Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Private Investigation and Forensic Investigation Services

We have provided this Frequently Asked Questions page to help our clients understand more about the investigations industry in general, investigation specialties and our firm’s services in this area. Here are the nine questions you can get answered on this page:

1. How do you know if an individual investigator or a firm is the right fit for your requirement?
2. How are fees charged?
3. What kind of clients does the KeyNorth Group serve?
4. What separates individual private investigators from agencies?
5. What is the significance of the KeyNorth Group specializing in training, investigation and consulting?
6. What should you expect from an investigation firm you work with?
7. What experience and credentials does the KeyNorth Group have? How about its professionals?
8. What is the KeyNorth Group’s Geographic Reach?
9. How can I learn more about the firm?

If you have a question that isn’t covered here, we invite you to contact us. Someone will be happy to provide you with any information you need.

1. How do you know if an individual investigator or a firm is the right fit for your requirement?

The legislation governing private investigations is broad, so how do you know if the firm or individual you’re working with is right for your problem? Don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions. Most professionals will pleased to have a discussion with you about your needs.

Just as lawyers, doctors and accountants can be either generalists or specialists, so too can private investigation agencies and individual private investigators. For example, our firm specializes in fraud, asset location, intellectual property rights investigations, litigation support and information related crime. We have invested heavily in these areas in training, developing great partnerships with other professionals and investments in technology and infrastructure in these areas.

Other firm’s specialize in criminal defence or catastrophic accident investigations. It is important that you know that the people you’re working with the right professional for on the right requirement.

2. How are fees charged?

Private investigation work can be billed in a variety of different ways, from the traditional hourly rate model, to fixed fee engagements (also referred to as value pricing in legal circles) and in some, limited situations on a contingency or risk basis.

We’ll work with you to set an appropriate budget, retainer and model for your engagement. We also accept credit card payments but additional fees may apply for larger mandates.

Contact us for a free consultation on your matter and to learn more about our fees and billing structure.

3. What kind of clients does the KeyNorth Group serve?

We serve lawyers, corporations & small to medium sized enterprises (“SME”), government departments, law enforcement agencies, not-for-profits and individuals. Here are some examples of the way we work with these different groups:

Lawyers: We help counsel help their clients through our investigation and litigation support services and through our background due diligence services. Everything from the location of individuals for service, to pre-litigation background inquiries on an individual or company and their assets to complex commercial investigations, product liability claims, asset tracing or investor fraud. We determine the right mix of professionals to build a team that can support the mandate.

We also provide background due diligence services to support any mergers, acquisitions or business transactions.

Large Corporations and SMEs: We serve corporate security departments and corporate counsel with services ranging from internal investigations, vendor kickback schemes, allegations of corruption, cyber-bullying or cyber-harassment, forensic auditing & fraud examination, fraud risk consulting, anti-counterfeiting and intellectual property rights investigations (e.g. counterfeiting, passing-off, patent infringement), supply chain investigations, leaks of information and background due diligence services.

We understand the impact of budgetary considerations and ethics policies in the conduct of our work.

If your corporate security group requires training in the area of open source intelligence gathering or fraud investigation, we can help.

Corporations don’t just mean large companies. We’ve worked with a lot of small and medium sized businesses to help them tackle everything from credit card charge backs, employee theft and partnership disputes. We are sensitive to the particular requirements of small businesses and we will  work with you to resolve the issue you’re currently dealing with, and make recommendations so that it doesn’t happen again.

If you are considering a business transaction such as a merger or acquisition, or you’re thinking about a key person hire you may also wish to use our background due diligence services to ensure that the person or company you are considering working with is not making any false representations and doesn’t have any other red-flags in their background that could be a problem in the future.

Government Departments: We serve government departments and agencies through the provision of forensic auditing & fraud examination services, cyber-bullying or cyber-harassment, transfer payment forensic audits, administrative investigations & reviews, support for review for cause, and information leaks. We also have deep experience working with First Nation governments on forensic engagements.

