Eligibility Requirements Policing in Ontario Applicant Information

OACP Constable Selection System

What it Means To Be a Police Constable

A career in policing is primarily about one thing: working with people to ensure public safety through crime prevention and law enforcement. Police work requires that a constable be able to build relationships in the community, showing sensitivity to and concern for the needs of people from all races, cultures and backgrounds.

The Police Services Act describes four key areas of responsibility for a police constable:

  • preserving the peace
  • preventing crimes and providing assistance to others in their prevention
  • assisting victims of crime
  • apprehending and charging offenders and executing warrants

In addition, a police officer is responsible for:

  • referring individuals to community services and agencies
  • educating the public

Police work is also demanding. A police constable must work shifts, including evenings, nights and weekends, at all times of the year. This is not a job that everyone will like, or can do well.

One of the goals of policing is to reflect the diversity of the communities served. This enables police services to continually improve their capability to deliver service that is effective and responsive to the needs of the community. Police services are therefore looking for men and women from all backgrounds and walks of life, including; people of various races, cultures and religions.

Everyone who has a strong interest in becoming a police constable, and who feels that they meet the qualifications described in this information package, is encouraged to apply.

For people who are truly interested in serving the needs of the community, police work is rewarding. The job challenges you each day in complex ways. Whether you are dealing with the security concerns of a store merchant, talking with a senior citien, or befriending a group of local kids, you will find that a police constable bears a great deal of responsibility to the public. Fulfilling this responsibility will give you a sense of accomplishment and the confidence that you are making a contribution.

Training as a Police Constable

Once you have successfully proceeded through the selection process, you will undergo an intensive standardized training program at the Ontario Police College in Aylmer. This training program is designed to provide you with an understanding of the policing role in society, give you a sound knowledge of the law and procedures, and develop your skills to deal with various situations. Throughout this training program, there will be tests and then a final examination.

Some of the subjects and activities covered in the training program include federal and provincial statutes, firearms, defense tactics, fire safety, cross-cultural training, police procedures, and crisis intervention. An important component of the program is physical fitness training in which you will be reaquired to meet specified physical fitness standards.

In addition, some police services provide further training at their own facilities. You will be required to pass such training before becoming eligible for appointment as a police constable.

Professional development related to various aspects of policing will continue throughout your career.

What you can expect

Once you have been appointed to the rank of constable, you will progress through four classifications, from fourth class constable to first class constable. Your initial employment will include a period of probation. With good performance and availability of opportunities, you will be eligible for promotion to higher ranks.

Benefits vary across police services but they generally include paid vacation, medical and dental plans, life insurance plans, employee assistance programs and opportunities for professional development.

What it Takes To Become a Police Constable

Minimum Requirements


To be considered for a career in policing, you must meet certain minimum requirements as outlined in the Police Services Act. Specifically, you must:

  • be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada;
  • be at least 18 years of age;
  • be physically and mentally able to perform the duties of the position, having regard to your own safety and the safety of members of the public
  • have successfully completed at least four years of secondary school education or its equivalent. (Note: official transcripts and diplomas will be required. Where education has been completed outside Ontario, official proof of equivalency must be obtained by contacting the Ontario Ministry of Education and Training);
  • be of good moral character and habits (this is interpreted as meaning that you are an individual other people would look upon as being trustworthy and having integrity).

In addition, you must:

  • possess a valid driver's licence with no more than six accumulated demerit-points, permitting you to drive an automobile in Ontario with full driving privileges;
  • have current certification in CPR and first aid by the time the offer of employment is given; and
  • be able to pass a security clearance as well as a background investigation, credit and reference checks.

If you have any criminal convictions under a federal statue, you must obtain a pardon.

If you have 'Findings of Guilt' which have resulted in absolute or conditional discharges, the records must be 'sealed' by the RCMP. (This will be done automatically following one year if the absolute discharge is registered after July 24, 1992. For a conditional discharge, this will be done automatically following three years if the conditional discharge is registered after July 24, 1992. Otherwise you must apply to have these records sealed.)

Competencies

In addition to the minimum requirements previously described, you must possess certain competencies. A competency is defined as any skill, knowledge, ability, motive, behaviour or attitude essential to successful performance on the job. Two sets of competencies have been identified for the job of policing: Essential Competencies and Developmental Competencies.

Essential Competencies

Analytical thinking: The ability to analyze situaitons and events in a logical way, and to organize the parts of a problem in a systematic way.

