Difference between revisions of "Complaints against Security Guards (5:VI)"

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{{REVIEWED LSLAP | date= June 30, 2021}}
 
{{LSLAP Manual TOC|expanded = complaints}}
 
{{LSLAP Manual TOC|expanded = complaints}}
  
 
== A. Introduction ==
 
== A. Introduction ==
  
Complaints against licensed security guards can be filed with the Registrar of Security Programs Division, Ministry of Justice. Complaints can relate to the licensing of a security business or security employee, about the conduct or behaviour of a security employee, or about the use of equipment. Filing a complaint is free. Complaining against an unlicensed guard should be done directly to the employer. Most security guards in  BC are now required to be licensed under the Security Services Act, SBC 2007, c 30. General information and links can be obtained at http://www.securityandyou.ca. This website is a project of the BC Human Rights Coalition aimed at raising public awareness. 
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Complaints against licensed security guards can be filed with the Registrar of Security Programs Division, Ministry of Justice. Complaints can relate to the licensing of a security business or security employee, about the conduct or behaviour of a security employee, or about the use of equipment. Filing a complaint is free. Complaining against an unlicensed guard should be done directly to the employer. Most security guards in  BC are now required to be licensed under the ''Security Services Act'', SBC 2007, c 30 ''[SSA]''.
  
 
== B. Filing the Complaint ==
 
== B. Filing the Complaint ==
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Complaints must be made in writing within one year of the incident. Complaint forms can be obtained by contacting the Ministry or online.  
 
Complaints must be made in writing within one year of the incident. Complaint forms can be obtained by contacting the Ministry or online.  
  
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'''Ministry of Justice - Policing and Security Branch, Security Programs Division'''
Ministry of Justice Policing and Security Branch, Security Programs Division PO Box 9217 Stn Prov Govt Victoria, BC V8W 9J1 Website: www.pssg.gov.bc.ca/securityindustry Telephone: 1 (855) 587-0185 Fax: (250) 387-4454 Email: sgspdsec@gov.bc.ca
 
  
Once a complaint has been filed, the Registrar will determine whether the matter is within its jurisdiction. If it is, then an investigator will be assigned. The complainant will be notified of the investigation by letter. Complaints can result in a warning notice, a violation ticket, or reconsideration of the officer’s licence status.
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{{ResourcesLSLAP
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| address = PO Box 9217 Stn Prov Govt <br /> Victoria, BC V8W 9J1
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| phone = 1 (855) 587-0185 <br /> Fax: (250) 387-4454
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| online = [https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/employment-business/business/security-services/security-industry-licensing Website] <br /> Email: securitylicensing@gov.bc.ca
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}}
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Once a complaint has been filed, the Registrar will determine whether the matter is within its jurisdiction. If it is, then an investigator will be assigned. The complainant will be notified of the investigation by letter. Complaints can result in a warning notice, a violation ticket, or reconsideration of the officer’s licence status.
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The Registrar may decide not to investigate a complaint if there has been more than one year of time between when the complaints knew about the facts and when the Registrar receives the complaint (''SSA'', s 34(2)(a)). Section 34(2) also enumerates other factors that may lead the Registrar to refuse to investigate a complaint.  
  
 
Like police, licensed and unlicensed security guards can be sued civilly.   
 
Like police, licensed and unlicensed security guards can be sued civilly.   
  
'''NOTE:''' In ''Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users v. British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal'', 2015 BCSC 534, the BC Supreme Court  rendered a decision regarding the Downtown Ambassadors, private security guards hired by the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association to patrol public space. The Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users (VANDU) alleged that the guards discriminated against  individuals who appear to be homeless or addicted to drugs by limiting their access to public space (e.g., sidewalks) on the basis of race, colour, ancestry, and physical and mental disability, contrary to section 8 the BC ''Human Rights Code''. The Court found that the Downtown Ambassadors program had engaged in discriminatory conduct against homeless people. Although homelessness is not a condition protected under the ''Human Rights Code'', race and disability are. VANDU successfully argued that homeless people are disproportionately Aboriginal and disabled, and that these findings were enough to show discrimination. At this time, the Court has sent the case back to the BC Human Rights Tribunal to determine whether the discriminatory conduct can be justified.
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'''NOTE:''' The BC Court of Appeal recently reversed a human rights decision by the BC Supreme Court regarding alleged discriminatory conduct by security guards on the basis of social condition. The Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users (VANDU) filed a complaint to the BC Human Rights Tribunal against the Downtown Ambassadors, a program for private security guards hired by the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association to patrol public spaces, alleging that the Ambassadors had engaged in a discriminatory program intended to remove members of the homeless population from public spaces in Downtown Vancouver. As social condition is not a protected ground under the ''BC Human Rights Code'', VANDU presented statistical information to demonstrate that Indigenous persons and persons with disabilities are disproportionately represented in the homeless population and submitted that the Ambassadors’ actions were therefore discriminatory on the basis of race, colour, ancestry, and physical and mental disability, contrary to section 8 of the ''BC Human Rights Code''.
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'''NOTE:''' In ''[https://www.canlii.org/en/bc/bcca/doc/2018/2018bcca132/2018bcca132.html?resultIndex=1 Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users v. British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal]'', 2018 BCCA 132, rev'g 2016 BCSC 534, the BC Court of Appeal restored the BC Human Rights Tribunal’s initial dismissal of VANDU’s claim, finding that the statistical correlation provided by VANDU was insufficient to establish a causal link between membership in a protected group under the BC Human Rights Code (namely Indigenous persons and persons with disabilities) and the adverse treatment by the Downtown Ambassadors against the homeless population. The Court of Appeal’s decision reversed the previous decision of the BC Supreme Court, which had quashed the Tribunal’s dismissal on the grounds that the Tribunal had used too high a standard in finding a human rights violation, and that the statistical information presented by VANDU was sufficient to show discrimination on the prohibited grounds of race and disability.  
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BC’s Office of the Human Rights Commissioner published a report in May 2020 on adding social condition as an enumerated ground. Please see the report for further information:  https://bchumanrights.ca/publications/social-condition/.  
  
