Ruling puts armoured car workers and public at risk
The extension of a stay against a previous Federal Ministry of Labour ruling puts the safety of armoured car workers and the general public at risk, Unifor says.
“The directives in the original order recognized that the use of two-person, all off crews elevates the danger of armoured car personnel being attacked in public, which also increases the risk to innocent by-standers,” said Mike Armstrong, Unifor National Staff Representative and lead on armoured car industry matters.
On December 29, 2016, the Federal Ministry of Labour ruled to support a work refusal by an armoured car worker who cited safety concerns associated with the “all off” model, where both the driver and the messenger exit the armoured car at drop-offs and pick-ups. Acknowledging the serious safety concern, the ruling ordered Brinks Canada Limited to immediately change from a two to three person crew to allow the driver to stay onboard to keep watch over his colleagues.
The December ruling also backed an earlier Federal Occupational Health and Safety Branch Investigation ruling into the “all off” model, employed by many companies in the armoured car industry. In its appeal of both orders, Brinks Canada Limited was granted a temporary stay against the order which was extended today.
“Two rulings both came to the same conclusion – this is a dangerous way to do business,” said Armstrong. “Yet Brinks Canada Limited seems determined to fight to stall implementation of three-person crews, a protocol that could literally save lives.”
Unifor, representing more than 1,500 armoured car personnel across Canada, has a long standing position on the importance and safety benefits of three-person crews. More than 85 armoured car robberies have taken place in Canada since 2000, resulting in five deaths and countless physical and mental injuries. Since 2013, each publicly-reported robbery has involved a two-person armoured guard crew, with many occurring in public spaces or near residential areas.
Unifor encouraged by federal safety ruling for armoured car workers
Unifor welcomes the Ministry of Labour's ruling to support a refusal to work by an armoured car worker, employed at Brink's Canada Limited. Today's decision backs an earlier federal Ministry of Labour ruling into the "all off" model employed by many companies in the armoured car industry.
"This decision stresses the lack of safety of front-line armoured car workers," said Mike Armstrong, Unifor National Staff Representative and lead on armoured car industry matters. "While the directives in this order are specific to Brinks Canada Limited we call on the entire industry to recognize this ruling and immediately halt the use of two-person, all off crews, which unnecessarily expose the driver and messenger to risk as they both exit the armoured car at drop-offs and pick-ups."
The Ottawa area armoured car worker refused to work, citing safety concerns associated with the "all off" model. In August, a prior Federal Occupational Health and Safety Branch Investigation concluded with a decisive ruling to direct Brink's Canada Limited operations in the City of Edmonton to immediately alter its practice relating to the driver and messenger both exiting the armoured vehicle.
Today's ruling cited the previous findings and expanded the August directive, which is currently under appeal by Brinks Canada Limited, beyond Edmonton. Both investigations confirm Unifor's long-standing position on the importance and safety benefits of three-person crews, which allow the driver to stay on-board to keep watch over fellow workers.
Unifor, representing more than 1,500 armoured car personnel across Canada, has been working to make the industry safer through the establishment of federal standards in employee training, vehicle specifications, safety equipment requirement and crew complements.
Canada has witnessed more than 85 armoured car robberies since 2000, resulting in five deaths and countless physical and mental injuries. Since 2013, each publicly-reported robbery has involved a two-person armoured guard crew, with many occurring in public spaces or near residential areas.
For more information on Unifor's campaign visit: www.unifor.org/safecargo
Unifor, founded on Labour Day of 2013, is Canada's largest union in the private sector, representing more than 310,000 workers in every sector of the economy.
Armoured car safety ruling applauded by Unifor
Unifor applauds the findings of an Occupational Health and Safety investigation, conducted on behalf of the federal Ministry of Labour, into the “All off” model used by many companies in the armoured car industry.
“This is a tremendous step forward for the safety of all armoured car workers, this decision has the potential to save lives,” said Mike Armstrong, Unifor National Staff Representative and lead on armoured car industry matters. “We now look to the entire industry to eliminate the unnecessary danger associated with “All off” crews.”
The investigation concluded with a decisive ruling to direct Brink’s Canada Limited to immediately alter its practice of both the driver and guard exiting the armoured vehicle at drop-offs and pick-ups. The ruling confirms Unifor’s long-standing position against the practice.
“The (All-off) model does not provide the employees with any information of suspicious persons or activities occurring outside while they are inside the customer’s location,” stated the August 18 ruling. “As a result, the employees have a diminished ability to avoid a potential ambush upon returning to the armoured vehicle.”
Canada has seen more than 85 armoured car robberies since 2000, resulting in five deaths and numerous physical and mental injuries. Since 2013, each publicly reported robbery has involved a two-person crew, with many in public spaces or near residential areas. This ruling comes just weeks after a robbery in Edmonton, which resulted in the shooting death of one person.
Unifor, representing more than 1,500 armoured car guards across Canada, has called for federal standards in employee training, vehicle specifications, crew complements and safety equipment requirements. The union is calling for all party support of Bill C-285, a private member’s bill tabled by Peter Julian (Burnaby—New Westminster) that would require new federal regulations.
Unifor calls for new Federal rules following attack on armoured car drivers
In the early hours of July 8, 2016, an armoured truck robbery in Southeast Edmonton resulted in the shooting death of one person. In the wake of this attack, Unifor is urging the federal government to develop stronger industry safety and training laws to protect the public and prevent robberies by supporting Bill C-285.
To read Unifor's release click here
Letter to Ralph Goodale - Minister of Public Safety
Unifor National President Jerry Dias sent a letter to Ralph Goodale the Minister of public safety asking to improve public safety and the safety of armoured car employees. Within our diverse union we are proud to represent 2,000 members in the Canadian armoured car industry. The men and women who work in this sector are routinely exposed to danger and their safety is increasingly jeopardized by the lack of comprehensive federal regulation. As part of its effort to make the industry safer Unifor is calling to establish minimum standards in employee training, vehicle specifications, crew complements and safety equipment requirements.
Download the full letter in pdf click here
Unifor sends a second letter to Minister Blaney
Unifor today sent a letter to federal Minister of Public Safety Steven Blaney, along with a petition signed by hundreds of armoured car workers and Unifor members, calling on the federal government “to develop a comprehensive regulatory framework for the armoured car industry, establish minimum standards on employee training, vehicle specifications, crew compliments and safety equipment.”
To read the letter, click here.
Armoured car campaign update
Armoured car members at Unifor have been very active over the last year,
pushing for important changes in the industry to make conditions safer for
everyone – both the workers carrying out the critical job of keeping the economy
moving, and the public in general. Here is a report back about our actions and
successes so far.
To see the complete update click here
Unifor responds to recent attack on armoured car driver
On the evening of October 29, an armoured truck robbery occurred in the Montreal neighborhood of Rosemont once again establishing the need for a national taskforce to look into safety standards in the armoured car industry.
To read the whole story click here.