Ontario Fire Administration’s Candidate Testing Service (CTS) continuously works towards a province-wide standardized candidate testing system that is open, transparent, inclusive and more cost effective for both municipal fire services and firefighter candidates.
For the municipal fire service, the process helps save valuable resources that are otherwise engaged in advertising, testing, marking, appraising and results reporting. Municipal fire services participating in CTS have the opportunity to build their team, based on their needs and specific job requirements including second language, skilled trades, work experience and/or firefighter specialty training.
Several volunteer fire departments use CTS as their primary testing tool for volunteer firefighters. These departments rely on CTS to provide testing that identifies the most suitable candidates for the job.
Wholly owned by the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs, our testing process follows industry standards and best practices in aptitude, human relations, and work style assessments, bona-fide medical, clinical, physical and job specific skills testing.
The municipal fire service in Ontario recruits potential full time employees by conducting a candidate testing process. In most cases, the testing is exclusive to each municipality. Currently, potential candidates experience a complex and expensive process to gain employment as a full time firefighter in Ontario. This approach to firefighter recruitment is costly and time consuming for municipalities and is also viewed as a barrier to attracting a more culturally diverse candidate.
In November 2012, the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs (OAFC), directed by resolution from our membership, engaged into the process of developing a provincial standardized candidate testing service for the full time fire service.
The resolution identified four major deficiencies in the current process:
- There is an increasing number of community colleges, private career colleges and institutions in other provinces and countries that are providing firefighter training and that despite similar credentials fire departments are seeing a wide variation in the knowledge and skills of the candidates;
- There is a significant cost to municipal employers to conduct a career firefighter recruitment;
- Applicants incur significant costs, ultimately paying for similar tests for each fire department application which are non-transferrable;
- The province of Ontario has a very diverse population and current methods of recruitment is limiting to this diverse group.
The Ontario Fire Administration Inc. Candidate Testing Services (OFAI CTS) enables those individuals whose aptitude, physical and practical firefighting skills align with the needs of the municipal fire service, to pass through the system, while screening out those that do not meet the minimum standards and requirements. The process ensures that all candidates are aware of what is involved in becoming a firefighter in the province of Ontario.