Frequently Asked Questions about Private Investigators

 

What do Private Investigators do?

In short, they provide surveillance and investigative services to the insurance, corporate, and legal sectors, as well as private individuals to serve everyone's needs.

How do Private Investigators work?

Essentially, Private Investigators are people who are paid to gather facts. Unlike police detectives or crime-scene investigators, they usually work for private citizens or businesses rather than for the government. Their job is to collect information, not to arrest or prosecute criminals.

How much do Private Investigators cost?

In Ontario, costs will vary depending on the type of service that is required. Typically costs will start at approximately $75.00 / hour and $0.65 / kilometer, plus disbursements. Some Private Investigative Agencies may also ask for a retainer before the job is started, then deduct the amount from the overall total once the job is completed.

Do Private Investigators have to identify themselves?

Under Section 34 of the Private Investigator and Security Guards Act (PSISA), every person who is acting as a Private Investigator must: carry their license when working, and identify themselves as a Private Investigator with that licence, when requested by anyone.

 

Do Private Investigators in Ontario carry badges?

No. Private Investigators in Ontario are NOT permitted to carry badges.

Can a Private Investigator put a GPS tracker on a car?
For this to be legal, they must have the consent to do so from the "registered owner" of the vehicle. 

Can a Private Investigator record conversations?

They must be a part of the conversation or have consent from one of the parties of the conversation being recorded.

Can a Private Investigator monitor cell phones or emails?

They must have consent from the owner of the device.

A receipt or billing statement would prove ownership for a cell phone.

Company computers that do not leave the office, would also serve as ownership of the company rather than the employee.

Can a Private Investigator tap your phone?

Under the Canadian Criminal Code, wiretapping without the individual's consent or first obtaining a warrant is illegal. Therefore, private investigators cannot legally tap a phone unless one of those conditions is first met.

Can a Private Investigator take pictures of you in your home?

The short answer is yes.  

However, the legal answer is that it is based on whether or not there is a "reasonable expectation of privacy". Ultimately, if you can be seen inside your house or anywhere on your property, from a "public place", you do NOT have a "reasonable expectation of privacy", and can legally be photographed. 

To be clear, the Investigator must be in a public place, and not be in an area where they are "trespassing" in order to see you on your property and take pictures of you.

Are Private Investigator's exempt from any laws?

No.

One of the key statutes that Private Investigators must abide by, is the "Trespass to Property Act".​

Do Private Investigators work with police?

Private Investigators are valuable assets in criminal investigations and often work with the police and other law enforcement agencies when the situation calls for it. You might even find instances where the police force becomes the client of a private investigator.

Why do lawyers hire Private Investigators?

Although private investigators don't have access to banking or medical records or classified government documents, they can nevertheless obtain hard-to-get information that attorneys may require

What is asset investigation?

An asset investigation (asset search or asset check) is the locating of public records that confirm personal property or real estate held by a person or corporate entity. Asset searches can find property or bank accounts for judgment collection, divorce, probate, and court cases.

Are asset searches legal?

The answer to that is: In many circumstances it is legal, but it depends on the purpose for the search, the kind of information obtained and the method of doing the search.

Can Private Investigators access bank accounts?

In reality, federal and state laws prohibit any person from accessing another's bank or financial records without specific authority. Honest Private Investigators will tell you, the most simple way to obtain bank account information is through the account holder's consent.