Dear Council of Professional Investigators Ontario (CPIO) Members and Industry Stakeholders,
I would like to start by thanking Brian Sartorelli, Lloyd Vaughan, Brian Moffatt, and Kelly Tobin for their hard work over the last year; their knowledge and expertise will be missed. I would also like to thank Brian Zeng, James Fralick, Shelley Collins, Manish Patel, Vanessa Greenblatt, Junior Williams, and Boaz Lapointe for their dedication and continuing support. Finally, I would like to welcome Nino Calabrese, Martin Jaekel and James Winter to your CPIO Board of Directors.
We have all had a tumultuous year. At the CPIO, we started this year off by rebranding our logo and then setting about organizing the F.I.T. 5 Conference, which was to be held in April 2020. The expectation was for a spectacular day of learning, networking, and camaraderie but sadly, COVID-19 brought that to a crashing halt. COVID-19 also caused us to take a good look at the CPIO and the industry in general. We concluded that the CPIO should take the initiative and try to raise the general level of knowledge and the standard of professionalism in our industry.
Since the days of Eugene François Vidocq in the 1830’s, Private Investigators (or Private Inquiry Agents, as we were once known) have plied their trade using whatever tools were available, often with only the teachings of their employer to guide them and then later, learning through experience. Currently, various courses are available at universities and colleges, which give an overview of investigations and there are specialized trainers who teach surveillance, fraud investigations, interview techniques and OSINT to mention a few. However, there is no standard criteria by which these courses are measured. Often, what is being taught is out of date, applicable to a jurisdiction outside Ontario or even Canada, or merely a rote style of training with no human interaction or understanding of the principles required.
Monsieur Vidocq was a colourful character, who before starting what is believed to be the world’s first Private Investigation Agency, was a soldier, a criminal, and the founder of the Sûreté in France. He famously staffed his investigation agency with former criminals, perhaps theorizing that you should use a criminal to catch a criminal. Monsieur Vidocq was also innovative and is apparently accredited with introducing record keeping, criminology, and ballistics to criminal investigations. Since then, Private Investigators have tracked down notorious outlaws in the wild west, solved famous murders and located those not wanting to be found.
Unfortunately, there is no standardized qualification or training that applies to Private Investigators alone. The CPIO would like to begin correcting this situation by offering a collection of courses to Professional Investigators, in addition to our webinar series. The courses will be aimed at increasing the knowledge, awareness, and skill set of Professional Investigators through relevant, high-quality training in the most pertinent and current subjects. It is our hope that the courses we offer will set a benchmark for others to follow and will enable our members to boast a degree of professionalism envied by their peers.
As 2020 draws to a close, we are all looking at uncertain times ahead. While we all hope 2021 will bring a return to some sort of normality, none of us knows what to expect. CPIO Members, however, can rest assured that your Board of Directors is working hard to develop innovative ways to assist each and every member in enhancing their professional expertise and building a brighter future.
It only remains for me to wish each of you a safe and festive holiday season and May 2021 bring you and your families health, friendship, and prosperity!
NOTE: THE CPIO ENCOURAGES EVERYONE TO WEAR MASKS, ADHERE TO SOCIAL DISTANCING AND FOLLOW THE OTHER APPLICABLE GOVERNMENT GUIDELINES WITH REGARD TO THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC, AND KEEP US ALL SAFE.