What is “use of force” and “use of force training?”


These are generic terms used to describe a skill set or “trade craft” as some like to call it. They have many separate but overlapping pieces generally broken down into three main areas; Academic knowledge, Physical Skills and Judgement and Decision Making skills. They can also include the skills, knowledge and abilities to use a baton, or in some cases O.C. spray, firearms and other duty issued weapons depending upon your authority to carry and deploy these tools.


What does the word “tactical”  mean in the term “tactical handcuffing” or “tactical baton” etc?


It simply means that you are only taught a specific set of techniques or “tactics” relative to the skills learned for the job you would be doing. 

For example; an court officer/sheriff or Special Constable tasked with only dealing with prisoners all day would be taught a different skills set than a mall security guard. A Loss Prevention Officer who carries handcuffs, would not be given the same training as a “bouncer” or event security guard who does not. 

Given that the issued weapons/tools also vary from place to place, Province to Province and agency to agency, these tactics will also vary. At the end of the day, the Provincial Ministry that licenses guards will dictate what you can or cannot be issued, carry and deploy where you work. Do not get caught carrying handcuffs, as an example, not issued to you or without having completed an approved course first. While the Province may permit this, in some cases, your employer does not.

Do not be fooled by fancy titles, check the content to see if it suits your needs and contact us to ensure that the content you need will be included. There are many different trades and duties within security work in Canada, make sure you get the proper training to do it.


What are the standards or requirements in Canada for “Use of Force” certification for security guards/officers?


Standards and requirements for training (mandatory, legislated training) varies from Province to Province in Canada. At the end of the day, you need to check with your Provincial licensing agency to see what the requirements are, if any…as for the most part, there are little or none required. 

This lack of oversight or mandatory legislation requirement places all the liability onto you and your employer to be trained by someone who is recognized by the courts or a Ministry, and not someone who happens to be an officer or has taken an unapproved course from either the U.S. company or a martial arts club etc.  At the end of the day, it only matters what the courts say IS or IS NOT an approved course or trainer, do not believe the online marketing or get sucked in by cheap prices.

The proof of the repercussions of this are found in many court cases where the instructor’s credentials did not vet in court and the employer hired them anyway because they were the cheapest. The primary case in Ontario was the Coroner’s Inquest into the death of Patrick Shand and resulting liability onto the guard, their employer, the use of force instructor and the client who hired them all. 


There a number of high profile companies offering use of force training and “certification” in various skill sets. Protect yourself and your employer. Insist on seeing the instructor’s credentials before signing up. You could end up getting a certificate that isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.

Generally speaking, the following describes Provincial requirements. To be 100% up to date, check the Ministry website in the Province where you work.

  • B.C. has requirements for all physical skills and “certification” training to be done via a J.I.B.C. instructor lead course. Our partner has facilitated both online and in class courses in B.C. however they are advanced courses for personnel already certified by J.I.B.C.
  • Alberta only has a 40 hour course standard for baton training. There are no other requirements for use of force or handcuff training in that Province.
  • Saskatchewan has just introduced new legislation, check the Ministry website.
  • Manitoba has no mandatory guidelines for use of force training.
  • Ontario has some guidelines laid down by the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Labour for guards who work in the healthcare sector. Provincial standards or “best practices” are found within the Ontario Police Services Act and similar legislation.
  • Quebec has also introduced some guidelines, see the Ministry website for up to date information.
  • The Atlantic Provinces and Newfoundland each have some guidelines in place but no mandatory training requirements for use of force.



In some Provinces “bouncers” or bar/event security are required to be licensed and others not. Is this course recommended for these people?


Yes. If this is you, this course covers all the core materials as any other guard/officer or citizen who may use force. Individuals who work in bars or as event security also have additional authorities contained within Liquor Licencing legislation to “remove” or “cause to be removed” by the use of minimal levels of force that are reasonable. Ask your online instructor or email us to enquire about this additional training module. There is no extra cost for this.


How long does Use of Force, Handcuffing and Baton “certification” training actually take and can it be done in only one day?  Are we getting a proper course that will stand up in court and keep me safe in these shorter and cheaper courses?


