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Private Detective Vancouver

A Vancouver Private Detective was the term used to describe a civilian employed by a Vancouver BC Private Detective company hired to investigate “Subjects” by a customer. In Vancouver, the customer is known as the "client." The “subject” is usually a person or persons but can also be a Vancouver business. The customer can be an individual, corporation, and even a government agency.

Vancouver skyline with detective text on top


Vancouver Private Detective Term

A civilian performing investigations in Vancouver is no longer referred to as a Private Detective. Rather, the term used now for a local investigator is a Vancouver "Private Investigator."


Last Record of a Vancouver Private Detective

The last record of a civilian investigating on the behalf of clients being referred to as a Vancouver Private Detective is a 1962 amendment to what was called The Private Detectives' Licensing Act.


Current Use of the term Vancouver Private Detective

The current act governing Vancouver civilians no longer allows the use of the term Detective:

A person engaged in a security business must not, to describe or identify the person’s business or services use the word "detective", "law enforcement", "peace officer" or "police", either alone or in conjunction with other words.

the city of Vancouver BC

What Did Vancouver Private Detectives do?

The scope of work for Vancouver Private Detectives was a broad range of different types of investigations, same as today. However, Private Detectives in Vancouver focused on providing insurance firms with information and evidence regarding insurance. These insurance firms were the largest provider of investigations in the past and currently.

Detective in black suit in front of vancouver skyline

Despite being ordinary citizens, Vancouver Private Detectives lacked government investigative privileges; however, they possessed the authority akin to any other Vancouver resident, albeit with the added capability to provide investigative services to clients due to their specialized expertise in the field.


Vancouver Private Detective Clients

Private Detectives in Vancouver had commonly served insurance companies, law firms, private corporations, and Vancouver citizens as their primary clientele. Private Detectives undertaken for these entities often revolved around insurance claims and often provided surveillance as a service to these claims.

  • Today's Vancouver agencies can also offer Cyber Investigations in conjunction with surveillance to better serve these clients. Obviously, technological limits made Vancouver Private Detectives of the past unable to offer this service.

Additionally, other clients in Vancouver had sought comprehensive information to facilitate the adjudication or administration of insurance claims. Many of these cases had been resolved through the engagement of a Vancouver Private Detective, who had utilized both surveillance and non-surveillance methods. Of course, non-surveillance methods of the past were much more analog. Vancouver investigations had typically yielded information more expeditiously compared to legal procedures like discovery, thereby furnishing the clients of the Investigators with enhanced data for decision-making.

Vancouver detective holding slr camera

The Private Detective's clients would ask for investigations in Vancouver on a wide variety of topics such as,

  1. Interviewing and Statement-Taking

  2. Forensic Investigations

  3. Theft Investigations in BC

  4. Security Consulting

  5. Accident Investigations & Reconstructions

  6. Asset Recovery Investigations

  7. BC Process Serving

  8. Arson Investigations in BC

Detective inside of van with slr cam corder

Due to the progress of technology, Vancouver agencies can now offer more investigative services such as,

BC flag being held by Vancouver Private Detective

Former Vancouver Private Detective Legislation

Most people would have thought that Vancouver Private Detectives were given extra provincial BC legislative powers; however, this was not entirely true.

  • A local Vancouver Detective was just a civilian but developed more tools than the general public and was more skilled and aware of how best to have leveraged those tools.

Furthermore, in Vancouver, Private Detectives had the legal right to perform surveillance. This meant that a Vancouver Private Detective could not have been accused of loitering, same with agencies in the present.


  • Loitering and being hired to perform surveillance are two distinct activities with different implications.

  • Loitering typically refers to lingering or hanging around a particular place without a clear purpose or permission. It can be a subjective term and is often associated with suspicion or potential misconduct, especially in areas where loitering is prohibited or regulated.

  • On the other hand, being hired to perform surveillance involves actively monitoring or observing a person, place, or activity for a specific purpose, often related to security, investigation, or intelligence gathering. This activity is usually conducted with the consent or authorization of the party hiring the surveillance and is done with a specific objective in mind.

  • While both activities involve staying in a location for a period of time, the key difference lies in the intent and purpose behind the behaviour. Loitering is generally aimless or idle, whereas surveillance is purposeful and directed towards a specific goal.


Make no mistake, Private Detectives in Vancouver had legal means and methodologies that made them as effective as the civilians performing investigations of today. In contrast, the police had access to vastly more verifiable information, such as BC provincial wide data bases only accessible by law enforcement. For a Vancouver Private Detective, much of the time, was spent establishing and verifying information.

Lions Gate bridge looking from the Vancouver side

Modern Vancouver Investigations

Today, the term "Vancouver Private Detective" has evolved reflecting the changing landscape of investigative work. While the focus and technology have shifted, the core mission remains the same: to provide clients with reliable information and evidence. Despite the lack of governmental investigative powers, Vancouver Private Detectives of the past were skilled professionals who played a crucial role in serving the needs of insurance companies, law firms, corporations, and individuals. Their legacy lives on in the modern investigative agencies that continue to provide a wide range of services to the Vancouver community.


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