'''NOTE:''' Pivot Legal Society claims this case is an example of why social condition should be included as an enumerated ground. Please see  the Pivot Legal blog for further information: http://pivotlegal.org/pivot-points/blog/tribunal-member-qualifies-downtown-ambassadors-decision.  
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'''NOTE:''' Individuals should be cautioned that this complaint process may not achieve satisfactory results. The Security Programs Division is limited in its ability to successfully review the conduct of security guards, both because of statutory limitations to its powers and budget constraints.
  
'''NOTE:''' Clients should be cautioned that this complaint process may not achieve satisfactory results. The Security Programs Division is limited in its ability to successfully review the conduct of security guards, both because of statutory limitations to its powers and budget constraints.
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Latest revision as of 13:36, 16 August 2021

This information applies to British Columbia, Canada. Last reviewed for legal accuracy by the Law Students' Legal Advice Program on June 30, 2021.



A. Introduction[edit]

Complaints against licensed security guards can be filed with the Registrar of Security Programs Division, Ministry of Justice. Complaints can relate to the licensing of a security business or security employee, about the conduct or behaviour of a security employee, or about the use of equipment. Filing a complaint is free. Complaining against an unlicensed guard should be done directly to the employer. Most security guards in BC are now required to be licensed under the Security Services Act, SBC 2007, c 30 [SSA].

B. Filing the Complaint[edit]

Complaints must be made in writing within one year of the incident. Complaint forms can be obtained by contacting the Ministry or online.

Ministry of Justice - Policing and Security Branch, Security Programs Division

Online Website
Email: securitylicensing@gov.bc.ca
Address PO Box 9217 Stn Prov Govt
Victoria, BC V8W 9J1
Phone 1 (855) 587-0185
Fax: (250) 387-4454


Once a complaint has been filed, the Registrar will determine whether the matter is within its jurisdiction. If it is, then an investigator will be assigned. The complainant will be notified of the investigation by letter. Complaints can result in a warning notice, a violation ticket, or reconsideration of the officer’s licence status.

The Registrar may decide not to investigate a complaint if there has been more than one year of time between when the complaints knew about the facts and when the Registrar receives the complaint (SSA, s 34(2)(a)). Section 34(2) also enumerates other factors that may lead the Registrar to refuse to investigate a complaint.

Like police, licensed and unlicensed security guards can be sued civilly.

NOTE: The BC Court of Appeal recently reversed a human rights decision by the BC Supreme Court regarding alleged discriminatory conduct by security guards on the basis of social condition. The Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users (VANDU) filed a complaint to the BC Human Rights Tribunal against the Downtown Ambassadors, a program for private security guards hired by the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association to patrol public spaces, alleging that the Ambassadors had engaged in a discriminatory program intended to remove members of the homeless population from public spaces in Downtown Vancouver. As social condition is not a protected ground under the BC Human Rights Code, VANDU presented statistical information to demonstrate that Indigenous persons and persons with disabilities are disproportionately represented in the homeless population and submitted that the Ambassadors’ actions were therefore discriminatory on the basis of race, colour, ancestry, and physical and mental disability, contrary to section 8 of the BC Human Rights Code.

NOTE: In Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users v. British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal, 2018 BCCA 132, rev'g 2016 BCSC 534, the BC Court of Appeal restored the BC Human Rights Tribunal’s initial dismissal of VANDU’s claim, finding that the statistical correlation provided by VANDU was insufficient to establish a causal link between membership in a protected group under the BC Human Rights Code (namely Indigenous persons and persons with disabilities) and the adverse treatment by the Downtown Ambassadors against the homeless population. The Court of Appeal’s decision reversed the previous decision of the BC Supreme Court, which had quashed the Tribunal’s dismissal on the grounds that the Tribunal had used too high a standard in finding a human rights violation, and that the statistical information presented by VANDU was sufficient to show discrimination on the prohibited grounds of race and disability.

BC’s Office of the Human Rights Commissioner published a report in May 2020 on adding social condition as an enumerated ground. Please see the report for further information: https://bchumanrights.ca/publications/social-condition/.

NOTE: Individuals should be cautioned that this complaint process may not achieve satisfactory results. The Security Programs Division is limited in its ability to successfully review the conduct of security guards, both because of statutory limitations to its powers and budget constraints.

© Copyright 2021, The Greater Vancouver Law Students' Legal Advice Society.