Bar owner cries foul over bouncer crackdown
Delays in the process for licensing bouncers in Ontario are making it difficult for bar owners to comply with provincial regulations, according to a ByWard Market bar and restaurant owner.
Steve Monuk, who co-owns 16 bars and restaurants in the Byward Market, said the process of accrediting bouncers and other security guards can take over two months. Monuk said the postal strike and subsequent lockout also delayed some bouncers getting licenses in the mail.
"We don't mind regulation, but if they're not going to complete what they need to complete, by getting the licenses out in a timely manner, I think it's unfair to penalize people for that," said Monuk.
On Wednesday the Ontario Provincial Police announced 91 charges to Ottawa bars and security guards for infractions related to licensing. It's the second time in three months Ottawa bars have been targeted.
The OPP's anti-rackets branch conducted the crackdown on Canada Day and July 2.
Monuk said going after bars at the beginning of summer was unfair, as about 30 to 40 of the 100 bouncers his bars employee would have been recent hires and many students with no intention of staying in the business, making them less likely to get their credentials.
In order to get a licence, would-be bouncers must take a 40-hour training course, take a test, and then apply to the province and undergo a background check.
"If they were going to look for people with licenses, that's the best day, I guess, of the year," said Monuk.
Bluesfest security guard Johnny Demers has his license and said businesses that don't require their employees to get licensed are putting themselves at risk if there are problems with the bouncer.
"They could improperly arrest someone, they could assault somebody, they could be a liability for themselves and for the establishment they work for," said Demers.
In April a total of 114 charges were laid against 21 establishments in the Ottawa area, more than twice the number of fines levied in a similar OPP blitz launched in Niagara Falls and St. Catharines.The lead investigator said on Wednesday that given the city's high rate of non-compliance, his officers would be back soon.