Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

I wish to be licensed as both a security guard and a private investigator (dual licence). What is required of me?

As of April 15, 2010, anyone applying for a security guard and private investigator licence must take both the security guard and private investigator training courses, and pass both tests. If you already hold a dual licence on April 15, 2010, you will need to pass both tests. The deadline for passing the tests depends on your licence expiry date. Existing dual licensees will not be required to take either training course.

 

 

I have a criminal record. Can I still enrol in the training program and take the test?

Applicants must first meet the training and testing requirements before they can apply for a licence. However, completing training and testing is not a guarantee that a licence will be issued. All applicants are still subject to the “Clean Criminal Record” check that has been a requirement since August 23, 2007. Applicants are encouraged to review the Clean Criminal record Regulation under the “Acts and Regulations” section of our website for further details.

 

As long as I applied for a licence before April 15, 2010, am I exempt from taking basic training?

No. If you submitted your application shortly before April 15, the ministry could not guarantee that your licence would be issued by that date. Applications that were not processed by April 15 have been returned to the applicant. These applicants will have take basic training and pass the test before re-applying for a licence.

 

Who needs to comply with the Training and Testing Regulation? Are there any “ grandfather” clauses for existing licensees?

Compliance with the Training and Testing Regulation is mandatory for all security guards and private investigators.

The test is mandatory for all licensees. However, individuals who are already licensed on April 15, 2010 and whose licence expires on/before July 15, 2010 are not required to take the test in order to process their renewal. (See question 7 for more details.)

As of April 15, 2010, all new applicants must take a training course and pass the ministry’s test before applying for a security guard or private investigator licence. Both training and testing only need to be completed once in a person’s lifetime.

 

When did the Training and Testing Regulation come into force?

The regulation came into force on April 15, 2010.

 

Why is the ministry implementing a mandatory training and testing program for security guards and private investigators?

The Private Security and Investigative Services Act, 2005 (PSISA) came into force on August 23,2007 to enhance public safety and help professionalize the private security industry by ensuring that all security practitioners have the necessary knowledge, skills and abilities to carry out their jobs.

In August 2007 the ministry implemented new requirements for licensing, equipment, uniforms and vehicles. Training and testing standards are the next step towards fulfilling the PSISA’s objectives. The PSISA lists the completion of prescribed training and testing as one of the mandatory licensing requirements.

 

Testing

Where can I take the test?

The ministry selected Serco DES Inc. as its test delivery vendor. In Ontario, Serco is under contract with the Ministry of Transportation and operates 55 driver examination centres that comprise the DriveTest program. These centres will be used for the administration of the security guard and private investigator tests across Ontario.

For further information about test delivery and how to register please visit Serco’s website at www.ontariosecuritytesting.ca/

Candidates who are not licensed as of April 15, 2010 can only register for the test after they have completed basic training.

 

When do I need to take the test?

If you are not licensed on April 15, 2010, you must take basic training and pass the test before applying for a licence.

If you are licensed and your licence expiry date is July 16, 2010 or later, you must pass the test prior to renewing your licence.

If your licence expires between April 15, 2010 and July 15, 2010, you may renew your licence once without having passed the test. You will need to pass the test before your licence expires the following year.

Example 1: My licence expires on July 15, 2010. I can renew it, but will need to pass the test before renewing it again by July 15, 2011.

Example 2: My licence expires on July 16, 2010. I must pass the test before renewing it.

Example 3: I have never been licensed. I must take the training course and pass the test before I can obtain a licence.

 

Can I take the test online?

No. In order to preserve the integrity of the test, all candidates must write the test in person at a location designated by the test delivery vendor.

 

In what languages is the test available?

The test is available in English and French.

 

Is there a test fee?

There is a test fee of $60. If an applicant fails the test and chooses to write it again there is an additional $60 fee for every test written.

 

The ministry already charges a licence fee; why does that not cover the test?

The annual licensing fee pays for the costs incurred by the ministry in processing an application. Once an application is received, the ministry updates the applicant’s profile, verifies their legal status to work in Canada and performs various other recordkeeping activities prior to conducting a police records and background check. Costs related to training and testing are not factored into the licence fee.

 

What does the test consist of?

The test is comprised of 60 multiple-choice questions based on topics covered in the ministry’s training curricula and on a survey/job analysis conducted by the ministry in consultation with industry experts. Candidates will be given 75 minutes to complete the test.

 

What happens if I fail the test?

Individuals may take the test as many times as needed; however, they must pay the test fee each time.

If you are currently licensed and your licence expiry date is July 16, 2010 or later, you must pass the test before your next renewal date. If you fail to do so, your licence will not be renewed, and you will need to take the training course and pass the test before re-applying for a licence.

Licensees will receive renewal notices which remind them of the testing requirements approximately three months before their licence expires.

 

If I pass the test but decide not to renew my licence, will I need to pass the test again in order to re-apply?

No. Once a person has passed the test, they will not have to do so again, even if they are unlicensed for a period of time.

 

How does the ministry know if a student has completed training?

Training entities electronically provide the ministry with a list of all students who have completed their course.

 

Why are some licensees given more time than others to pass the test?

The ministry is committed to implementing the test in a timely manner. The current implementation model will ensure that all security practitioners have complied with the training and testing requirements by July 16, 2011.

 

Will I be notified of my test results?

Yes, candidates will be advised of their test mark and the cut score for the test they have written. Candidates will not be provided direction to the areas where incorrect responses were made nor to specific areas for improvement, as individuals should possess a broad understanding of the curriculum the test is based on and have the ability to apply such knowledge to real life situations.

 

Are agency owners required to take the test, even though they have already been interviewed by the Deputy Registrar?

