We deal with thousands of cases and customers per year and a very large variety of cases as everyone’s need for investigative services is different. When we deal with our regular clients in the insurance, corporate and legal world there is a common understanding of the type of services private investigators perform in Toronto, Mississauga, Ottawa, Calgary, Edmonton and Halifax however when we deal with individuals of the public we often find there are many misconceptions on what to expect from hiring a private investigator and what you will receive once you hire an agency. We want to bring to light the actual services we conduct and what we can do not only legally but with remaining discrete.
TV and movie Private Investigators
There are many shows now that are solely about the Private Investigation industry as well as some that reference it. A quick glance at some of those shows is “Strike, Private Eyes, Veronica Mars, The Catch, Cheaters TV, and Magnum PI” just to name a few. One thing we see consistently from some of these TV shows or movies about Private Investigator is very different than the reality of what we can actually do legally. In the shows, they call on an investigator and find all the evidence they need in a moments time and seem to get information from any sources necessary. In addition to hacking cell phones, getting cell phone records, tracing phone calls etc. This is just not the reality of the investigative industry.
Canada vs. United States of America Private Investigators
In addition to there being many things in TV and movies that are not applicable, there are also different laws from the US to Canada. In Canada, for instance, our privacy laws are much stricter, our ability to obtain certain information is less than that of the state’s due to the various acts that we have in place to protect people and information. We recently had an American inquire about services and they were looking to do a background check. The costs of the background checks in America is only around $50.00 and gives a fair bit of information. However, in Canada the cost is considerably different due to the difficulty in obtaining the information and having to pay for access to multiple databases etc. The privacy laws in this situation make a service more expensive because of the level of difficulty.
They want what they want
We have dealt with clients who provide little to no information and expect the world of results which in some cases is just not realistic. There are times investigators can obtain information with limited to no information, but it is not a guarantee. Private Investigators always strive to provide the most amount of results possible, but some cases simply just become difficult and clients want the results they see on TV. We recently had a case where the client had only a partial name of a person and an approximate area where the subject lived. We discussed the case in detail and were very clear with the limited information the results may not be favourable, but we would exhaust all efforts to do the search. We completed the search and were able to obtain more information than the client had gotten however this client could not be satisfied because they wanted more even though it was not available. When this client was asking if additional information could be provided they continued to reference things seen in movies and things that were clearly illegal.
Other companies may claim to offer services they cannot provide
We recently had a client email us for services and wanted to find someone using skip tracing services in Calgary. We discussed the options with the client in how we could assist given the limited information. We explained our process and that we do not offer any guarantees especially with the limited information that was given. Once we started to work on the file we were not finding any current address information so needed to put the file in a brief hold to wait for new information to surface. When we explained this to the client the client became irritated and started to talk about the conversations we had supposedly had and the promise she claims we made. The issue is we never discussed the sources or resources used to obtain information. This client had previously talked to another company and possibly more than one that said they would look up all these types of ways to get information one main one using Canada Revenue Agency. This is not legal and not something people can claim to get information from as that is a violation of the privacy law as well as others. So, the issue was this client had been inappropriately informed by movies as well as by other companies on the reality of what we can legally do as.
If it sounds too good to be true it probably is
As private investigators we have to naturally work within the law to obtain information and evidence for cases. Especially if the cases have the potential to go to court. So, if someone says they can get information for you be sure that information is obtained within the proper channels otherwise you potentially face issues when presenting that information in court. Private Investigators do have access to information above the public however we do not have access to government information such as CRA, disability, welfare, etc.
Are private investigators the same as the police?
Let’s be clear, private investigators are not one and the same with the police. It is two completely different industries, though we share similar investigative tactics. Yes, private investigators are data and evidence collectors, however we do not enforce the law. Often, we receive calls where the general public seems to think we have the same kind of capabilities or access to data as the police, however this is far from the truth. Hence, in Canada a private investigator is not titled a detective. Unless a crime has been committed, certain information is protected by privacy acts. In the example of going through someone’s text messages, emails etc. Unfortunately, if you’re concerned with your cheating spouse, sadly that is not enough grounds for us to invade his or her privacy. Though important to the individual, less important in the eyes of the police.
Private Investigators want to help you, the legal way!
Although some companies will work outside of the rules, laws and guidelines of the industry we work to not just provide the best results for our clients but do it with compliance to the privacy act, evidence act, PIPEDA and the private investigative and security act. After all, if you pay for the services of a private investigator and the information was obtained illegally or not within the law it will not be admissible in court if your case requires it. As well you could find yourself in trouble by obtaining information that was not legally obtained. Make sure you work with an experienced private investigator in Alberta, Nova Scotia, Ontario and throughout Canada.
If you have any questions about the services an investigator can conduct for your case call for a free consultation or complete the inquiry form below and we can work with you to explain the process of investigations for your case as well as conduct a lawful investigation.