Policy against firearms on breaks didn’t include everyone: Adjudicator

Trainers claimed they didn't know policy applied to them; language didn't name trainers as prohibited from carrying sidearms outside workplace
|Canadian Employment Law Today|Last Updated: 06/26/2013

An adjudicator has quashed five-day suspensions given to three Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) trainers for wearing their full uniforms and firearms to a restaurant when they went out to dinner.

Cathy Christenson, John Jacques and Bruce Machacynski were use-of-force and firearms instructors for CBSA based in Ottawa. They were among the first group of such trainers for the CBSA. As part of their training by the RCMP, they were instructed on a policy on the wearing of protective and defensive equipment that stated officers leaving a point of entry or CBSA office for personal business, meal breaks or rest period were required to “remove their defensive equipment and properly store it.” A second version of the policy in 2007 indicated it applied to “all border services officers and inland enforcement officers, investigators, intelligence officers and members of management who are issued such equipment.” Exceptions had to be authorized by management.

In March 2008, the three trainers were assigned to conduct a duty firearm practice session for border service officers in Windsor, to be held at the Windsor police range. On March 28, at the end of a training session, all three went out to dinner at a restaurant and bar wearing their full uniforms and sidearms.