August 25, 2011 | Upcoming Classes
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June 4, 2010 | Ministry of Community Safety & Correctional Services Important Update
The Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services’ new basic Training and Testing Regulation is now in force.
Questions frequently asked and answered by the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional services
These FAQs help explain the new Private Security and Investigative Services Act, 2005. They are a guide only. If you have a question we have not answered on this website, please contact:
Private Security and Investigative Services Branch
416-212-1650 or 1-866-767-7454
or visit the PSISB at:
777 Bay Street, 3rd floor
Toronto, Ontario M7A 2J6
Why did you replace the Private Investigators and Security Guards Act?
The private security industry has grown dramatically over the past 40 years, from 4,000 licensed private investigators and security guards in 1966, to over 64,000 today. There are about 520 licensed agencies in the province providing private investigation and security guard services.
The new legislation and regulations will ensure that practitioners are qualified to provide protective services. By regulating things like uniforms and equipment use, we will ensure that the private security industry serves us all well.
Do I need a security guard licence?
You may need a licence if you are paid to do work that consists mainly of protecting persons or property. This includes bodyguards, bouncers and loss prevention personnel.
You will need a licence if your main responsibility in a bar or restaurant, for instance, is controlling entrances and patrolling the property to ensure the safety and security of the establishment and its occupants.
You will not need a licence if you are a hotel, motel or inn manager who may inspect common areas during your shift. Those checks are not the main activity of a manager in this setting. Overseeing the entire operation of the facility, as well as ensuring guest comfort, would typically be your main activity or responsibility.
You will not need a licence if you are a store clerk who may be required to open or lock up at the end of the business day. This is not your main activity. Selling and stocking merchandise would be considered your main activities.
Do I need a private investigator's licence?
You may need a private investigator's licence if you are mainly employed and paid for the following activities:
- Conducting investigations in order to provide information
- Conducting investigations into the character or actions of a person
- Conducting investigations into an individual's business or occupation
- Conducting investigations into the whereabouts of persons or property.
What are the minimum requirements to hold a security guard/private investigator licence now?
To be eligible for a licence, you must:
- Be 18 years of age or older
- Be eligible to work in Canada, and
- Have no convictions for a prescribed offence for which you have not been granted a pardon.
Who is responsible for obtaining my licence - my employer or me?
This important change means that you are free to change employers or obtain additional employment with another security firm without having to be re-licensed.
It is now your responsibility to renew your licence every year.
How much does a licence cost and for how long is it valid?
The cost of a licence is:
|Security Guard/Private Investigator||
Dual Individual Licence
Agency Licence Fees
Dual Agency Licence
These rates were set on September 6, 2006. All licences are valid for one year from the date of issue.
How do I get a licence application?
There are two ways you can get an application form and instructions:
You can pick up a copy of the information from the ministry's Private Security and Investigative Services Branch located at 777 Bay Street, 3rd floor, Toronto or
You can download the information from the PSISB website.
We will only accept photographs that are of passport quality. Photographs are valid for five (5) years.
Clean Criminal Record
Can I still get a licence if I have a criminal record?
The new act lists over 80 different offences in the Clean Criminal Record regulation that could prevent you from getting a licence if you have not received a pardon. These are known as prescribed offences. Depending on your record, you may not be eligible to hold a licence. Please visit the Act and Regulations section of the website to review the prescribed offences in the Clean Criminal Record regulation. If you have been convicted of an offence that is not listed in the Clean Criminal Record regulation, you may be requested to attend a hearing by the Registrar.
How do I obtain a pardon?
For information on how to receive a pardon, please contact your regional National Parole Board office (see below) or visit the National Parole Board website at http://www.npb-cnlc.gc.ca/. Applications and further information are available under "Pardons." You may also call the Pardon Section's toll-free number at 1-800-874-2652. Please note that you do not need a lawyer or representative to apply for a pardon.
National Parole Board
516 O'Connor Drive
Kingston ON K7P 1N3
Fax: (613) 634-3861
How long does it take to get a pardon?
It may take 12 - 18 months to obtain a pardon depending on the type of offence. Some have taken longer than 18 months to process as the processing time can vary in each case.
Do I need a pardon to be eligible for a licence if I have been convicted of an offence that is not listed in the Clean Criminal Record regulation?
No; however, the ministry encourages anyone convicted of an offence to seek a pardon and you may be requested to attend a hearing (see Backgrounders - "Hearings and Appeals.") Please note that all offences and pending charges must be declared on your application form.
Do I have to undergo a criminal records check every year?
Yes. A criminal records check is part of the standard yearly application process.
NOTE: Most exemptions for in-house security guards have been removed. This includes security guards working in the hospitality, retail, commercial, manufacturing, entertainment and other sectors.
If you operate a business that employs its own in-house security guards, you must be registered with the PSISB.. Your security personnel must also be individually licensed.
Who does this act not apply to?
- Practicing barristers or solicitors;
- People who receive payment for work that consists mainly of searching for and providing information on:
- The financial credit rating of individuals,
- The qualifications and suitability of people applying for insurance and indemnity bonds, or
- The qualifications and suitability of people as employees or prospective employees
- People who are acting as peace officers ;
- Insurance adjusters and their employees licensed under the Insurance Act while acting within the regular scope of their employment;
- Insurance companies and their employees licensed under the Insurance Act while acting within the regular scope of their employment;
- People living outside Ontario who are licensed employees of a private investigation agency licensed or registered in a jurisdiction outside Ontario, but elsewhere in Canada who:
On behalf of a person living outside Ontario, make an investigation or inquiry partly outside Ontario and partly within Ontario, and
Come into Ontario solely for the purpose of that investigation or inquiry
- People who are paid for work that consists mainly of providing advice about security; requirements but who are not selling the services of private investigators or security guards;
- People who are paid for work that consists mainly of providing an armoured vehicle service;
Any class of people exempted by the regulations.
People are exempt from having to be licensed as private investigators if they are conducting an investigation authorized by another federal or provincial act.
Code of Conduct
Why is there a Code of Conduct? What does it mean?
The Code of Conduct outlines standards for the industry so that businesses and individuals know how to perform their duties in a professional, honest and respectful way. Discrimination and racism will not be tolerated, nor will negligence or unlawful conduct under the code.