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The term “Private Detectives” in Ontario, and why it’s illegal!

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Private “Detectives” In Ontario:

Private “Detectives” In Ontario:

I receive nearly a dozen calls a week with individuals in search of a “Private Detective in Ontario“. Even though some people are familiar with the term “Private Detective” legally in Ontario, we are not allowed to claim ourselves as “Private Detectives.”

We are licensed under the Private Security & Investigative Services Act, 2005 a part of the Ministry of Community Safety & Correctional Services. We are responsible for ensuring the laws and regulations of the Private Investigative industry are maintained. There is a difference between Private Investigators in Ontario and Police officers in Ontario. Our responsibilities are different, and our roles are different.

If you speak with a company that promotes themselves as a “Private Detective in Toronto” or Private Detective in Ottawa” Etc. then you need to inform them that they are in direct violation of our acts & regulations which we agreed to abide by when we received our licenses. If you are a company advertising as a “Private Detective in Ontario“, then you should consider yourself warned that you can face jail time and severe fines for this offense.

What is OK for Private Investigators to call themselves?

Private Investigator
Information Gatherer
Private Eye

You are not allowed to say you are a:

Private Detective
Police Officer
Police Detective
Special Agent

How do you know your working with a Private Investigator who is licensed?

After completion of the Ministry of Community Safety and Correction Services- Private Security & Investigative Services Branch approved Private Investigator training course. You will be issued a license with photo identification and precise identification of your job title either “Private Investigator” or “Security Guard” or a dual license showing “Private Investigator and Security Guard“. That is how you know if the individual is authorized. If you are hiring a Private Investigation Agency, you should ask to see their license to ensure they can provide you with the evidence you need, legally. A Private Investigative Agency License is on white paper with no color and shows a QR code to scan for verification and should be displayed when asked.

To confirm an individual and Agency license, you can visit:

Additionally Private Investigators are not allowed to possess a badge like Police Officers; we are required to show you our licenses if you ask. If you see a Private Investigator in Ontario, show you a badge request more information discreetly so you can report the violation to the Ministry.

As an industry, we want to see the laws, act & regulations preserved. Please let us know if you see someone who is in violation of the acts, and we will inform the proper authorities.

The Smith Investigation Agency- Private Investigators in Toronto, Ottawa & Sudbury, Ontario!

About the Author

Whitney Joy Smith

Whitney Joy Smith is a prominent figure in the field of private investigation and security, serving as the founder and CEO of The Smith Investigation Agency Inc., Smith Security Inc., and Training Centre Canada, as well as a sitting politician.

With a remarkable journey that began in the early 2000s, Whitney's professional background as a private investigator is underscored by her unwavering dedication to the role. Born in Canada and having spent her early years between Canada and the United States, Whitney possesses a unique perspective shaped by her experiences in both countries. This background equips her with an in-depth understanding of the intricacies of private investigative laws, regulations, and operational standards in North America.

Throughout her career, Whitney has garnered numerous industry awards and accolades. She takes great pride in working closely with her continually expanding agency, striving to elevate industry standards, maintain compliance, and effectively meet the diverse investigative needs of clients.

Whitney actively engages in various membership, committee, board and support roles, demonstrating her commitment to the industry and professional community. She is affiliated with all local chambers, associations and more.

Whitney's wealth of experience is not limited to her professional achievements; her thought-provoking articles have been featured in publications ranging from Readers Digest, Cosmopolitan, Huffington Post, and Mens Health to Business News Daily. She constantly seeks to redefine standards and push the boundaries of excellence within the private investigative and security fields.

To discover more about Whitney Joy Smith and the dedicated team at The Smith Investigation Agency Inc., visit our website to learn more.

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