Ministry of the
Solicitor General

Ethical Reasoning/Decision-making

Private Security & Investigative Services

Training & Testing

Private Investigator Test Preparation Guide

Section 6: Principles of Ethical Reasoning/Decision-Making

Private investigators are required to make quick decisions in a variety of situations and must utilize good judgment. They need to recognize and appropriately handle ethical dilemmas relating to diversity, cultural differences and contemporary social problems, as well as be familiar with the PSISA Code of Conduct and the concept of duty of care.

Private investigators should have an understanding of the different types of prejudice that exist as a result of differences between people, including (but not limited to):

  • Ethnic background
  • Education
  • Religion
  • Gender
  • Sexual orientation
  • Physical or mental disabilities

Legally, private investigators must comply with the Code of Conduct Regulation under the PSISA as well as the Ontario Human Rights Code (OHRC), and are therefore obliged to treat all persons equally and without discrimination.

The OHRC is a provincial law that gives everybody equal rights and opportunities without discrimination.

Skills and concepts that private investigators should know how to apply include:

  • Recognizing differences between relevant/irrelevant facts and details
  • Making sound and defensible decisions supported by facts and research
  • Making appropriate judgments suited to the time-frame, risks and facts of the case and potential hazards/dangers in the situation.
  • Prioritizing situations/decisions/tasks
  • Drawing on legislation and laws to make decisions
  • Preparing next logical steps required for a task/job
  • Determining who should/should not have access to sensitive or confidential information/locations/people (PIPEDA)
  • Recognizing ethical dilemmas.


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

  • Chapter 3 – Conduct of Security: Professionalism and Public Relations

Code of Conduct Regulation under the PSISA

Ontario Human Rights Code