While each department or agency is different, we are deeply familiar with performing work within the Federal Public Service context and are current on all Treasury Board Policies as well as are knowledgeable about working in unionized environments. If you are visiting from a Canadian Federal Government Department or Agency and would like to learn more about our contracting vehicles, please visit “How We Work with Canadian Federal Government Clients.”

Law Enforcement Agencies: We provide training in open source intelligence gathering to law enforcement personnel throughout Canada and internationally. This training service is also available to regulatory agencies and corporate security departments.

Not-For-Profits: We understand that the not-for-profit sector is particularly vulnerable to fraud and abuse, often because of the size of the organizations and the reliance on volunteers. We have provided forensic investigation services and fraud risk consulting services, including background due diligence on key hires to a number of not-for-profit organizations with great success.

Individuals: We provide individuals with financial investigation services. If you believe that you are a victim of fraud we can help. Whether it is investor fraud, a spouse who is concealing assets during a divorce proceeding a business partner that has stolen money we can help you resolve your complaints.

We also work with individuals in cases of cyber-bullying, cyber-harassment and identity theft.


4. What separates individual private investigators from agencies?

According to the Private Security and Investigative Services Act of Ontario, individual licensees are permitted to conduct investigations into individuals, businesses and the whereabouts of persons or property.

Individual licensees are not allowed to sell the services of private investigation to the public. Only licensed agencies can do so. This is an important distinction because agencies have additional licensing requirements and they must supervise the conduct of the individual private investigators that work for them. Agencies are also required to carry a certain amount of general liability insurance which is mandated by the applicable regulations. All of this is in place to protect the public.

There are strict penalties for agencies that don’t comply with the law and regulations that govern our industry.

An individual sole-proprietor can also be an agency, but a client should confirm that the individual is licensed as an agency if they are operating a one-person organization.

The KeyNorth Group is a licensed private investigation agency in Ontario.

5. What is the significance of the KeyNorth Group specializing in training, investigation and consulting?

We view white collar crime and commercial litigation as a continuum from risk mitigation, through detection to remediation. Our three service areas fit on that continuum.

We leverage the research required to provide excellence in training and apply that research to our investigation and consulting activities. Also, our professionals learn every time we teach and as a result we are constantly improving our competence in these areas.

Similarly, we leverage our investigation experience to improve our training and consulting services.

6. What should you expect from an investigation firm you work with?

You should always expect professionalism, communication and diligence from an investigation firm you work with. Whether it is a simple location file or a complex forensic investigation You should also expect transparency in invoicing and billing.

Our philosophy is to first understand the client’s concerns and requirements. We then develop a plan to meet our clients objectives and obtain their agreement on the strategy. We then execute the strategy, provide our findings and any additional support that is required.

7. What experience and credentials does the KeyNorth Group have? How about the professionals at the firm?

The KeyNorth Group was formed in 2008 and has been providing high quality services to our clients since that time. Members of our firm have various designations including being Certified Fraud Examiners and Certified Information System Security Professionals.  Our employees are also members of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners.

The backgrounds of our employees and associates include corporate investigators, former government or law enforcement investigators, accountants, computer forensic experts and subject matter experts for specific consulting engagements. All are appropriately licensed and qualified to perform the work and the team that is assigned to your file will always be the right team for your requirements.

8. What is the KeyNorth Group’s Geographic Reach?

We are headquartered in Ottawa, Canada’s National Capital but we maintain resources in Toronto, Canada’s business capital. We perform work all through North America and internationally through our network of trusted partners. We also greatly enjoy getting out of the city and working in rural communities.

We are active in industry groups and philanthropy in both Ottawa and in Toronto.

9. How can we learn more about the firm?

You can learn more about our firm by browsing through our website or checking out our blog. The navigation toolbar is at the top of this page.

We also publish a semi-annual newsletter that you can sign up for where we publish thoughts and insights on our key practice areas: investigation, consulting and training.

We are social. Find us on LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+. We publish regularly on these platforms.

Finally and most importantly, contact us by email or phone. Our initial consultations are always free and have no-commitment. We would be pleased to discuss your matter with you and direct you to the right resources to meet your needs.