Private Security and Investigative Services
Any business that sells the services of security guards and/or private investigators requires an agency licence.
Note: Agencies are referred to as “licenced business entities” in the Private Security and Investigative Services Act, 2005, and all regulations.
Visit the ServiceOntario website to:
- Apply for a security guard and/or private investigator agency licence
- Renew your agency licence
- Request a new licence to replace a lost, stolen or damaged agency licence
- Change the contact information, business name or business address on your licence
- Change an agency officer, director or partner
- Add or remove a branch office
If you register online, you will be able to check the status of your application online within two business days.
Online applicants will be able to access a printable digital licence certificate as soon as their application is approved. Agency licences must be renewed every two years.
Please note that ServiceOntario does not accept applications at its service counters.
A background check will be required for the sole proprietor or for each officer, director and partner of the agency. You will be contacted by the ministry about this after your application is received.
Most applications are processed within 60 to 90 business days. More complex applications may take longer.
Requirements for Uniforms and Vehicles
You will be asked to submit photos or designs of any uniforms and vehicles your agency uses or will be using as part of your agency licence application. Please ensure your uniforms and vehicles comply with the requirements before you apply.
For new agency applications, you do not have to submit a valid certificate of general liability insurance, unless you wish to. However, upon approval in principle, you have 30 days to submit a certificate of general liability insurance for at least $2,000,000. Failure to provide proof of insurance may delay receipt of your agency licence. You should engage your insurance company early in the process to avoid any unexpected delays. Renewing Agencies must submit a certificate of general liability insurance for at least $2,000,000.
Compliance inspections ensure you fully understand your responsibilities under the Private Security and Investigative Services Act, 2005, and its regulations. A compliance inspector will contact you within 90 days of your licence issue date to discuss your requirements and obligations, which may include a compliance inspection.
Agencies are responsible for complying with the Private Security and Investigative Services Act, 2005 and all regulations. Failure to comply can result in fines of up to $250,000. Directors, partners and officers of an agency can also face imprisonment of up to one year.
Agencies are responsible for understanding and complying with all federal and provincial legislation such as the Employment Standards Act, 2000. The Ministry of Labour has prepared helpful tools for employers.
Agencies must change their information on file through ServiceOntario immediately if any of the following changes:
- business name
- business address or other contact information
- sole proprietors, officers, directors and partners
- branch offices.
Agencies that offer training must comply with all training requirements.
Use of Force Report must be completed each time a licensed employee:
- uses equipment (e.g. a baton and/or handcuffs)
- uses any other kind of force
- is accompanied by a dog that attacks a person (see the Use of Animals regulation).
Agencies must keep all Use of Force Reports on file for at least two years, or until the conclusion of any related investigation, inspection, complaint, court proceeding or administrative proceeding.
For more information, read Questions and answers – agencies and registered employers.
Updates are posted in News and Information.