When life fell apart for Robert Cosman, the former lawyer was out of work and living in his van in downtown Toronto. Despite a stellar resume, work in the mid-1990s for a professional in his 50s was not easy to come by, and the harsh reality took its toll.
So when Cosman says a chance conversation with a Commissionaire saved his life, he means it.
“I was at a job fair, and 5 p.m. had arrived and they were packing everything up. I couldn’t even get an interview, despite been well-qualified for many of the jobs,” Cosman recalls. “The Commissionaire at the door said ‘Any chance you’re a veteran? Come with me.’”
Since that day, Cosman has worked in universities and airports, RCMP Training Depot in Regina, Government House and now at CFB Esquimalt in Victoria.
“I’m happier today than I ever was as a lawyer,” he smiles.
Commissionaires Victoria, the Islands and Yukon is a diverse organization of men and women from many professional backgrounds, and not all are veterans or retired RCMP officers. Some are former corrections officers, businesspersons, accountants, security professionals and customer service specialists. Others have foreign military service from the United Kingdom or India. The October training class welcomed students from Belarus, Cameroon, India, Italy and Scotland!
“All had different occupational backgrounds but were looking to do something different,” explains Chris Poulton, Manager, Public Affairs & Communications, Commissionaires Victoria, the Islands and Yukon, noting that more than 800 commissionaires work throughout Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands, Haida Gwaii and Yukon.
- What you can expect: Following two full weeks of classroom training, new Commissionaires are employed as as security guards – the largest part of their work and where recruiting is underway, Poulton says. New security guards work full-time and begin to develop their experience in a variety of security environments.
- Experience to do more: Beyond mature members looking for a second career, CVIY also offers valuable experience for those eyeing a career in law enforcement or similar field, Poulton adds.
- Numerous benefits: For Cosman, the work provides competitive wages and flexible hours with shifts that suit his schedule, but more than that, it lets him provide a valuable service while engaging with his fellow Commissionaires and people in the community. Security patrols also offer the built-in opportunity for exercise, he laughs. “At age 73, I’m having a great retirement!”
Yes, they do that too!
CVIY is the largest security provider for government and commercial businesses on Vancouver Island, and while new Commissionaires begin as security guards, other opportunities include supervisory and management positions, plus a wide range of other related work:
• mobile patrol;
• investigative services;
• home/vacation watch;
• identification services (fingerprinting and record checks);
• parking enforcement;
• animal control;
• security training;
• process serving;
• RCMP jail guards.
Ready to learn more?
CVIY is a not-for-profit society and one of 15 independent divisions in the federation of the Canadian Corps of Commissionaires founded in 1925 to create “meaningful employment opportunities for former members of the Canadian Armed Forces, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and others who wish to contribute to the security and well-being of Canadians.”