Jail Guards

Working as a Vancouver Jail Guard offers a unique opportunity with a competitive salary, benefits and a flexible work schedule. The position lends itself to developing life experience and communication skills, and can also provide preparation for future careers within the criminal justice system, such as policing or corrections.

The Vancouver Jail is located adjacent the Provincial Courthouse at Main St. and East Cordova St. It is a challenging work environment – on any given night you may deal with everything from intoxicated persons to murderers.

Many VPD officers began their careers in the Vancouver Jail. For some it was a chance to mature; for others, it was a great employment opportunity while they worked their way through college or university. All agree it was great experience that prepared them for a career in policing.

The qualification and selection of Jail Guards is similar to that of our police officer hiring process.

Jail Guard Applicants: Attending one of the VPD's monthly Information Sessions at the Justice Institute of B.C. in New Westminster is your first step in applying to the VPD. Attending the Information Session is the only way to pick up an application to join the VPD.


To apply for a position as a Vancouver Jail Guard, you must meet the following requirements:

  • excellent character
  • minimum Grade 12 graduation or equivalent (GED)
  • minimum 19 years of age
  • Canadian citizen or permanent resident
  • a valid BC Class 5 driver’s license with no restrictions and a good driving history
  • able to pass the Correctional Officer Physical Abilities Test (COPAT)
  • medically fit and able to meet the VPD's visual acuity and hearing standards
  • keyboarding skill of 25 words per minute
  • have no business or employment conflict of interest
  • no criminal convictions for which a record suspension has not been granted and no criminal charges pending
  • meet the selection requirements and background clearance required by the Vancouver Police Department

The following are considered assets, but not pre-requisites to applying:

  • previous experience as a prison guard or peace officer
  • second language fluency

Selection Process

  • Information Session – attend one of our monthly Information Sessions to pick up an application
  • entrance exam – a score of 50% is required to pass (Sample Written Exam)
  • Integrity and Lifestyle Questionnaire - documents outlining your personal background
  • Police Officers Physical Abilities Test (POPAT) - a modified version, completed in under 4:30
  • intake interview – conducted by a Recruiting Detective, this includes a review of your Integrity and Lifestyle Questionnaire
  • polygraph examination - conducted by a specially trained VPD Sergeant
  • medical exam - you will need to pay approximately $400 for the medical exam; visual acuity requirements are flexible
  • Sergeant's interview (discretionary)
  • background investigation


Training for new Jail Guards is approximately one month in duration. It takes place on weekday evenings and on weekends in Vancouver. You will be paid during training, and sworn in as a Jail Guard once you successfully complete the training program. Training includes, but is not limited to:

  • legal studies
  • use of force
  • policy and procedures
  • file management systems
  • on the job "jail" training

Work Duties

Vancouver Jail Guards

  • books, searches, guards, escorts and attends to the welfare of inmates in the cell area
  • monitors, controls and restricts the movement of persons within the unit
  • appraises behavioural situations that may be potentially dangerous; restrains aggressive or violent inmates; responds to emergencies and maintains non-complex records
  • works independently within clearly defined methods and procedures, however, unusual matters or problems are referred to a superior who reviews work performance in terms of continued alertness, attitude and adherence to established practices and procedures

Vancouver Jail Records Guards

  • transfers and releases inmates, and processes and maintains related records
  • schedules inmate movements, transfers and releases; liaises with a variety of internal and external contacts; participates in the work of a group of Guards
  • prepares and maintains various records related to inmates in custody; reviews, enters, amends and updates information in data systems
  • works independently within defined guidelines and policies and work performance is reviewed by a superior in terms of conformance to established practices and procedures and effectiveness of services rendered

Work Schedule

Once jail guards are hired, they join an auxiliary employee list, where the work schedule is based on staffing needs in the jail and the auxiliary jail guard's availability. A part-time auxiliary jail guard may advance to a full-time position dependent on vacancies and qualifications.

Full-time employement offers a work week consisting of:

  • four days on, four days off
  • 12-hour shifts – two days (6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.) and two nights (6:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m.)
  • 2,191 hours annually

Salary & Pay Increases

The annual pay for Jail Guards is approximately $43,863 to $51,532.

The annual pay for Records Guards is $47,610 to $55,914.

The annual pay for a Guard Supervisor is $51,532 to $60,646.

Each pay increment is attained yearly for full-time Jail Guards, and after 2,088 hours worked for part-time casual Jail Guards. Records Guard and Jail Guard Supervisor are promotional positions.

Jail Guard

  • Step 1: $22.85 hourly
  • Step 2: $24.80 hourly
  • Step 3: $26.83 hourly

Records Guard

  • Step 1: $24.80 hourly
  • Step 2: $26.83 hourly
  • Step 3: $29.11 hourly

Guard Supervisor

  • Step 1: $26.83 hourly
  • Step 2: $29.11 hourly
  • Step 3: $31.61 hourly


Extensive benefits offered within the union collective agreement. Some examples are:

  1. three weeks of holidays annually (to start)
  2. overtime pay when working holidays
  3. uniforms and uniform cleaning supplied
  4. medical and dental coverage
  5. access to gym facilities (guards are expected to be physically fit)
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Apply to Become a Vancouver Jail Guard

The VPD is actively hiring jail guards.

Application packages are only available at monthly Recruiting Information Sessions held at the Justice Institute of B.C. in New Westminster.

Recruitment FAQs

See the VPD's Recruitment FAQs for some frequently asked questions (and answers) on our recruitment process.

Recruiting Outlook for 2014

The VPD is hiring police officers, Community Safety personnel, jail guards and Traffic Authority officers.