamilton. “The professionalisation and standardisation of the security industry is important to us. We strive to deliver services with practices that meet the highest global standards.”
Commissionaires holds internationally recognised certifications in ISO 9001:2015 (Quality Management), ISO 14001:2015 (Environmental Management), ISO 18788:2015 and ANSI PSC.1 (Security Operations Management).
In support of its social mandate, Commissionaires is committed to building institutional capacity to support an equitable, diverse, and inclusive organisational culture. Mr. Hamilton stated, “We make best use of the talent resident in Canada’s veteran population and Canadian society at large by incorporating equity, diversity and inclusion into our hiring practices, work practices and culture. This commitment is not a short-term project, but an ongoing journey demanding serious and consistent effort.”
As a not-for-profit entity, Commissionaires has no shareholders and is not focused on profits, rather it is fully committed to serving its people. Around 90% of revenue goes back to employees in the form of wages and benefits. A major portion of any surplus is dedicated to veterans causes.
The value of ICoCA and the Challenges of an Ever-evolving Industry
Commissionaires joined ICoCA in March 2022. “We are proud to support ICoCA’s mission to raise private security industry standards and practices that respect human rights and international humanitarian law. Significant challenges arise when operating a responsible security company across the globe, and Canada is not immune”, added Mr. Hamilton.
The company felt that it was important to belong to an organisation like ICoCA that insists on high standards and good practices. As a strong actor in their market, Commissionaires believes that they have an obligation to set the bar for other industry participants; and ICoCA certification shows that they place a premium on scrupulous compliance and don’t cut corners.
An Upcoming Centennial: Looking Forward, Together
As Commissionaires approaches its 100th anniversary in 2025, it will continue to diversify, expand, and innovate, developing partnerships with organisations like ICoCA that help fulfill its social mandate while maintaining the highest operational standards.
Reflecting on the future of Commissionaires, Mr. Hamilton said, “Commissionaires has always been very strong in the institutional sector, serving governments at all levels in Canada. We’re looking at opportunities to pursue our mandate to provide employment for veterans by addressing security needs outside of Canada, which is again why ICoCA appeals to our organisation.”
Learn more about Commissionaires by visiting their website.