Becoming a PI and Where To Start

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When doing a google search for “how to become a private investigator”, you will definitely stumble upon bounds of both useful and useless information. (Such is life when using google!) When scouring through, you will take notice that there are courses offered by universities, community colleges, and private career colleges that offer private detective courses (and they may even offer a private investigator degree). In Ontario, a potential private investigator needs to complete a basic investigation training course and pass the provincial exam in order to become licenced. While searching for private investigator courses, it will also become increasingly apparent that you can choose between the Ontario Security Guard training course (to allow for an Ontario Security Guard Licence) and the Ontario Private Investigator Course. The two are often offered within the same organizations that offer the private investigator training, so one must know the difference. (Hint: An Ontario Security Licence is for those who wish to become licensed security guards!)


After making the decision to take the leap and strive to obtain a private investigator licence in Ontario, the next step would be to decide which online private investigator course you would like to invest in. When taking online private investigator courses in Ontario, due diligence regarding accreditation and course content is key! A private investigator course should consist of modules that teach about topics such as PSISA, the Canada Evidence Act, the Criminal Code of Canada, and more. The private investigator training program must also be 50 hours in length and be regulated by the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services (MCSCS).


At The Smith Investigation Agency, we offer exactly what a person seeking a career as a private investigator needs! Our private investigator course is taken either online or in the classroom. Whichever method of delivery is chosen, the course offers the basis of such topics such as privacy laws, collecting evidence, and Canadian Criminal Law. At The Smith Investigation Agency, we have offices in Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton, Scarborough, Ottawa, Barrie, London and Hamilton, so we’re easily accessible for any questions you may have. On top of being easily accessible, we also offer 25 Airmiles Reward Miles for private investigator course purchases, we are fully accredited by the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services (MCSCS), we’ve won numerous awards, and we are fully accredited by the Better Business Bureau.


The course modules in our private investigator training course consist of the following:

  • Introduction to the Investigation Industry
  • The Private Security and Investigative Services Act
  • Provincial and Federal Statutes
  • Criminal and Civil Law
  • Private Investigation techniques
  • Ethical Reasoning and Decision-making
  • Principles of Communication and Interaction
  • Skills for Self-management

These modules provide the groundwork towards a rewarding career as a private investigator. As with most trades, a licenced PI learns more and more, with more time invested in the field. Whether it’s through surveillance, data collection, or being a witness in court procedures, there is always new knowledge to be had!


Once the provincial exam has been written, a private investigator licence has been issued, and a job opportunity has been granted, life as a private investigator can have exhilarating moments! (This, of course, depends on perspective and likes/dislikes.) While there is a lot of paperwork that accompanies most cases, there is also a lot of research involved too. This can be done virtually or in-person. Also, while it may seem thrilling to know the reason we have been sought for a case, most clients do withhold their reasoning, and just supply the specifics they seek. Being a private investigator is not how the media portrays – it is very real. That said, most investigators don’t decide to pursue a career in investigations simply to know why a client wants information. They pursue this career knowing they can be part of helping someone move forward in life- whichever direction that may be!

Article written by: Kala Bishop is a licenced Private Investigator from British Columbia. Colleagues, friends and family call her Kala. While driving on kids field trips, she is referred to as Ms. Bishop. Her favourite though is Mom, and she is a happy blend of all. She is an intern PI and she puts a witty spin on The Smith Investigation Agency blog.

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