How to Become a Private Investigator in British Columbia
Updated: Jul 8
Becoming a Private Investigator in BC is similar to most other places: you need to meet basic requirements such as age, language proficiency, and other usual requirements of this nature. Furthermore, you need to take a government approved PI licensing course. In British Columbia, the government body that controls licensed Investigators is the Registrar of Security Services. So, it is the Registrar that will have a list of approved PI licensing courses. Once you submit the proof of your ability to meet the requirements and completion of the licensing course to the Registrar, you will get your PI beginner’s license. This is where your struggle will begin.
Your PI beginner’s license in BC is called “PI Under Supervision.” You’ve guessed it, an “Under Supervision” license means you must work under the purview of a fully licensed British Columbia PI. However, the term “Under Supervision” will be in namesake only. You will not be supervised or guided by an experienced PI. In fact, PI agencies are not economically structured to have mentor/ student surveillance teams. And that licensing course you took? It does not teach investigation, only what laws BC Private Investigators need to be aware of. This is useful; however, new Private Investigators still need to know how to be successful working operations.
This lack of guidance is why so many new BC Private Investigators burn out and quit and why many experienced Private Investigators are jaded. On top of this, PI clients with small budgets typically get the new unqualified Private Investigators, nobody wins in this situation. It is also not fair to small PI clients to use their files to haphazardly train new Private Investigators.
So, the time comes for you to work investigations with no Private Investigator experience or education. The licensing course you took focused on legal matters with no real practical Private Investigator training or topics. You will always be told by employers that “soon you will get some PI training,” which never happens. It took me over five years to figure out the industry and get good at a few specialized fields. During that time, I struggled and probably lost several hundred thousand dollars due to loosing work opportunities from a lack of skill and education. What is sad is that this is a common story in the industry. If you make it through this meat grinder with over 2400hrs of experience, you will qualify for a full PI license. This basically means you can open your own PI agency. Hopefully, when you are hiring new Private Investigators, you will appreciate the importance of proper PI education.
BC Private Investigator License Requirements
PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR UNDER SUPERVISION
Restrictions: you can only work as a PI employee.
You must be 19 or older.
You cannot have a criminal record. The Registrar will perform a criminal check on you.
You need to be a Canadian citizen and submit a copy of government ID to the Registrar.
You must be able to speak and write in English
Government Approved PI License Course
You will need to complete a license course approved by the Registrar and submit proof of completion. This can be an online course. Contact the Registrar for a list of approved courses.
You have to provide the Registrar with a certified passport photo.
You will have to pay a small licensing fee. Consult the Registrar for the fee amount.
The documents you submit can be sent to the Registrar via mail or online uploading.
PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR (FULL PI)
Permissions: You can apply for a PI business license and work for yourself.
Private Investigator Under Supervision License
You must provide the Registrar with a copy of your PI Under Supervision license.
2400 Hours of PI Experience
You have to submit proof of your PI experience. The easiest way is to submit your employee payment documents that show the hours you worked.
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