Lil’wat examining Olympic security opportunities 

First Nation takes steps towards partnership with Canadian security company

Lil’wat First Nations may be teaming up with a large Canadian company to offer security services during the 2010 Olympics.

United Protection Services Inc. recently announced it had signed a letter of intent to create a joint venture with the Lil’wat First Nations of Mount Currie and their lead consultant, T’musta7 Aboriginal Consulting Services.

United First Nations Corp., a division of United Protection Services Inc., will offer administrative, staffing and project management services, as well as training and operational support, to help fulfill security requirements for the 2010 Olympics.

“This agreement will bring meaningful employment for First Nations members leading up to and throughout the 2010 Olympics,” Don Allan, president and COO of United Protection Services, said in a release issued Dec. 24.

“It also provides a staging area in close proximity to Whistler that will give our Joint Venture group a decided advantage to leverage the employment opportunities for First Nations people and others involved in a number of successful partnerships on large mega projects that will provide the experience to deal with a project of this magnitude.”

A private security company based out of Edmonton, United Protection Services currently employs over 700 professionally trained officers in more than 12 offices throughout Western Canada.

Daniel Sailland, senior administrator for Lil’wat Nation, says they are in the early stages of the partnership, but the idea is that United would be responsible for securing contracts with private companies, and Lil’wat Nation would provide trained staff.

“It’s a good starting point with regards to providing additional jobs in a different sector. There has been a heavy focus over the past few years on the labour industry, which has been quite successful for us,” Sailland explained.

“Now this is starting to venture into something different, that has an obvious win-win scenario, and so we’re hoping to develop that in as best a way as possible.”

The arrangement would offer Lil’wat members the opportunity to branch out into new training and employment sectors, and also provide United with access to Lil’wat Nation facilities within the Mount Currie region during the Olympics.

Sailland says they need to iron out the details of the agreement, and at this point he isn’t sure how many jobs this partnership could produce.

Allan says many organizations will have to work together to provide security for pre-Games projects, like roadwork, construction and infrastructure projects.

“A major event of that nature involves the RCMP, it will involve the Canadian military, it will involve local police agencies, it will involve private security, it will involve the various different community groups, so its going to be an all-out concerted effort to ensure the safety and security of not only the athletes, but all of the workers.”

While the RCMP will coordinate security efforts during the Games, Allan is confident there will be plenty of opportunities for private security contracts.

“There will be a number of tender opportunities, I’m sure, that will be put out for different security organizations to bid on, up to and throughout. The reality is that, according to statistics by the RCMP, there’s going to be… something in the neighbourhood of 12,000 to 13,000 security personnel required,” Allan said Monday. He added that there are currently only 6,700 licensed security guards in the province.

Lil’wat Nation has issued an initial call to see who is interested in this type of training and employment, and so far, Sailland says the response has been good. Surrounding First Nations have also shown interest in the training.

“We’re finding that there’s an interest that stretches beyond just the members of this community, which is nice, because the employment and training office has the capacity to offer more services,” said Sailland.

This certainly isn’t the first time United has partnered with a First Nation. Allan points out they have formed these kinds of partnerships for almost 15 years.

“That’s the ultimate goal I think here, for us as well as for the Lil’wat Nation, is to try to provide meaningful, longer term employment opportunities for members of their First Nations.”

Over the next 30 days, United and Lil’wat Nation representatives plan to meet to develop a definitive agreement that outlines the responsibilities of both parties.

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