Frequently asked questions

Our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section is a quick way for you to find the information you need. If you are unable to find what you are looking for, see the different sections for a host of information to help you in your research.

For more information, contact us.  

GENERAL INFORMATION

You can perform a search by name or licence number in the Register of Licence to verify in real time if a person or a business holds a valid and proper licence.

You can ask agents to identify themselves by showing their licence. Agencies must display their licence in each of their business offices to ensure it is prominently visible.

The licence status must be listed as “valid” in the Registry. If the status is listed as “suspended”, “revoked”, “expired” or “other”, it means that the person or business is not allowed to offer services or practice any activity related to private security. If you witness a breach of status, we invite you to file a complaint.

Not necessarily. To obtain a correct search result, you must enter the exact name or licence number. It is possible that your search does not give any result due to an error in the name or licence number.

Also, some investigative agents and those with a licence for the transport of valuables are exempt from being listed in the Registry for security reasons.

Should you need help in your search within the Register, contact our Information Service at 514 748-7480 or our Toll-Free-Number at 1 877 744-7700.

All private security agents must respect the standards of conduct as defined by the regulation.

Among other things, security agents must:

  • Behave in a manner that safeguards trust in the duties they perform.
  • Identify themselves by showing their licence when asked to do so. 
  • Avoid any form of abuse in their dealings with people. 
  • Act in a professional and capable manner. 
  • Perform their functions with the highest level of integrity, skill, vigilance, diligence and care. 
  • Perform their functions with dignity and loyalty and avoid any conflict of interest. 
  • Use discretion with regard to what they experience in their duties and respect the confidential aspect of the information collected. 
  • When required, use a firearm with caution and judgment.

You have doubts about the way an agent behaves and you believe the said agent did not act according to the standards of conduct? Inform us about the situation by filing a complaint.  

We encourage people to file a formal complaint to the Bureau if you witness one of the following situations:

A person acts as a private security agent without holding a licence
A business offers private security services without a valid licence
A security agent that has an unprofessional behaviour and does not respect the standards of conduct
An employer that hires a person who does not hold the licence required to perform private security duties
Any other breach to the Private Security Act or its regulations.

To do so, consult the File a complaint section. 

ABOUT AGENT LICENCE

Yes. Even if you hold a licence from another Canadian province, you must obtain a licence from the Bureau to carry out private security activities in Quebec. 

However, make sure to attach a copy of the licence you hold to your application. Holding a valid licence from another Canadian province may exempt you from the training that is required by regulation in this category of service. You must also provide a proof that you have attended first-aid training similar to the one that is mandatory in Quebec. 

Yes. You can apply for a licence even when you’re seeking employment in the private security sector. Also, your licence is still valid if you resign from your job.

However you must remember that you have to inform the Bureau of any change or new job in the private security sector. You can get fined if you fail to do so.  

No. Only those holding a valid licence are allowed to carry out private security activities.

Therefore you must wait to receive your licence before carrying out private security activities to avoid being liable for criminal sanctions (fines). 

No. Your request will take the same time to process whether you drop the documents in person or mail them.

No. If you operate a business that offers private security services, you must hold an agency licence in one or several of the applicable categories. This includes self-employed workers that are operating as an individual business or a business with shareholders or a sole administrator company. This also applies to the subcontractors of private security companies.

You must hold two licences:

  • An Agent Licence to carry out private security activities, and 
  • An Agency Licence of the same category to offer private security services. 

If you are working in the private security sector or if you are the immediate supervisor of private security agents within a company which mission is to solely offer private security services, you must hold an agent licence if this is your main professional activity.

A main professional activity consists in a task that you do on a regular basis or to which you are specifically assigned according to your job description.

The description of a main activity is based on a case-by-case study of the tasks and responsibilities of the employee, not on the hours required to carry on the task.

To know if a private security activity or your role as an immediate supervisor is considered a main activity according to the Private Security Act, write to us at info@bspquebec.ca and provide a detailed job description.

