PSIS - Security Guard Study Guide Legal Authorities

Private Security and Investigative Services

Basic Testing

Security Guard Test Preparation Guide


Section 8 – Legal Authorities

The section focuses on the broader legal context of private security including the rights and limitations when performing duties as a security guard. This includes understanding where a security guard derives his/her authority to carry out job functions. An understanding of legislation in addition to the PSISA that impacts on the job of a security guard is recommended.

Handling Information and the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA)

PIPEDA is a law designed to protect personal information. If while performing duties as a security guard you are handling personal information, you should not use or disclose it. There may be other privacy legislation that relates to the handling of information by a security guard, such as the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) and the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA).

Additional Legislation

Trespass to Property Act

This Ontario law allows occupiers of private premises to determine who is or isn’t allowed on these premises. An occupier may also designate individuals who are authorized to act on the occupier’s behalf when it comes to allowing individuals on their premises. By nature, security guards often fill this role, as it is usually their responsibility to control access to a specific location.

According to subsection 2(1) of the Act, a person may be found guilty of a trespass offence if:

  • They enter a location where entry is prohibited
  • They engage in an activity that is forbidden on the premises
  • They refuse to leave when asked to do so by the occupier or an authorized person (e.g. a security guard).

If entry is prohibited or restricted, notice must be given to the individual, either verbally, in writing, or with the aid of signs or markings.

Persons in violation of section 2 of the Act may be arrested without a warrant. A security guard who arrests a person under the authority of the Trespass to Property Act must contact the police as soon as possible and deliver the individual to a police officer.

Security guards may also want to familiarize themselves with the following legislation:

  • Employment Standards Act, 2000
  • Labour Relations Act, 1995
  • Liquor Licence Act
  • Provincial Offences Act
  • Residential Tenancies Act, 2006

Criminal Code

Security guards may encounter situations in which they need to deal with indictable or summary offences. They need to be able to accurately identify and categorize offences when on duty and understand when they are able to conduct a citizen’s arrest according to the Criminal Code.

Powers of Arrest

Security guards have neither police nor peace officer powers. They have the same powers as any member of the public under the Criminal Code. Specifically, section 494 of the Criminal Code describes when it is appropriate for a member of the public to make an arrest.

If a security guard is guarding property and is authorized by the owner of the property or the person in lawful possession of the property, they may make an arrest for any criminal offence that is committed on or in relation to the property, as long as the security guard witnessed the offence being committed.

If the offence is an indictable offence, they may make the arrest, even if the offence is not committed on or in relation to the property they are guarding, so long as the security guard has witnessed the offence. Security guards should therefore understand the distinction between an indictable offence and a summary offence. Typically, indictable offences are more serious; a lot of the offences that security guards normally encounter are indictable, e.g. theft.

Once an arrest has been performed, the security guard must deliver the individual to a peace officer as soon as possible.

References/Resources

Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act

Criminal Code

Trespass to Property Act

Employment Standards Act, 2000:

Labour Relations Act, 1995

Liquor Licence Act

Provincial Offences Act

Residential Tenancies Act, 2006

Saskatchewan Justice – Corrections, Public Safety and Policing: Private Investigator and Security Guard Training Manual (2012)

  • Chapter 4 – The Security Guard and the Legal System