Candidate Testing Services program update from the OFAI
By CFF StaffFeatures Uncategorized Training Week firefighter training
Canadian Firefighter reached out to the Ontario Fire Administration Inc. (OFAI) to learn more about changes and updates to their Candidate Testing Services (CTS) program.
Canadian Firefighter: Have there been any lasting changes to CTS Testing protocols now that pandemic restrictions have been lifted?
The OFAI team: There are several lasting health and safety improvements to the Ontario Fire Administration Inc. (OFAI) Candidate Testing Services (CTS) program since the removal of most Covid-19 pandemic restrictions.
We have increased our health and safety and cleaning protocols to be more stringent than those previously in place at our testing facility pre-pandemic. We have also introduced a QR system for candidates to complete their required COVID-19 pre-screening and check-in for their tests prior to entering the facility. This QR system allows us to monitor the volume of candidates at the test facility for each assessment so we can ensure there is efficient flow throughout the testing process.
The health and safety of our evaluators and candidates has always been our top priority. During the pandemic we found ways to streamline and find efficiencies within our testing process that not only improves the overall testing experience for our candidates but keeps the health and safety of candidates and evaluators at the forefront.
Canadian Firefighter: How will CTS testing play a role in Ontario’s new mandatory certification requirements?
The OFAI team: The OFAI CTS program continuously works towards a province-wide standardized candidate testing system that is open, transparent, inclusive, and more cost effective for both municipal fire services and firefighter candidates. For the municipal fire service, the process helps save valuable resources that are otherwise engaged in advertising, testing, marking, appraising, and results reporting. Fire services participating in CTS can build their fire services team based on their needs and specific job requirements including secondary languages, skilled trades, work experience, and/or firefighter specialty training. Several volunteer fire departments use CTS as their primary testing tool for their volunteer firefighters. These departments rely on CTS to provide testing that identifies the most suitable candidates for the job. Our testing process follows industry standards and best practices in aptitude, human relations, bona-fide medical, physical, and job specific skills testing.
With Ontario’s new firefighter Certification Regulation in effect, OFAI’s CTS can help ensure that your department hires the most qualified candidates. The CTS program is a comprehensive testing services that ensures candidates who pass can demonstrate the knowledge, training, skills, and overall physical fitness that our fire service partners are looking for in their candidates and that is now required by Ontario’s mandatory minimum training standards.
Canadian Firefighter: How does CTS work alongside the OFM’s testing and evaluation now?
The OFAI team: OFAI CTS and the OFM testing are separate and distinct programs but can work in a parallel manner helping provide your department with the best possible candidate to hire. Whereas OFAI’s CTS focuses on the knowledge, training, skills, and overall physical fitness requirements necessary for today’s recruits to succeed in Ontario’s fire service, the OFM testing is specific to the standards, curriculum, and certification process.
The CTS program goes beyond the simple job performance requirements needed for firefighting in Ontario. By utilizing real emergency situations, fire ground operational scenarios, and challenging candidates to demonstrate the knowledge, training, skills, and physical fitness required to become successful firefighters in Ontario, the CTS program ensures those who pass, are a higher quality firefighter candidate for our fire service partners.
Canadian Firefighter: Is there anything happening with CTS Testing that our fire fighting audience should be aware of and has not been answered in the above questions?
The OFAI team: OFAI continues to support the firefighter recruitment needs of the municipal and volunteer fire service partners of the CTS program. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, OFAI shut down for several months in 2020. However, thanks in part to strong advocacy from the OAFC, OFAI was deemed an essential service. After implementing stringent safety measures and reducing testing capacity, we were able to safely re-open our doors and continue supporting our fire service partners throughout the pandemic. Currently, OFAI is back at pre-pandemic testing levels and is back to full capacity for booking assessments.
Some important updates we are currently working on is the modernizing and digitizing of the CTS program. By moving to an electronic data management system, it will allow us to report crucial information to our municipal partners in real-time. We are also introducing a brand-new website that will enhance the overall customer service experience for those engaged in the CTS program. We are planning to introduce both the new website and the data management system by the end of 2022. We continue to work with our advisory committee, comprised of both the chief fire officers and HR professionals of OFAI partners, to further improve and develop the CTS program, ensuring we serve the best interests of Ontario’s fire service.
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