Private Security and Investigative Services
How to submit a complaint
In order to submit a complaint, please complete the Public Complaint Form.
- a date and signature must be included
- include the names of witnesses, along with their addresses and telephone numbers
- provide as much information as possible
There is no fee for filing a complaint.
There are three ways to submit your complaint:
Private Security and Investigative Services Branch
Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services
25 Grosvenor Street, 12th Floor
Scan the completed and signed form and e-mail to PSIS.PrivateSecurity@ontario.ca.
Please direct phone enquiries to 1-855-785-4499 during regular business hours.
Any person may file a complaint with the branch if they have reason to believe that a licensee has failed to comply with the Private Security and Investigative Services Act (the act) or it's regulations.
We received 171 complaints in 2015 and 178 in 2016.
In 2017 we received 169 public complaints. The top complaint categories include:
- 86 complaints alleging violations of the act
- 70 complaints alleging Code of Conduct regulation violations and
- 62 out of scope complaints
The numbers do not equal the total number of complaints, as each complaint may include more than one complaint category. These numbers are subject to change as active complaints are processed.
Details about the complaints process
The ministry will review public complaints alleging that a licence holder has:
- breached the Code of Conduct regulation
- failed to comply with the the act or its regulations, or
- breached a licence condition
Code of Conduct complaints against licensed security guards or private investigators must pertain to their conduct while on duty. Complaints can also be made against licensed agencies and their officers, directors, partners and sole proprietors.
Complaints about individuals or agencies not licensed by the ministry may also be reviewed.
Complaints about labour relations issues, such as wages, work stoppages and grievances do not fall within the scope of the act. For information about labour relations complaints please contact the Ministry of Labour.
Please do not submit complaints anonymously.
Any complaint related to a Code of Conduct regulation violation must be filed within 90 days of the incident at the root of the complaint.
You can choose a lawyer or an agent to represent you in filing a complaint. However, you are responsible for all associated costs.
The person against whom the complaint has been filed can also choose to be represented by a lawyer or agent at his or her own expense.
If you are filing a complaint on behalf of someone else, include that person’s name, address and contact information on the Public Complaint Form and indicate your relationship to that person.
The ministry will send an acknowledgement letter within 15 business days of receiving your complaint.
Depending on the nature of the complaint, it may lead to one or more of the following:
- referral to police of jurisdiction or to a more appropriate office or ministry
- licence revocation
- facilitation, which could result in conditions being placed on a licence
- correspondence (e.g. cease and desist letter)
- inspection of an agency
- dismissal of the complaint
If the complaint concerns an alleged violation of the act, its regulations, or a breach of a licence condition by a security guard or private investigator, the employer may also be investigated.
If the complaint is regarding the conduct of a licensed agency, the agency may be subject to a compliance inspection.
If the complaint is classified as a breach of the Code of Conduct regulation, it will be forwarded to a facilitator for resolution.
The act allows the ministry to address alleged Code of Conduct violations through a facilitation process. Please note that this option is not available for complaints regarding an unlicenced individual.
A facilitator will be assigned and a letter will be sent to both the complainant and the subject of the complaint, advising the subject that his or her participation in the facilitation process is mandatory, as outlined in subsection 19(8) of the act.
The facilitator will attempt to resolve the complaint either through face-to-face meetings or by teleconference.
Following the facilitation, the facilitator will communicate the results of the facilitation to the Registrar who will act upon the facilitator’s recommended remedial course of action, if any. The Registrar will make the facilitator’s recommended remedial course of action a condition on the licensee’s licence.
The recommended remedial course of action may involve training in anger management, race relations, communication skills and/or interpersonal relations.
If the licensee fails to meet the Registrar’s imposed condition(s), the Registrar may propose to revoke the licensee’s licence and serve a written notice to that effect.
The licensee may then request an Opportunity to be Heard before the Registrar within 21 business days to show cause why the Registrar should not take the proposed action.
A complainant may formally withdraw a complaint at any time before a decision is rendered.
The withdrawal must be in writing, signed and delivered to the Registrar, either in person, by mail, by fax or by e-mail and should include the reason for withdrawing the complaint.
In cases where the ministry receives a complaint providing sufficient concern such that it warrants
- a licence condition resulting from facilitation
- an investigation
- an inspection
- a licence revocation
the complainant’s “withdrawal” of his/her complaint may not stop the ministry from pursuing such actions. A complainant may not be entitled to receive any information regarding the status or outcome of the complaint if it is withdrawn.
As outlined in subsection 19(4) of the act, the Registrar may decline to deal with a complaint related to a breach of the Code of Conduct regulation if, in the Registrar’s opinion, the complaint is deemed frivolous, vexatious or not made in good faith. This includes complaints that are:
- lack a reasonable purpose
- made with the intent to harass or annoy
- made with the intent to deceive or mislead, or
- made with an improper purpose or ulterior motive
In situations where the complainant cannot be contacted or where the complainant will not participate in the facilitation process, the Deputy Registrar will advise the complainant that his/her complaint cannot be proceeded with pursuant to subsection 19(8) of the act. A letter will be sent to the complainant’s last known address advising of this decision.
Please note: Only the facilitation process regarding the complaint will be dismissed under subsection 19(8). Any and all other processes being undertaken regarding the complaint (i.e. investigation, inspection or licence revocation) will not be dismissed.
If you have questions about the public complaint process, contact us.