  • Self-confidence: A belief in one's own abilities and judgment, and a recognition of personal limitations and development needs.
  • Communication: The ability to demonstrate effective listening, verbal and written communication skills.
  • Flexibility/valuing diversity: The ability to adapt your approach in a variety of situations, and to work effectively with a wide cross-section of the community representing diverse backgrounds, cultures and socio-economic circumstances.
  • Self-control: The ability to keep your emotions under control and to restrain negative actions when provoked or when working under stressful conditions.
  • Relationship building: The ability to develop and maintain a network of contacts, both inside and outside the police service.
  • Achievement Orientation: The desire for continuous improvement in service or accomplishments.
  • Medical/Physical Skills and Abilities: Job-related medial/physical skills and abilities, including vision, hearing, motor skills, cardiovascular endurance and upper-body strength.

Developmental Competencies

As the name implies, these competencies can be acquired through training after a person has been hired as a police officer. However some police services may have an immediate need for specific skills and abilities which are developmental and may choose to include these in the hiring process. The following 11 Compentencies have been identified as developmental:

 

1. Information Seeking

The ability to seek out information from various sources before making decisions.

2. Concern for Safety

The ability to exercise caution in hazardous situations in order to ensure safety to self and others.

3. Assertiveness

The ability to use authority confidently and to set and enforce rules appropriately.

4. Initiative

Demonstrated ability to be self-motivated and self-directed in identifying and addressing important issues.

5. Co-operation

The ability to collaborate with others by seeking their input, encouraging their participation and sharing information.

6. Negotiation/Facilitation

The ability to influence or persuade others by anticipating and addressing their interests and perspectives.

7. Work Organization

The ability to develop and maintain systems for organizing information and activities.

8. Community - Service Orientation

Proven commitment to helping or serving others.

9. Commitment to Learning

Demonstrated pattern of activities which contribute to personal and professional growth.

10. Organizational Awareness

Understanding of the dynamics of organizations, including the formal and informal cultures and decision making processes.

11. Developing Others

 Commitment to helping others improve their skills.

 

Local Needs of Police Services

Apart from the competencies, police services may also require certain special skills and abilities in order to address urgent issues pertaining to the service or to the community. A Local Need may be a second language, computer skills or the ability to relocate, etc.

The Selection Process

The selection process consists of eight stages. Advancement through the process is dependent upon successful completion at each stage and/or steps within the stage.

Stage 1: Planning

This stage is the organization's planning phase which includes recruitment strategies, and outreach initiatives.

Stage 2, 3, and 4 are commonly referred to as the Pre-Interview Assessment Phase and are discussed further below.

Pre-Interview Assessment Phase:

Stage 2: 

The applicant obtains the Applicant Registration package and self-screens.

Stage 3: 

The applicant submits the Applicant Registration Form and the required non-refundable applicant fee. The fee is payable by certified cheque or money order to either the police service which is accepting your application, or to the OACP - licensed private assessment firm which will assess you on behalf of those police services which prefer to contract out the first-stage assessment. A receipt or acknowledgment of payment may be provided by the agency and/or police service. Please note: you can only participate in one pre-interview assessment anywhere in Ontario at the same time with an OACP licenced Police Service or the OACP licenced private assessment firm.

If you meet the minimum requirements of the Police Services Act (as previously outlined) you will be invited to undertake Stage 4.1 assessment at a designated site.
Note: For every test or assessment procedure, you must bring photograph identification with you.

Stage 4: Tests

4.1(a) GATB

Write a paper and pencil aptitude test that is designed to measure your aptitude in the following four areas:

  1. Arithmetic Skills: measures your basic understanding of addition, subtraction, division, and multiplication.
  2. Problem Solving Skills: measures your ability to solve mathematical problems.
  3. Spatial Aptitude: requires that you select the shape a flat object will take when folded at pre-determined lines.
  4. Verbal Skills: measures your ability to understand the relationship between words (e.g. words that mean the same and words that have opposite meaning).

4.1(b) WCT

Write a communication test after reading a scenario and organizing important facts to reconstruct what happened. You will be tested on your ability to organize information in a clear, coherent and comprehensive manner.

4.2(c) PREP

Engage in a medical/physical skills and abilities test. Specific standards are as follows:

  1. Vision: Uncorrected Visual Acuity should be at least 6/12 (20/40) binocularly (both eyes open). Corrected Visual Acuity should at least be 6/6 (20/20) binocularly. There are additional minimum requirements regarding refractive surgery, farsightedness (hyperopia), colour vision, depth perception and peripheral vision.
  2. Hearing Standards: Normal hearing at frequencies of 500 to 4000 Hz measured by audiometer.
  3. Physical Fitness: Pass all components of the Physical Readiness Evaluation for Police Constable (PREP) test which includes:
    • Pursuit/Restraint Circuit, will be evaluated by the applicant completing, as quickly as possible, a 25 metre circuit four times (total distance = 100 metres) while wearing a 9 lb. Soft weight belt that simulates wearing a full equipment belt. During each rotation, a set of stairs are climbed and on the second and third rotation, a 4 ft. fence is scaled. Following completion of the circuit, the applicant completes pushing and pulling on the "body control" simulator plus two "arm restraint" simulations, then drags a 150 lb. Rescue dummy a distance of 15 metres.
    • Aerobic Shuttle Run, evaluated by the applicant running back and forth over a 20 metre course is shortened progressively until the applicant is unable to maintain the pace.

