In the Province of British Columbia origin and cause investigators must be licensed through the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General, Policing and Community Safety Branch. Under the Security Services Act “a person, who for consideration, seeks or obtains information about the cause of or the responsibility for any fire, accident or incident in which damage to property or injury to any person has occurred” must be licensed as a private investigator. Under the Security Services Regulation “professional engineers, as defined in the Engineers and Geoscientists Act, in the practice of professional engineering as defined in that Act” are exempt only with respect to engineering services but not origin and cause investigations.
It is prudent for adjusters, insurance companies and lawyers utilizing the services of an origin and cause investigator in the Province of British Columbia to ensure that origin and cause investigators they retain are properly licensed. If a company or investigator is not properly licensed in the jurisdiction that the fire occurred their ability to testify in court may be challenged.
There are many documented cases in the United States where the issue of licensing of fire investigators and professional engineers has been addressed in court. One article of interest titled Licensure of Fire Investigators and Professional Engineers: Issues for the Insurance Industry can be viewed at www.interfire.org/features/licensure.
Companies licensed in the Province of British Columbia, the Security Services Act and Security Services Regulations as well as violation tickets issued under the Private Investigators and Security Agencies Act and Security Services Act can be obtained at www.pssg.gov.bc.ca/security/industry. A copy of the Engineers and Geoscientists Act can be obtained at www.bclaws.ca.
In the Province of British Columbia all persons, who for consideration, conduct origin and cause investigations – including origin and cause investigators, engineers, fire consultants and fire analysts – must be licensed through the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General.