Private Security and Investigative Services
Questions and answers – individual licences
A security guard licence allows you to work in a job where you mainly protect persons or property.
This includes working as a:
- security guard
- bouncer, or
- loss prevention employee.
A private investigator licence allows you to be employed and paid to investigate:
- the character or actions of a person
- a person’s business or occupation, or
- the whereabouts of persons or property.
Security guards and private investigators are responsible for getting a licence and for renewing it before it expires.
If you apply online you will be able to check the status of your application online within two business days through your ServiceOntario account.
If you apply by mail, you may contact us for an update. Please keep in mind that it can take up to 30 business days to process an application.
You will need copies of two separate pieces of valid identification. One piece must prove that you are eligible to work in Canada. The other piece should be government issued and feature a photograph, your full legal name, your signature and your date of birth.
If you are applying by mail, you will need to submit photocopies of these documents. For online applications, you will need to scan these documents and have them ready to upload before you begin the application process.
Acceptable identification documents are listed in the application instructions.
In order to perform a criminal record check, the ministry requires all applicants to have a guarantor confirm their identity. The guarantor must sign and date the Guarantor Information Form. Applications cannot be processed without a signed confirmation from a guarantor.
Any individual who has known you personally for at least two years can act as a guarantor. The guarantor can also be chosen from a list of professions included in application instructions.
The guarantor must be able to confirm information such as your name, approximate age, place of birth, physical description and some personal details such as occupation and place of residence. A family member can act as a guarantor if he or she meets all of these requirements.
Guarantors must be at least 18 years old on the date when the application is submitted.
We must be able to contact your guarantor. If the ministry is unable to reach a guarantor, the application may be delayed or returned.
The Registrar can suspend or revoke a licence due to a breach of the Private Security and Investigative Service Act, 2005 or its regulations, including the Code of Conduct.
Licences will be revoked if the licence holder is convicted of a prescribed offence.
The Eligibility to Hold a Licence - Clean Criminal Record regulation lists over 80 different offences that prevent you from getting a licence, unless you receive a pardon. These are known as prescribed offences.
For information on how to receive a pardon, contact your regional Parole Board of Canada office.
A criminal record check will be done when you apply for a new licence and every time you renew your licence.
- I already have a security guard or private investigator licence from outside of Ontario. Do I need an Ontario licence to work in Ontario?
An Ontario licence is required in order to work as a security guard and/or private investigator in Ontario. If you hold a valid security guard licence or private investigator licence from another province or territory and if that licence was issued to you after successful completion of training and/or testing you may be exempt from training and testing in Ontario.
Please contact customer service to determine if this applies to you.
If you did not renew your licence prior to the expiry date and you plan to work as a security guard or private investigator, you must restore your licence. Follow the steps required to restore your licence.
If you have completed basic training and passed the test, you are not required to do so again.
Yes. For security reasons you are required to notify the ministry in writing of your change of address.
You can update your address online.
In the interest of public safety, members of the public have the right to know that they are dealing with a licensed security guard.
If you are a security guard, anyone can ask to see your licence. You must show the front of your licence, which includes your licence number, name and photo. You are not required to hand over your licence to a member of the public or show the back of your licence.
In order to allow undercover work, licensed private investigators do not have to identify themselves as private investigators. However, if an individual presents him or herself as a private investigator, he or she must show a licence upon request.
There are exemptions. Out-of-province bodyguards providing services to those in the film and television industry do not need an Ontario licence, as long as the bodyguard holds a valid licence from another jurisdiction.
In addition, the following individuals do not need a licence from the ministry:
- Practicing barristers or solicitors.
- People who receive payment for work that consists mainly of searching for and providing information about:
- the financial credit rating of individuals,
- the qualifications and suitability of people applying for insurance and indemnity bonds, or
- the qualifications and suitability of people as employees or prospective employees.
- People who are acting as peace officers.
- Insurance adjusters, insurance companies and their employees licensed under the Insurance Act while acting within the regular scope of their employment
- People living outside Ontario who are licensed employees of a private investigation agency licensed or registered in a jurisdiction outside Ontario, but elsewhere in Canada who:
- On behalf of a person living outside Ontario, make an investigation or inquiry partly outside Ontario and partly within Ontario; and
- Come into Ontario solely for the purpose of that investigation or inquiry.
- People who are paid for work that consists mainly of providing advice about security requirements but who are not selling the services of private investigators or security guards
- People who are paid for work that consists mainly of providing an armoured vehicle service
- Locksmiths, and
- Any class of people exempted by the regulations.
There is a general exemption for those conducting an investigation authorized by another federal or provincial Act.
To get your basic training completion number, contact the entity that provided your training.
In order to preserve the integrity and security of the test questions, we do not provide candidates who write the test with feedback on test results. Private investigators and security guards are expected to possess a broad understanding of the curriculum and have the ability to apply such knowledge to real life situations.
- Can I work as a security guard or private investigator if I’ve completed all of the necessary steps, but my licence card hasn’t arrived in the mail yet?
You must have a valid licence card to work as a security guard or private investigator. Working without a valid licence is a violation of the Private Security and Investigative Services Act and may lead to charges.
The test provider, Serco DES Inc., meets the requirements of the Accessibility for Ontarians With Disabilities Act, 2005, which includes appropriate accommodation to ensure individuals with disabilities have equal access to testing services. When scheduling a test, you can arrange accommodation by calling 1-866-248-2555.
If you apply for a licence online through ServiceOntario, you will be able to access a digital licence through your online account as soon as your application is approved.
The digital licence includes a QR code which can be used to verify the information printed on the licence. You must replace the printed digital licence with your plastic licence card once it arrives by mail.
All students wishing to complete security guard training must complete Emergency First Aid training with their training entity, by a St. John Ambulance certified instructor or with a Workplace Safety and Insurance Board of Ontario approved first aid trainer. Students who provide the training entity with a valid first aid/CPR certificate that meets these requirements are not required to repeat the training as part of the security guard training course.
A list of providers approved to deliver First Aid training is available on the Workplace Safety Insurance Board website.
Training entities provide students with a training certificate once the student successfully completes the training for security guards and/or the training for private investigators. Training certificates must include the following information:
- Student name;
- Training entity name;
- Type of training completed (i.e., security guard and/or private investigator);
- Date training completed; and
- Signature of training entity representative.