There are many reasons people seek the services of a private investigator. These range from personal to corporate. People hire private investigators to check on a cheating spouse and to run background checks on potential employees. Lawyers also hire PIs to collect evidence and information relevant to a case.
One of the main reasons insurance companies hire private investigators is to investigate workers’ compensation claims. You may also hire a PI to assess your home’s security and to conduct bug sweeps and privacy breaches. Private investigators are also hired to investigate unresolved crimes or resuscitate cases that have gone cold.
In Canada, each province has different requirements for licensing private investigators. To be a private investigator in the entire country, you must first acquire a license in your resident province. Once you’ve acquired a private investigator licence, you can use it to obtain other provincial licences.
The following are seven private investigator requirements:
Requirement #1: Basic Requirements
To qualify as a PI, the most important private investigator requirement is you must be a citizen of Canada and possess valid government ID. You also need to be proficient in the official language of your province. You are required to provide a certified passport photo and also demonstrate age eligibility. The eligible age varies from province to province. While some require a PI to be at least 18 years old, others demand that you must be 19 years or older to be eligible as a private investigator.
The key goal here is to exhibit maturity by the time you start pursuing a career as a private investigator. Whether this comes at age 18 or 19 is a matter of interpretation by various provinces. You will also be required to pay a modest licensing fee before submitting the license application, which you can send online or by mail.
Requirement #2: Clean Criminal Record
You cannot afford to be prejudicial or biased if you want to pursue a career in PI. You must have an untainted criminal record to qualify as a private investigator. The PI industry is very sensitive and justice-driven. It requires people who are without reproach. Your record must be flawless to qualify as a PI. Your fingerprints will be taken and run through the national database to verify your identity or to flag down potential criminal records.
Requirement #3: Get a PI Beginner’s License
This is a government-issued license. It is mandatory for anyone seeking to practice as a PI. It can be obtained offline or online. The process of becoming a PI is similar in most jurisdictions. The basic requirements include language proficiency, age, and a clean criminal record, among others. For instance, in Canada, you need to have a license to practice in your province of residence before seeking to license in any other province within the country. Most jurisdictions have a government body in charge of licensed investigators and approval of the PI licensing courses and issuance of the PI beginner’s license.
Requirement #4: Attain Relevant Experience
If you have a private investigator’s beginner’s license, you then need 2400 hours of experience to qualify as a full private investigator. In some jurisdictions, if you have a relevant degree in any criminal discipline, you don’t need the 2400 hours of experience to get a full private investigator’s license. However, having both makes you a more attractive candidate for the license.
Requirement #5: Private Detective Aptitude Test
To have a successful private investigation practice, you need to pass the private detective aptitude test. This test aims to establish one’s ability to perform certain tasks and how they react to different scenarios. The fact that the tests are standardized means they can help gauge one’s skills level and aptitude.
Requirement #6: Ability to Write Surveillance Reports
It is critical as a private investigator that you have surveillance report-writing skills. The report covers details of a subject by outlining all the events that transpired at the time of surveillance. The report may be addressed to a manager or whoever your client is. Always communicate facts as clearly and as effectively as possible so it can be easily understood.
While requirements for qualification as a private investigator are similar in most cases, in some areas they are slightly different. For instance, in some provinces in Canada, you need to be at least 18 years old. In others, you are required to be not less than 19 years old.
Therefore, to qualify as a private investigator, you must demonstrate eligibility in terms of age, education, experience, citizenship and a clean criminal record. You also need to seek to license in your province of residence before seeking the same in other provinces.
A PI career will give you access to people’s private lives, which requires one to be of high integrity. It is, however, a rewarding career that can mean the difference between hiring a criminal and an employee with a flawless criminal record. Besides, running your private PI practice means you are creating opportunities for others to make a living.