Dear Ministers Fortier, Jaczek and MacAulay:

Since 1945, the Government of Canada has granted a single Canadian security company, the Corps of Commissionaires, a “right of first refusal” (RFR) on all federal government contracts for security guard services, creating a virtual monopoly in exchange for their promise to hire as many Veterans as they can to be part of their workforce. At its founding, the Corps’ workforce was 100% Veteran. This proportion has been dwindling over time. Today, according to the Corps’ website, only 20% of their workforce is made up of Veterans.

Today, less than 1 percent of Canada’s more than 600,000 Veterans get work because of a RFR arrangement that increasingly benefits non-Veterans. [1]

Canadians are broadly in favor of modernizing the Government’s security guard services process. According to a recent Ipsos survey:

  • Nine in ten Canadians say that fair competition among all Canadian security services companies (89%), an open and transparent contracting process (88%), and the best service at the best price for the Canadian taxpayer (87%) are important considerations in awarding contracts for guard services.
  • Canadians are three times as likely to say there are better ways for the Government to support Veterans in their transition to civilian life (77%) than to say that the RFR is the best way for the Government to support Veterans in their transition to civilian life (23%).

Rather than giving one private security company the RFR, why not incentivize all Canadian security companies to hire Veterans? Opening up Government of Canada contracts for security guard services would not only allow all Canadian security companies to bid in a transparent, equitable contracting process, it would significantly improve employment choices for our Veterans, while offering the opportunity to improve services to them.

After nearly eight decades, it is past time for the Government of Canada to update how it procures security guard services for federal buildings.

Yours sincerely,

[1] According to Commissionaires website, it has 4,500 Veteran employees which is 0.73% of Canada’s total number of Veterans, which, according to Veterans Affairs Canada is estimated at 617,800, as of March 31, 2021.