CPIO Professional Designations

The Council of Professional Investigators Ontario has initiated a new innovation for Ontario private investigators. For the first time ever in Canada, we have developed professional designations tailored exclusively to professional licensed private investigators. 

The CPIO designation program began in 2020 and required the efforts of the entire board of directors, two lawyers and dedicated CPIO members. 

The CPIO designations have been Trademark protected and are governed by a set of protocols. Our Designation Committee is tasked with administering the designations according to the Designation Protocols. 

Our designations were developed with the knowledge of and discussion with the Private Security and Investigative Services Branch of the Ontario Ministry of the Solicitor General. 

Why Professional Designations 

There has never been a way for the private investigation industry in Ontario to recognize the: 

Achievements 

Qualifications 

 Training 

Continuing Education 

Professionalism

of private investigators. Previously private investigators had to obtain professional training and certification from other professional organizations in order to be recognized. 

Examples: 

CFE 

CIP 

CPP 

 and many others 

These outside designations may be valuable but they do not stem from the private investigation industry. They are not awarded by our peers. 

Benefits of Designations 

There are a number of benefits to the CPIO designations. 

Improve the reputation and professionalism of the private investigation industry as a whole through the requirement of a series of training courses relevant to the private investigation industry. 

Improved investigation knowledge and skills for individual private investigators. 

Improve the status and prestige of designation holders by demonstrating the recognition of their peers. 

Improved marketability for investigators with the designations

CPIOs Three-Tier Designations 

The CPIO has instituted a three-tier designation system that allows new and inexperienced investigators to take part in the program while also recognizing the accomplishments of experienced investigators. 

The three-tier system encourages designation holders to continue to improve their qualifications and advance through the tiers. 


Level 1: 

Council of Professional Investigators Ontario - Certified Professional Investigator 

Post nominals: CPIO-PI 

Requirements: 

2000 hours (one year) experience as a licensed private investigator 

Complete mandatory courses offered through CPIO

Hold an Ontario private investigator license 

Be a member of CPIO in good standing 

Designation holders may use this phrase in their email signatures etc: 

Certified by the Council of Professional Investigators Ontario as a Professional Investigator. 


Level 2: 

Council of Professional Investigators Ontario - Certified Senior Investigator 

Post nominals: CPIO-SI 

Requirements: 

Hold the CPIO-PI designation 

7500 hours (five years) experience as a licensed private investigator 

Complete additional mandatory courses offered through CPIO 

Hold an Ontario private investigator license 

Be a member of CPIO in good standing 

Designation holders may use this phrase in their email signatures etc: 

Certified by the Council of Professional Investigators Ontario as a Senior Investigator. 


Level 3: 

Council of Professional Investigators Ontario - Certified Master Investigator 

Post nominals: CPIO-MI

Requirements: 

Hold the CPIO-SI designation 

15,000 hours (ten years) experience as a licensed private investigator 

Complete additional mandatory courses offered through CPIO 

Hold an Ontario private investigator license 

Be a member of CPIO in good standing 

Designation holders may use this phrase in their email signatures etc: 

Certified by the Council of Professional Investigators Ontario as a Master Investigator. 

CPIO Designation Courses 

Candidates for all of the designations must take a series of training courses offered by CPIO. These courses are designed to be relevant to the private investigation industry. 

Courses are priced to be as affordable as possible. Most of the courses are offered at our cost with a little profit added for the presenter. Where courses have no presenter then the cost is minimal. 

Designation candidates or their agencies bear the cost of courses.


Examples of courses: 

1. Professional Ethics 

2. OSINT Techniques 

3. Surveillance 

4. Note taking and report writing 

5. Investigative Interviewing 

6. Critical Thinking 

7. Document analysis 

8. Relevant legislation 

9. Deception and Body Language 

Course Rollout 

A few of the courses have already been created. Others are in development. Additional courses will be added in the new year as they are finalized. Announcements will be made to our membership well in advance of the course dates. 

Courses, content and instructors will be vetted by the CPIO board of directors. 


Costs for the designations 

At present there are no additional costs to obtain or maintain the CPIO designations. Fees for the designations are included with each member’s CPIO Membership Fees. 

