Frequently Asked Questions

How does your testing (assessment) process work?2023-04-05T20:36:07+00:00

Our testing process is split into three assessment stages – Stage One, Stage Two and Stage Three. Everyone starts at Stage One. All candidates are required to successfully complete Stage One and Stage Two Hearing Assessments before moving on to any other assessment stage.

Once you pass these two stages, you may proceed with your Stage Two Encapsulated Treadmill Test and/or Stage Three in any order. Additionally, in the event of an unsuccessful assessment for either the Treadmill or Stage Three, you can still continue with the other assessment as booked (if you choose not to continue, please contact the Administration office.)

Can I do all my stages (assessments) in one day?2024-03-12T13:58:30+00:00

Our assessments are completed in a three-day process. Stages One and Two Hearing  on one day (you must successfully pass this before moving on). The Encapsulated Treadmill and Stage Three can be completed on separate days (2 days) following Stage One/Hearing.  You must leave 2 or more business days after Stage One to receive your results before moving on to the Encapsulated Treadmill and or Stage Three.

For Renewals – the only tests that can be completed on the same day is the Stage One and Hearing Assessment, or the Encapsulated Treadmill and Hearing Assessment. NO parts of Stage Three can be completed on the same day as any other tests.

How many hours will testing take?2023-04-05T18:57:07+00:00

Please plan to be at the test facility for at least four hours when engaging in Stage One & Two, at least two hours for the Treadmill and up to five hours for Stage Three testing. Delays may occur at any stage so we advise candidates to come prepared with snacks and water if they feel they will require it throughout the duration of testing.

What happens if I am late for my assessment?2023-04-05T20:37:11+00:00

Punctuality is in an integral part of ensuring our testing days run smoothly. One person’s lateness can interrupt the flow of the entire day.

When you are assigned an appointment time, this is the time our test facility expects to start your assessment. All candidates are required to arrive prior to their scheduled appointment time to ensure all necessary pre-assessment preparations are completed ahead of your assigned start time. We have outlined the minimum amount of time you are expected to arrive prior to your scheduled appointment to ensure a timely start to your assessment.

  • Stage One: 15 minutes prior to scheduled appointment time.
  • Stage One and Two: 15 minutes prior to scheduled appointment time.
  • Stage Two: Hearing Assessment: 15 minutes prior to scheduled appointment time.
  • Stage Two: Encapsulated Treadmill Test: 30 minutes prior to scheduled appointment time.
  • Stage Three: Firefighter Physical Aptitude Job-Related Tests: 30 minutes prior to scheduled appointment time.
  • Stage Three: Firefighter Technical Skills: 30 minutes prior to scheduled appointment time.
  • Swim Test: 15 minutes prior to scheduled appointment time.

If you are late for your appointment, you will be required to wait. Staff at our test facility will try to fit you into the day’s schedule, however this is at their discretion. If they are unable to fit you in, you will be required to contact the Administration office about rescheduling.

Can I bring a guest to the assessment with me?2023-04-05T18:57:46+00:00

If you must bring a guest on premise for your testing day, the guest is required to remain in the cafeteria for the duration of your assessment. The guest is NOT permitted to enter a testing area or observe an assessment.

Where is the testing location?2022-11-24T20:02:50+00:00

All testing is done at the GTAA Fire and Emergency Training Institute (FESTI) located in 2025 Courtneypark Drive in Mississauga. Our administration office is located in Ajax. Any questions regarding our testing must be facilitated through the administration office in Ajax.

What is the cost of testing?2024-01-23T20:47:54+00:00

Stage One – Firefighter Aptitude and Character Test-$75.00
Stage Two – Vision Assessment – TBD by your optometrist. Click here for more information. 
Stage Two – Hearing Assessment- $50.00
Stage Two – Encapsulated Treadmill Test-$110.00
Stage Three – Firefighter Physical Aptitude Job-Related Tests-$212.00
Stage Three – Firefighter Technical Skills Assessment-$270.00

HST is additional to above prices.

Why do I require an online account?2022-11-24T20:03:47+00:00

Candidates must register an account with us to register for an assessment online.  In addition, this is where we upload your certificates so candidates can have access at any time.

