"Fly to New Heights"

Jim Irving
December 1, 2000

Nestled into the beautiful backdrop of Scugog Island, is the Great Blue Heron Charity Casino (GBH). With its brilliant red, green and blue carnival style-like roof, the GBH is a striking contrast to the trees and rural countryside that surround it.

This full service casino is host to 450 slot machines, 40 assorted table games, and one of the most popular dining establishments in the region, "Waters Edge Restaurant". Now 3 ½ years young, this newly expanded 70,000 square foot facility is a unique sight. Extensive renovations to the building interior have expanded the aboriginal land and water theme, providing guests with a friendly, relaxing, and natural setting that is different from any other gaming establishment in Ontario.

The Great Blue Heron Charity Casino is currently among the largest employers in Durham Region, with approximately 800 full and part time staff. The Casino Security Department (excluding Surveillance) consists of just over 100 Security Personnel. Although there are now 4 additional Charity Casinos operating in Ontario as mention in https://www.casinoonlinecanadahelper.com/ Canadian online casino sites, the Great Blue Heron was the first permanent Charity Casino of its kind to open in the province.

From a global perspective, "Gaming in Ontario", is a new and rapidly growing industry. The recruitment of security personnel (experienced in gaming), proved to be a challenging task. The casino's rural setting also revealed that emergency municipal support services (such as police, fire and ambulance), would not be easily accessible. In response to the challenge, GBH developed a series of comprehensive training programs, unparalleled in the industry.

The young men & women who join the GBH Security Department quickly learn the importance of teamwork, and commitment to their own professional development. "I seek out the best Security Officers the industry has to offer, and then my team makes them even better ", says Jim Irving, GBH Director of Security & Life Safety.

Some of the mandatory (in class) training programs for GBH Security Personnel include; Operating Policy and Procedures, First Aid, CPR, Civil Law, Criminal Law, Use of Force, Defensive Tactics (Self Defense), Tactical Communications (Non-Violent Crisis Intervention), Emergency Readiness, Fire Safety, Fire Extinguishers (Live burns), Flammable, Explosive & Hazardous Chemicals, Customer Service, Smart Serve (Liquor Service), Responsible Gaming (addictions programs), Hazard Identification & Accident Investigation, Cultural Sensitivity & Human Rights, Counterfeit Money, and Identification Verification (detecting ID fraud).

In addition to the above training programs, the GBH Security Department maintains 5 senior officers on duty (24 hours a day), referred to as the "Emergency Response Team", which are also certified in oxygen administration and automated external defibrillation. In Ontario, O2 & AED are still "designated medical acts" (requiring an MD License). Respectfully, Security personnel must re-certify their skills with a Medical Director (or designate) every 90 days.

In keeping with the GBH Security Departments commitment to continuous quality improvement, the time had come to introduce a new training initiative. A program that would ultimately contribute to the officer's overall performance at the casino, and also contribute to the individual officer's academic portfolio, or long term career goals. The program had to be flexible enough to permit staff to study at their own pace, but offer integrity in its completion, and industry wide recognition. The IFPO "Certified Protection Officer" Program exceeded the desired criteria.

In January 2000, the CPO program became mandatory for all GBH Security Personnel and now forms part of their employment contract. Upon commencing employment with GBH, Security Staff are given 1 year in which to complete the program. The cost of which is reimbursed to the officer upon successful completion. There are presently 70 GBH Security Officers participating in the CPO Program, which is perhaps the largest group in Canada to have enrolled in the program since IFPO began in 1986.

On behalf of the International Foundation for Protection Officers, we would like to wish the ladies and gentleman of the Great Blue Heron Charity Casino Security Department, the best of luck on their final exams.