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Private security laws and regulations

Region: Ontario Answer # 6001

The role of the security industry in Canada is to keep individuals, businesses, and property safe. A comprehensive set of laws and regulations exist to govern security services and to promote public safety and security, ensure the professionalism of security personnel, and safeguard the rights of individuals.

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

What are the laws and regulations?

Key pieces of legislation that govern this industry include:

  • Private Security and Investigative Services Act, 2005 (PSISA): The PSISA is the primary legislation that regulates security services in Ontario. It outlines specific standards of practice for the security industry, as well as:
      • general duties
      • requirements for security guard uniforms
      • identification
      • record-keeping
      • licensing requirements
      • complaints and investigations
  • The PSISA established the Private Security and Investigative Services Branch (PSISB) within the Ministry of the Solicitor General, responsible for the licensing and regulating of security personnel and private investigation agencies, as well as:
      • training and testing
      • format public complaint process
      • compliance inspections, and
      • enforcement of the PSISA
  • Criminal Code of Canada: Security personnel must also comply with federal laws, particularly the Criminal Code, which defines their powers and responsibilities, including the use of force and citizen’s arrest.

Privacy laws

To protect individuals’ privacy rights, security companies must adhere to several rules found in both federal and provincial laws.

The Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), a federal law, establishes comprehensive rules for organizations, including security companies, concerning handling individuals’ personal information. Security personnel must abide by these laws when conducting surveillance or investigations that involve collecting and handling personal data.

Provincial legislation has specific regulations governing the use of security cameras in various settings, such as workplaces and public spaces. These regulations, found in both the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) and the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA) dictate where and how surveillance cameras can be used.

View 6004 Privacy laws and security services for more information.

Legal requirements and licensing

Security companies must adhere to various legal requirements to operate lawfully. These requirements include licensing and operation standards:

  1. Licensing: Individuals working as security guards, private investigators, or security agencies must be licensed under the PSISA. Obtaining and maintaining these licences involves meeting specific eligibility criteria, including undergoing background checks, completing approved training programs, and demonstrating a clean criminal record.
  2. Training: Security personnel must undergo training covering topics such as the use of force, emergency response, and legal responsibilities. The training ensures that security personnel are equipped to handle various situations professionally and within the boundaries of the law.
  3. Uniform and identification: Security guards must wear a prescribed uniform and carry proper identification, making it easy for the public and law enforcement to identify them as licensed security personnel.

What are the benefits of compliance with regulations?

Compliance with the laws and regulations governing the security services offers numerous advantages, both for security companies and the broader community. This includes:

  • Enhanced reputation: Compliance with industry-specific laws and regulations enhances a security company’s reputation. Clients and the public are more likely to trust a company that operates within the boundaries of the law, ensuring a safer environment for all.
  • Reduced legal risks: Compliance reduces legal risks associated with operating a security company. Violating the law can lead to fines, sanctions, or even revocation of licences, significantly impacting a company’s ability to operate.

What are the consequences of non-compliance and potential penalties?

Non-compliance with the laws and regulations governing security services can have severe consequences, including:

  • Licence revocation: The PSISB has the authority to revoke licences for individuals or agencies that violate the PSISA or related regulations. This means the immediate cessation of security operations.
  • Fines and penalties: Violations can result in fines and penalties, which can be substantial, depending on the nature and severity of the offence.
  • Criminal charges: In cases of serious misconduct, security personnel may face criminal charges under the Criminal Code, leading to potential imprisonment.

Complying with specific licensing, training, uniforms, and identification regulations is essential for security companies and personnel to operate within the law.

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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