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How do I Start a Security Business in Alberta?

Updated: Nov 1, 2023

Perhaps you've worked as a security guard or security supervisor for a private security company and feel like it's time to start a business of your own. Or perhaps you own a different type of business, like a liquor store, and would like to hire your own in-house security staff. What are the requirements? What does it take to get started?


It's important to get all the information first, before making a decision that this is the best path for you. In this article, we will cover everything that is required to start your own security guard company or company that hires security staff in Alberta.




Do I need to have a Business Licence for Security work?


According to the Security Services and Investigators Act, if you own or work for a business and intend to hire staff who will perform security guard services in Alberta, the business must have an Alberta security business licence to employ them and the staff must also have individual security licences. This could be either in situations where the business contracts their security guard staff out to other businesses, or where the business operates in a different industry but wants to employ staff in-house to perform security guard duties.

Security Services and Investigators Act, Business licences 8
No person may, without a business licence to do so, engage in the business of providing individual licensees, or employ or engage an individual licensee, to do or to provide security or investigative work

The only exceptions are:

A business licensed under the Gaming and Liquor Act or an employee of such a business, while carrying out duties and functions under the Gaming and Liquor Act (see below for additional information).
A business licensed under the Safety Codes Act or an employee of such a person, while carrying out duties and functions under the Safety Codes Act.
Business entities, or in-house employees of business entities, governed under the Bank Act (Canada).
Finance entities, or in-house employees of finance entities, as defined under the Finance Entity Regulation (Canada).
Entities, or in-house employees of entities, defined in the Credit Union Act (Alberta).
Individuals and businesses providing security at international airports on the secure side of the airport fall under the federal legislation Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) and therefore are exempt.
A person who performs a function listed in the Act only ‘incidentally’ as it relates to their primary job function.
Volunteer security guards when no remuneration is provided to the volunteer or to the volunteer organization of which the volunteer security guards are members, unless the volunteer organization competes for a tender for a contract to perform security and investigation services (see below for additional information).

See Security Services and Investigators Act 11 Policy Manual v4.0 section 3.5 for more information on exemptions.



About Security Business Licensing


In Alberta, security business licences are issued under the Security Services and Investigators Act and issued by Alberta Justice. This is the provincially-mandated requirement to provide security guard services through a business. Federal and municipal licenses or permits are also required for businesses.


The security business licenses are issued for a 1, 2 or 3 year period. Businesses can apply for one or more licence types as listed in the following section. Staff who have been hired to perform security guard duties for the business must also be licenced guards with a valid Alberta Security Services Individual Licence.



Types of Business Licenses


Businesses can apply for one or more licence types:

  • Contract Business / Security services - If you are providing security services as a contractor to other companies

  • Registered-User Business / Businesses with in-house services - If you are a business that wants to have security guards on staff internally, to protect your own business. You cannot contract your services to other companies.

  • Investigators

  • Automotive lock bypass

  • Locksmiths

  • Locksmith equipment sales and promotion



How to start a security business?


1. Check to make sure you are prepared to start a security business. Ensure you have gone through the steps listed by the Government of Canada.



You can register online, by phone, fax or mail. If you register by mail or fax, you'll need to complete and submit Form RC1. Note: If your business in incorporated in Alberta, you cannot register online - you must register one of the other ways.


4. Get a business licence or business permit for every city or municipality that your business will operate in, for each one that requires it.


5. Obtain at least $1 million in liability insurance.

Contact an insurance provider to find out what rates they can give you for liability insurance. If you are providing your services as a contractor to another company, that company that is hiring you may require that you carry a larger amount of insurance.


Businesses which offer security or investigation services that operate in the province of Alberta must be licensed under the Security Services and Investigators Act (2008). These security business licenses are issued by Alberta Justice. Read the following section for a complete list of required information prior to applying for your business licence.




Security Services Business Licensing application checklist


If you are your only employee and you are operating as a Sole Proprietor type of business, the Policy Manual indicates:

Sole Proprietors must complete both a business and individual application form. Only the business licence fee will be charged if the applications are submitted and renewed at the same time (see section on Sole Proprietorships below for more information).

Sole proprietorships are defined as companies owned and operated by the same individual, under the Security Services & Investigators Act.