If you hold a job as an immediate supervisor of private security agents according to the Private Security Act but that you don’t personally perform private security duties, you must still hold an agent licence but you won’t have to undergo training, and the said licence will be delivered, “without any right to exercise.”

According to the Private Security Act (PSA), an Immediate Supervisor is the first-level authority line manager of a private security agent which responsibility consists in first-hand control of the work carried out by the agent.

An immediate supervisor does not necessarily have this position title within the organization; it’s the reporting relation with the agent that defines this role.

To know if you are considered an immediate supervisor according to the Private Security Act, write us at info@bspquebec.ca and provide a detailed job description.

The majority of private security activities require that a person has successfully completed the training mandatory by regulation according to the licence category required.

However if you did not undergo the required training but believe you have equivalent knowledge and skills, you can ask the Bureau to recognize the equivalent training you completed as well as your experience.

Consult the Required Training section to get all the information you need concerning the training criteria and the documents you must include with your application.

If you have been convicted of a criminal offence and were not granted parole for this criminal offence, when submitting your licence application form to the Bureau, you must declare it in the space provided to this effect since the Sûreté du Québec will inform the Bureau of this offence when conducting the security check.

The Bureau will need to check if there is a link between the offence for which you were convicted and the private security activity for which you are requesting an agent licence. If the Bureau concludes that there is a connection, your request will be denied.

Therefore it is up to you to decide if you want to request a licence despite this offence while keeping in mind that your parole application may be denied, or if you prefer to send your request only once you will be granted parole.

To obtain information on how to file an application for parole, we invite you to contact the Parole Board of Canada.

Yes, it’s possible, depending on the period elapsed since the discharge.

Absolute or conditional discharge does mean that a criminal record (parole) is suspended and that the Bureau must take this conviction into consideration when analyzing your application or maintaining your licence into effect. Article 6.1 of the Criminal Records Act (R.S.C. 1985 c. C-47) stipulates the specified deadlines for rehabilitation to take effect.

Therefore if you have been convicted of an offence for which you were granted absolute discharge, you must declare this conviction for a period of one (1) year following the date of the verdict.

If you were granted conditional discharge, you must declare this conviction for a period of three (3) years following the verdict.

The Sûreté du Québec will inform the Bureau of any offence for which you have received discharge, within this timeframe. 

Only those holding a licence as investigative agent or for the transport of valuables may be excluded from being listed in the Register of Licence Holders.

If you hold an investigative agent licence, you must fill in the Application for exemption from the Public Security Agents Register. You will have to demonstrate that the disclosure of information about could impede your ability of performing your duties and greatly affect your security.

If you hold an agent licence for the transport of valuables, you will be automatically exempted from being listed in the Registry based on the nature of your duties and related risks.

An agent licence is delivered for a period of five (5) years.

Annual Fee: To ensure a licence remains valid, the licence holder must pay the annual fee. The payment covers each category of licence the person holds while a portion covers the continuous security surveillance carried out by the Sûreté du Québec. This payment must be made every year, at the latest on the licence anniversary date. Failure to do so will result in the licence to be suspended and possibly revoked due to failure of payment.

Renewal: In the course of the fifth year of validity of your licence, you will receive a notice to inform you that your licence will soon expire and that you must renew it. You must return your request for renewal with the required document and payment at the latest 45 days prior to the expiration date of your licence. Failure to do so will result in the licence renewal to be denied, in which case you will have to submit a new licence application with all required documents and payments. Note that the renewal fee amount is not the same as the annual fee because the Sûreté du Québec must carry out a new and complete security accreditation check.

If the licence is renewed, it will be valid for five (5) years during which you must pay the annual fees.

Yes, you can pay your agent licence fee at most financial institutions.

If you go to your bank in person, you must bring the original copy of the invoice issued for the annual fee including the invoice detailed portion and the remittance form.

You can also pay your annual fee at an ATM of your financial institution branch by using the remittance form or if the financial institution permits it via Internet or phone by using the “File Number” which you’ll find on the remittance portion of the invoice.

