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Firefighter recruitment

Firefighter Job profile

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.

Watch the “You Can Be a Firefighter” video on Youtube

Volunteer Fire Fighter Recruitment

Find out about volunteering 

Qualifications and Procedures

Applicants must meet the following minimum qualifications by the application deadline of May 31, 2016:

  • 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

The 2016 Firefighter Recruitment Campaign is now closed. We thank all applicants for their interest, but advise that only those qualified to continue with the selection process will be contacted. 




May 2, 2016

Recruitment Campaign kick-off

Stage 1: Recruitment campaign announced. Applicants must apply online. Fee: $220 (written examination)

May 31, 2016

Deadline for applications

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

July-August 2016

Notification sent to candidates

All candidates will receive written notification via email. Messages to qualified candidates will include date and time of the written examination.

Mid-September 2016

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

Stage 2: 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 2016

Written Examination Results

Examination results will be emailed to you.

November  2016 - January 2017


Stage 3 and 4: 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 2016 and January 2017. 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 5: Applicants who successfully complete the interview stages move onto to the CPAT stage as required to fill vacancies. CPAT Fee: $450

Stage One - Application Process (May 2016)

Applicants must apply online from May 2 to May 31, 2016. When completing the online application form, applicants must be prepared to attach a current résumé and will be prompted to submit payment in the amount of $220 (Non-refundable payable via VISA, Mastercard or AMEX only).

Applicants who are unable to make a payment via VISA, Mastercard or AMEX should pay using the method outlined in the “Help for payment”.

Please note: Applications submitted without payment or paid in any format other than specified, will result in the applicant being disqualified from the process. 

Stage two - Written examinations (September 2016)

Applicants should dedicate one (1) full day for the two (2) written examinations: Cooperative Personnel Services (CPS) and Occupational Specific Firefighter (OSFF). The first exam will take place in the morning and the other, in the afternoon. Applicants will be advised of the date, time and location of examinations by email no later than two weeks prior to the exams. 


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.


The Cooperative Personnel Services (CPS) and Occupational Specific Firefighter (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

Stage three - Screening interview (November 2016 – January 2017)

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 submitte

Learn More

Stage four - Second interview (Ongoing)

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.

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.

Stage five - 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

Help for payment

Getting started

To make a payment, you'll need either:

  • Valid Credit Card (Visa, MasterCard or AMEX) if paying online
  • Certified Cheque/Money Order if mailing the payment to the City of Ottawa

How to make a payment online

Once you have completed your application process proceed to:

  • Step 9 - Payment
  • Click the Online Payment button and a new window will open titled, City of Ottawa - Online Checkout Page
  • Enter the email address you would like to receive your official payment receipt
  • A new window will open, enter your credit card Information, and click on the Process Transaction button 
  • Review all information is correct and click Finalize Transaction
  • A confirmation notification will be sent to your email address.

Other payment options

Applicants who are unable to make a payment on-line can submit a payment by mailing a certified cheque or Money Order paid to the order of the City of Ottawa in the amount of $220 (non-refundable).

The examination fee must be postmarked no later than May 31st, 2016 and mailed to:

2016 Firefighter Recruitment Campaign
City of Ottawa
P.O. Box 9821
Ottawa, ON K1G 6R1

Quick tips

  • Failure to submit your online payment or mail in a certified cheque/money order will result in the disqualification of your application.
  • Do not put spaces or hyphens in the credit card number.
  • Personal Cheques will not be accepted.
  • The payment is final and non-refundable.
  • Ensure that you send the correct amount $220Cdn
  • Ensure the certified cheque or money order is payable to the City of Ottawa
  • Ensure to include your first and last name and address on the Certified Cheque or Money Order