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How to Become a Private Investigator in Canada

Due to the large size of the country, you must become a Private Investigator in Canada by becoming licensed in the individual province you are a resident of. There does not exist an official federal Canadian Private Investigator course or Private Investigator training.


To become a Private Investigator throughout Canada, you must obtain a PI license in each province. This is easier than you think. Once you obtain one full Private Investigator license in one province, you can use that license to obtain other provincial Private Investigator licenses and circumvent each province's Private Investigator licensing requirements.

Canadian Private Investigator licensing requirements by province

British Columbia






Nova Scotia


New Brunswick

Canadian Private Investigator Salary Info

Learn more about Private Investigator Online Training

Private Detective Aptitude Test

Canadian PI Provincial Checklist

  1. You must be 19yo or older.

  2. You must have a clean criminal record.

  3. You have to take a Canadian government licensing course.

  4. You must obtain 2400hrs of experience with a PI beginner's license.

How to Become a Canadian Private Investigator, in Most Places

The process of becoming a Private Investigator is similar in most countries, states, and provinces: 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 a lot of jurisdictions, there is a specific government body that controls licensed investigators. So, it is this government body that will have a list of approved PI licensing courses. Some of these can be online courses. Once you submit the proof of your ability to meet the requirements and completion of the licensing course to the government body, you will get your PI beginner’s license. This is where your struggle will begin.

Canada PI

Your Private Investigator’s beginner’s license will be called something such as, “PI Under Supervision License.” You’ve guessed it, an “Under Supervision” license means you must work under the purview of a fully licensed PI. However, the term “Under Supervision” will be in namesake only. You will not be supervised or guided by an experienced Private Investigator. 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 PIs need to be aware of. This is useful; however, new Private Investigators still need to know how to be successful working investigative operations.

This lack of guidance and Private Investigator education is why so many new 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.

canada investigator

Now the time comes for you to work investigations with no Private Eye experience or education. The licensing course you took focused on legal matters with no real practical PI subjects or topics. You will always be told by employers that “soon you will get some 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 losing work opportunities from a lack of skill and education. What is sad is that this is a common story in the private investigation industry.

If you make it through this meat grinder of an industry with over 2400hrs of experience, you will qualify for a "full Private Investigator license." Some jurisdictions allow you to skip over needing to obtain 2400hrs of Private Investigator experience if you have a degree in a criminal justice type field. So, you get your 2400hrs of PI experience and or a relevant degree and you can get your full Private Investigator 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.

Example: Private Investigator License Requirements


Restrictions: you can only work as a PI employee.


You must be 18 or older.

Criminal Record

You cannot have a criminal record.


You need to be a citizen and submit a copy of government ID.


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 government and submit proof of completion. This can be an online course.

Equivalent Education

Typically, a degree in a criminal justice type field will qualify you for a PI license.

Passport Photo

You have to provide a certified passport photo.


You have to get your fingerprints taken.


You will have to pay a small licensing fee.


The documents you submit can be sent