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Firefighter recruitment

Fire Recruitment Campaign

Rewarding Career

The rewards of being a firefighter are extensive. The work is exciting and challenging. Below is a summary of key components of the job.

Summary of Duties

  • Responsible for all fire suppression duties necessary to save life and property. Combat, extinguish and/or prevent fires by rapidly and efficiently performing varied duties as required under emergency conditions (frequently involving considerable hazard).
  • Provide emergency medical response and aid; perform rescue/extrication operations where necessary to prevent loss of life or further injury from any cause.
  • Provide service assistance with respect to, but not restricted to the following: police, paramedics and public.
  • Responsible for station maintenance and upkeep of firefighting equipment and fire department property.
  • Responsible for upgrading and maintaining skills/knowledge and physical requirements to current standards.
  • Perform duties in fire prevention, public education and communications as assigned.

Work Performance

Fire Emergency

  • Responds to all emergency calls immediately, as directed.
  • Drives and/or operates any vehicle or equipment as assigned.
  • Performs a variety of rescue related duties to protect the public and lessen severity of injuries.
  • Lays and connects hose; holds nozzles and directs high pressure water streams, raises; climbs and works from ladders, and uses or operates all equipment associated with the control and extinguishment of fire or other incidents.
  • Wears self-contained breathing apparatus and full protective clothing while working in noxious and/or smoke filled environments.
  • Ventilates buildings or areas to release heat, smoke, or fumes.
  • Places salvage covers so as to protect property and prevent water damage.
  • Performs overhaul operations in order to ensure that the fire has been completely extinguished.

Medical Emergency

  • Drives, checks safety of immediate area, brings required medical equipment.
  • Assesses situation/victim by taking medical history, visual and vital signs.
  • Conducts appropriate intervention, including CPR, other first-aid as required.
  • Assists paramedics - conveys information, lifts and carries heavy patients, etc.
  • Manages crowd/by-standers/victim's relatives, etc.

Other Emergencies

  • Performs a variety of rescue related duties to protect the public and lessen severity of injuries related to motor vehicle collisions, confined space entrapment, water hazards, industrial accidents, incidents involving hazardous materials, etc.
  • Assesses and performs extrication of the victim's in motor vehicle collisions.

Non-Emergency Duties

  • Performs various maintenance duties to fire services apparatus, equipment and department property.
  • Participates in departmental training programs to be proficient, knowledgeable and up to date with respect to equipment and procedures for fire fighting, medical and other emergencies.
  • Participates in public relations projects involving visits, demonstrations, parades, etc., as directed.
  • Assists with on the job training of other firefighter.
  • Performs inspections and assessments related to fire prevention duties.
  • Performs other duties as assigned.

To be a successful firefighter you must possess

  • Motivation to serve
  • Effective communication skills (written and verbal)
  • Physical, mental, emotional health
  • Ability to exercise sound judgment
  • Strong sense of responsibility
  • Compassion
  • Ability to work as team member
  • Tolerance
  • Honesty and integrity
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Strong work ethic 
  • Physically fit and able to perform sustained and intense physical effort
  • Ability to work at heights and in confined spaces

You can be a firefighter

You Can Be a Firefighter

You can be a firefighter

Do you believe that you can answer your community’s call for help? Be part of a team of dedicated individuals working to protect and save the lives of the people in their community.

Realize your power within. Believe in yourself. Believe in your community.
You can be a firefighter. Explore a career with Ottawa Fire Services.

Qualifications and Procedures

Applicants must meet the following minimum qualifications by the application deadline:

  • Eighteen (18) years of age or older by application deadline.
  • Obtained their Ontario Secondary School Diploma OSSD (Grade 12) or academic equivalent diploma.
  • Valid Standard First Aid Certificate with Level C CPR (Must be kept valid while active in the recruitment process). OFS will only recognize Standard First Aid with Level C CPR acquired from either of the following providers:
    • St. John Ambulance
    • Canadian Red Cross
    • Ottawa Paramedic Service

Certification from any provider other than those listed above will not be accepted.

