Hughes Intelligence

how to become a private investigator

Who can get a Private Investigator Licence in Ontario?

To be eligible for an Ontario Private Investigator licence you must:

  • Be 18 years of age or older
  • Be legally able to work in Canada
  • Have a clean criminal record
  • Complete the mandatory training and exam requirements

If you have been convicted (and not pardoned) of any of the 80+ criminal offences listed in the Ontario regulation, Eligibility to Hold a Licence – Clean Criminal Record, you will not be able to obtain or renew a Private Investigator licence.

Getting your new Ontario Private Investigator Licence

There are three steps to obtaining a Private Investigator licence in Ontario:

  • Take an accredited Ontario Private Investigator Training Course
  • Use the Training Completion Number from your course to take the Ontario Private Investigator exam through ServiceOntario
  • When you have passed the exam, apply for your licence through ServiceOntario


step 1

The Hughes Intelligence Private Investigator Training Course meets the Ontario requirements for private investigator training. It covers all of the requirements and is designed to fully prepare you for the Ontario exam. the course is easy to follow and engaging with a practice test that lets you gauge your own readiness for the licencing exam.

Upon completion of the private investigator training course, you will receive a Training Completion Number which you will need to register for the Ontario Private Investigator Exam.

step 2

Pass the Ontario Private Investigator Exam

To register for the Ontario Private Investigator Exam, visit the Serco website and choose “Book a Test” here. 

The cost to take each basic test is $66.50 plus HST, for a total of $75.15.

Test results are available within two days of taking the test.

If you fail the basic test, you can take it again as many times as necessary. You must pay the full fee each time.

step 3

Apply for your Ontario Private Investigator Licence

When you have successfully completed your Ontario private investigator test, apply for your licence through ServiceOntario.

You may submit your application online through your ServiceOntario account or by mail. Applications are not accepted at in-person ServiceOntario counters.

To apply online or by mail, you will need:
  • Your testing completion number
  • A passport-quality photo
  • Photocopies or scanned electronic versions of two valid government identification documents, including one document providing proof of your eligibility to work in Canada.
  • An eligible guarantor who can complete and sign the Guarantor Information Form
  • A payment of $80 (acceptable methods of payment depend on whether you are applying by mail or online)
If you apply online:

If you apply online, your correctly completed application for a licence can be approved within 10 business days. Applications by mail may take up to 30 business days.

Incorrectly completed or incomplete applications will be returned. You must respond to ServiceOntario within 90 calendar days or your application may be closed, and your fee will not be refunded.

An Ontario Government guide to applying and a downloadable package is available here.

After You Are a Licensed Private Investigator

When you receive your Ontario Private Investigator licence you may start working in a job where your main duties include:

  • Conducting investigations in order to provide information
  • Conducting investigations into the character or actions of a person
  • Conducting investigations into an individual’s business or occupation
  • Conducting investigations into the whereabouts of persons or property

While on duty, you must always carry a valid licence.

A new Ontario private investigator licence will expire two birthdays after the day it is issued. It is your responsibility to maintain a valid security guard licence while employed in the field.

Security guards and private investigators are responsible for adhering to the Private Security and Investigative Services Act, 2005 and its regulations, including the Code of Conduct regulation.

If you are convicted of a criminal offence while licensed as a private investigator, you may lose your licence. By law, you must update your criminal record information within five days of being convicted of an offence listed in the Act. You can do so online or by completing a Change of Information Form and submitting it by mail.

Renewing or Restoring an Ontario Private Investigator Licence

Your security guard or private investigator licence has an expiry date that is linked to your date of birth. The first time you apply for a licence, your licence will expire two birthdays after the day it is issued. For example, if your birthday is December 15th and your first licence was issued on October 1st, 2019, your licence will expire on December 15th, 2020.

When your licence is renewed, the renewal date will always be two years in the future and linked to your date of birth.

The requirements for renewing your licence or restoring an expired licence can be found on the ServiceOntario here.

Get Help or More Information on Applying for an Ontario Security Guard Licence

For questions on the licence application process, you may contact ServiceOntario customer service Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 5pm:

  • Toll-free: 1-866-767-7454
  • TTY Toll-free: 1-800-268-7095
  • Toronto: 416-212-8888
  • TTY Toronto: 416-325-3408

Or by email: privatesecurity@ontario.ca