Looking back to early 2020, few of us would have predicted that the coronavirus pandemic would continue to create social, public health, and business challenges nearly two years later. Nerves are frayed, patience is wearing thin, and policies meant to contain the most recent Omicron strain of COVID-19 have pushed many in the public to their limits. From a security perspective, it’s why now (as much as ever) is the time for organizations across the Greater Toronto Area to embrace a compassionate approach to security. That means relying on the expertise of Toronto security providers that protect and enforce rules but also focus on engaging and calmly controlling challenging situations.  

As we’ve noted in previous blogs, security risk mitigation is about taking both a proactive and reactive approach that puts the customer or community experience first. That applies in a range of settings, from retail outlets and residential communities such as condominiums to office complexes and public institutions such as healthcare facilities or college and university campuses.

But taking it a step further, it’s also important to apply security protocols in a reasonable and measured way. There are countless examples of alleged incidents of excessive use of force by Toronto security guards in Canada. Each incident must be assessed based on relevant facts and circumstances—and many are not always as they seem—but there is little doubt that, at times, some guards apply disproportionate force when responding to an incident. Often it’s because they lack the necessary training, tools, or management oversight that would otherwise prompt them to take a different course of action.

Highly aggressive security guard responses create significant liability for organizations—not to mention creating potentially negative ripple effects for their corporate brand or resident experience. A basic principle of effective security guarding is that with the right preparation and training, many incidents can be de-escalated and resolved without the use of force. The concept isn’t merely relevant during a stressful pandemic but during any interaction between Toronto security personnel and the public.

Enhancing brand experiences through Toronto security 

Depending on the setting, but especially in urban areas, security guards will interact with a broad subsection of the public. While the focus is often on their work to stop thieves or vandals from stealing items or damaging property, in many cases their time is spent interacting with vulnerable populations such as members of the homeless community or individuals struggling with drug or alcohol addictions. These encounters can be challenging, but when properly managed, confrontations can usually be avoided. 


integrated security services

For example, a security guard that encounters a homeless person sleeping in a shopping mall doorway in the middle of winter has an opportunity to help. While informing the person that they can’t camp in the doorway, they can also check that the individual isn’t suffering from an acute physical or mental health issue. If so, they can contact relevant first responders such as paramedics or police and then wait until one of those teams arrive on-site. In the absence of an acute issue, they can work to help the individual secure access to a social worker who might be able to help them find temporary lodging or other necessary care. 

It’s easy to take a heavy-handed approach in a scenario such as this. But by acting compassionately, a Toronto security guard can not only set the stage for positive interaction but can capitalize on the chance to assist an individual in need. That, in turn, reflects positively on the organization they’ve been tasked to protect. 

Measured response training at Wincon Security

Taking a compassionate approach to security starts with smart training, re-training, and culture-wide reinforcement. If a security provider sets the bar high and reminds guards of the expectation that they’ll deploy effective, appropriate, and measured responses in every situation, the chances of incidents escalating out of control will be greatly reduced.  

At Wincon Security, for example, we assess your Toronto security needs during our client intake process, then propose a comprehensive risk mitigation strategy that aligns with your operational requirements. That includes delivering pre-deployment training to our guards addressing a range of tactical considerations, including the use of force and non-violent crisis training.

Our training systems cover:

  • Arrest procedures
  • Situational de-escalation
  • Crisis communication
  • Non-violent intervention
  • Training on relevant provincial and federal use of force legislation
  • Hand-cuff techniques, use of baton and, self-defence and defence against edged weapons

Our goal is to not only provide strong security deterrence to help protect your property but to ensure that our guards have the training and tools needed to enforce the Trespass to Property Act and to set the stage for positive engagements with the public and other key stakeholders. 

Lastly, it’s important to note that for security providers, two important factors help to put a sense of compassion and caring behind their work: strong recruitment and employee engagement. By hiring committed professionals who arrive to work on time, are fully prepared, are in uniform, and are ready to give their very best every day, Toronto security providers can create a culture of success and dedication to client service. But many fall short in this regard, hiring guards merely to fill roles without investing in their training and career development. This is a significant oversight and it’s the reason why it pays to do proper due diligence when hiring a security firm. More on that in a future blog. 

In the meantime, it’s important to remember that putting compassion into security starts with a focus on culture, employee policies, and making investments in a Toronto security team’s ongoing success.

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Fill out our quote form and enjoy a consultation with us to learn about your security options.


Winston Stewart, President and CEO
Wincon Security 

  1. Does the firm provide pre-deployment training to their guards?
  2. Does the firm offer integrated security solutions?
  3. Does the firm take a strategic approach?
  4. Does the firm embrace proactive and reactive tactics?
  5. Does the firm maintain a strong company culture?