Your business licence application must include the following information:

  • Copy of municipal business licence (if issued by municipality)

  • Copy of Alberta Registries Corporate Name Registry document

  • Copy of certificate for $1 million liability insurance

  • Uniforms:

    • Sample shoulder crest

    • Colour photos of uniforms (including front, back and side photos of all uniforms)

    • Colour photos of vehicles (including front, back and side photos of all marked vehicles if you intend to run a mobile security company where you would use a vehicle to do patrols)

  • ORIGINAL Police-issued Information and Criminal Record Check documents for all directors/officers/owners of Contract, and subsequent original reports stating the details of any findings. (Note: The owners, partners, or Board of Directors of a registered-user business licence are not required to complete these checks.) Includes 3 searches:

    • CPIC

    • Vulnerable Sector

    • Local Database

  • List of directors/officers of registered-user business (does not apply to contract businesses)

  • Cover letter, on letterhead, with description of services (both the company and department if applicable)

  • List of branch operation (store locations or other offices where services are performed).

  • Proof of mailing address in the province of Alberta. Note: that your business must operate from an address located in Alberta.

  • List of all equipment used by employees

  • Copy of business cards and advertising

  • Copy of public complaints policy* (policy and process for managing and responding to public complaints against individual licensees that meets the minimum standards of the Act and Regulations)

  • Copy of Code of Conduct* (as defined in section 20 of the Security Services and Investigators (Ministerial Regulation)

  • Copy of internal policy for use, training and storage of batons (if batons are to be used by licensed employees)

  • Copy of policy on storage of client' personal info, (if providing Security Alarm Responder Service, ref: section 18 SSI Ministerial Regulation)

  • Copy of policy in care and handling of patrol dogs* (If providing this service)

  • Application fee. Paid by credit or debit card, or certified corporate cheque, certified personal cheque, bank draft, money order, payable to Government of Alberta. (No cash or non-certified cheques.)

* Policy must be compliant with legislated policy requirements.



Ongoing Licensing Requirements


Security Services and Investigators Act, Business licence 15
A person that requires a business licence or a renewal of a business licence must
(a) meet the requirements for being issued a business licence or the requirements for the renewal of the business licence as specified in the regulations,
(b) apply to the Registrar in a form and manner acceptable to the Registrar,
(c) pay the prescribed fee,
(d) provide any information requested by the Registrar for the purposes of determining the person’s eligibility for a business licence or the renewal of the business licence,
(e) provide any other information prescribed by the regulations, which may include personal employee information as defined in the Personal Information Protection Act, and
(f) provide evidence that the business has and will maintain liability insurance as prescribed by the regulations.


Once your business is fully registered and you are ready to begin operating, you must fully comply with the Security Services and Investigators Act (Statues of Alberta 2008) as well as the Security Programs Policy Manual by:

  • creating internal policies

  • ensuring uniform and vehicle appearances

  • keeping records

  • reporting

    • incidents

    • new hires

    • terminations


According to the Policy Manual:

Two or more breaches of legislation or policy in a calendar year will result in a business licensee having to renew on an annual basis. A business licensee demonstrating 12 months of successful compliance will have the three year renewal term reinstated.

If you need additional support services, there are numerous available for Alberta businesses listed here: Alberta business support - Canada.ca



Renewing your Business Licence


The process to renew a business licence is the same as applying initially for one. Complete the Application for Business Licence and choose Renewal Application on the first page of the form.


The following list is the required information to renew your business licence:

  • Copy of municipal business licence (if issued by municipality, expires annually)

  • Copy of Alberta Registries Corporate Name Registry document (if you've changed your company name since issue of last licence)

  • Copy of certificate for $1 million liability insurance (expires annually)

  • Uniforms:

    • Sample shoulder crest (if it has changed since issuance of last licence)

    • Colour photos of uniforms (if it has changed since issuance of last licence)

    • Colour photos of vehicles (if it has changed since issuance of last licence)

  • ORIGINAL Police Information and Criminal Record Check documents from police for directors/officers/owners of Contract. Business, includes 3 searches:

    • CPIC

    • Vulnerable Sector

    • Local Database

  • List of directors/officers of Registered-User Business

  • List of branch operation (if branches have been opened/closed since issuance of last licence)

  • Application fee. -- NO CASH OR NON-CERTIFIED CHEQUES. Payable to GOVERNMENT OF ALBERTA. Certified corporate cheque, certified personal cheque, bank draft, money order, or credit/debit card.

* Policy must be compliant with legislated policy requirements.

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