Canada Border Services Agency
Symbol of the Government of Canada

Become a CBSA Officer

Application Process

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

The application process to become a CBSA officer trainee involves nine main steps:

  1. Meet basic requirements
  2. Apply online
  3. Write required tests
  4. Complete Second Language Evaluation, if required
  5. Participate in an oral interview and reference checking
  6. Obtain secret security clearance
  7. Meet and maintain psychological requirements
  8. Undergo a medical exam
  9. Meet and maintain conditions of employment

Please note that this process may take up to one year to complete. Only successful candidates will be contacted for the next step(s) of the process.

Communication for this selection process will be sent via e-mail. You must be sure to possess a valid e-mail address that is functional at all times and accepts messages from unknown users. Some e-mail systems block these types of e-mail; make sure to check your spam folder regularly. During the application process, check your e-mail account frequently since there may be a deadline for responses. Responses provided after the indicated deadline will not be accepted.

Return to Top of Page

Meet Basic Requirements

Refer to the Before You Apply section for information on the basic requirements that you must meet before applying to CBSA officer trainee .

You are responsible for meeting these requirements. If you choose to apply, you will be required to submit proof or verification of these requirements at the time of application.

Return to Top of Page

Apply Online

CBSA officer trainee job openings are posted on the Public Service Commission of Canada's Web site, At the bottom of the poster for the CBSA officer trainee position, select "Apply online."

You must clearly demonstrate on your application that you meet all the basic requirements. Failure to do so may result in the rejection of your application.

Candidates who meet the requirements will be invited to write the required tests.

Return to Top of Page

Write the Required Tests

You will be invited to write certain required tests. These tests are assessment instruments used to select candidates for CBSA officer trainee positions.

At the test session(s), you must bring proof that you meet the basic requirements, in addition to proof of Canadian status (citizenship, permanent residence, etc.) and one piece of photo identification with your signature and your permanent address indicated (Canadian passport, Canadian citizenship card, permanent residence, valid driver's license or a valid health insurance card). If you fail to bring the required documents, you will not be permitted to write the tests.

If you successfully complete the required tests and you have applied for a bilingual CBSA officer trainee position, you could be invited to the Second Language Evaluation (SLE) stage of the process.

If you successfully complete the required tests and you have applied for an English Essential CBSA officer trainee position, you could be invited to the interview and reference-checking stage of the process, since you will not require SLE.

If you do not successfully complete the required tests, you will be eliminated from further consideration.

Return to Top of Page

Complete Second Language Evaluation (SLE) If Required

Some positions require the employee to be bilingual in English and French, while other positions require only English. For bilingual positions, the employee 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 the weaker of the two official languages. If you are successful at the Second Language Evaluation (SLE), you could be invited to the interview and reference-checking stage of the process.

Learn more about language requirements.

Return to Top of Page

Participate in an Oral Interview and Reference Checking

You may be invited to an oral interview. Top-down selection could be used; in other words, the top scoring candidates might be first invited to an interview. Other factors such as organizational needs, operational requirements and bilingual capacity could also determine who is invited to an interview.

At the interview, the following competencies will be assessed:

  • Client service orientation
  • Cognitive ability
  • Conscientiousness and reliability
  • Dealing with difficult situations
  • Effective interactive communication
  • Judgement
  • Personal integrity
  • Writing skills
  • Ability to follow instructions

Reference checks will only be conducted for those who are invited to the interview.

As determined by the Policy on Government Security and the CBSA requirements, all candidates who are invited to the interview will be required to have mandatory standardized reference checks (3 most recent employers - direct supervisors) and mandatory digital fingerprints undertaken as part of the Personnel Security Screening Process, which is a condition of employment. You must print, complete and present the Digital Fingerprinting Request form to the nearest Commissionaires' office. The fingerprinting fee is $50 + GST/HST as applicable and must be paid at the time of the fingerprinting.

If you are successful at the oral interview and reference checking, you may be invited to take psychological testing and to structured stress and clinical interviews.

If you fail the interview/reference checks, you will be eliminated from further consideration.

Return to Top of Page

Obtain Secret Security Clearance

At this time during the process, the CBSA will be working on obtaining your secret security clearance. The persons that you indicated as references may be contacted.

This security clearance level grants you regular access to government assets and protected information.

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

Return to Top of Page

Meet and Maintain Psychological Requirements

Psychological testing is a critical step in the arming of CBSA officers. It has become a prerequisite for officers and new recruits in law enforcement agencies all around the world. The objective of the testing is to evaluate the psychological readiness of a candidate to carry the CBSA duty firearm.

The testing and evaluation occurs in two stages. The first stage involves two written tests: the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI-2) and the Sixteen Personal Factor (16PF). The second stage consists of structured stress and clinical interviews. All information gathered during the psychological testing is protected under the Privacy Act.

Assessment Stage 1: Written Tests

The MMPI-2 is administered to help identify any psychopathology, and the 16PF is intended to provide normal trait descriptors of a candidate. Experienced clinicians in designated offices across Canada administer both of these tests.

Assessment Stage 2: Structured Stress and Clinical Interviews

Based on the results of the written tests, the clinician will then interview you individually. The purpose of this interview is to further investigate and understand any specific concerns identified in the written test.

A Structured Stress Interview is also administered. This investigates your stress tolerance and stress coping style. It enables the interviewer to evaluate your ability to deal with stress and to maintain appropriate judgement under stress.

After the Testing

The results from the interviews are combined with the results from the written tests. A report for each candidate is prepared and gives a clear recommendation of suitability or unsuitability regarding weapon issuance.

Candidates who fail the psychological requirements will be eliminated from further consideration. For those found unsuitable, the waiting period to retake the two written psychological tests is two (2) years.

Return to Top of Page

Undergo a Medical Exam

A physician designated by the CBSA will complete an Occupational Health Assessment Report, which will attest your physical ability to participate in the CBSA Officer Induction Training Program and subsequently perform the duties of a CBSA officer trainee.

Return to Top of Page

Meet and Maintain Conditions of Employment

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