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Licensing requirements for security personnel

Region: Ontario Answer # 6002

Security personnel licensing is a fundamental aspect of the security industry in Ontario. Licensing requirements are in place to ensure that individuals engaged in security work are properly trained, qualified, and meet the necessary standards for professionalism and ethical conduct.

If you require security services, including corporate, business, and personal security, contact our preferred experts, Smith Security.

What are the licensing requirements?

In Ontario, the licensing of security personnel is governed primarily by the Private Security and Investigative Services Act, 2005 (PSISA). The PSISA established the Private Security and Investigative Services Branch (PSISB) within the Ministry of the Solicitor General, which is responsible for the licensing and regulating of security personnel. The following are the key licensing requirements:

  1. Eligibility: To be eligible for a security personnel licence, an individual must be at least 18 years old and legally entitled to work in Canada.
  2. Training: Prospective security personnel must complete a recognized training program approved by the Private Security and Investigative Services Branch (PSISB) within the Ministry of the Solicitor General. This training is 40 hours in duration and covers various topics, including the legal responsibilities of security guards, use of force, emergency response procedures, and ethics.
  3. Background check: Applicants undergo a thorough background check, which includes a criminal record check and a review of their past conduct to determine their suitability for a security role.
  4. Examination: In Ontario, obtaining a security licence includes passing the Ministry exam. This exam, required for security guards, is a 60-question multiple-choice test. It can be taken at a DriveTest Centre, taking about 75 minutes within a two-hour appointment. Test results arrive within five business days, with a passing score of 62%.
  5. Licence categories: The PSISA distinguishes between various categories of security personnel, including security guards, private investigators, and loss prevention workers. Applicants must apply for the specific category that corresponds to their intended role.

Obtaining a security personnel licence

The following are the steps for obtaining a licence:

  1. Complete training: The first step is to enroll in and complete a training program approved by the PSISB. This training provides the necessary knowledge and skills required for the role.
  2. Submit application: Once the training is complete, applicants must submit their licence application to the PSISB. This includes providing all required documentation, such as proof of training completion.
  3. Pay fees: Applicants must pay for the security guard licence. These fees cover the cost of processing the application and conducting background checks.
  4. Wait for approval: The PSISB will review the application and conduct background checks. Once approved, applicants will receive their security personnel licence digitally.

Maintaining a security personnel licence

The following are the steps for maintaining a licence:

  1. Renewal: Security guard licences are valid for two years. Before the two years are up, the guard is responsible for renewing his or her licence.
  2. Adhere to Professional Standards: Licensed security personnel must conduct themselves in a professional and ethical manner at all times. Any violations of the PSISA or related regulations can result in disciplinary action, including licence suspension or revocation.

Why is it important to be licensed?

The importance of proper licensing in the security industry cannot be overstated. Licensing serves several critical purposes:

  • Public safety: Licensing ensures that security personnel are adequately trained to handle various situations while adhering to legal and ethical standards. This enhances public safety and security.
  • Professionalism: Properly licensed security personnel are more likely to demonstrate professionalism, essential when interacting with clients, the public, and law enforcement.
  • Accountability: Licensing establishes a framework for accountability. Licensed individuals and agencies are subject to regulatory oversight, which helps deter misconduct and unethical behaviour.
  • Legal Implications: Operating without the required licences can have severe legal consequences. It may result in fines, sanctions, or criminal charges for individuals and agencies involved in unauthorized security work.

Licensing ensures that security personnel are qualified, trained, and accountable for their actions. Understanding the licensing requirements and adhering to them is not only a legal obligation but also a testament to the commitment of security professionals to maintaining public safety and upholding industry standards. Operating without the proper licences can lead to potentially severe legal consequences.

For help

For help with security services, including corporate security, personal protection, construction site security and retail loss prevention, contact our preferred experts, Smith Security. If you are interested in becoming a professional security guard, they also offer a government approved security guard training course.


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