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Be Ready – Become a CBSA Officer

Application and Selection Process

The Public Service Commission of Canada (PSC) offers information on working for the federal government that may be useful if you are unfamiliar with how to apply for federal government jobs.

To become a Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) border services officer (BSO), you must first successfully complete the Officer Induction Training Program, be appointed to the Officer Induction Development Program as an officer trainee, and then successfully complete the development program.

The application and selection process to become a border services officer trainee involves 10 steps:

  1. Meet basic requirements
  2. Apply online
  3. Write required standardized tests
  4. Complete Second Language Evaluation, if required
  5. Meet the physical abilities standard
  6. Participate in an interview
  7. Secret security clearance and personnel security screening
  8. Meet and maintain psychological requirements
  9. Undergo a medical exam
  10. Meet and maintain all conditions of employment

Please note : This process may take up to one year to complete and some steps may run concurrently.

Communication for this selection process will be sent via email from the National Recruitment Team inbox, a generic email address, or Canada Post. Applicants must possess a valid email address that accepts messages from generic email addresses and unknown users. Some emails from generic and/or unknown email addresses are quarantined by some email providers so please make sure to check the spam folder regularly.

After applying via the jobs.gc.ca website, please check your email regularly as some correspondence may have a deadline for responding. Responses provided after the indicated deadline will not be accepted.

Additionally, it is important that applicants keep their contact information in their Public Service Resourcing System profile up-to-date so they don't miss important emails or test/interview results.

1. Meet the Basic Requirements

Applicants must meet these three basic requirements before they apply to the officer trainee (developmental) position:

Applicants are responsible for meeting all of these requirements on their own time and at their own expense. If an individual chooses to apply, they will be required to submit proof (original document and one (1) copy) at any time during the selection that they met these requirements when they applied. Again, this proof could be requested at any time during the selection process.

Personal Decision Point

Candidates must accept an assigned posting anywhere in Canada.

When you apply to the CBSA officer trainee (developmental) selection process, you need to be aware that you are volunteering for, and committing to, service anywhere in Canada that the CBSA needs you, including rural and remote areas. You need to fully understand and embrace the commitment you are making. The CBSA is very serious about mobility as a condition of employment. A variety of ports of entry will be available and a process is in place to allow you to indicate some preference; however, it is likely you will be assigned to an area of Canada that is totally new to you. Consult the Directory of CBSA Offices for more information.

Candidates are required to pay for their own travel expenses when attending the required tests, interview(s), physical abilities, medical, and psychological assessments as well as expenses related to meeting some operational requirements and conditions of employment.

2. Apply Online

Officer trainee (developmental) job openings are posted on the jobs.gc.ca website. To apply for any position, individuals must first create a profile in the system, which should only take about 10 minutes. Then, after ensuring you meet the basic requirements, scroll to the bottom of the poster for the officer trainee position and click on "Apply online."

In the application, individuals must clearly demonstrate how they meet all the basic requirements. Failure to do so will prevent individuals from moving forward with the assessments and the selection process.

Candidates who meet all of the basic requirements may be invited to write the required standardized tests.

3. Required Standardized Tests

If an applicant meets the basic requirements, they may be invited to write standardized test(s).

At the test session(s), you must bring proof of Canadian status (citizenship, permanent residence, etc.), and one piece of government issued photo identification with your signature and your permanent address (Canadian passport, Canadian citizenship card, permanent residence, valid driver's license). If a candidate fails to bring the required documents, they will not be permitted to write the tests.

If a candidate does not successfully complete the required standardized tests, they will be eliminated from further consideration.

4. Second Language Evaluation

The CBSA is committed to increasing its ability to provide service in both official languages across the country.

Some positions require employees to be bilingual, proficient in Canada's two official languages – English and French, while others require English only. For bilingual positions, employees must be able to communicate in English and in French at a BBB level. "BBB" refers to the levels that you must be able to demonstrate in reading, writing and oral communication in your second official language.

If a candidate is successful at the Second Language Evaluation (SLE), they may be invited to the next stage of the selection process.

If a candidate is not successful at the SLE, they will have to wait 30 days to re-test and refresh their application.

