This company once did have a prestige attached to it, lately with them moving more into the commercial section the quality of guards has declined a bit. Working here, like with any security company you will find a mix of good and bad.
Good: Lots of opportunities for work in government settings, often coming with intense clearances that are nice for police applications. If you're a police applicant you can work at sites that allow you to make great connections and learn great tips and tricks from law enforcement professionals. The uniforms aint half bad, you're provided everything except footwear. The company isn't picky about overtime, if you go into overtime you'll get it no problem.
Bad: There has been a big shift in management and structure, and it hasn't seemed to settle, because many people keep changing job titles and positions within upper management. Which means often times you don't know who to contact. There HR team seem to shift a lot, new people get hired and leave, they can't seem to get their bearings quick enough to satisfy the front line guards. Communication between upper management and front line staff is terrible, emails and phone calls often go ignored or unanswered, information is not shared quickly between everyone. Applying for jobs or site transfers is also slow. If you're not working a centralized busy site, getting new uniform items is also a slow process. Getting new equipment for certain sites is also a challenge because of individual budge
ProsVariety of Work Locations, Great Connections, Good Uniforms, OT Approval.
ConsBad Communication between Management and Front line Staff, Slow processes, Flaw software and internet systems
17-year member review of The Northern Alberta Commissionaires
Okay, you want the REAL scoop of what it's like working for the Commissionaires? I've been employed with them full-time since 2003...here is my review...
Fact: The Commissionaires pay more on average than any other security company in Edmonton. When they bid on contracts against other companies the Corps will always over-bid and never under-bid to get a contract, which means more $$$ in the pocket of the security officer. The CEO is top-notch and has always had an "open-door" policy...if you're grieved about something and you just need to vent or ask questions, the CEO will always welcome you into his office and listen to your concerns. The members working in Dispatch are mostly well-mannered and understanding of your needs and will do everything they can to ensure you have a site to work at. Sadly the company does not offer a pension plan nor sick days and their benefit package from Manulife is only average. Yes, you will have to pay for your initial uniform (about $150) upon hiring but they will deduct that amount from your pay-cheque so you won't need to pay it up front when you start and any time you need to exchange clothing or apparel it is done free of charge. First-Aid training is provided and takes only one day. The industrial sites (which they have plenty of contracts with) usually pay more than regular sites but the regular sites pay more on average than any other security company. The contract managers are mostly very co-operative and helpful but there
ProsGreat people, great co-workers, open access to the CEO, above-average salary
ConsOne contract manager is a total jerk but the others are great
I do not recommend this organization to anyone other than ex-military or ex-police force, you will be over looked for advancement every time. Rule of thumb to remember is that general rules do no apply to management and as far as your opinion goes, if they wanted it they would tell you what it is.
Typical shift runs 12 hours that alternate between mornings and graveyard every two or so days. Your days off are often not your own and you will be constantly harassed to pick up the slack for incompetent management who won't bother to schedule despite it being their job to do so. Should you decide on assisting them on your time off pay close attention to your pay, it's not uncommon to get short changed what you're owed. As far as the job itself is concerned if there's any dispute any whatsoever, even if you were right in doing your job, being verbally or physically abused by the public or the contract holder don't expect management to have your back or won't stand up for you. In fact they generally have no qualms about throwing you under the bus to save themselves or the contract. The only time you will ever see anything swing your way is if management see a possible lawsuit in your favor and will do anything to placate the situation to avoid it; these matters are usually handled by the B.O.M. and not regular management.
The organization is filled with liars and backstabbers. Management will lie to keep you in a position, they will lie to get you out of your position. A lot
Unless you are someone who is retired and looking for some work to do on your off time or a student who can handle the rotations and constantly changing work place I would suggest you stay away from this company.
Advancement isn't based on your effort but rather if people "like" you enough.
Never go against what any of your higher ranked officers say whether you know it's wrong or not, it's not worth the trouble and backlash against your profile.
Don't complain about breaks, this is "supposed" to be a military run environment (aka: no breaks) despite it being run much worse then actual military.
Typical day: Having a post included sitting there for hours on end waiting for something to happen while being hit on by creepy people within post and holding my tongue. Not having a post included sitting at home wondering why they only ever call you to go in when it's an hour before the time you have to go in and constantly having this feeling of guilt tripping when you know there's thousands of guards available. (Highest turnover rate within a security company should tell you something about it wouldn't you think?)
What I learned: If you're not french you will never get anywhere. If you're an older guard you can do whatever you want, if you're a younger guard you at most can maybe breathe and possibly, talk at the same time.
Management: Highest turn over rate? Ah yes that isn't just for guards but management as well. Strange huh........almost like.....the company do
I would tell anyone with a security license to apply, hands down !
I work in an LRT station that although smaller than most, can be busier with the amount of traffic we experience.
Everyday is different! We meet and befriend regular commuters, as well as people stopping by to rest, warm up or just plan out how their day is going to be.