How and when do I get my results?2023-05-15T16:38:04+00:00

All candidates receive their results immediately, with the exception of the Stage One Firefighter Aptitude and Character Test(FACT)™.  Your evaluator/proctor will notify you of a pass or fail. The evaluators/proctors will not give you any specific feedback regarding your assessment. Your evaluator will give you the opportunity to speak to a team lead for more information regarding a failed assessment. It is your choice whether to meet with the team lead, but please note, this is your only opportunity to receive feedback.

With the Stage One FACT, you do not receive your pass or fail result after the assessment. If you are successful on the FACT, your certificate will be uploaded to your OFAI account within three business days

I was unsuccessful in my Stage One assessment, can I find out where I went wrong?2022-11-24T20:04:47+00:00

If you’ve had TWO or more unsuccessful attempts with Stage One, you can contact the administration office at info@ofai.ca to request general feedback.Your email must include your name, testing dates, and candidate ID. Response time varies but averages 7-10 business days** after the request is received. Please note candidates do not receive results. Municipal fire services do not receive your results. **PLEASE NOTE THAT THERE IS A SIGNIFICANT DELAY IN ANY FEEDBACK FOR THIS ASSESSMENT DUE TO OUR LIMITED CAPACITY DUE TO COVID-19 RESTRICTIONS.

All of the constructs measured by the Firefighter Aptitude and Character Test™ are based upon basic skills and abilities that a minimally qualified applicant should possess. There are a variety of preparatory publications available that may be helpful to those candidates who could use a refresher in basic reading, math skills, map reading, writing ability, and human relations skills. We cannot endorse any particular national publication in terms of preparing for this test that was not created by FPSI. The Firefighter Aptitude and Character Test™ Orientation Guide is an entry-level firefighter practice test that will determine how prepared you are to pass the actual FACT. This test consists of 40 multiple-choice questions.

Why isn’t there a regularly scheduled Swim Test?2022-11-24T20:04:59+00:00

The swim test is considered an add-on to the testing process and is only offered on an as needed basis. This means that if a municipal fire service partner requires a swim test as part of their current recruitment, the OFAI will offer a minimum of one swim test during the application period. It is the candidate’s responsibility  to ensure their swim certificate remains valid understanding this test is not offered on a regular basis. The swim test can only be performed by OFAI. Testing by a third party is not permitted.

How and when do I receive my certificate(s)?2024-03-15T12:52:18+00:00

Candidates who are successful in their assessments will receive their certificates through their online user account.   Depending on current recruitment volume, certificates may take up to 2-3 business days  before they are uploaded to your online account. For Vision certificates – a minimum of 3 business days.  All valid certificates are offered as a downloadable PDF from your online user account. It is recommended that candidates download and save certificates to their personal computers. Once a certificate has expired it is no longer available for download from your account. If you have a concern about your certificate, email info@ofai.ca.

How long are my certificates valid for?2022-11-24T20:06:06+00:00

Validity period begins on the date the stage was successfully passed. Certificate validity periods are as follows:

Stage One – Two years
Stage Two – Vision – Two years
Stage Two – Hearing – Two years
Stage Two – Encapsulated Treadmill Test – Six months
Stage Three – Firefighter Physical Aptitude Job-Related Tests – One year
Stage Three – Firefighter Technical Skills-One year ( both sections of skills must be passed )

Swim Test – One year

If I am unsuccessful at a stage, when I can I re-test?2022-11-24T20:06:22+00:00

All OFAI failed assessments are subject to our re-test policy. The re-test policy identifies the wait times candidates must follow before coming back to re-test. The wait times are put in place to allow each candidate sufficient time to prepare (and in some cases, train) in order to be successful in their assessments. The re-test policy applies to each assessment individually.

The following identifies the OFAI re-test policy wait times:

1st Failure – 15 days – Candidates must wait 15 days before participating in a re-test.
2nd Failure – 30 days – Candidate must wait 30 days before participating in a re-test.

All subsequent failures will be subject to a 30-day wait period.

Why do I need to download the pre-assessment guides?2023-04-05T19:00:51+00:00

OFAI has prepared the pre-assessment guides as part of each stage. The pre-assessment guides contain all the information each candidate will need to know for each assessment including what to bring, what to wear, restrictions prior to testing, proper documentation required, testing locations and assessment processes.

