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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

Founder of The Smith Investigation Agency in 2014, Whitney Joy Smith’s extensive background as a private investigator is matched only by her passion for the role. A graduate of several respected institutions, including Northwest Florida State College and George Brown College, her early years in life were spent between Canada and the United States. This education, along with her formative years as a private investigator in various agencies, informed much of her knowledge of private investigative laws, regulations, and operating standards in both countries.

The recipient of numerous industry awards and accolades, including the Consumers Choice Award, Best in Ottawa, and many others, Whitney takes pride in working closely with her ever-growing agency to raise the bar, maintain compliance, and meet the investigative needs of clients. Whitney is active in various membership and supporting roles, including the CPIRC, CBN, CAPI, Canadian Women’s Chamber of Commerce, and many others. Her experience-driven, thought-provoking articles have been featured in everything from Readers Digest to Business News Daily, and she strives to continually redefine standards for those in the private investigative and security fields. Learn more about Whitney and the team at The Smith Investigation Agency today.

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