When the clock strikes midnight Monday, Tina Waltenbury won’t be able to work.
Her security guard licence expires July 11, and despite applying for her renewal a month ago, the province has dragged its heels renewing it.
“This is my only source of income,” an angry Waltenbury told the Sun.
Waltenbury, 45, has been employed by a security company for about one year.
Before this job, she was on social assistance.
“Thank God my son’s grown up and on his own,” she said.
“I still have to pay rent, pay bills, and feed myself.”
Many guards, bar owners, and security company owners are upset because the ministry of community safety and correctional services is taking up to three months to sift through all the paperwork.
They call the new process for licensing nothing but a “big cash cow.”
The Private Security and Investigative Services Act, 2005 was created to professionalize the private security industry and enhance public safety after a man was killed — at the hands of a security guard and grocery store staff — outside of an east Toronto Loblaws in 1999.
A coroner’s inquest was held in 2004, and the jury delivered 22 recommendations to improve and enhance private security training and policies.
The changes were phased in, and training and testing regulations came into effect in April 2010.
Security guards now have to complete a training course, test, and background check — spending roughly $600 — before they can even work a shift where they’re earning about $11.
Much like a driver’s licence, they have to carry the card on them while working.
The licence has to be renewed each year.
Addressing the backlog, ministry spokesman Brent Ross told the Sun, “the ministry is committed to working with the private security industry to ensure the timely processing of applications.”
But the new regulations and the exorbitant costs are leaving many guards sour.
One guard, who asked not to be named, told the Sun he’s feeling cheated because he signed up for a course with a security company, who promised him a job within two weeks.
The guard said while waiting more than two months just to write the exam, he was forced to find other work.
He scored a gig at a hotel — which he said fortunately pays better than security work — and finally took the security test a few days ago.
His story is consistent with numbers from the website ontariosecuritytraining.com, which shows the industry declining by almost 30 per cent in the last year.
Waltenbury, meanwhile, said she needs to work.
“I love my job,” she said.