Bouncer bill looms

Justice minister Ross Landry introduced a bill aimed at requiring all bouncers be licensed and professionally trained.

A proposed overhaul of the security industry in Nova Scotia could mean fewer in-house bouncer jobs. Justice minister Ross Landry introduced a bill on November 5 that aims to require all bouncers be licensed and professionally trained.

If the bill passes, the licence will cost about $60 and will require about 40 hours of training, says Justice Department spokesperson Sherri Aikenhead. Also, businesses that train bouncers are expected to pay about $500. The goal of these new regulations is unclear, and the proposed law is possibly a "money grab," says Carl "Gooch" Comeau, who has been working at The Lower Deck for 13 years and was voted the Best Bouncer/Door Person of 2008 by Coast readers.

But his boss, Lower Deck manager Mike Condy, says the new legislation will give him peace of mind as an employer. "If I had a guy who I knew was trained properly, it would make me want to hire him," he says. "If someone has training under their belt, it's a positive thing."

The bill will also likely prevent anyone with a criminal record from getting a licence.

Jim Meade, a bouncer in Halifax with over 20 years experience in the security industry, has at Gus' Pub for four years and doesn't think this is fair. "If you've been clean for 20 years it shouldn't come back to haunt you."

Meade says that new legislation will result in private security companies like Source Security monopolizing the industry, yet those companies lack the experience and commitment that in-house security possess.

"Private security firms in the smaller bars is not going to work, because in-house security is going to take more pride in what they do," says Meade. "They know the customers and how to deal with them."

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