5. Meet the Physical Abilities Standard

The Agency's Physical Abilities Standard test is a screening tool used to assess a person's ability to perform the physically demanding use of force training that is taught as part of the Officer Induction Training Program.

Candidates are required to complete the Physical Abilities Requirement Evaluation (PARE) test during the CBSA officer trainee (developmental) selection process. This test is used by several law enforcement agencies and other government departments throughout Canada.

Candidates must complete the PARE  test in 4:45 minutes or less. Meeting this standard is an operational requirement for recruits to be appointed to the CBSA officer trainee (developmental) position.

Candidates must provide proof of successful completion of the PARE at the interview. Failure to do so will result in the candidate's elimination from further consideration and will have to re-apply to the selection process.

6. Interview

A top-down selection process could be used to invite candidates for interviews. This means the top scoring candidates from the required tests could be invited to interviews before candidates who scored lower on the tests. Other factors that determine interview timing include organizational needs, operational requirements, and bilingual capacity.

During the interview, the following competencies will be assessed:

  • Analytical thinking
  • Client service orientation
  • Dealing with difficult situations
  • Decisiveness
  • Effective interactive communication
  • Judgment
  • Personal integrity
  • Values and ethics

If a candidate is not successful in the interview, they will be eliminated from further consideration and cannot re-apply for two (2) years.

7. Secret Security Clearance Screening

As determined by the Policy on Government Security and CBSA requirements, at any point during the selection process, the CBSA could request candidates undergo the secret security clearance screening processes.

Candidates will receive an email from the Agency's security group requesting them to complete specific documentation and return it to the security group. This email does not come from the National Recruitment Team generic email address, so individuals are reminded to check their spam folders regularly as some emails from generic and/or unknown email addresses are quarantined by some email providers.

Once candidates have received the security screening email, they must obtain digital fingerprints to begin the security screening process. Candidates must print, complete and present the Digital Fingerprinting Request form to the nearest Commissionaires' office. The Commissionaires' office will take the candidate's fingerprints and return them to the Agency's Security Screening Division. The fingerprinting fee is $50 + GST/HST as applicable and must be paid at the time of the fingerprinting.

If you are not close to a Commissionaire's office, you have a couple of options. You could present yourself to the nearest CBSA security office that offers fingerprinting services or present yourself to the nearest municipal, provincial police or RCMP detachment for ink-and-roll fingerprints.

Please note that additional costs could be incurred and documentation could be required if you obtain ink-and-roll fingerprints from a municipal, provincial police or RCMP detachment.

Please note that the persons provided as references may be contacted.

Obtaining your security clearance is a condition of employment.

If you cannot obtain the required security clearance level, your application will be eliminated from further consideration.

8. Meet and Maintain Psychological Requirements

Psychological testing is a critical step for assessing potential candidates for a career in law enforcement.  The CBSA, along with other law enforcement agencies across Canada, uses psychological assessments as part of the recruitment processes to ensure that potential new officers are emotionally and psychologically suited to carry out and use non-lethal and lethal force equipment, including a firearm, and undergo use of force training.

The psychological testing and evaluation occurs in two stages and evaluates a candidate's suitability to carry a duty firearm. The assessments are used to identify possible judgment or behavioural issues which may negatively affect an individual's ability to exercise sound judgment in enforcement situations, and in particular where use of force may be required. Experienced clinicians and a clinical psychologist in designated offices across Canada administer the assessments.

Candidates who are found unsuitable will be eliminated from further consideration.

9. Medical Exam – Category III

The Treasury Board Occupational Health Evaluation Standard states that potential border services officers must undergo a Category III pre-placement evaluation. To do so, a physician designated by Health Canada will complete an Occupational Health Assessment Report, which will attest a candidate's physical ability to participate in the Officer Induction Training Program and subsequently perform the duties of a CBSA officer trainee. This evaluation is not the same as, and is not intended to replace a general physical examination provided by a personal physician.

The Category III evaluation includes the completion of a confidential health questionnaire by the employee and designated physician, followed by a full clinical history and a physical examination including vision and hearing tests. If required, an occupational health nurse or other appropriate licensed health care professional usually provides prophylactic immunizations and tests.

10. Meet and Maintain Conditions of Employment

Refer to the Before You Apply section for information on the conditions of employment that you must meet to become a CBSA officer trainee.