The Private Investigative industry is a business sector that is often misunderstood. Typically, people connect romantic and Hollywood-based notions to the work that Private Investigators actually do. And because it is not a common service that the average person solicits daily, many are not aware of what characteristics to look for, when it comes to hiring a Private Investigator. But first, why would someone even hire an investigator in the first place? Read More McCall Risk Group Private Investigators Long Island.
There are a number of reasons why an individual may seek the help of an investigative agency. Some of these reasons may include: a suspicion of infidelity in a relationship, a request for a background check on a new online love interest, evidence needed for a child custody matter, a child endangerment or child welfare concern, to verify that a former spouse or partner is working, a request to locate a scammer, a tenant and landlord issue involving non-payment, to serve legal documents, drug use or other illegal activities, to locate a missing family member or friend, a request from a business professional who is looking to track down a former business associate due to non-payment, a commercial request for GPS tracking and monitoring of company vehicles, an undercover request to assist in identifying internal corporate issues within a business, a request to verify and obtain evidence of an employee double-dipping on the job, to document the daily activities of an individual who has filed a WSIB, long-term or short-term disability claim, or to identify and detect fraudulent insurance claims. These are just some of the areas in which a Private Investigator can assist an individual, professional, business, corporation, law firm, union or government agency.
Hiring the professional services of an Investigative Agency is especially helpful when it comes to legal matters. Because the evidence obtained by a licensed Private Investigator can be used as credible evidence in a court of law. This evidence includes, written reports, video evidence and verbal statements from the witness stand. As such, there are a number of reasons way a person may choose to acquire the assistance of an Investigative Agency.
What To Look For When Choosing A Private Investigator
As the saying goes, “Ignorance is bliss”, but this is not the case when choosing the Investigative Agency that one will hire. In Canada, all persons who engage themselves in private investigative work, must be full licensed and must have passed a criminal record and background check. However, this alone may not qualify the individual to work effectively as an investigator.
Obviously, any professional is better equipped when they possess extensive experience within their respective field. That said, the body who governs all licensed Private Investigators (PSIS or Private Security & Investigative Services) issues personal licenses and agency licenses to individuals regardless of their experience. So, when hiring an Investigative Agency, one must ensure that the prospective investigator(s) are experienced and knowledgeable.
Firstly, in order to obtain a license so that one can work as a Private Investigator, they must successfully complete an approved course, either online or in person. The Ministry of Solicitor General must approve all provincially offered licensing courses and also must have the ability to provide each candidate with a ministry generated completion number. This completion number is then submitted to the ministry in order to book an exam date. And a minimum passing grade must be met, before a candidate could apply for a personal license. For an example of an approved ministry course CLICK HERE.
After obtaining a digital and hard copy of the personal license, the newly licensed investigator CANNOT then begin to independently work as a Private Investigator. They must either seek employment with an existing ministry approved agency, or they must apply for an agency license, so that they can offer Investigative Services. Only after being hired by an agency can an investigator work files given to them from that specific agency, or, they can acquire their own files once they have been approved for an agency license and have received a digital copy of the license.
At Present Truth Investigations agency, we have unfortunately run into a number of situations where, clients have informed us about negative experiences that have encountered, after hiring inexperienced agency licensed private investigators. And after spending money for Investigative Services, some of these clients have not been provided with timely reports or video evidence once the investigation was completed. This behavior damages the profession, as many credible agencies, like Present Truth Investigations, do not behave in this manner.
A best practice when choosing an agency, would be to inquire about the experience of the agency of interest and to read credible reviews on the business. Furthermore, upon completion of any investigation, a client should expect to receive a detailed report and video (if video was obtained). Typically agencies will provide this evidence within a week, unless otherwise communicated and agreed upon with the client.
Your Privacy Is Important
When choosing an Investigative Service, there is nothing wrong with asking questions about the security measures that the agency has in place to secure personal information. And also about the policies of the organization to protect personal data. The privacy laws in Canada are designed to protect the unauthorized access, theft and use of personal information. And it is the responsibility of the Investigative Agency to ensure that all personal client information is safeguarded at all times.
All Private Investigative services must comply with all federal, provincial and municipal acts, which pertain to privacy. These governing acts include, PIPEDA (Federal Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, FIPPA (Provincial Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act) and MFIPPA (Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act).
The PIPEDA, FIPPA AND MFIPPA acts, in a general sense, apply to private-sector organizations across Canada that collect, use or disclose personal information in the course of a commercial activity. The law defines a commercial activity as, “any particular transaction, act, or conduct, or any regular course of conduct that is of a commercial character, including the selling, bartering or leasing of donor, membership or other fundraising lists”. Privacy laws also regulate how investigative agencies and individuals can legally use GSP tracking devices. Typically this technology can be used for business and commercial purposes. However, a person can generally use one of these devices to monitor personally owned vehicles that are registered in their name. In Canada it is generally illegal to track and monitor another person’s property (such as a vehicle) if you are not the registered owner of the property, or if you have not obtain consent of the owner to do so.
Investigative agencies in particular must only use collected personal information of the purposes for which it was collected. Additionally, all Investigative Agencies must retain and protect this collected information for specified period of time before destruction. When choosing an Investigative Service, one should enquire about the duration of time in which any collected information will be stored and available to them upon request as needed.
How Much Does It Cost To Hire A Private Investigator?
When considering any industry, business or service offered, one should always factor in the quality of the product or service, the level of service and responsiveness of the company, the credibility of the business, and the track record of the organization. As Canadians, we are often price driven, however, a low or high cost is not always an accurate measure of quality. While it is true that you often “get what you pay for”, when hiring an Investigative Agency, one should aim to maximize value, while staying within budget.
Any credible Investigative Agency should exude professionalism, responsiveness and should be able to articulate and demonstrate how they consistently provide exceptional service. While it is true that not all investigations go the way in which the client would ideally like, it is the agency’s responsibility to be professional, consistent and to do it’s due diligence while servicing all files. Respected private investigative services like Present Truth Investigations will go above and beyond for their clients. They will set reasonable expectations, stay within all legal parameters, maintain professionalism and deliver as promised.
The Final Verdict
When deciding which Investigative Agency to hire, one must do their own homework. As in every industry, not all so called “professionals” are created equal. A company’s professional accreditations, track record, it’s level of professionalism and it’s ability to provide a consistent quality service are key when making a hiring decision. Also, ensure that all requirements and expectations are communicated and clearly laid out before signing on the preverbal dotted line.
Perhaps you are considering hiring a credible Investigative Agency? If so, feel free to reach out to us at Present Truth Investigations agency. Conversating with us is FREE. And it would be our absolute pleasure to assist you.