There is much outrage over the recent decision to award the security contracts for the Islands three major hospitals to a company called Paladin Security. They have done this by ending the decades long service from the Corps of Commissionaires. The reason for the change is apparently the cost savings. That in its self surprises me because Commissionaires were never well paid, the extra pay was more of a supplement to a serviceman’s pension to help them make ends meet. Originally, in order to join the Corps one had to be an ex-service person. Later RCMP were added and perhaps other policing personnel. Today however, it seems anyone with a clean record can apply and be accepted. In other words you no longer need to be an ex-service person. I don’t have all the rules that apply these days, I was a Commissionaire at the QEH in the late eighties and many things have changed since then, not least amongst them the pay scale, I was paid $6.25 per hr and if I had accepted the job as the Corporal my pay would have risen to $6.50 per hr. For the extra 25 cents the corporal was responsible for scheduling and providing a fill in if a person didn’t show for work. Needless to say I never wore Corporals strips!!! This morning the radio was full of talk from opposition MLA’s declaring outrage at the treatment of our veterans. The dreadful loss of jobs and the unfeeling bean counters cutting costs on the backs of veterans. Might be a wee bit of rhetoric here, approximately 40 of these present commissionaires are from civilian life and are not veterans. Viewing the turn out of several commissionaires at the QEH it is clear they never wore the Queens uniform. There was a time when Commissionaires took pride in their appearance, wore clean well pressed uniforms, their hair cut to military standards. To say the Corps of Commissionaires is exclusively a veterans job today is wrong. Somewhere between 50-60% may be ex-military and I believe that number is falling.
God Bless and keep reading
I too worked as a Commissionaire at the QEH. Low wages but did supplement my pension 2006-2008, however the corps was in meltdown….in 2012 a scant 4 years later I moved to the west coast and applied in Victoria. Only to be told I required a $250 basic security course and if I passed then I would be interviewed and have a possible rebate of $75. This was due to the fact that NO longer were veterans being sought after. Also the fact that I had 2 years unblemished in PEI did not count. I googled the Corps and came across this: http://www.parl.gc.ca/content/sen/committee/411%5CVEAC/02EVB-49129-e.HTM
The senate hearings on the Corps chaired by Sen.Romeo D’allaire. One question was how many commissionaires are employed and how many are Veterans the answer was; Capt. Guindon: We are approximately 20,000, of which 16,500 or so are full-time and the remainder are part-time, mostly working with the RCMP on a very specific program called Guards and Matrons, in small communities in the North. Out of the permanent workforce, almost 50 per cent are veterans across the country.
Which means that LESS than %50 were Veterans at that time. I am sure much less today. A sad demise of a once proud Corps.
Keep up the great Blogs