OFAI Testing Interuption Notice

Please read announcment in full to ensure you are aware of how this affects you

Dear OFAI Candidates:

Unfortunately, the GTAA Fire and Emergency Services Training Institute (FESTI) advised us of some concerns due to unforseen circumstances on Saturday, July 18, which resulted in cancelling testing on July 18 & 19, 2020.

We have since received the following communication from the test facility, in regards to our CTS program:


Dear Ms. O’Hara,
President, Ontario Fire Administration Inc.,

First and foremost, on behalf of FESTI, I want to apologize for the events of this past weekend.  We are aware of the disruption and stress this has caused for Ontario Fire Administration Inc. (OFAI), and most importantly OFAI candidates. As you are aware, we had to suspend testing of the Stage Two – Encapsulated Treadmill Test, and Stage Three – Firefighter Physical Aptitude Test (FPAT) on Saturday, July 18 due to concerns with equipment. After tests were conducted by our highly skilled kinesiologist professionals on Monday and Tuesday of this week, and from new information received, it has now been determined that there are additional-valid health and safety concerns with the encapsulated treadmill test, due to COVID-19 that we were not aware of prior to us giving you the green light to open. As we continue to move through this pandemic, we need to be absolutely certain it is safe for both candidates and evaluators. We are working diligently with other industry experts from across Canada, which includes PhD from major Universities, and medical health experts to ensure we have the required information, science and safety precautions in place before being able to test this assessment. As such, we have made the hard decision to suspend the Stage Two Encapsulated Treadmill Test. We do not have a date at this time as to when we can begin testing, as it is dependent on findings from industry experts. We will keep you apprised of our progress, and anticipated re-start date.

In addition, FESTI will be spending time over the next two weeks working with our partners to ensure the safety of the OFAI FPAT test. We are confident that with our enhanced safety measures, along with the expert consultation of our kinesiologists, the Stage Three FPAT testing will be able to commence, starting August 8th, however we will now be required to reduce the amount of assessments allowed per day.  We realize that many candidates will be affected by this, and will work to provide you with additional dates for testing.

The following is what we are able to test:

  • Starting July 25, 2020 - Stage One, Stage Two Hearing Assessment and Stage Three Firefighter Technical Skills are available to test now.
  • Starting August 8, 2020 – Stage Three Firefighter Physical Aptitude Assessment is scheduled to commence. Further details to follow

Again, I truly apologize to you, your staff team, and more importantly your candidates. The health and safety of our staff, candidates, and greater community is of the utmost importance to us. FESTI appreciates your patience as we navigate these difficult times.

Yours truly,

Fire Chief T. Aitken
GTAA Fire and Emergency Services Training Institute (FESTI)


Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the now suspension of some of our assessments, OFAI has made the decision to waive the order of how you test. This will only be in place until such time as we can resume normal operations.

  • Candidates are permitted to partake in Stage Three – Firefighter Technical Skills before taking the Stage Three Firefighter Physical Ability Test (FPAT).  Those who have completed Stage One, and Stage Two Hearing Assessment, are permitted to do Stage Three without having completed the Stage Two Encapsulated Treadmill Test. Note that the Stage Three Firefighter Physical Aptitude Test will not re-start until after August 8.
  • Candidates coming from a significant distance are permitted to partake in Stage One, Stage Two Hearing and Stage Three Firefighter Technical Skills in one day to help lessen travel, however, this is limited due to scheduling, and will be based on availability. We will add the Stage Three Firefighter Physical Aptitude Test to this process, once that assessment commences after August 8th. Note that this will be offered only until we resume operations, and upon candidate agreement.

How this change affects you:

Please review the following information, as it pertains to your assessment, and your options.

Candidates from July 18 & 19, 2020

The OFAI is working with the test facility to get new dates for Stage One – FACT Test, Stage Two-Hearing Assessment, and the Stage Three Firefighter Technical Skills Assessment.  In addition, we will be getting alternate dates for the Stage Three Firefighter Physical Aptitude Test, after August 8 & 9. Once we receive the alternative dates, we will contact you directly. Affected candidates can choose to keep their fees on file to be applied to a future date, or choose to receive a refund. Any future dates will be offered to affected candidates first.  We will not be taking any new orders, until candidates from July 18 & 19, 2020 who have been affected by this interruption have been contacted.  It is important to let us know once we contact you ASAP on how you plan to move forward.

