Becoming a Police Constable

Policing Services

Constable Selection System Overview

Police Constable Career

A career in policing is primarily about working with people to ensure public safety through crime prevention and law enforcement. Police work requires the building of relationships in the community and sensitivity towards the needs of people from all races, cultures and backgrounds.

The Police Services Act describes key areas of responsibility for police constables:

  • Preserving the peace;
  • Preventing crimes and providing assistance to others in the prevention of crime;
  • Assisting victims of crime;
  • Apprehending and charging offenders; and
  • Executing warrants.

The Constable Selection System (CSS) is a comprehensive suite of assessment tools used to determine the suitability of police constable applicants in Ontario. Development of the CSS began in the early 1990s and the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police (OACP) was granted authority to sub-licence the system to individual police services in Ontario in 1998. Currently, 41 municipal police services and the Ontario Provincial Police use the system to assess candidates. 

The CSS was developed to address the long-standing recruitment challenges faced by police services. The ministry worked with a diverse group of stakeholders to research, design and test the system, and it was developed through the following process:

  •  Comprehensive research was conducted into what police officers do on the job, as well as, what police personnel and the public consider the core duties of a police officer to be;
  • Competencies were identified to capture the skills, abilities, knowledge and traits that applicants should demonstrate under an assessment to ensure that they are acceptable police candidates;
  • A system of instruments and practices was designed to select police constables; and
  • Throughout the development and pilot testing of the new system, the ministry incorporated contributions from representatives from various ministries, agencies, police services, policing organizations, community groups/organizations and from experts in psychology and cultural bias.

The CSS continues to be updated, based on changes in policing, research and other areas, and is continuously validated to ensure it reflects the requirements of a police constable in Ontario and is free of bias. It provides an opportunity for interested applicants to be assessed for employment by multiple police services that subscribe to the CSS, using the same selection criteria. It is also designed to prevent such problems as:

  • Multiple applications by candidates to police services across the province requiring costly and time-consuming multiple assessment of the same candidates;
  • Inconsistent assessment of candidates by police services with differing selection criteria; and
  • Potential application of arbitrary selection practices not grounded on actual job requirements.

Self-Assessment: General Requirements

This questionnaire is for self-assessment only and should not be forwarded with any application information.

      Are you a Canadian citizen or permanent resident?
      Are you legally entitled to work in Canada?
      Do you have a driver's license valid in Ontario, full driving privileges and no more than six demerit points?
      Are you at least 18 years old?
      Have you successfully completed four years of secondary school, or the equivalent?
      Are you able to meet the physical demands of police duty?
      Have you been granted a pardon, or have any criminal records been sealed by the R.C.M.P.? (Yes, No or Not applicable)?
      Will you be certified in CPR and First Aid by the time a job offer is tabled?
      Are you willing to work shifts?
      Do you meet the vision/hearing standards?
      When making plans, do you think ahead about possible obstacles and how you can deal with them?
      When making a decision, do you consider options, pros and cons?
      Do you have the self-confidence to be assertive when necessary?
      In the face of uncertainty, can you make necessary decisions?
      When talking to someone, do you make sure you understand their concerns, feelings or needs?
      Are you equally comfortable with people from different cultures and backgrounds?
      Do you make an effort to learn about cultures that differ from your own?
      Are you able to deal with stressful situations in a calm and constructive way?
      Are you comfortable in various social situations and in establishing rapport with others?
      Do you try to do your personal best in carrying out a task?
      Do you assess your strengths and weaknesses objectively and then try to educate or improve yourself?

You should be able to answer "yes" or "not applicable" to any of the above questions. If you answered "no" to any of these questions, contact your local police recruiter to determine what you can do to meet these qualifications. Consider applying when you are able to meet all the qualifications.

Self-assessment – Medical Requirements for Candidates

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Medical assessment requirements

The CSS requires that the medical assessment of police constable applicants take place after a conditional offer of employment is made by the hiring police service.

Please refer to the guideline “Self Assess! Medical Requirements for Candidates” outlining the CSS medical assessment requirements. This information is being provided at this early stage of the process to assist candidates in determining their suitability for the position of police constable. The information allows candidates to make an informed decision about pursuing a career in policing before they expend significant resources. It is recognized that early disclosure of this information would benefit both the employer and the prospective job applicant.

Please note that the ministry is currently conducting a review of the hearing standards and screening methods used by the CSS.

For further information about the requirements for the CSS, including the medical requirements, please refer to Applicant Testing Services and the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police.