  • Legally entitled to work in Canada (persons legally entitled to work in Canada are Canadian Citizens or permanent residents and/or holders of a valid work permit)
  • Hold and produce a valid Ontario “G” class driver’s licence, (or equivalent) with no more than six (6) demerit points accumulated.
    • Demerit points are added to your driver’s licence, if you are convicted of breaking certain driving laws.
    • A driver begins with zero demerit points and accumulates demerit points for convictions.
  • Possess or obtain prior to the second interview stage a Class “D” licence with a “Z” air brake endorsement (or equivalent).
  • Obtain prior to the second interview Police Record Check (Vulnerable Screening)
  • Meet the medical standards (NFPA 1582: Standard on Comprehensive Occupational Medical Program for Fire Departments) at the time of a medical examination.
  • Provide prior to the second interview proof of full course vaccination for Hepatitis B
  • Possess  a minimum 20/30 corrected vision with colour and peripheral vision appropriate for the position of firefighter
  • Normal unaided hearing: hearing thresholds no greater than 30 decibels in each ear at 500 Hz, 1000 Hz and 2000 Hz and no significant loss in higher frequencies 


If you require information regarding your educational qualifications, please contact either the high school you last attended, the associated school board, or the International Credential Assessment Service of Canada at 1-800-321-6021. You may also contact the Ontario Ministry of Education - Independent Learning Centre (Elementary and Secondary Education) at 1-800-387-5512 or the General Education Development Ministry at 1-800-573-7022. 

First Aid/CPR Qualifications

For the purpose of recruiting firefighters, the City of Ottawa (Ottawa Fire Services) will only recognize the following qualifications from either

  • St. John Ambulance
  • Canadian Red Cross or
  • Ottawa Paramedic Service

Valid CPR credentials which meet or exceed the level of: Basic Rescuer Level C

Valid First Aid credentials which meet or exceed the level of: Standard First Aid 

Certification from any provider other than those listed above will not be accepted.

The recruitment process consists of the following stages and deadlines. (These dates may be subject to change)

City of Ottawa Firefighter Campaign - Timelines






Recruitment Campaign kick-off

Stage 1: Recruitment campaign announced. Applicants must apply online and complete the online questionnaire in order to move to stage 2.


Deadline for applications

Close time for online applications is 11:59 pm Eastern Standard Time.

June Notification sent to candidates Qualified candidates will receive written notification via email. Messages to qualified candidates will include information on how to register with payment (fee of $225+HST). You WILL NOT be contacted further by the City of Ottawa regarding test registration and/or testing. It is your responsibility to register as instructed per below.
July Test registration and payment Stage Two:

All qualified applicants are required to register with payment ($225+HST) for the OS and CPS testing.


Written Examinations: Cooperative Personnel Services (CPS) and Occupational Specific Firefighter (OSFF)

Stage 3: Candidate will need to provide photo identification (Driver’s Licence or Passport only) the day of the exams. Failure to do so will result in disqualification.

October - November 

Written Examination Results

Examination results will be emailed to you.



Stage 4 and 5: Candidates who have successfully met Ottawa Fire Services application and written examination will be invited to attend a screening interview to further assess their qualifications and suitability for a career with Ottawa Fire Services. The interviews are a 2 part process. The first screening interview will take place between November 2018 and January 2019. If you are successful you will move forward to a second interview as required. (These dates are tentative).

Ongoing (After Interviews)

CPAT (includes orientation, practice sessions and test)

Stage 6: Applicants who successfully complete the interview stages move onto to the CPAT stage as required to fill vacancies. CPAT Fee: $469 plus HST (subject to change).

Stage One - Application Process (May/June)

Applicants must apply online between May to June. When completing the online application form, applicants must also complete the online questionnaire. If your application was successfully submitted, you will receive a confirmation email.

Mid June, all qualified candidates will receive a notification via email with information on how to register with payment to Gledhill Shaw for OS & CPS testing (fee of $225+HST).

Candidates not moving forward in the process will be notified via email.

Stage two - Register for Cooperative Personnel Services (CPS) and Occupational Specific (OS) testing and submission of payment of $225+HST

Test registration and payment can be done online. The link for registration will be sent to qualified candidates by email.

All qualified applicants are required to register with payment for the OS and CPS testing.

Booking is on a “First come, first served” basis. 

Testing Fee and Payment Method:

A non-refundable testing fee of $225.00+HST is to be paid for the OS and CPS testing with Gledhill Shaw. PayPal Account or a major credit card will be the only acceptable form of payment.

If you do not meet the qualifications of the position and have been contacted by the City of Ottawa informing you that you are not eligible for testing but proceed with registration with Gledhill Shaw, your registration will be cancelled and you will be charged a fee.

