How to Become a Private Investigator in Ontario
Updated: 6 days ago
Becoming a Private Investigator in Ontario 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 Ontario, the government body that controls licensed Investigators is Service Ontario which is a government body acting under the Ministry of the Solicitor General. So, it is Service Ontario that will have a list of approved PI licensing courses. This list is available on their website. After completing the course, you will need to pass a Service Ontario PI test. This is called the Basic Ministry Test. Once you submit the proof of your ability to meet the requirements and completion of the licensing course/ test to Service Ontario, you will get your PI license. Most jurisdiction will have a PI beginner’s license, Ontario does not. You will get to start out with a full Private Investigator license. This is where your struggle will begin.
Your Private Investigator beginner’s license in Ontario is just a regular Private Investigator license. It will allow you to work for a PI agency, but you will not be able to work for yourself (your own PI company). This PI license means you must work under the supervision of a fully licensed Ontario PI agency. However, the term “under supervision” will be in namesake only. You will not be supervised or guided by an experienced Private Investigator. In fact, Ontario PI agencies are not economically structured to have mentor/ student surveillance teams. Furthermore, the Ontario licensing course will give you some transferable knowledge but it will not set you up to become a successful Private Investigator. New Private Investigators still need to know how to be successful working operations. This is why practical Private Investigator education and training specifically for Private Investigators is necessary.
Mail application to:
Occupational Licensing Services Office
P.O. Box 4500
This lack of guidance is why so many new Ontario 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 Ontario 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 and get an Ontario Private Investigator business license, you will be qualified to work for yourself with your own PI agency. Hopefully, when you are hiring new Private Investigators, you will appreciate the importance of proper PI education.
Ontario Private Investigator License Requirements
You must be 19 or older.
You cannot have a criminal record. You must obtain your own criminal record check. The RCMP offers this service. The fee is usually around $50. You can submit the criminal record document to Service Ontario.
You need to be a Canadian citizen and submit a copy of government ID to Service Ontario.
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 Service Ontario. After completing the course, you will be given a completion number. Use this number to register for the Service Ontario test.
You will need to pass the Basic Ministry Test
You have to provide a certified passport photo.
The documents you submit can be sent to Service Ontario via mail or online uploading.
You will need to get someone you know personally to verify your identity.
You will have to pay a small licensing fee.
Working For Yourself
To work on your own you need to obtain an Ontario PI business license. You need an Ontario PI license to do this.