CBSA expands stunt-actor pilot project, warning those hired may get hit | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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CBSA expands stunt-actor pilot project, warning those hired may get hit

Members of the Canadian Border Services Agency gather at the Canadian border crossing in Surrey, B.C., Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2012. The Canada Border Services Agency says it is plans to amend bid documents looking for stunt-actors to clarify that they may get punched or kicked during training with new recruit. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
July 24, 2019 - 11:57 AM

OTTAWA - The Canada Border Services Agency says it plans to amend bid documents looking for stunt actors to clarify that they could get punched or kicked during training with new recruits.

The agency posted Monday looking for a company to supply actors for its training centre in Rigaud, Que., between Ottawa and Montreal.

The documents outline how the stunt actors will act out as many as 15 situations a day to help the agency assess the skills of new border agents, and warn that people hired should expect to be handcuffed, thrown, held down using "pain compliance techniques," and hit by trainees' fists, feet or batons.

A spokeswoman for the agency says the request for proposals, as the document is known, will be amended to let professional stunt actors know "there is a potential risk ... of physical contact that cannot be entirely mitigated."

Hiring the dozen or so actors expands a pilot project the CBSA launched in May to replace instructors with professional stunt actors during training sessions. The agency already uses volunteer actors in non-contact simulations.

The CBSA won't say what the budget is for the year-long contract on offer, citing the ongoing bidding process that closes in early September.

Border-agent recruits spend 18 weeks in training after completing up to 50 hours of online distance learning. They then work in various spots across the country as officer trainees.

More than 300 recruits are trained annually by the CBSA, and the stunt actors were originally brought in "as one of the efforts to increase training capacity," the agency said.

The actors take part in normal training exercises in a controlled environment with instructors watching closely and supervising as the recruits practice the "defensive tactics" they have been taught in scenarios that reflect, as much as possible, real-life situations.

Part of the bid documents outline how actors will have to go through some training to understand the CBSA work environment and what to expect from recruits.

Once on the job, the actors have to act out certain behaviours, like being nervous while smuggling drugs, to provoke reactions from trainees and then adapt through "movement, communication techniques and physical force" to simulate situations where things escalate, the agency said.

"The CBSA wanted to ensure that those involved understood that in this training environment there is a risk that stunt actors may be inadvertently hit by trainees or training tools in the course of practising defensive tactic manoeuvres," the agency said.

During simulations, actors will wear their own clothes, along with safety gloves, forearm pads, knee pads and shin guards, among other safety gear provided by the winning company.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2019
The Canadian Press

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