Please allow three (3) business days for the transmission of your payment to the Bureau for processing. Upon receiving your payment, we will send you a receipt.

If we don’t receive your annual fee payment on the anniversary date of your licence, your agent licence will be suspended. Upon suspension of your licence, you will be prohibited from carrying out private security activities, subject to penal sanctions.

In such case, for your agent licence to be valid again, you must pay the annual fee plus an administrative fee of $35 at the latest on the date indicated in the suspension notice.

If the non-payment situation is not rectified, your agent licence will be revoked, and your employer will be informed of the situation.

If your agent licence is revoked, you are required to submit a new application by sending all required documents and payments due. In such case, your application will be analyzed based on the applicable criteria. In addition, the licence holder that benefitted from the exemption of training according to Article 4 of the Regulation respecting the training required to obtain an agent licence to carry on private security activities will cease to benefit from such exemption since this person’s licence is no longer considered renewed.

No. The reactivation of the licence usually takes 24 hours on business days for the process of a licence that has been suspended for the non-payment of the annual fee. For example, if you make the payment of your annual fee at your bank on Friday, the licence will be reactivated at the latest on Monday.

Upon the suspension or revocation of your licence, or its expiration due to a denial of renewal, you won’t be allowed to carry on private security activities, subject to penal sanctions.

Also, your employer will be informed of the suspension, revocation or non-renewal of your licence.

If your licence is revoked, you must return it to us within 15 days.

Don’t throw your licence away. You must return it within 15 days of its revocation. If you fail to do so, you may be fined.

As indicated in the decision that was forwarded to you, you have the possibility to contest an unfavourable decision made by the Bureau concerning your licence by submitting a request to the Tribunal administratif du Québec (TAQ) within 30 days of receiving from the Bureau the decision of suspending, revoking or not renewed your licence.

This being said, any decision from the Bureau is enforceable despite your contestation. Therefore you must cease any private security activity upon the suspension, revocation or expiration of your licence that has not been revoked, whether you are or not in agreement with the Bureau decision. Failure to do so, from your part or the part of your employer, will result in being subject to penal sanctions.

If you lose your licence, it is possible to obtain a replacement copy. To do so, you must fill in the Agent Licence Replacement Application form and mail it to us or bring it to the Bureau in person. There is $25 fee plus taxes.

No. You must keep your licence as long as it’s valid even if it’s your employer that paid for it since the licence is delivered to you regardless of your employment.

Should an employer require that you hand over your licence, please advise the Bureau at info@bspquebec.ca.

No. To this day, according to the Regulations respecting the training, as long as you renew your licence as required, you don’t have to prove that you meet the training requirements, including first-aid.

However you must maintain your acquired knowledge up to date, including the required first-aid training. 

We encourage you to file a formal complaint to the Bureau if you witness one of the following situations: 

  • A person that carries out private security duties without a valid licence 
  • A business that offers private security services without a valid licence 
  • A security agent who acts in a non-professional manner according to the standards of conduct 
  • An employer that hires a person who does not hold a licence to perform private security duties
    Any other breach to the Private Security Act or its regulations

To do so, please consult the File a complaint section.

ABOUT AGENCY LICENCE

No. Existing key cutting services are not subject to the Private Security Act. Consequently, such a retail business is not required to hold a locksmith agency licence and its employees don’t have to hold a locksmith agent licence.

However all retailers that install, maintain and repair mechanical or electronic unlocking devices must hold a locksmith agency licence, and their employees must hold a locksmith agent licence.

Not necessarily. If the main activity of the business is not to offer private security services, it does not have to hold an agency licence. However, the persons hired to ensure the security of the company must hold a security agent licence in the proper category, subject to penal sanctions, both for the employee and employer.

For instance, a retail business that hires security guards to prevent losses does not need to hold an agency licence since its main activity is to sell consumer goods and not to provide private security services. Therefore, a retail business does not have to apply for a security guard agency licence. However security agents that are hired by a retailer must hold an agent licence since their main duty is to carry out a private security activity. 

