Find out what makes us the #1 Toronto Private Investigators and Surveillance SpecialistsABOUT US
LICENSED PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR TORONTO
With over 30 years of experience, the Investigators at Discreet Investigations have established a reputation for intelligent investigations and exceptional service. Every case is treated with the utmost discretion and sensitivity. We are a full-service private investigations and surveillance agency based in Toronto, serving clients around the world.
Discreet Investigations are the most trusted Toronto private investigators.
TORONTO's #1 PRIVATE INVESTIGATORS
As the industry leaders we can perform investigations others simply cannot. We can conduct round-the-clock physical surveillance, financial checks, and find concealed property and secret liaisons. Our private investigators perform character and background checks, public database and internet searches, Personal Property Security Registration searches, social media and internet activity investigations, creates GPS traces and more.
PRIVATE INVESTIGATIONS & SURVEILLANCE SERVICES
We are the leading private investigators and surveillance agency in Toronto & Ontario. We have continued to invest in innovative surveillance tools and the best Toronto private investigators. We set the bar in the industry.
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YEARS OF EXPERIENCE
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Our reputation is built on a foundation of absolute discretion, trust and integrity. Every matter is kept 100% confidential and handled with care. We have over 30 years of experience in investigation and security and our investigators get the answers you need – trust us, Experience Matters!
Is it legal to videotape someone?
Ontario law makes it illegal to covertly record oral communications between two or more people without the consent of at least one of the individuals involved. If, however, you choose to record video without any audio input, you may be allowed to do so. Case in point are private investigators, acting on someone else’s behalf.
Similarly, it is illegal to intercept private communications between two or more individuals by use of electronic devices or other means, like spying software and apps. The maximum punishment for intentional interception of communication is incarceration of up to 5 years and a $5,000 fine.
It is legal to intercept private communications if there is no sound involved. For example, it is perfectly legal to photograph or film people if they are interacting in a place open to public view.
Is it legal to record a conversation, tape a call, or ‘bug’ a telephone?
Secretly recording communications between two or more people is illegal, unless you have the explicit consent of at least one of the individuals, or if you are one of the parties involved.
The law applies if you use an electronic device or other means of intercepting private communications. The police and other government agents are also subjected to the same laws. If they wish to spy on the private communications between two or more people, they must obtain prior authorization from a judge via a warrant.
Cellphone conversations are included in the definition of communications.
What constitutes stalking?
Stalking is also known in legal parlance as “criminal harassment” and includes conduct like:
- Repeatedly following a specific person or people connected to that individual
- Constant attempts of maintaining communication with a specific person or other people known to that individual
- Watching the property or dwelling space of a person
- Threatening conduct aimed at a specific person
Repeated stalking causes another person to fear for their safety and is not prohibited under Ontario law. Punishment for stalking can be up to 10 years, and possibly more if there are prior injunctions barring contact, such as a restraining order.
Rules and regulations for Toronto private investigators
The private investigation industry falls under the regulations of the Ontario Solicitor General – Private Security and Investigative Services Branch. The laws set the foundation for rules and regulations as well as a code of conduct that private investigators must adhere to.
In order to become a private investigator, an individual must possess a valid licence and carry it with them while on duty. If they are ever stopped, they must use that to identify themselves.
A private investigator cannot carry any other symbol of authority, such as a badge, or pretend to be an agent of the government. They are not allowed to make an arrest or refer to themselves as an investigator, officer, or any other term that may signify that they are a member of a law enforcement body.
Under the terms of the Ontario Solicitor General – Private Security and Investigative Services Branch, a private investigator must act professionally at all times and treat everyone with respect, integrity, and honesty. They are not allowed to use excessive force or engage in abusive language. Furthermore, they must not drink on the job or be under the influence of drugs.
In the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, an individual’s right to privacy is enshrined in law. The law protects them against “unreasonable search or seizure”, and private investigators must comply with all the tenets of the law, too. Therefore, it is illegal for private investigators to enter someone’s property without authorization or remain on a property if the authorization has been revoked. Wiretapping without individual consent or before obtaining a warrant is also prohibited.