I've learned not to assume anything! That even though we encounter difficult people/situations, there are reasons behind their actions.
I am lucky that I have a full and supportive team in our head office. From our amazing supervisors, Operations, my contract manager, OHS, human resources, right to the big boss himself... there are many people who actually take your calls, will make the time to check on you, your site and they add a bit of humor when needed. The support given has to be experienced to believe.
I love the diversity this organization is known to encourage and cultivate. Since working with Commissionaires, I have met some great people who I would not have necessarily worked with in my previous career. Just thinking of all the fun, smart, cultured and diverse people I am lucky to work with, kind of makes getting up at 4am worth it (most days).
The hardest part of my position... *if you want honesty, - knowing that one day soon, there will be an individual that we will not be able to resuscitate, despite our best, trained efforts.
This organization does everything to prepare you for all the 'what if's scenarios'. But, they cannot train you for some of the realities, -that is learnt and experienced
ProsSnazzy uniform, ongoing training as it comes up, proven organization.
ConsAs with any organization, the usual challenges found navigating a new career or unexpected changes.
just another security job hiding under the guise of supposed professionalism
Lack of written protocols and failure to follow the few there are. Inconsistencies in site training. So many verbal orders varying the written protocols that there might as well not be any procedures. Sometimes a great team member to work with, other times not so much. Constant conflict in instruction, changing daily often.
Favouritism rampant. Management will not support staff but always the client. Not allowed to take any instruction from clients.
Usually slightly higher wages than most in industry but no difference from any other company in the industry.
Corporation not able to maintain contracts. Pays little or no attention to employee input and concerns about site issues, which could often times help to preserve the contract.
An environment of management often failing to do an adequate, timely or complete job leaving regular employees scrambling and of necessity having to make decisions they should not be put in a position to have to make.
Corporation always riding a fine line with respect labour legislation and OHS. Employee needs to have an excellent understanding of both in order to protect themselves and other employees.
Accessibility to contracts is often limited to employees with access to a vehicle due to lack of suitable public transportation. Pay rate isn't adequate to support vehicle ownership. Parking rates will often exceed first two hours net pay for many sites.
Pay scale only suited to individuals as a supplementary income. Inadequate
Prospeople, lots of times off if needed
Consno benefits, lack of management support, shift work, CYA at all times
Typical contract security company, with fast-paced and dynamic environment and unique opportunities.
I work in a unique environment for a local municipal police service, as a detention custodian in a police lockup facility.
Shifts are 12-hours in length and offers a rotating schedule of days and nights - 5-on, 5-off; 5-on, 4-off; 4-on, 5-off. Pay is $24.18 per hour, but does not offer any night or weekend premiums; 4% payment in lieu of vacation; and benefits provided.
The environment is fast-paced and challenging, requiring that persons are comfortable being close to persons accused of potentially heinous criminal offences, dealing with difficult people that are vulgar, angry, and violent. Must be able to communicate effectively and should have experience or understand dealing with mentally ill persons. The environment provides exposure to difficult sights, offensive odors, and sounds such as: drug use and the symptoms of drug withdrawal, fecal matter, urine, blood, and other bodily fluids.
The environment requires the ability to multitask, monitor CCTV cameras periodically throughout the shift to ensure detainee welfare, operate police radios, and the physical ability to walk upwards of five kilometres and stand for prolonged periods of time. Heavy lifting is often required to move detainee's personal property and supplies used for staff throughout the facility.
Other staff members are often wonderful to work with, coming from a very diverse variety of experiences and backgrounds.
ProsWide variety of work on federal, provincial, and municipal government contracts that offer better pay and engaging work.
ConsCommunication between frontline staff and management, lack of staffing for vacation and sick leave, poor hiring and candidate screening for safety sensitive positions, no night/weekend/holiday pay premiums, repeated harassment from schedulers
My initial interview at the commissionaires office was about on par for a security company with a less than stellar rating. The HR person was visibly stressed during the interview and looked at me annoyingly like I was taking up their precious time. (hint hint) you are a HR desk jockey, its your job to interview perspective new employees. Be prepared to be lied to during the interview, i was promised a work site with a guarenteed 40 hour work week, I was told i would have terrific benefits for me and my family, I was told i would be supplied with a brand new uniform, I thought not bad so far, at the end of the interview the HR person said to me if you ever receive any gifts from an employer at any site we assign you to, you are to immediately call the office and turn it over to us, we will donate it to charity in your name.(being october and christmas coming up, every little bit helps). At the end of the interview, i was told i would get a phone call in a day or so with a site and a date to come back in for a uniform fitting.I went home and read the benefits pamphlet, horrible coverage and seriously over priced. 2 days later, i got the call, i came back to the office and was given a uniform that was clearly used, stained and looked like something from the 70's,(mostly polyester) the site i was given was 40 hours per week, but it was in a very rough area of town with less than stellar clientele. (1 out of three, not good) I stuck it out til the end of december and decided, t
Everything about this company is a joke. A bunch of smoke and mirrors. They claim to have industry leading wages which is a lie. You'll make $16 an hour and you'll be stuck there. Every year you'll receive a 30 cent raise. Just a slap in the face. Other companies such as GardaWorld and G4S pay more and have incentives for former commissionaires.
