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Selection steps and timelines: Border services officers

From: Canada Border Services Agency

In an effort to move candidates through the selection process faster, you may receive emails asking you to complete assessments simultaneously.

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Timeline summary

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) will inform all applicants whether they pass or fail. However, the CBSA does not give feedback to applicants.

There are 5 steps to becoming a border services officer:

Step 1: Prerequisites to apply

Step 2: Application process

  • Apply online
  • Officer Trainee Entrance Exam
  • Interview
  • Psychological assessment
  • Firearms safety courses
  • Medical exam
  • Second language evaluation (required for bilingual positions only)
  • Physical fitness evaluation
  • Security clearance

Due to extensive testing required, the process can take up to 18 months.

Step 3: Self-paced, online training modules (weekly allowance)

Officer Induction Training Program: 4 weeks to complete training

Step 4: In-residence training at the Canada Border Services College in Rigaud, Quebec (weekly allowance)

Officer Induction Training Program: 14 weeks

Step 5: Paid on-the-job-training

Officer Induction Development Program: 12 to 18 months

Entrance exam

As part of the initial selection process, you must write and pass a test that assesses 4 important competencies:

  • reasoning skills
  • writing skills
  • analytical thinking
  • client orientation

The results from the exam are valid indefinitely. If you fail the exam you must wait 1 full year to re-write it.

Learn more about the entrance exam and see complete sample exam questions.


After passing the exam, you will be invited to an interview to assess the following competencies:

  • dealing with difficult situations
  • decisiveness
  • effective interactive communication
  • judgment
  • personal integrity
  • values and ethics

You must provide proof of all prerequisites during this step of the selection process. To avoid delays in your candidacy, we highly recommend that you have your documents ready before you apply.

Psychological assessment

The psychological assessment evaluates your ability to deal with stress and helps determine if you are suited to take the duty firearms course, which is a condition of employment. The assessment is administered by clinical psychologists in designated offices across Canada. It includes 2 exams and a face-to-face interview. Results are valid for 2 years.

Firearms safety courses

Before being invited to begin training at the Canada Border Services College, you must complete and pass the Canadian Firearms Safety Course (CFSC) and the Canadian Restricted Firearms Safety Course (CRFSC) tests. You do not need a possession and acquisition license.

Note that you must provide proof of successful completion of both courses for the selection process. You will be trained to use and handle a firearm, as it is a requirement of the position as a Border Services Officer.

Physical abilities evaluation

Note:This evaluation is not required for the current CBSA Officer Trainee selection process (2024-EA-OIM-FB-02-009).

The PARE assesses your ability to undergo physically demanding "use of force" training. Valid PARE results must be shared directly by the testing center with the CBSA before you are invited into the Officer Induction Training Program (OITP). You must complete the evaluation in 4 minutes and 45 seconds or less. The test is made up of an obstacle course, push-pull and weight-carry stations. The first 2 stations are timed and the third is pass-fail. Refer to the Fitness testing overview for more information.

Medical exam

A physician designated by Health Canada completes an Occupational Health Assessment Report. This Category III assessment evaluates your physical ability to perform the duties of a border services officer.

You must meet the following vision and hearing standards:

  • vision: corrected vision 6/9 in the better eye and 6/15 in the other eye
  • hearing: no more than a 25 decibel loss (in the better ear) at a range between 500 and 3,000 hertz

The doctor's decision determines if you are able to undergo "use of force" training and perform the physical duties of a border services officer. Results are valid for 2 years (certain conditions apply).

Second language evaluation (required for bilingual positions only)

Bilingual positions require a working knowledge of both official languages (French and English). To qualify, you must be able to speak, read, and write in your second official language at the intermediate level (BBB).

The Public Service Commission offers resources to help you prepare for second-language evaluation.

If you have previously completed the testing, we will provide instructions on how to submit your results.

Security clearance

Due to the enforcement role of the CBSA, and the sensitive nature of the work that border services officers do, candidates must obtain an Enhanced Reliability Status plus Secret Clearance as part of the selection process and maintain their clearance throughout their employment within the agency.

To obtain a security clearance, candidates must consent to a telephone integrity interview, a credit check, and law enforcement and security database verifications. Candidates must also submit the following:

  • digital fingerprints (at your expense)
  • a form that includes information about your:
    • employment history
    • qualifications
    • references
    • travel outside of Canada

Contact us

Still have questions? Send a message using the general inquiries form or get in touch on social media.

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