Notes:

For more information regarding the PREP test, contact your local participating Police Service or the OACP licenced private assessment firm.

Before you can take part in the PREP test, you must submit a completed PAR-Q & You and, if necessary, a PARmed-X questionnaire (see samples) which identifies any personal health risks associated with participation in strenuous exercise. As well, you will be required to complete and sign a PREP Participant Consent Form. Blood pressure will be measured when you arrive for testing. Applicants over 40 must complete PARmed-X form with their family physician prior to test date. Note: these forms must be submitted with the Registration package.

4.2 BPAD

Perform a video simulation, if the preceding tests have been successfully completed. You will view on a TV monitor scenarios representing what police constables experience on the job, and be required to respond as if you were speaking to the people in the scene. Knowledge of police procedures is not required.

Stage 5: Interviews and GMCH

Applicants seek a panel interview with any police service that subscribes to the OACP constable Selection System, after successfully completing the Pre-Interview Assessment Phase. During the Essential Competency Interview at stage 5.1 you will be required to demonstrate that you possess the essential competencies required to be a police constable. Should you be called for an interview, you will be required to complete a Good Moral Character and Habits questionnaire at stage 5.2. You may also be required to complete and submit an Application for the Position of Constable/Cadet Form and other documents prior to the interview. Stage 5.3 is a Local Focused Interview which examines selected, developmental competencies and any identified, organizational needs of the police service.

Stage 6: Background Investigation

A thorough background investigation, credit and reference check will be conducted if you are selected to progress beyond stage 5. You will be required to complete a personality test, and may be required to attend an interview with a psychologist.

Stage 7: Final Review

The police service will then conduct an in-depth review of all the information gathered to reach a decision about your application. A job offer may then be made to you, conditional upon your obtaining a medical clearance. At that time, a medical evaluation will be conducted to determine your medical suitability for performing the duties of a police constable.

Stage 8: Probationary Employment

If an offer of employment is confirmed, the selected applicant will be required to undergo a probationary period.

Applicant Checklist

  • Self-Assessment Questionnaire: Prior to submitting the Applicant Registration Form, candidates are asked to complete the Self-Assessment Questionnaire to conduct a self-evaluation of their suitability as a Police Constable. Do not return it with your Applicant Registration Form.
  • Applicant Registration Form: Please remember that by submitting the Applicant Registration Form, you are confirming that you meet all the minimum requirements to become a police constable as outlined in the Police Services Act.
  • Applicant Survey Form: It is necessary to continually evaluate the test instruments of the selection process for fairness. This type of data collection is a normal part of professional human resources practice, especially in the development and evaluation of selection tests. Police Services who decide to use this information to assist in meeting community needs will declare this intent in their covering information letter. Completion of this form is strictly voluntary and all information provided will be kep confidential.
  • PAR-Q 7 You and PARmed-x Questionnaires: Applicants have to complete the required forms and return them with their Applicant Registration Form.
  • Note: It is the responsibility of the applicant to research which police services are hiring or accepting the Applicant Registration Form.

Resources

The following is a list of organizations to contact in order to obtain the necessary documentation or information to demonstrate that you meet the minimum requirements. Note that in some cases a fee may be involved.

Applicants educated outside Canada, but now living in Ontario, can obtain equivalency assessment for elementary and high school by requesting an application form from:

  • Evaluation Centre Ministry of Education and Training
    12th Floor, Mowat Block
    900 Bay Street
    Toronto, ON. M7A 1L2
    Tel: (416) 325-4300

To obtain a record of current demerit point accumulations contact:

  • Ministry of Transportation
    Driver Improvement Office
    1201 Wilson Avenue, First Floor
    East Building
    Downsview, ON. M3M 1J8
    Tel: (416) 235-1773

For information concerning pardons, contact:

  • Clemency and Pardons Division
    National Parole Board
    340 Laurier Avenue West
    Ottawa, ON. K1A 0R1
    Tel: (800) 874-2652

Or

  • Solicitor General Canada
    Ontario Regional Office
    1 Front St. W., 2nd Floor
    Toronto, ON. M5J 1A5
    Tel: (416) 973-8107

For information concerning the sealing of records related to absolute and conditional discharges, contact:

  • The Royal Canadian Mounted Police
    Pardon and Purge Services
    P.O. Box 8885
    Ottawa, Ontario K1G 3M8
    Phone: (613) 998-6362 or 1-800-874-2652
    Fax: (613) 957-9063 [Attn: Purge Unit]