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Selection steps and timelines: Border services officers

From: Canada Border Services Agency

COVID-19 notice

Due to the impacts of COVID-19, we are experiencing unforeseen delays with some aspects of the selection process. If you have already applied, we encourage you to contact for more information.

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Timeline summary

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) will inform all applicants whether they pass or fail. However, the CBSA does not give feedback to applicants.

There are 5 steps to becoming a border services officer:

Step 1: Prerequisites to apply

  • High school diploma
  • Driver's licence
  • Canadian citizen or permanent resident
  • Must be prepared to work anywhere in Canada

Step 2: Application process

  • Apply online
  • Officer trainee entrance exam
  • Second language evaluation (required for bilingual positions)
  • Interview
  • Physical fitness evaluation
  • Secret security clearance
  • Psychological assessment
  • Medical exam
  • Canadian Firearms Safety Course
  • Canadian Restricted Firearms Safety Course

Due to extensive testing required, the process can take up to 18 months.

Step 3: Self-paced, online training modules (unpaid)

Officer Induction Training Program: 4 weeks to complete training

Step 4: In-residence training at the CBSA College in Rigaud, Quebec (weekly allowance)

Officer Induction Training Program: 18 weeks

Step 5: Paid on-the-job-training

Officer Induction Development Program: 12 to 18 months

Entrance exam

As part of the initial selection process, you must write and pass a test that assesses 4 important competencies:

The results from the exam are valid for the duration of this assessment. If you fail the exam you must wait one full year to re-write it.

Learn more about the entrance exam and see complete sample exam questions.


After passing the exam, you will be invited to an interview to assess the following competencies:

You must provide proof of all prerequisites during this step of the selection process. To avoid delays in your candidacy, we highly recommend that you have your documents ready before you apply.

Firearms safety courses

As part of the process, before being invited to begin training at the CBSA College, you must complete the Canadian Firearms Safety Course (CFSC) and the Canadian Restricted Firearms Safety Course (CRFSC) and pass the tests before you begin training. You do not need a possession and acquisition license.

Note that you must provide proof of successful completion of both courses for the selection process.

Physical abilities evaluation

Due to COVID-19, many Physical Abilities Requirement Evaluation (PARE) sites are closed. Until further notice, we are temporarily extending the validity period of all PARE tests that were completed in or later. And as a temporary measure, the following equivalencies are being accepted if they were completed after that date:

  • Correctional Officer Physical Abilities Test (COPAT)
  • Peace Officers Physical Abilities Test (POPAT)
  • Fitness Testing for Ontario Correctional Officers (FTOCO)
  • Physical Readiness Evaluation for Police (PREP)
  • PARE Test from Redline Conditioning (BC) and Lethbridge College (AB)

The PARE assesses your ability to undergo physically demanding "use of force" training. You must provide valid PARE results before you are invited into the Officer Induction Training Program (OITP). You must complete the evaluation in 4 minutes and 45 seconds or less. The test is made up of an obstacle course, push-pull and weight-carry stations. The first two stations are timed and the third is pass-fail. Refer to the Fitness testing overview for more information.

Second language evaluation (mandatory for bilingual positions only)

Bilingual positions require a working knowledge of both official languages (French and English). To qualify, you must be able to speak, read, and write in your second official language at the intermediate level (BBB).

The Public Service Commission offers resources to help you prepare for second-language evaluation.

If you have previously completed the testing, we will provide instructions on how to submit your results.

Psychological assessment

The psychological assessment evaluates your ability to deal with stress and helps determine if you are suited to take the duty firearms course, which is a condition of employment (COE). The assessment is administered by clinical psychologists in designated offices across Canada. It includes two exams and a face-to-face interview scheduled close together. Results are valid for two years.

Medical exam

A physician designated by Health Canada completes an Occupational Health Assessment Report. This Category III assessment evaluates your physical ability to perform the duties of a border services officer.

You must meet the following vision and hearing standards:

The doctor's decision determines if you are able to undergo "use of force" training and perform the physical duties of a border services officer. Results are valid for 2 years (certain conditions apply).

Secret security clearance

Due to the enforcement role of the CBSA, and the sensitive nature of the work that border services officers do, candidates must obtain a secret security clearance as part of the selection process and maintain their clearance throughout their employment within the agency.

To obtain a Secret security clearance, candidates must consent to a telephone integrity interview, a credit check, and law enforcement and security database verifications. Candidates must also submit the following:

Contact us

Still have questions? Send a message using the general inquiries form or get in touch on social media.

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