A few weeks ago, one of our Facebook friends shared a frustrating experience she had with a locksmith. She had questions and by trying to help direct her to the appropriate agency, we realized we actually didn’t know that much about this industry. So in this blog post, we’re sharing some of the information we learned about locksmiths in BC (mostly sourced from the Government of British Columbia website): find out what locksmiths are (and aren’t) allowed to do, who licenses them and where to go if you have a complaint.

What is a locksmith?

In general terms, a locksmith is a person whose job is to make and repair locks. Activities may include re-keying or pinning locks, cutting or making restricted keys, servicing or repairing safes and more. For the legal definition of a locksmith and his or her designated activities, check out this information from the BC Government.

Do locksmiths have to be licensed?

Yes. In BC, locksmiths are considered “Security Industry Professionals” and are required to be licensed by the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General. Some of the other professions that fall under this label include security guards, security alarm installers, armoured car guards, private investigators and more. Check the status of a security licence here.

What should I know about locksmiths?

Locksmiths are prohibited from engaging in certain behaviours or activities – for full details, visit the Code of Conduct section of the Security Services Regulation. Here is a summary:

  • Locksmiths have to carry their licence at all times – if you ask to see it, they have to show it to you.
  • Locksmiths are not allowed to carry a badge.
  • Locksmiths have to act with honesty and integrity.
  • Locksmiths must not discriminate based on someone’s race, religion, sexual orientation, age, social status and more.
  • Locksmiths are not allowed to use profane, abusive or insulting language or actions.

What should I do if I have a complaint about a locksmith?

If you have a complaint that falls under the Security Services Act or Regulation, you can issue a complaint to the Registrar of Security Services (here is a link to information on how to do this). If your issue falls outside of these laws, such as a pricing dispute or a quality of service issue, you may want to contact your local Better Business Bureau office.

Consumer tips:

  1. Find a legit locksmith – before you need their help. Often, the need for a locksmith arises in a time of urgency or crisis. Do your research beforehand: ask friends for references, check online review sites and always make sure they’re properly licensed (see below!). Keep their information in your phone or another easily-accessible place for when you need their services.
  2. Make sure your locksmith is properly licensed. Remember: by law, locksmiths have to be licensed. The government has an online service where you can quickly verify that a locksmith is properly licensed – click here to look someone up. And don’t forget that locksmiths are required to carry their licence and show it to anyone who asks.
  3. Know where to go for help. If you have a complaint about a locksmith, first make sure your issue falls under the Security Services Act and/or Regulation. To make a complaint, visit this page and email it to Security Programs Division or send it to the mailing address on their contact page. If you mail the form, they ask that you please write “Attention: Compliance and Enforcement” on the envelope.

We hope this information was helpful!


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