Candidates booked for July 25 & 26, 2020

Please note that all Stage Two Encapsulated Treadmill Tests and Stage Three Firefighter Physical Aptitude Test (FPAT) are cancelled for July 25 and 26, 2020. Once we receive alternative dates for the FPAT, we will contact you directly. Affected candidates can choose to keep their fees on file to be applied to a future date, or choose to receive a refund. Any future dates will be offered to affected candidates after July 18 & 19, 2020 candidates have been scheduled. 

Candidates booked for Stage One and Two (or just Stage One) are welcome to keep their appointment, however as you are aware we will not be running the Stage Two Encapsulated Treadmill Test. You have the option to cancel your assessment, however we will need to know, no later than tomorrow, Thursday, July 23, 2020 by 4:30pm by email to info@ofai.ca.  If you choose to cancel, you can keep your fees on file for a later date or receive a refund.  Any future dates will be offered to affected candidates after July 18 & 19, 2020 candidates have been scheduled. 

Those booked for Stage Three are welcome to take part in the Stage Three Firefighter Technical Skills Assessment, without having to have your Stage Three Firefighter Physical Aptitude Test.  You will be required to come back and do this assessment, at a later date, after August 8.  You have the option to cancel your assessment, however we will need to know no later than tomorrow, Thursday, July 23, 2020 by 4:30pm by email to info@ofai.ca.  If you choose to cancel, you can keep your fees on file for a later date or receive a refund.  Any future dates will be offered to affected candidates after July 18 & 19, 2020 candidates have been scheduled. 

Those booked for Stage Three Firefighter Technical Skills Assessment only are not affected.

Candidates booked for August Test Dates

We will be continuing with Stage One – FACT Test, Stage Two-Hearing Assessment, and Stage Three (both Stage Three Firefighter Physical Aptitude Test and Stage Three Firefighter Technical Skills Assessment). The FPAT will be on a limited basis and we will contact you if this will affect your Stage Three booking.

Candidates booked for Stage Two Encapsulated Treadmill Test can keep your fees on file for a later date or receive a refund.  Anyone requiring a cancellation must email info@ofai.ca AFTER July 28, 2020.

It is important to note that testing may be interrupted or cancelled at any time.  This is due to ensure your health and safety.  Please note that at this time, we do not have a date for resuming the Stage Two Encapsulated Treadmill Test. We will let all candidates know when it resumes.

If you have booked and assessment and NOT received your 2nd confirmation from us please wait until you have received it and then advise us as needed.

As you know, we continue to experience extraordinary times as the COVID-19 pandemic unfolds across the world. With this pandemic comes a significant strain on everyone’s resources. We are truly sorry to our candidates for this interruption, and the inconvenience it has caused you. We will continue to monitor the situation, and new information from industry experts as it pertains to resuming a full offering of our assessments.  In addition, we will be working with municipal fire services on allowing certificate leniency when recruiting due to the health and safety restrictions caused by COVID-19.  We will ensure to apprise you of any further information and updates.

During these challenging times it is important that we have a quick method to communicate with candidates. To ensure you have the most up-to-date communications regarding your testing assessment, and any interruptions, please join the OFAI WhatsApp Group by downloading the app on your smart device and clicking on the following link https://chat.whatsapp.com/BOCFH0ZBaQVKnJ8dCwQTh3. In addition, please watch for updates on our website at www.ofai.ca

I’d like to thank you for your patience, and understanding during these difficult times.  If you have any further questions, please contact our office at 905-426-6756 or email info@ofai.ca.  As we are still operating with limited staff, we will do our best to get to your inquiry, however there will be a delay.

Yours truly,

Michelle O’Hara
President, Ontario Fire Administration Inc.

 

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