If an agency owner also holds an individual licence, they will be required to pass the test in order to retain their individual licence.

 

Basic Training

Where can I receive training?

The ministry’s basic training can only be offered by:

a public university;

a community college;

a private career college, as part of a program approved under the Private Career Colleges Act, 2005;

an agency licensed under PSISA to sell security guards and/or private investigator services;

a business entity registered under PSISA that employs its own in-house security personnel (Note: registered business entities can only train their own employees).

The ministry does not endorse any training institutions or individual programs but encourages individuals to seek training from a company or institution that is compliant with the ministry curricula, meets the requirements as stipulated in the regulation, and/or is listed on the ministry website.

 

Can an independent training company offer the ministry’s training?

The ministry’s training can only be offered by a training entity that falls under one of the categories listed above. If a training entity does not meet this requirement, it can only offer training if it enters into a service agreement with licensed agencies or registered business entities.

 

Is there a training fee?

There may be a fee associated with training. However, the ministry is not responsible for setting one. Agencies may choose to set a fee; it will be the applicant’s responsibility to understand/agree to it.

Registered businesses may or may not charge a fee, but can only train their own employees.

Individuals enrolled in a college or university program that incorporates the ministry’s curricula will likely pay for the basic training as part of their overall tuition fees.

 

What will the training course consist of?

Training entities are required to develop a course based on the ministry’s curricula, which were made publicly available on May 30, 2008. You may view the curricula on the ministry’s website, under the “Training and Testing” section.

The security guard course must consist of at least 40 in-class hours, and must include certification in Emergency Level First Aid. The private investigator course must consist of at least 50 in-class hours.

Students will only be considered to have completed training if they attended the course in its entirety.

 

Can I take the training course online or by video conference?

Basic security guard and private investigator training obtained through web-based, instructor-led distance learning (e.g. virtual classroom) qualify to meet the ministry’s requirement for in-class training.

Unsupervised, web-based training programs that do not include some real-time interaction with an instructor (e.g. purely self-study) do not qualify.

Courses delivered live through a video conference are acceptable.

Only students who have attended a training course in full qualify to take the test.

 

Is there a training entity certification process? How will the ministry ensure that training entities comply with the Training and Testing Regulation?

There is no training entity certification process. However, licensed agencies and registered businesses that provide training which does not conform to the ministry’s curricula may be found guilty of an offence under the PSISA.

Businesses that are not authorized to deliver training under the regulation may also be found guilty of an offence.

Any business found guilty of an offence under the PSISA may be subject to a fine of up to $250,000.

 

How does the ministry know if a student has completed training?

Training entities electronically provide the ministry with a list of all students who have completed their training course.

 

Does the branch provide specifics on what material training entities must cover to ensure they give proper information to their students (i.e. train to the test)?

Training entities are expected to develop their own training materials based on the ministry’s curricula. However, the ministry published curricula crosswalks to help training entities to adequately prepare their students for the test.

 

I’ve read the basic training curriculum. Not all sections apply to my job description. Why am I required to take the full course?

The ministry’s training program ensures that all security practitioners possess the knowledge and skills to safely and professionally work as security guards or private investigators in Ontario. With the input of subject matter experts, this basic level of knowledge is regarded as common to anyone working in the security industry, and as such complements the portability of licences that was introduced when the Private Security and Investigative Services Act, 2005 (PSISA) came into force on August 23, 2007.

This portability gives a licensee the flexibility to change employment situations without the need to reapply for their licence. Under the previous legislation a security practitioner had to be sponsored by their employer to get a licence and was prohibited from taking their licence  to another employer. The combination of basic training and testing and portable licensing  provides greater flexibility for individual licensees.

 

The security guard training course I took was over 40 hours long. Is this allowed?

The ministry’s training curricula cover the mandatory topics that must be taught to applicants. However, training entities are free to expand on the curricula and customize their training programs to suit their business needs. Individuals should consult the list of training entities on the ministry website to consider all available options.

 

Why can licensed agencies offer training to any member of the public, while registered business entities can only train their own employees?

Licensed agencies are in the business of selling security guard and/or private investigator services to the public. Many already provide training to their employees, and have already incorporated the ministry’s curricula into their training materials. The ministry believes that licensed agencies possess the necessary expertise to offer training to the public.

Registered businesses do not primarily provide security guard and/or private investigator services. The ministry encourages these businesses to have their employees trained by specialists. However, businesses who feel they have the capacity to train their own employees are permitted to do so.

 

First Aid Training

Are first aid and CPR included in the basic training program?

Yes (for security guards only). One section of the ministry’s Training Curriculum for Security Guards is dedicated to Emergency Level First Aid Training. This is included in the mandatory minimum of 40 hours of in-class training.

 

Does the ministry’s security guard test assess an individual’s skills regarding First Aid and CPR?

No, the ministry’s test does not assess the specific practical skills and knowledge required for First Aid, as these requirements are tested through completion of the First Aid Certificate. However, the test does evaluate, through scenario-based questions, the general application of emergency first aid skills and knowledge required by a security guard to think, react and improvise in an emergency situation.

 

Use of Force / Specialized Training

Do the ministry’s basic training curricula include use of force training?

The Training Curriculum for Security Guards includes a chapter on Use of Force Theory.

This ensures that all security guards possess a basic level of knowledge on use of force, but does not pose a burden to individuals who are not required to use physical force as part of their job.

 

Will the Ministry implement specialized training requirements for security guards and private investigators?

Yes. A specialized training program is under development. Once the basic training and testing program has been successfully implemented, the ministry will launch its specialized training program. This program will include training in use of force, handcuffs and batons. Unlike the basic training and testing program, the specialized training program will include re-certification requirements for licensees. More details will be posted on the ministry’s website as they become available.

 

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