What is the difference between “trained” and “un-trained”?2022-11-24T20:06:51+00:00

The OFAI identifies a “trained” candidate as a person who has received some format of formalized firefighter training whether it be from an educational institution or through a fire department. An “untrained” candidate is one who has not done any formal firefighter training at all.

Do you have to be trained to register for Stage Three?2022-11-24T20:07:10+00:00

Ontario Fire Administration does not ask candidates to produce any documentation regarding training prior to registering. It is up to candidates to be responsible for their own testing process. The OFAI does not recommend anyone participating in Stage Three without some formalized firefighter training as the likelihood of success is greatly reduced as you are being tested on firefighting skills.

It is the responsibility of the candidate to ensure that you are prepared before enrolling in our assessments. Private or career colleges offer a variety of fire-related programs that can help you in preparation for testing (the OFAI does not recommend or endorse any refresher courses)

I was unsuccessful on one of my evaluations, can I find out where I went wrong?2022-11-24T20:07:26+00:00

The evaluator is not permitted to discuss the outcome of your evaluation as per Ontario Fire Administration’s Terms and Conditions.

The evaluator will give you the opportunity to speak to a team lead for more information regarding a failed assessment. It is your choice whether to meet with the team lead, but please note, this is your only opportunity to receive feedback.

Do you share my assessment results with muncipalities?2022-11-24T20:07:36+00:00

The OFAI validates certificates with municipalities when requested – this means we advise them if you have a current certificate for each stage. This is generally done on a short-list of final interview candidates, however muncipal partners can ask at any time whether a candidate has a valid certificate.

Can I re-schedule or cancel my assessments?2023-04-28T14:14:57+00:00

Cancellation Policy:

If you wish to cancel your assessment and it is five-business days or greater from your assessment date/time, you must request a cancellation through your online account at www.ofai.ca  by selecting the “Cancel” button next to the order/assessment you are cancelling. You will be refunded, less a $50.00 plus HST administration fee.

If you must cancel your assessment within five business days of your assessment date/time, you will not be refunded.  Please advise the administration office you will not be attending your assessment at  info@ofai.ca.


Candidates seeking cancellation or re-scheduling due to illness within the 5-business day period prior to their test date will only receive a refund or re-schedule (less the $50 plus HST administration fee) if they can provide evidence that their ability to complete their assessment has been affected by serious illness or cause. This evidence must be provided no later than 7 business days following a scheduled appointment. Candidates must contact the OFAI Administration office prior to their scheduled appointment to advise OFAI they will not attend. Failure to do so will result in a forfeit of fees.

Please Note: OFAI reserves the right to reschedule or cancel any scheduled assessment.

Can I bring my own PPE to the assessment?2022-11-24T20:10:54+00:00

Candidates may bring their own Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to wear for the Stage Three Firefighter Technical Skills Assessment.  All PPE will be inspected to ensure it meets the required standard for testing.  If you do not have your own PPE, we have many types and sizes available for use. Candidates must wear the supplied PPE for Stage Two Encapsulated Treadmill Test (ETT) and Stage Three Firefighter Physical Aptitude Test (FPAT) with the exception of gloves. Candidates may wear their own gloves for the FPAT and ETT provided that they meet the criteria as outlined here.

How do I prepare for the Encapsulated Treadmill Test?2022-11-24T20:14:57+00:00

OFAI has included traning suggestions for the Encapsulated Treadmill in the Stage Two Pre-Assessment Guide.  Please note that the information provided is a guide and not an individualized training program. Following these training suggestions DOES NOT guarantee a successful result on the treadmill protocol. These suggestions are meant to build on an existing level of fitness and to enhance the ability to perform physically demanding work relevant to firefighting.

How do I complete my Stage Two-Vision Assessment?2024-03-11T17:24:38+00:00

Candidates must meet the vision requirements as outlined in Chapter Six of NFPA 1582 : Standard on Comprehensive Occupational Medical Program for Fire Departments. Please click here for more information.

The vision assessment is NOT conducted by OFAI at our test facility. Candidates must take the vision assessment form (located on your Frontline Health and Performance Smartabase account) to an eye care professional of their choosing for completion and pay the applicable fees associated. Candidates may also have the option to utilize personal extended health care benefits, if available.

Candidates must submit the completed form in one PDF file to your Smartabase account. Once you are logged in, visit the START HERE page under the “Other/My Resources. Follow the instructions regarding the “Vision Form” accordingly.