Some companies advertise these “all in one day” training programs and others, especially in house courses, have been severely shortened to save money. In some cases, the guards are left to get their own training, and end up at the cheapest one. There is an old saying, “you get what you pay for” and that holds true here. If a course has been shortened below the acceptable “best practices” laid down in legislation, court cases and civil litigation, you can rest assured that they have had corners cut and you are not getting all the materials and content you need.


“Best practices” in Canada are as follows; 


  • Baton: 8 hours with a prerequisite that you have completed the core competency use of force skills AND handcuffing/search beforehand. There is also a short, academic piece that is required for all certification courses in the use of a baton.


  • Handcuffing: There are two types of techniques taught, passive handcuffing of compliant persons and “active” handcuffing of non-compliant ones. This standard is also 8 hours and is often integrated with the soft empty hand disengagement and control skills.


  • Use of Force Academics: Normally 8 hours. 


This often includes a review of authorities to arrest, use of force authorities found in all basic guard licensing courses plus the additional academics and case law studies behind the use of handcuffs, search procedures,  incident articulation, note taking and use of force reporting.


What about “instructor training” or “train the trainer?”  If I own a company, isn’t this cheaper than hiring contracted instructors?

While it may seem cheaper on the surface to have an “in house” use of force trainer on payroll rather than pay on a per guard basis, the risks are very high and the litigation from one lawsuit could bankrupt your company.  This leaves you one primary option; have a train the trainer course run in house by a fully vetted and Provincially approved Instructor Trainer with a proven track record, use a licensed and copyrighted program and ensure your due diligence is in place to make sure the instructor sticks to the script and timelines.  Anything less than this is dangerous. You would be better off to contract in an house instructor in the same way that many government agencies do. All the liability comes back onto the trainer and their program if there is a problem with the skills, knowledge and techniques taught.

Note: We do not recommend using any U.S. based training systems unless they have been altered to meet Canadian standards. There are a number of them in wide use in Canada that claim to be “court defensible, medically acceptable and tactically acceptable etc….however unless properly altered by a Subject Matter Expert in Canada to our standards, you are inviting unnecessary litigation. Often Hard empty hand skills, some Pressure Point techniques, carotid restraints etc. that are acceptable in the U.S. and not necessarily acceptable here as an example.


How often do “use of force” credentials expire?

The normal timeline set in best practices where there are physical competencies involved is one year. The old adage of “if you don’t use it you’ll lose it” is true and the courts know this. It also stands to reason that if you don’t practice you can severely injure someone using an approved method if things go badly. Here are the variances however;

Disengagement skills used by some officers/guards who generally don’t make arrests or use force very often, has been extended to up to 18 months. Some practice time is required within this time frame however.

Guards who carry handcuffs, make arrests, search prisoners or carry a baton are required to complete a refresher and re-certification within each 12 month period after initial certification. Best practices dictate that if a person goes beyond the 12 months, they should either not be deployed until the refresher course is completed or placed into a non-intervention capable role.


Are credentials issued by one instructor in one course or company recognized or transferable to another employer or course?

On a case by case basis this situation is examined by the employer or instructor. What is taken into account is the course content, instructor’s credentials, length of the original course and how long it has been since you were originally certified. Some are recognized and others are not.


What about new guards who are tasked into a position that requires use of force training and/or certification in specific tools?

Court cases have found employers liable for the inappropriate uses of force by untrained guards who were supposed to be “observe and report” only tasked. This is an unreasonable expectation in today’s security world, where incidents and violence can happen spontaneously, and an untrained, uniformed guard is expected by the public they protect on their assigned properties, to do something and not nothing despite their tasking instructions.  New guards should be properly trained before they are deployed, not just to avoid litigation, but to protect the guard.


If I take this course, could I hypothetically just take a one day physical skills and handcuffing course and be certified?

Yes. Once you complete both the academic training and obtain physical skills training from an approved trainer, the two reports would form one certificate. 


Is online academic training cost effective and meet due diligence requirements?

While it makes sense that the online instructor would have no way to know who was actually taking the course, the due diligence requirements are met by way of a proctored exam given upon arrival during the in class training day in person.