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Will the third time be the charm?

Image CANASA is once again seeking to achieve self-regulation for its members in Ontario. It’s going to take considerable lobbying of government, police associations across the province and most importantly, its members. The question is, are they ready for the scrutiny and public exposure that comes with self-regulation?


March 13, 2008
By Jennifer Brown

The core reason for going after self-regulation at this juncture is to
combat the wave of bylaws popping up across Ontario as police agencies
get fed up with responding to false alarms. Most recently, it was the
Durham Region Alarm Management Program which took effect Jan. 1 of this
year — an amendment that will stick a $125 fine to central monitoring
stations if police are dispatched to a false alarm that cannot be
verified. The monitoring station is also required to carry a set amount
of liability insurance. Rightfully so, CANASA fears other police
agencies will follow if it is deemed successful.

Typically, it is a major event that prompts a review of an industry,
and just as the Shand inquest recommendations prompted an overhaul of
the Private Security and Investigative Services Act in Ontario,
concerns by some in the electronic security industry about police
action on false alarms are pushing CANASA to once again go down the
path of self-regulation.

Let’s hope that it’s not only those directly affected by false alarm
bylaws who show interest in the push to self-regulation. Support must
come from the large companies in this space — CANASA’s major business
and member partners, especially as they face an administrative
nightmare if separate false alarm bylaws with different requirements
sprout up across the province. The government needs to know the
industry has support behind it. Some members of CANASA have other
issues they would like pursued under self-regulation, but it is clear
the primary focus is to gain control on the false alarm issue before
they are regulated in a “patchwork” way, as CANASA’s executive
director, Ken Mitchell says.

The association is going to have to present a picture of a group of
professionals interested in improving safety for the public — as was
the issue for Bill 159 following the Shand inquest — and they will have
to try and step aside from the issues of running their businesses and
position themselves as industry leaders who speak for the people of
Ontario.

“Do you accept the responsibility that once you are self-regulated you
are now custodians of the public’s rights with respect to your industry
as it applies to protection of the public?” Mitchell asked at a recent
meeting. “Will you be happy seeing the public walking in the door and
holding you accountable, because accountability and protection of the
public are core aspects of self-regulation.”

Broad industry support will be the critical factor in CANASA’s success
in making self-regulation happen. The electronic security industry must
stand up and show their support for this action or risk losing out to
stronger voices. Just ask those who were present at consultations for
Bill 159 with the province and the police associations. The police
associations managed to exert considerable influence. Don’t think they
won’t try to do the same with the security contractor portion of the
industry.

An industry struggling to be recognized as having raised the bar for
the public may want to consider administering a disciplinary review
committee. Some self-regulated professions also have a compensation
fund for unscrupulous individuals who provide services that result in
clients who become victimized. Will self-regulation go that far for the
electronic security industry?