Bouncers at bars and private security guards will soon need licences to do their job.
Justice Minister Ross Landry said such workers will be screened and properly trained to do their work and ensure the public is kept safe under a bill introduced Monday at Province House.
"In previous years we have heard about incidents in our bars where patrons have been injured, where private security guards themselves have been injured," Mr. Landry said in Halifax.
If passed, the new requirements will mean that bouncers and other security workers will be able to change workplaces without needing a new licence.
Licences will remain valid for several years.
After the bill becomes law, the province will work on a series of rules for security workers that will include standards for how they behave, Mr. Landry said.
The new rules should help reassure the public that they’re safe against the use of excessive force by burly bouncers with bad attitudes, he said.
"We know in policing that it’s not about brute strength today. It’s about understanding your role and responsibilities.
"The most important muscle any person in security or in law enforcement uses is their tongue, is to communicate, is to talk. That communication is critical."
A former bouncer at a downtown Halifax bar this summer was acquitted of aggravated assault stemming from a dispute with a patron.
Jarrett Simmons, 21, was working the door at Cheers Bar and Grill in the early morning hours of Dec. 20, 2007, when he got into a scuffle with an ejected customer who wanted to go back into the bar for his jacket.
Michael Carpenter, 46, was punched in the jaw by Mr. Simmons and fell and struck his head on the pavement on Grafton Street, losing consciousness. He was taken to the Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre in Halifax with severe head injuries.
Mr. Simmons, of Young Street in Halifax, was arrested and charged with aggravated assault. He stood trial in May in Nova Scotia Supreme Court in Halifax.
In another incident, Stephen Giffin, 38, was found sprawled in the parking lot of Captain Eli’s Restaurant and Lounge on Dec. 23, 1999. He was hospitalized but taken off life-support that Christmas Day.
Bar manager Roni Peter Labi and bouncer George Joseph MacDonald were charged with manslaughter. A jury acquitted them in 2001.
The new bill, unveiled Monday and titled An Act Respecting the Provision of Security and Investigative Services, will replace one that hasn’t been updated in 35 years.