Public complaints for security guards and private investigators
Learn how to file a complaint against a security guard or private investigator.
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Anyone can file a complaint against a security guard or a private investigator if they have reason to believe that the security guard or private investigator have failed to comply with the Private Security and Investigative Services Act (PSISA) or its regulations.
We will review public complaints alleging that a licence holder has either:
- breached the Code of Conduct regulation
- failed to comply with the PSISA or its regulations
- breached a licence condition
Code of Conduct complaints against licensed security guards or private investigators must be about their conduct while on duty. Complaints can also be made against licensed agencies and their officers, directors, partners and sole proprietors.
We may also review complaints about individuals or agencies not licensed by the ministry.
Complaints about labour relations issues, such as wages, work stoppages and grievances do not fall within the scope of the PSISA. Contact the Ministry of Labour for information about labour relations.
How to submit a complaint
To submit a complaint, complete the public complaint form and make sure to include:
- a date and e-signature
- the names of witnesses, their addresses and telephone numbers
- as much information as possible
There is no fee for filing a complaint.
There are three ways you can file a complaint.
Private Security and Investigative Services Branch
Ministry of the Solicitor General
25 Grosvenor Street, 12th Floor
Complete the public complaint form.
Scan the completed and signed form and e-mail to PSIS.PublicComplaints@ontario.ca.
Do not submit complaints anonymously.
Please direct phone enquiries to
Any complaint related to a Code of Conduct regulation violation must be filed within 90 days of the incident.
You can choose a lawyer or an agent to represent you in filing a complaint. You are responsible for all associated costs.
The person against whom the complaint has been filed can also choose to be represented by a lawyer or agent at their own expense.
If you are filing a complaint on behalf of someone else, include that person’s name, address and contact information on the public complaint form and indicate your relationship to that person.
How we process complaints
We will send you an acknowledgement letter within three business days of receiving your complaint.
Depending on the nature of the complaint, it may lead to one or more of the following:
- referral to police of jurisdiction or to a more appropriate office or ministry
- licence revocation
- facilitation, which could result in conditions being placed on a licence
- correspondence (for example, a cease and desist letter)
- inspection of an agency
- dismissal of the complaint
The employer may also be investigated if a complaint concerns alleged violations of:
- the PSISA
- its regulations
- a breach of a licence condition by a security guard or private investigator
The agency may be subject to a compliance inspection if the complaint is about the conduct of a licensed agency.
If the complaint is determined to be a breach of the Code of Conduct regulation, it will be forwarded to a facilitator for resolution.
The PSISA allows us to address alleged Code of Conduct violations through facilitation provided by a licensed and independent facilitator contracted by the ministry.
The facilitation process attempts to resolve a dispute between a complainant and the subject of a complaint through discussion. This option is not available in instances where the subject of a complaint is unlicensed.
Here is the step-by-step process for facilitation when a complaint is received:
- The complaint will be reviewed, and If it meets the criteria for a code-of-conduct violation, it will be referred to a facilitator.
- The facilitator will send a letter to both the complainant and the subject of the complaint, advising the subject that their participation in the facilitation process is mandatory, as outlined in subsection 19(8) of the PSISA.
- The facilitator will attempt to resolve the complaint through face-to-face meetings or teleconference.
- The facilitator will issue a report of the results of a facilitation session to the registrar. The report may contain recommendations for a remedial course of action.
- The registrar will make the facilitator’s recommended remedial course of action a condition on the licensee’s licence. The recommended remedial course of action may involve training in any one or more of the following:
- anger management
- race relations
- communication skills
- interpersonal relations
- If the licensee fails to meet the registrar’s imposed condition(s), the registrar may propose to revoke the licensee’s licence and serve a written notice.
- The licensee may then request an opportunity to be heard before the registrar within 21 business days to show cause why the registrar should not take the proposed action.
Withdrawing a complaint
You may formally withdraw a complaint at any time before a decision is rendered.
The withdrawal must be in writing, signed and delivered to the registrar, by mail, or e-mail. It should include the reason for withdrawing the complaint.
Withdrawing a complaint may not stop the ministry from pursuing actions in cases where it provided enough concern that it warrants:
- a licence condition resulting from facilitation
- an investigation
- an inspection
- a licence revocation
If you withdraw your complaint, you are not able to receive any information regarding its status or outcome.
Dismissal of a complaint
The registrar may decline to deal with a complaint related to a breach of the Code of Conduct regulation if they decide the complaint is frivolous, vexatious or not made in good faith. This includes complaints that:
- lack a reasonable purpose
- are made with the intent to harass or annoy
- are made with the intent to deceive or mislead
- are made with an improper purpose or ulterior motive
A complaint may also be dismissed in situations where the complainant:
- cannot be contacted
- will not participate in the facilitation process
The deputy registrar will send a letter to the complainant’s last known address, notifying them of a dismissal.
If a complaint is dismissed because the complainant cannot be contacted or no longer wishes to proceed with facilitation, other processes related to the complaint may still proceed such as an investigation, inspection or licence revocation.
Between January 1 and December 31, 2021, we received 187 public complaints.
Of these complaints:
- 56 alleged violations of the PSISA
- 65 alleged Code of Conduct Regulation violations
- 21 alleged violations of both PSISA and Code of Conduct regulations
- 45 fell out of scope
As each complaint received may include more than one allegation, the total number of allegations may exceed the number of complaints received.