Choosing the right security company in Toronto for your needs can be a game-changer. That’s true for any business or organization that requires ongoing protective services—from commercial and office properties and retailers to condo communities and institutions such as post-secondary educational or healthcare facilities. Effective security coverage can help mitigate the risk of legal liability, theft or vandalism, can help enhance your brand and proactively highlight opportunities for improvement in areas such as security technology integration and emergency response protocols.

But all too often, organizations struggle to find security service providers they can rely on. That’s because many security companies take a passive approach when providing coverage. They often face chronic staffing shortages due to high employee turnover, will win new business, and then struggle to fill positions. This typically results in frantic recruitment leading to the deployment of ill- or untrained guards who are disengaged. The resulting poor on-site performance would be familiar to many organizations that have cycled through a number of security providers: guards who fall asleep at their monitoring stations, who show up to work missing their proper uniform, or who fail to complete basic duties during a guarding shift. 

It’s not entirely the guards’ fault. In many cases the performance expectations are low, the employee coaching is non-existent and the consequences for the ensuing poor performance are almost entirely absent—until the situation gets so bad that the employee is fired and the process starts over again with the next recruit. 

Want to avoid turnover in security providers, along with the risk associated with sub-par security service? Then be prepared to conduct careful due diligence when hiring your next security company. Here’s a checklist of questions that every organization should ask to help make the process as simple and streamlined as possible:

Does the firm provide pre-deployment training to their guards?

It’s important that before a guard is assigned to a client site, they are fully briefed on the technical and personnel/community details relevant to that property, any technical considerations (e.g., use of fire panels, elevator control panels, etc.) and challenges those guards may face during a shift. Additional training points include risk and liability mitigation, fire response procedures, and incident reporting.

Does the Toronto security company offer integrated security solutions?

From High-definition TurboHD and IP cameras to biometric identification and verification systems, leading security companies will be equipped to help address the full scope of your security requirements. Consulting, procuring, and installing relevant technology is a critical piece of the protective services puzzle. So, too, is being able to service that equipment and help you stay a step ahead by making regular upgrade and system enhancement recommendations. If a firm can’t offer integrated security solutions, they aren’t delivering a comprehensive suite of services. 

Does the security company take a strategic approach?

From the moment the Wincon Security supervisory team engages with your organization, their discussions will centre on your strategic operational needs. Some of the most important considerations include:

  • Your operational requirements and objectives (think everything from proprietary information and building access points to vulnerable areas and product/personnel specifications)
  • Your immediate security staffing requirements 
  • Your integrated security technology needs
  • Whether you have an emergency preparedness and disaster response plan (and if not, how we can help you develop one); and
  • Any other detail that may enhance our service offering

At that point, we develop a comprehensive security plan designed to service your needs. If a Toronto security company isn’t prepared to discuss strategy, but simply offers to assign guards to watch over your property or business, don’t expect them to meet your coverage needs.

Does the security company embrace proactive and reactive tactics?

proactive security guard services

It’s easy for a security company to react to a situation after it occurs—think a slip-and-fall incident or a burst water pipe in a mechanical room. It’s another for that same firm to train its security professionals to think and act proactively, to spot potential issues (including legal and compliance liabilities) before they occur and, when necessary, to respond to incidents in a timely and effective manner. It takes ongoing reinforcement to ensure that security personnel are on the constant lookout for potential problems and take the opportunity to address these issues before they result in otherwise preventable incidents. 

From fire response, report writing and de-escalation training to comprehensive first aid/CPR/AED certifications, our guards are well-equipped to deal with situations on a proactive and reactive basis. That includes completing the industry-mandated security training program for guards in Ontario. Not every firm trains to this level or has such stringent security guard qualification requirements, so be prepared to ask questions to ensure that a prospective security provider is equipped to meet your expectations.

Does the firm maintain a strong company culture?

Ask about how the firm works to boost employee engagement, retention and professional development. If those aren’t priorities, then it’s time to look for another provider. Top security companies in Toronto will go out of their way to properly train and motivate their employees while reinforcing a culture of service excellence. In our case, we have team members that have been with Wincon Security for more than 20 years. That’s a testament to our commitment to our people and their professional success. Not many firms can boast that kind of employee retention track record—and it’s a clear indicator of a strong company culture. 

Remember that it pays to take the time to conduct the necessary due diligence and select the right security company to protect your people, property, and assets. It’s a process that can require research and vetting, but when you find the right provider, the investment is fully worthwhile. Just ask the clients that have been with Wincon Security since the day our company was founded 30 years ago. 



Winston Stewart, President and CEO

Wincon Security