Investigations and inspections

BSP may authorize anyone it chooses and designates to act as inspector to verify compliance with the PSA and its regulations. It may also entrust the conduct of an investigation to a person it designates for that purpose.

The Department of Investigation and Insection (DII) team is comprised of investigators and inspectors appointed by BSP. Their role is to verify compliance with the PSA and its regulations through inspections and conduct investigations regarding failure to comply with the PSA and its regulations, when complaints are received, or on their own initiative.

As part of their activities, investigators and inspectors also ensure that industry stakeholders and the public are aware and informed about the PSA and its regulations.

Inspection

In the course of an inspection, the role of DII inspectors is to verify the compliance of legal entities and natural persons subject to the PSA. Such inspections may be scheduled or spontaneous and are conducted throughout the year across the province of Quebec.

While conducting an inspection, an inspector may, under Section 70 of the PSA:

  • At any reasonable time enter any premises where a private security activity is sold as a service or carried on, or where the inspector has reasonable grounds to believe that such an activity is sold as a service or carried on;
  • Take photographs of the premises and equipment;
  • Require the persons present to provide any information about the activities sold as services or carried on in those premises that is necessary for the discharge of inspection functions and to produce any document or extract of a document containing such information for examination or the making of copies.

On request, an inspector must identify himself/herself and produce a certificate of authorization.

Investigation

BSP may conduct an investigation if it has reasonable grounds to believe the PSA or its regulations have been violated. BSP may conduct an investigation following a complaint or on its own initiative, e.g. following an investigation where irregularities were discovered.

In the course of an investigation, under Section 74 of the PSA, an investigator is vested with the powers and immunity of commissioners appointed under the Act respecting public inquiry commissions (CQLR,c. C-37), except the power to order imprisonment. This means investigators can:

  • Investigate anything they are mandated to investigate, using all the lawful means they deem most appropriate
  • Summon witnesses that they deem necessary to fulfill their mandates to appear before them in order to submit to questioning or produce documents
  • Issue an arrest warrant for a witness who fails to appear when duly summoned

Anyone who fails to take an oath, testify or produce required documents when duly summoned by a DII investigator is in contempt of court.

Obstruction

Anyone who hinders an inspector or investigator in the performance of his/her duties, refuses to provide information or a document the inspector or investigator is entitled to require or examine, or conceals or destroys a document or other object relevant to an inspection, investigation or inquiry is committing a penal offence under the PSA and is liable to a fine of $500 to $5 000.  

SANCTIONS under the private security act

An investigation or inspection can result in penal or administrative sanctions.

Penal Sanctions

Penal provisions are set out in the event that certain provisions of the PSA and its regulations are violated. The table below provides and informative summary of the offences and fines that may be incurred. For second or subsequent offences, the minimum and maximum fines are doubled.

Statements of offence are not issued by BSP, but rather by Bureau des infractions et des amendes (BIA) at Ministère de la Justice. When it finds that an offence has been committed, DII sends its report and recommendations to BIA, which issues a statement of offence following analysis and approval by the Directeur des pousuites criminelles et pénales and imposes a penal sanction, i.e. a fine.

For more information on BIA, please consult this following link.

 

 

Summary of Penal Offences Under the PSA

Section

Summary of the offence

Fine

114

Violation of Section 4: An enterprise offers a private security service without having the required licence.

$500 to $5,000

(Additional fine of $1,000 to $10,000 if the enterprise’s licence has been suspended or cancelled under Section 29)

115

Violation of Section 13: An agency fails to display its licence or a copy of its licence in a conspicuous location at each of its establishments.

or

Violation of Section 14: An agency fails to notify BSP of any change likely to affect the validity of its licence.

or

Violation of Section 15: An agency fails to notify BSP that it has ceased operations.

or

Violation of Section 24: An agent fails to notify BSP of any change likely to affect the validity of his/her licence.

or

Violation of Section 25: An agent holds employment incompatible with the private security activity for which a licence was issued, particularly any employment in a police force.

or

Violation of Section 26: An agent licence holder fails to notify BSP that he/she has ceased operations.

or

Violation of Section 36: An agent or agency licence holder fails to surrender a cancelled licence or licence that has not been renewed (and any copy of it, if any) within 15 days of the decision.

or

Violation of Section 79: An agency or agent fails to inform BSP of any change in information relating to the licence holder contained in the register no later than the thirtieth day after the change occurs.

$250 to $2,500

116

Violation of Section 16: A natural person carrying on a private security activity or acting as an immediate superior of person carrying on a private security activity does not have the required licence.

$150 to $1,500

(Additional fine of $300 to $3,000 if the person’s licence has been suspended or cancelled under Section 30)

117

Someone has in their employ a person in violation of Section 116 (see preceding offence).

$500 to $5,000

118

Someone orders or advises or issues a directive or policy causing an agent licence holder to violate a standard of conduct.

$500 to $5,000

119

Someone hinders an inspector or investigator in the performance of his/her duties, refuses to provide information or a document the inspector/investigator is entitled to require or examine, or conceals or destroys a document or other object relevant to an inspection, investigation or inquiry.

$500 to $5,000

120

Someone helps, incites, advises, encourages, allows, authorizes, or orders another person to commit an offence under the PSA.

Same fine as the one prescribed for the offence that he/she helped or caused the person to commit

121

Someone contravenes a regulatory provision whose violation constitutes an offence under the second paragraph of Section 111.

$150 to $5,000


Administratives sanctions

BSP may impose administrative sanctions on agents, namely, in the event of a breach to the standards of conduct established by regulation. 

If DII notes a failure to comply with the standards of conduct during an investigation, it submits its investigation report and recommendations to BSP’s Department of Legal Affairs (DLA).

After analyzing the investigation file and based on laws, regulations, and precedents in such matters, if DLA has grounds to believe that the agent in question failed to comply with the standards of conduct, it will send the agent a written notice informing him/her of the alleged misconduct and the reasons compelling BSP to believe that such violation occurred. DLA will also explain the administrative sanction recommended based on the facts and any aggravating or mitigating factors.

The agent will then have a set time limit to submit written observations regarding the notice sent as well as any document that he/she deems relevant.

After the agent’s added information is received and analyzed, DLA may conclude that the standards of conduct were not violated or that they were violated, and then impose one of the following administrative sanctions:

  • Reprimand on the agent’s record;
  • Suspension of the agent’s licence for a specific period of time;
  • Cancellation of the licence.  

Consult the Regulation respecting standards of conduct of agent licence holders carrying on a private security activity for more information.