Overview

Security guard or private investigator agencies:

This page outlines the requirements and responsibilities of security guard and private investigator agencies.

Learn about the requirements for security guards and private investigators.

Maintain a valid licence

A security guard or private investigator agency must:

  • have and maintain a valid agency licence
  • ensure the security guard and private investigators they hire have valid licences

Agency licence

Any business that sells the services of security guards and/or private investigators requires an agency licence. Agencies must ensure they maintain a valid licence and update it when they need to.

Agencies must update their information on file through ServiceOntario immediately if any of the following changes:

  • business name
  • business address or other contact information
  • sole proprietors, officers, directors and partners
  • branch offices

Employees licence

Security guard or private investigator agencies are required to:

  • only hire licensed security guards or private investigators
  • ensure their employees maintain a valid licence

If an employee is charged for working without a valid licence, the agency they work for may also face charges.

Agencies are not responsible for getting licences for their employees. Security guards and private investigators are responsible for getting their own licences and renewing them before they expire.

To work as a security guard or private investigator in Ontario, you must have a valid licence.

Individual security guard and private investigator licences can be verified online through ServiceOntario.

Mailing address and business premises

Agencies must provide an Ontario mailing address where the business will operate. This does not have to be a commercial location.

Agencies must display their agency licence in a visible spot in the office where they deal with the public.

It is your responsibility to ensure that the business premises or offices:

  • are not in contravention of any municipal by-laws or zoning regulations
  • comply with all other municipal, provincial and federal laws

Training and first aid

Agencies that would like to offer training must register as a training provider. They must also comply with all training requirements and ensure that all applicants are trained in compliance the training and testing regulation and training syllabus.

Uniforms and equipment issued to employees

Agencies are responsible for making sure all uniforms for security guards meet all necessary requirements. An agency employing security guards or private investigators may issue equipment, such as:

  • batons, during their duties for defensive purposes only
  • handcuffs
  • firearms, only to those with a valid firearms licence and are authorized to carry under section 20 of the Firearms Act

The employer is responsible for determining if their employees should be authorized to use batons, handcuffs and/or firearms and to offer associated training.

It is up to the licensed agency to have adequate insurance to cover any risks associated with having employees carry this equipment.

Notifying the ministry of armed employees

Licensed agencies are required to notify the Ministry of the Solicitor General, in writing, with the names of all security guards and private investigators who are authorized to carry a firearm. This must occur within five days after the employee receives that authorization.

Any changes, such as revoking an employee’s authorization to use a firearm, must also be submitted to the ministry within five days of the change.

Report use of force

If a security guard or a private investigator uses force while on duty, the licenced agency who employs them is required to:

  1. complete a Use of Force Report online
  2. submit it to the Ministry of the Solicitor General via the form

Examples of use of force can include:

  • usage of handcuffs, baton, firearm or any weapon
  • bodily or physical force used by a private investigator or security guard
  • a working dog with a private investigator or security guard attacks a person (see the Use of Animals regulation)

Agencies must keep all Use of Force Reports on file for at least two years, or until the conclusion of any related investigation, inspection, complaint, court proceeding or administrative proceeding.

Recordkeeping

Agencies are required to keep all records listed in the Private Security and Investigative Services Act for two years. All records must be provided to the Ministry of the Solicitor General upon request.

If the records are part of an ongoing investigation, inspection, complaint or legal case, they should be kept until the situation is fully resolved.

Compliance inspection and enforcement program

The Ministry of the Solicitor General is responsible for inspecting and enforcing regulations in the PSISA including:

  • conducting compliance inspections and investigations
  • reviewing and assessing public complaints of alleged violations of the PSISA, its regulations, and conditions of licenses
  • educating and providing guidance to licensees and registered employers

Compliance inspections ensure licensed agencies fully understand their responsibilities under the PSISA and its regulations. Compliance inspectors work with and support agencies to make sure they understand the legislation and implement it appropriately.

Responsibilities of inspectors and investigators

Compliance inspectors carry out inspections using the powers on inspection. These powers allow inspectors to conduct unannounced inspections at any public building or office. If your agency is in a private residence, the inspector will schedule an appointment to conduct the inspection.

Compliance inspectors provide:

  • inspections and compliance checks of licensed agencies and individuals
  • reviews and assessments of public complaints related to alleged violations or non-compliance of the PSISA
  • guidance and advice to licensees, registered employers, registered training providers and the public

Investigators are responsible for:

  • reviewing Code of Conduct complaints for referral to facilitation
  • investigating public complaints
  • investigations into contraventions of the PSISA
  • enforcing breaches of the PSISA by laying charges
  • preparing cases for prosecution and attending court, as required
  • liaising with police and other provincial and municipal agencies

Scheduled inspection process

Step 1: Notification of and scheduling an inspection

All newly licensed agencies are contacted by a compliance inspector within 90 days of their licence issue date to discuss licensing requirements and obligations. This may include a compliance inspection.

All licensees are encouraged to review the PSISA and regulations to ensure they are complying with all sections of the legislation.

Step 2: Performing the inspection

Upon arrival, the compliance inspector assigned to your agency will introduce themselves and show their identification including an appointment card and their badge. The inspection may include:

  • discussion with the agency representative
  • note-taking
  • reviewing files
  • collecting documents
  • answering any agency representative questions

Step 3: Providing inspection results

When an inspection is complete, the agency will receive a post-inspection letter by email confirming whether they were found compliant or non-compliant.

An agency is expected to correct all non-compliant areas within 30, 60, or 90 days of receiving the post-inspection letter, depending on the type of non-compliance identified. A follow-up inspection will be scheduled.

Failure to correct the non-compliant areas can lead to:

  • conditions being placed on the license
  • license suspension or license revocation
  • charges being laid

Inspection schedule

Regularly scheduled inspections are carried out once a year following the schedule below. The schedule does not include additional inspections that are performed unannounced, when necessary.

Central Ontario - January 2021 through March 2021 - complete
Eastern Ontario - April 2021 through June 2021 - complete
Western Ontario - April 2021 through June 2021 - complete
Northern Ontario - July 2021 through September 2021
Central Ontario - October 2021 through December 2021