Types of investigations that private investigators in Toronto are legally allowed to do
After acquiring a private investigation license, an individual is allowed to:
- conduct background checks
- obtain and provide information on the business character or kind of business or occupation of a person
- search for offenders against the law
- search for missing persons
- search for missing property.
In many cases, private investigators are hired to find persons who are missing, because they owe or are owed money to an individual or a company based on a court order, they are part of a criminal investigation, they are party in a court case, or they cannot be found.
Private investigators can also be used to find missing property and assets, conduct background checks, and assist in child custody investigations.
Legally, a private investigator can use a myriad of research tools to assist their investigation. These include:
- witness statements
- video surveillance
- GPS when authorized
- personal observations
Private investigators often conduct their surveillance at public places such as shopping malls, recreation centers, sport arenas, and more. They also rely on public sources of information for their research, such as:
- Public databases and internet searches to uncover telephone numbers, addresses, and employment information
- Public libraries to find old newspapers for information
- Personal Property Security Registration searches to identify a lien associated with an individual or business
- Bankruptcy records, divorce records, and land registry databases and corporate searches to conduct background inquiries.
A private investigator must never impersonate law enforcement or represent themselves as a government agent. They cannot legally make an arrest, wiretap conversations without proper authorization, or trespass on private property.
Can private investigators carry a badge, gun or other weapon?
Private investigators are allowed to carry firearms under specific situations. Section 20 of the federal Firearms Act covers this in more detail, but broadly speaking there are 2 situations where it is allowed:
- If the life of the private investigator is under threat
- If the private investigator has additional duties such as transporting cash or other valuable items
Other prohibited weapons such as tear gas, mace, or tasers are not allowed to be carried by private investigators. Batons, handcuffs, and other restraints are not considered to be prohibited weapons and may be carried, however they must always be concealed from view.
Are private investigators required to be insured?
Private investigation agencies are required by law to carry general liability insurance. Ontario Solicitor General – Private Security and Investigative Services Branch, the law regulating the private investigation industry, mandates that the minimum general liability insurance requirement for private investigation agencies is $2,000,000.
Some private investigators also choose to carry out additional insurance, known as Errors and Omissions, or E&O, insurance. E&O insurance protects businesses if they are sued by a client who suffered financial losses or damages as a result of the investigator’s errors, omissions or negligent acts while conducting business.
How to choose a private investigator
Here are a few factors you should consider when choosing a private investigator:
1. Is the investigator licensed?
Investigators must be licensed to provide private investigation services and you must insist on documentation that proves their legality.
Licenses are issued by the Ontario Solicitor General – Private Security and Investigative Services Branch, which is the Ministry responsible for overseeing the private investigation industry. You’re able to verify someone’s licence status by checking the online Private Security and Investigative Services Licence Registry.
2. Does the private investigation agency carry General Liability Insurance?
An agency or individual contractor must show proof that they have a minimum of $2,000,000 in general liability insurance coverage. Before hiring an agency, you can ask to see proof that the agency’s insurance policy has been maintained.
3. Is the private investigator experienced in the type of investigation you need?
Investigators conduct a range of services, including:
- background checks
- employee fraud investigations
- finding missing persons
- child custody investigations
- domestic dispute investigations
Ask the potential investigator questions like how many years of experience they have, whether they can provide you with references, what their services cost, and what their previous job was.
Discreet investigations has been in business for 30 years and are experienced with both criminal, civil, family, and child investigations. We have the most experienced investigators that come from police backgrounds, and work with the top criminal and family lawyers in Ontario. Discreet Investigations sets the bar for standards in the Private Investigations industry.
Criminals & civil laws vary from province to province, you should always check with your local authorities and courts regarding the current laws pertaining to these situations. Discreet Investigations is not liable for any advice or information provided on this website.