TORONTO, Jan. 21, 2014 /CNW/ - Unifor is grateful that no one was injured in an armoured car robbery in Toronto on Monday night, but the incident demonstrates the very real dangers faced by workers in this industry every day.
"Our immediate concerns go out to the families of these guards and their families, as well as members of the public in the area at the time, who were put in danger by this violent robbery," said Unifor national President Jerry Dias.
"We are grateful that no one was hurt in this incident, but cannot be complacent that there will not be injury the next time there is a robbery."
At about 10:30pm on January 20, a two-person armoured car crew was robbed at gunpoint outside the city's Fairview Mall. Several shots were fired. Bags of cash and shell casings were reported scattered around the armoured car, which had a bullet hole in its windshield.
Since 2000, there have been more than 70 attacks on armoured cars in Canada, resulting in three fatalities and two serious injuries.
Canada has a patchwork of out of date and ineffective regulations for the industry. This latest robbery highlights the need for minimum employee training, vehicle specifications, crew compliments and safety equipment.
Safety for armoured car guards and drivers means safety for the public, Dias said, pointing out that this robbery took place at a very popular shopping centre in the city's north end, and that the getaway vehicle was abandoned on a nearby residential street close to a public school.
Dias called on Minister of Public Safety Steve Blaney to establish a task force on the armoured car industry to undertake comprehensive policy research, gather stakeholders' views and develop recommendations and legislative guidance, and to meet with Unifor representatives on the issue.
For a copy of Unifor's review of the armoured car industry and complete recommendations to improve its safety, go to http://www.unifor.org/en/take-action/campaigns/keep-workers-safe-their-cargo.
Unifor, which represents 2,000 workers in the armoured car industry, was formed Labour Day weekend 2013 with the merger of the Canadian Autoworkers with the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers union. With more than 300,000 members, it is Canada's largest union in the private sector.