Confirmation of Testing:

Within twenty-four (24) hours of registering, candidates will receive two separate emails, one from Gledhill Shaw and one from PayPal. The email from Gledhill Shaw will include confirmation date of test registration, providing your Personal ID Number, items to bring to the test, and time and location of testing. The second email is from PayPal confirming your payment. Candidates are required to bring a copy of the email confirmation to the testing. If candidates do not receive a confirmation email after twenty-four (24) hours please email Gledhill Shaw at

Cooperative Personnel Services (CPS) and Occupational Specific Firefighter (OSFF) Testing

Ottawa Fire Service will be employing two (2) mandatory tests as part of the process.

The CPS and OSFF exams are designed for entry-level candidates with no previous firefighter education or experience. The examinations will be administered by an outside agency.

The Cooperative Personnel Services (CPS) test is a pass/fail examination with a pass mark of 70 per cent. It is designed to test cognitive ability in the areas specific to:

  • Written and oral comprehension
  • Mechanical aptitude
  • Mathematical reasoning
  • Interpersonal relations in a community living situation

The Occupational Specific Firefighter (OSFF) test uses a four (4) level marking system. Applicants must pass a minimum of three (3) levels in order to advance to Stage Three (3) of the recruitment process. The test is designed to assess the candidate's ability to:

  • Work within a team
  • Work within a command structure
  • Cope with stress
  • Work under stress

Photo ID is required at time of testing and throughout the recruitment process.

  • Driver’s Licence
  • Passport

Stage three - The Written Exams (OS and CPS Testing)


Registration upon arrival at the written examination is compulsory. The day of the exams you will be required to show photo identification (Driver's Licence or Passport ONLY) prior to writing the exams. Failure to provide photo identification will result in disqualification. Applicants must supply their own pencils and good quality eraser.

You must bring the following with you to the testing:

  • Test Confirmation Email
  • Two H or HB pencils and a good eraser
  • Photo ID (Driver's License or Passport), Kleenex, bottled water

Stage four - Screening Interview

Qualified candidates who have successfully met Fire Services application and the written examination will be invited to attend an interview to further assess their qualifications and suitability for a career with Ottawa Fire Services. The following must be submitted at the screening interview.

  • Proof of Ontario Secondary School (Grade 12) or academic equivalent diploma
  • Proof of a valid Standard First Aid certificate and a valid CPR-C certificate obtained from:
    • St. John Ambulance
    • Canadian Red Cross or
    • Ottawa Paramedic Service

Certification from any provider other than those listed above will not be accepted.

  • Proof of valid Ontario “G” class driver’s licence (or provincial equivalent)

Please bring originals of the above documents. Failure to provide these documents will result in disqualification.

The interviews are a 2 part process. The screening interview will take place in January 2019 – February 2019. If you are successful you will move forward to a second interview. Second interviews will be scheduled as required to fill vacancies.

Stage Five - Second Interview

Those who qualify for the second interview must provide:

  • Police Record Check (Vulnerable Screening)
  • Proof of valid Ontario “DZ” class driver’s licence (or equivalent)
  • Proof of full course Vaccination for Hepatitis B
  • References

Police Records Check (Vulnerable Screening)

Due to the nature of the position, police records checks are required for each candidate to ensure that no criminal record exists. A successful candidate must have a clear police records check prior to being hired. Should a candidate have a criminal record, a pardon can be requested and must be obtained within a specific agreed upon timeline.

Stage Six - Candidate Physical Ability Testing (CPAT) (Ongoing)

Please note: Only the applicants who successfully complete the interview stages would be required to complete CPAT. 

Learn More

The Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT) preparation guide

The job of a Firefighter is one of the most physically demanding jobs in North America. It requires high levels of cardiopulmonary endurance, muscular strength and muscular endurance.

Learn More

Driver Profile/Abstract

Candidates must provide a recent driver profile/abstract indicating any infractions and suspension of driving privileges upon request. 

Reference Check

Reference checks will be conducted by the City of Ottawa to verify the past and current work history of the candidate. 

Medical Assessment

The candidate must have a medical assessment conducted by a City of Ottawa Physician, in order to confirm the candidate is fit to perform the duties of a firefighter. The medical assessment is only done after the interview at the pre-offer of employment phase and is a condition of employment.