It almost makes having a security guard license useless because they pay you so little anyway. Better off working at a grocery store because the clerks are making more than commissionaires at this time.
In regards to the new PANDEMIC PAY for essential workers/frontline workers, forget about it. They always find a way around everything in order to put more money in their own pockets. All we ever get is a meaningless "thank you for your service" but really no appreciation.
Competitions are won by whoever they like and are most often internal with a candidate already in mind.
The CEO claims that 95% of the revenues generated are returned to its employees. Blatant lie, but then again probably returned to the higher ups such as the CEO himself and others.
Not-for-profit organization? That's another lie. You should see what they charge their clients in relation to what they pay their guards.
They'll hire ANYONE, so if you really want to join this "not-for-profit" private security company then you shouldn't worry about the interview, it's a walk in the park. I almost feel embarrassed to say I'm a Commissionaire with t
The location I worked at was a fast paced office environment involving periods of high-stress traffic control as well as producing most of the paper work associated with cargo entering and leaving the plant . The schedule was the killer - 7 afternoons / 2 days off … 6 days / 2 days off … 7 nights / 4 days off ( one day sleeping from last night shift ) Only one weekend off a month And basically no holiday Mondays EVER . Site supervisor though , worked 5 days Mon. to Fri. 8-4 and usually left at least a half hour early everyday except Fridays when he left an hour early . I produced a continental 12 hour schedule and provided it to staff to see if they were interested , as it allowed a 4 day workweek in week 1 and a 2 day workweek in week2 with every 2nd weekend off. All signed the request I put forward to 1st the supervisor , who turned it down because , as he stated , he wasn't working the odd weekend day should another commissionaire become ill and he had to cover . Great team player , huh? I then presented the data to district office HR ( 2 very understanding ladies ) who felt the original schedule was absolutely archaic in this day and age and promised they'd do all in their power to change the schedule ASAP . They gave it the old college try but were overrode by the district old boy's hierarchy club . Kingston Ont. district not a company to work for by any stretch of the imagination . Meanwhile , our site supervisor degraded every employee by discussing every employee'
If you are considering a career in the Commissionaires, either from sheer desperation or lack of skills please consider your options very carefully. This is advice from a Site Supervisor and former member of the Canadian Forces.
A job in security is ironically one of the least secure occupations you could find yourself in. Two successful interviews you will be invited to a 40 hour unpaid training course. After successfully completing the course, then paying another $180 to obtain your CPR, security guard license and another $400-500 for a baggy uniform- you will be informed (correctly) that there is no guarantee of work in the Corps.
(*Expect to lose 10 working days for this process; along with the hundreds for certifications before your first shift.)
If called to work at a site you will be hot-seated into position with little instruction and high expectations for remarkably low wages. Your ill-fitted uniform will likely soon get you written up, pay to have it tailored or purchase one that fits to avoid this. Some sites may require you to have your own transportation, while actually paying less than what it costs to live and maintain a vehicle. Acknowledging this the Corp has an in-house cheque advance loan system in place so you can borrow from the Corp to keep on working for now.
(*While they discourage it, you will require a second job to supplement your income enough to afford operating a car. Try to find something within walking distance to save fuel.)
ProsLearning how to get by on less, Generally 'groceries or gasoline' is the biggest concern, Utilize food banks and assistence to get by.
ConsSecurity experience poisons the well of employment. Avoid it at all possible.
Questions and answers about Commissionaires
Does Commissionaires allow for flexible working hours? Or are the hours set?
Asked Sept 26, 2018
The hours are set and it’s mostly shift work
Answered May 14, 2022
flexible for me.
Answered Sept 21, 2021
How long does it take to get hired from start to finish at Commissionaires? What are the steps along the way?
Asked Apr 13, 2017
A couple days. Very easy interview. If you have a pulse you’re hired.
Answered Mar 20, 2022
Just applied online
Answered Dec 5, 2021
If you were to leave Commissionaires, what would be the reason?
Asked Apr 15, 2018
La non compréhension, le manque de respect.
Answered May 15, 2022
Office management would be the main reason but I have several others
Answered Apr 29, 2022
How do you feel about the future of Commissionaires?
Asked Nov 8, 2018
Very bright future
Answered May 27, 2022
As long and people need a job at there retirement the Commissonaires will be there
Answered Apr 28, 2022
How should you prepare for an interview at Commissionaires?
Asked Apr 13, 2017
I wouldn't bother unless you are over 70 years old and are complacent in duties and are a bully. If you are then you will fit in just fine!