If you do not follow the instructions on the Start Here page in full, your vision form will not be processed.

OFAI will ONLY accept our vision form, and it must be stamped by your optometrist. Please DO NOT attach a business card – if a stamp is unavailable, please attach your paid receipt (identifiable with the name and/or address of Optometrist). Failure to submit correct documentation will result in your vision form not being processed. You may be required to return to your optometrist and additional charges may apply.

Please allow a minimum of three (3) business days for your vision form to be processed.

How long before I get my refund back?2023-04-27T16:08:20+00:00

If you were unsuccessful at Stage One and have the Encapsulated Treadmill and/or Stage Three booked, these assessments will automatically be cancelled and refunded in full. If you cancelled an order online, a $50 plus HST cancellation fee applies to your refund. All refunds are issued back to the original form of payment and may take up to two (2) weeks for processing.

What if I am dissatisfied with the outcome of my testing?2024-03-05T21:25:13+00:00

If you are unsuccessful on an assessment, received feedback from a Team Lead and remain unhappy about the outcome of your testing, you can file a dispute. All disputes are handled through the OFAI administration office. Disputes are not handled at the test facility. All disputes must be filed within 14 days following your assessment. (Download the dispute form here.)

Do you provide testing accommodations for any of the assessments?2023-06-05T18:54:40+00:00

Yes. We offer accommodations for our Stage One assessment. If you have a disability within the definitions of the Ontario Human Rights Code and need to request testing accommodations for the Firefighter Aptitude and Character Test™, please contact the OFAI administration office at info@ofai.ca at least 6-8 weeks before you plan on testing to obtain the accommodation request forms.

What is the process for renewing my certificates?2023-04-18T23:14:24+00:00

You can renew your certificates at any time, you do not have to wait for them to expire to book your assessment. Assessments can be taken in any order when renewing.

What is Smartabase? How do I access my account?2024-01-05T15:44:12+00:00

Smartabase is a digital data management platform utilized by the OFAI for candidate assessments. All candidates must have a Smartabase account to participate in testing.

All forms that are required prior to your assessment(s) must now be accessed, and completed online in your Frontline Health and Performance Smartabase account at frontlinehp.smartabase.com/health

You must register for an OFAI account to gain access to your Smartabase account for the first timeUpon registering with OFAI, you will receive an email from Frontline Health and Performance sent from the following address “noreply@smartabase.com”. Check your main inbox as well as junk/spam.

Once you receive this email, you must click the link and log in. The link in this email will expire. You must create your account at this time.

If you have already set up a Frontline Health and Performance Smartabase account, you can access it directly at frontlinehp.smartabase.com/health.

Do I need Medical Clearance to complete OFAI assessments?2024-02-12T21:23:39+00:00

The Medical Questionnaire will tell you whether it is necessary for you to consult your physician before participating further in the Ontario Fire Administration Firefighter Candidate Testing Program.

The eight (8) questions must be answered  honestly with a YES or NO:

1. Has your doctor ever said that you have a heart condition OR high blood pressure?
2. Do you have shortness of breath or other trouble breathing or have you been diagnosed with any disease or structural problem of the lung or respiratory tract?  This includes Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, Asthma, Pulmonary High Blood Pressure, Chronic Nasal Obstruction, Sleep Apnea, etc.
3. Do you feel pain in your chest at rest, or when you do physical activity?
4. Do you lose balance because of dizziness or have you lost consciousness in the last 12 months?
5. Have you ever been diagnosed with a chronic medical condition that affects your ability to do physical activity?
6. Are you currently taking prescribed medications for a chronic medical condition?
7. Do you have a current bone or joint problem? For example, knee, ankle, shoulder or other.
8. Are you aware through your own experience or a doctor’s advice of any other reason against your participation in physical activity without medical approval?

If you answered “NO” to the questions above, you can participate in the candidate testing program assessments.

If you answered “YES” to any questions on the above questionnaire, you are not permitted to participate in the candidate testing assessments without medical clearance.  You must see a physician and present the “Firefighter Candidate Testing – Medical Clearance Form” for completion.  You will be required to produce the completed form at the time of your physical testing appointment

If you require Medical Clearance for your assessment, please contact the OFAI Administration Office at info@ofai.ca for more information. 

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