Ministry of the
Solicitor General

Requirements for security guards and private investigators

Requirements for security guards and private investigators

Security guards are responsible for guarding or patrolling to protect people or property, while private investigators are responsible for conducting investigations to provide information. Both are expected to carry out their work professionally, effectively, safely and lawfully.

They must follow requirements in the Private Security and Investigative Services Act including the Code of Conduct while on duty.

Licence and misrepresentation

All security guards and private investigators are required to identify themselves as such, carry their applicable licence when they are on duty and present it when requested. For security guards, this applies even when they are on plain clothes assignments, or working as bodyguards or loss prevention security guards. Failure to present a valid licence when requested can result in a fine.

Security guards and private investigators can be fined if they misrepresent or call themselves:

  • a detective or private detective
  • law enforcement
  • police
  • officer

Additionally, uniforms for security guards must meet the standard requirements for appearance.

Carrying firearms and equipment

Security guards and private investigators may use equipment as a part of their duties, if it is issued by their employer. They may carry a firearm only if they have a valid firearms licence. While on duty, armed security guards and private investigators must always carry their firearms licence and present it upon request, as required by the Firearms Act.

A baton may also be carried, but it can only be used for defensive purposes. In addition, handcuffs may be carried.


Any violations to the requirements can result in penalties including:

  • fines to the security guard, their employer, or both
  • jail time

Reporting a crime

If a crime, such as theft, occurs at a business while a security guard is on duty, the security guard or the business should contact their local police service to report it.