The CPIO designation program was not created to be a money-making venture, but rather to encourage Ontario private investigators to improve their professional qualifications. 

How to Obtain CPIO designations 

There are two ways to obtain the CPIO designations: 

        1. The CPIO Designation Application Process (the normal process) 

        2. Grandfathering of the CPIO-SI and CPIO-MI designations. 

            Note: the CPIO-PI designation is not available for grandfathering 


1. The CPIO Designation Application Process (the normal process) 

  • Have the requisite private investigation experience for the designation being sought. 
  • Complete the schedule of courses required for the designation being sought. 
  • Hold an Ontario private investigator’s license. 
  • Be a CPIO member in good standing 
  • Complete the CPIO Designation Application and submit it to the CPIO Designation Committee. 


2. Grandfathering of the CPIO-SI and CPIO-MI designations. 

  • Have the requisite private investigation experience for the designation being sought.
  • Have the requisite leadership experience for the designation being sought. 
  • Hold an Ontario private investigator's license.
  • Be a members of CPIO in good standing.
  • Complete the CPIO Designation Application and submit it to the CPIO Designation Committee

Grandfathering applications will be accepted until January 31, 2022. 

What is Grandfathering? 

Grandfathering is the process that allows CPIO members to obtain the CPIO-SI and CPIO-MI designations under preliminary rules prior to the commencement of the Designation Application Process. 

The grandfather rules permit CPIO members who qualify to obtain the CPIO-SI and CPIO-MI designations with increased licensed private investigation experience over obtaining the training courses. 

Grandfathering is a temporary policy designed to facilitate the expansion of the designation program prior to the final stage of the designation rollout. 


Requirements for Grandfathering 

CPIO-SI: 

Candidates seeking to be grandfathered into the Council of Professional Investigators Ontario - Certified Senior Investigator designation are required to have double the professional experience of those who obtain the designation through the regular Designation Application Process. 

In order to be grandfathered, they require: 

10 years experience as a licensed private investigator

1 year in a management or senior management position (includes Investigation Manager, Surveillance Manager, Team Lead etc)


CPIO-MI: 

Candidates seeking to be grandfathered into the Council of Professional Investigators Ontario - Certified Master Investigator designation are required to have double the professional experience as those who obtain the designation through the regular Designation Application Process. 

In order to be grandfathered, they require: 

20 years experience as a licensed private investigator

5 year in a senior management position: president, vice-president, director, regional manager. (Investigation Manager and similar titles not accepted) 


Work Experience NOT Considered for CPIO Designations 

The CPIO professional designations are aimed exclusively at licensed private investigators. Only work experience obtained while licensed as a private investigator will be considered for the designations. 

Experience obtained from other professions will not be considered. 

Examples include: 

Investigation experience obtained while not licensed as a private investigator 

Law enforcement experience or investigation work (police/detective etc) 

Government agency enforcement or investigation experience 

Insurance adjuster or insurance investigator experience obtained without a private investigators license 

Security guard experience, even if it involved investigations 

Privileges of Designation Holders 

Designation holders will: 

Receive a large designation certificate from CPIO

Use post nominals: CPIO-PI,  CPIO-SI,  CPIO-MI

Use the phrase: “Certified by the Council of Professional Investigators Ontario as a _______ Investigator.” (Email signature etc.) 

Have their names placed in an online database which confirms their status and designation. This can be used to confirm the designation to prevent its use without authorization.  This database will not be made available to the public.


Responsibilities of Designation Holders

Act in accordance with the CPIO Designation Protocols 

 Act in accordance with CPIO Code of Ethics 

Obtain the required CEP credits per year. (To be determined)

Maintain a valid Ontario private investigators license

Maintain membership in CPIO

How To Apply for the CPIO Designations

If you meet the above qualifications and would like to apply for your designation, please contact the Designations Coordinator:  designations@cpiontario.ca

  • You will require a resume outlining your professional qualifications and will sign an authorization for the Designations Coordinator to confirm the information provided.


Designation Protocols

The CPIO board of directors has instituted Designation Protocols in order to govern the administration of our professional designations.  The protocols can be found here:

Professional Designation Protocols.pdf

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