Yes. Security guarding is subject to the Private Security Act. This activity is defined as guarding and protecting the individuals, property and places mainly to prevent crime and maintain order. Therefore responding to a burglar or intrusion alarm is considered security guarding under the Act. Also, the Act provides that any person operating a business that carries on a private security activity as well as any natural person who carries on a private security activity must respectively hold an agency licence and an agent licence of the required class.

Therefore, a business that responds to a client’s burglar or intrusion alarm must hold a security guarding agency licence, and the business’s employee who responds to the alarm must hold a security guarding agent licence.

It should be noted that the registration, without financial compensation, of a neighbour, parent or friend on the list of respondents that would act on a voluntary basis if a burglary or intrusion detection alarm goes off, does not constitute an activity subject to the Privacy Security Act. 

Yes. Any person who operates a business that carries out a private security activity in Quebec must hold an agency licence delivered by the Bureau in the category of the said activity.

In addition, any agency licence holder must, among other things, have at least one business place in Quebec. Visit the section New applicant to obtain an Agency Licence for all the requirements that must be met.

No. Only the persons holding a valid licence are authorized to carry out private security activities.

You must therefore wait for your licence to be delivered before engaging in any private security activity. Failure to do so would lead to criminal sanctions, which means that you can be fined.

No. Processing time is the same whether you bring your documents in person or mail them.

The following individuals associated with the agency must go through a security verification: 

  • The business owner 
  • All associates or shareholders that have significant interest in the company 
  • All administrators 

A significant interest means that an associate has a 10% or more participation in the business, and for a shareholder to hold directly or indirectly 10% or more of voting shares. 

For example, the following individuals must be the subject of verification:

  • Individual Company: owner 
  • Incorporated Corporation: associates holding 10% or more of shares, and administrators if applicable 
  • Corporation: shareholders that hold directly or indirectly 10% or more of voting shares and members of the Board of Directors 

Do not confuse administrators and upper-level managers. Only the administrators must be validated.

Is the owner, shareholder or associate of a company considered a legal entity?
In the case of a legal entity, shareholders and associates that hold, directly or indirectly, 10% or more of voting shares or parts, as the case may be, as well as the administrators will be the subject of verification. The same applies to the natural persons who are also legal entities.

Here’s a practical advice to businesses with multi-level corporate structure: create an organizational chart and write the names of all associates or shareholders, and indicate their percentage of interest in the company (parts or voting shares). Add the name of the administrators for each these entities. Carry on this exercise for any person identified (owner, associates, shareholders, administrators) that are not all natural persons. 

If you are a person associated with the agency (lien cliquable) that must be the subject of security verification according to the Private Security Law and that was found guilty of a criminal offence for which pardon was not granted, you must declare it to the Bureau on the licence request form in the space to this effect. Also, the Sûreté du Québec will inform the Bureau of this offence when conducting the security verification.

The Bureau will then analyze the implication of the offence of which you were found guilty and the private security activity for which your company is requesting an agency licence.

Should the Bureau conclude there is a link, a notice of denial will be sent to the representative to give the agency 10 business days to submit any observation of other relevant documents. This time will allow your business to change representative, dismiss an administrator or buy back parts or voting shares or the shareholder that was found guilty of an offence related to the agency activity.

It is therefore your business responsibility to decide if you want to apply for an agency licence despite the offence of a person related to your business by keeping in mind that your application may be denied due to this offence or that your business may be obliged to change the status of the said person within the agency.

For information on how to ask for pardon, contact the Parole Board of Canada.

You may have to do so depending on the elapsed time since the discharge.

Indeed, a discharge, either conditional or absolute, is not equivalent to a record suspension (pardon), and the Bureau must take this offence into consideration when analyzing a licence application or deciding to maintain it in force. Article 6.1 of the Criminal Records Act (R.S.C. 1985, c. C-47) stipulates that it is only after the expiration of the prescribed timeframe that your rehabilitation will be in effect.

