We've all seen more security personnel around. At the mall, the bank, the airport, even foodbanks and shelters. So why is this? And what does this mean for those in private business? And those looking for a career?
For those who own businesses and other private assets, it's important to understand the trends in safety and security in order to keep your own assets protected. For those looking for a career, it's important to choose one in a growing industry, and this is the time the security services services is growing. For those who own a security company, it's vital to understand the current trends of crime, safety and the economy to stay on the leading edge.
The private security industry in Canada has been growing at an impressive rate in recent years. According to a report by Statistics Canada, the private security services industry has seen a 5.6% annual growth rate between 2014 and 2019, with a market size of $8.6 billion in 2019. In the province of Alberta, the number of security guard companies increased by 8% from 2019 to 2023 and the number of security guards increased by 19% over the same time period, according to Alberta Justice who licenses the companies and guards. This growth is driven by several factors, including rising crime rates, increased demand for protective services, and budget cuts in the public safety sector.
Factors driving the growth of the private security industry
Several factors are driving the growth of the private security industry in Canada. One of the main drivers is rising crime rates. According to Statistics Canada, the national crime rate increased by 2% in 2019, with violent crime increasing by 5%. This has led to an increased demand for private security services, particularly in high-crime areas. During and since COVID, many people have been financially and emotionally impacted, leading to increases in theft, assault and domestic violence.
Another factor driving the growth of the private security industry is the increased demand for protective services. With the rise of terrorism and other security threats, many businesses and organizations are turning to private security firms to provide protection for their employees and assets.
Finally, budget cuts in the public safety sector have also contributed to the growth of the private security industry. With fewer resources available to police and other public safety agencies, many businesses and organizations are turning to private security firms to fill the gap. All of these factors have led to a greater need for private security services, especially in areas such as retail, transportation, and healthcare.
Comparison of private security versus public safety
Private security and public safety are two different concepts. Public safety refers to the actions taken by government agencies to protect citizens and maintain social order, such as police and peace officers. Private security, on the other hand, refers to the services provided by private companies to protect businesses, organizations, and individuals.
While both public safety and private security share the goal of protecting people and property, there are some key differences between the two. Public safety agencies are typically funded by the government and have a broader mandate to maintain social order and enforce laws. They also typically operate as a reactive model, meaning their services get invoked when a crime is happening or has already happened.
Private security firms, on the other hand, are funded by their clients and operate on a proactive model which aims to prevent harm from coming to specific individuals, organizations or assets. Physical security focuses on assessing risks or weaknesses within physical spaces and assets and proactively looks to reduce or mitigate these risks. It also may include having security staff present to observe, report and possibly deter risky behaviour or criminal activity. Executive protection (bodyguards) provide protection to keep specific individuals physically safe. Private security also provides an additional layer of security and protection in areas where public safety agencies may not be able to provide sufficient coverage.
Types of private security services and providers
The private security industry in Canada is made up of various types of services and providers. Private security providers can be divided into two categories: in-house security and contracted security.
In-house security refers to security personnel who are employed directly by a business or organization. These individuals are responsible for providing security services for their employer. Contracted security, on the other hand, refers to security personnel who are employed by a private security firm and are contracted out to provide security services for other businesses and organizations.
Private security agencies can provide a variety of services, depending on the company. Security firms are responsible for providing security services to their clients, including risk assessments, security and operations planning, and security personnel. Some of the most common responsibilities of private security guards include maintaining a safe and secure environment, monitoring access to buildings and facilities, and deterring criminal activity and making arrests.
Challenges faced by private security firms in Canada
Private security firms in Canada face a variety of challenges, including competition from other security providers, changing regulations and legislation, changing law enforcement functions and the need to keep up with emerging security threats. Additionally, some businesses and organizations may be hesitant to hire private security firms due to concerns about cost or the quality of service.
Future outlook for the private security industry in Canada
The future outlook for the private security industry in Canada is positive. With rising crime rates, increased demand for protective services, and budget cuts in the public safety sector, the private security industry is expected to continue to grow. However, private security firms will need to adapt to changing security threats and regulations in order to remain competitive in the market. With increased demand, security companies will strive to provide better quality services at reasonable rates.
For those who are working in security services, this means that there will be more job opportunities, and different types of opportunities to specialize in different ways that will become available. For those exploring options for a career, it's important to choose a career that is in a growing and diverse field so you can grow along with the industry. For those interested in security services or protective services, this is the best time to start and advance your career.
Courses for becoming a security professional in Alberta, Canada
For those wanting to start a career and grow in the security industry in Alberta, take the Alberta Basic Security Training course to get your security guard licence. This course covers a range of topics, including security procedures, emergency response, and conflict resolution and is the required training in the province of Alberta to get your security services licence. For those already working in security, it is highly recommended to take advanced training such as situational awareness, Tactical Communications, and Use of Force and Handcuffing in order to maximize the potential of accessing diverse job opportunities.
The private security industry in Canada is an important component of the country's protection sector. Private security firms provide a range of services that help to deter criminal activity and protect individuals and businesses from harm. While the industry faces challenges such as competition and changing regulations, the future outlook is positive. As the demand for protective services continues to grow, private security firms will play an increasingly important role in ensuring public safety in Canada.
If you are interested in learning more about the private security industry in Canada or becoming a security professional, please visit Tip of Spear Academy. If you are interested in starting or growing your security company, contact us to see how we can help you. If you are a business or organization in any other industry and have questions about whether you should hire security services, contact us and we can discuss the options with you.