If a person related to the agency has been convicted of an offence and has received an absolute discharge, that person must declare this conviction during a period of one (1) year following the verdict. In the case of a conditional discharge, the person must declare this conviction during a period of three (3) years following the verdict.

Also, the Sûreté du Québec will inform the Bureau of any offence for which a person related to the agency has received discharge during this timeframe.

Your agency licence or an official copy thereof must be clearly displayed in each of the agency’s business places.

To obtain a copy of your licence, you must send a request to the Bureau by filling in the appropriate form. A $25 fee per copy plus taxes applies. 

No. It is strictly forbidden to reproduce or copy an agency licence. To obtain an official copy of your licence, you must complete and submit the form to the effect. A $25 fee plus taxes will apply for each copy requested.

Exceptionally, if your agency must provide this document when responding to a request for proposal, it is possible to make a photocopy of the said licence.

Yes. You must notify the Bureau when you decide to cease your agency’s operations and follow these steps:

Step 1: You must fill in the Revocation of Licence Form and forward it to the Bureau that will revoke your licence as of the date when your agency ceases its operations.

Step 2: You must return your licence as well as any existing copies by mail or in person within a period of 15 days following the date of the revocation. If your agency has ceased its operations, you must attach your licence and any existing copies to the Revocation of Licence Form. 

No. The agency licence is not transferable to another legal entity since it was delivery based on the specific characteristics of the business holding the licence.

Please contact us to know what measures you must take to ensure the compliance of your business if you plan to:  

  • Change the legal status of your business (for example, a sole business owner that chooses to incorporate his/her business) 
  • Sell your private security operations to another entity 
  • Merge with another company

The agency licence is delivered for a period of three (3) years.

Annual Fee: Licence holders must, among other things, pay the annual fee to ensure their agency licence remains valid. This payment includes a portion for each category of licences the agency holds, plus a portion for the security verification of all the persons related to the agency that must be carried out on a yearly basis. The annual fee must be paid yearly at the latest on the anniversary date of the licence. Failure to do so will result in the licence to be suspended, and even revoked if the default of payment persists.

Renewal: During the third year of validity of your agency licence, you will receive a renewal form. You’ll find on that form all the details pertaining to the renewal of your licence that will expire shortly. You must return this renewal form with all required documents and payment to the Bureau de la sécurité privée at the latest 60 days before your agency licence expires. Should you fail to do so, the licence renewal will be denied and your business will have to apply for a new licence and produce all necessary documents and forward required payments.

If the licence is renewed, it will be for a period of three (3) years, during which you will continue paying the annual fee.

If you don’t receive the payment of your annual fee at the latest on the anniversary date of your agency licence delivery, the latter will be suspended. Upon suspension of your licence, your agency will be prohibited from carrying out private security activities, subject to penal sanctions.

To reinstate the validity of your agency licence, you must pay the annual fee plus an administrative fee of $35 at the latest on the date indicated in the suspension notice.

If your situation is not reinstated within this period, your agency licence will be revoked. In such case, your company will have to submit a new application and forward all the pertaining documents and payments, and the said application will be analyzed based on the applicable criteria.

No. Processing the payment will take 24 hours during business days before the reactivation of a licence suspended due to the non-payment of the annual fee. For example, if you pay your licence fee at the Bureau on Friday, your licence will be reactivated at the latest on the Monday following.

Don’t throw away your licence! You must return your agency licence as well as all copies to the Bureau within 15 days following the non-renewal, revocation or termination of your private security operations, and subject to penal sanctions as per the Privacy Security Act.

If your agency licence is suspended or revoked, or if your renewal is denied, your company will be prohibited from providing private security services, and subject to penal sanctions.

In addition, in cases of revocation, you must return your agency licence and any copies within 15 days following the date of the decision.

No. Since the Private Security Act has been in force, a licence is delivered regardless of an agent’s occupation or employer. Therefore, agents who hold a valid licence must keep it, for the said licence is the property of the Bureau de la sécurité privée even if it’s the employer that paid the fees.