The Constable Selection System (CSS) and “Unchartered Territory”

“We are in uncharted territory right now. Policing is being challenged in ways I haven’t seen-ever”.

Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) Executive Director Chuck Wexler 

Police professionals pride themselves in being good planners. Whether it’s running a criminal investigation, allocating the effective and efficient use of the public investments in our police officers and personnel or recruiting the next generation of police officers, police leaders must have a clear vision for the road ahead. Victims of crime, ordinary citizens who expect their communities to be safe, and the people who work for our police services expect nothing less.

Unfortunately, these are not ordinary times. Pandemics, social changes, and political unrest are but some of the challenges impacting law enforcement in Canada and around the world today. So when PERF Executive Director Chuck Wexler says policing is in “uncharted territory”, he is not underestimating the road ahead for law enforcement as a profession and as a public service.

PERF has noted that policing as a profession faces such issues as:

  • Rapid increases in retirements and resignations
  • Fewer applicants
  • The COVID-19 pandemic
  • Negative portrayals of and attitudes toward police
  • Attitudinal changes and expectations of Millennials and Gen-Xers
  • Occupational and mental health challenges

While PERF was specifically looking at American law enforcement in the list above, I believe the challenges facing Canadian policing organizations are similar. You can read more about the challenges at and

How do we assist our hard-working police officers and other personnel navigate the tricky waters of policing today.  Further, how do we attract, train, and continuously support our new members? January 1, 2022 marked the two-year anniversary of Ontario’s Constable Selection System. On that day, the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police (OACP) launched a new system to assist Ontario police services in recruiting and pre-screening the best candidates for the positions of Police Constable and Special Constable.

The system was designed to be more effective and efficient in attracting quality candidates to the policing profession while also being more accessible and affordable for potential recruits. Another key feature of the new system was to be more responsive to the rapidly changing recruit selection requirements of Ontario police services.

Over the past two years, we have listened carefully to our dedicated police recruitment professionals and police leaders at every level of law enforcement  organizations about changes to the CSS in order to constantly improve it. We have and continue to work closely with mental health and other professionals to ensure the system is sensitive to the needs of recruits and police services and we are working with the Ontario Police College to ensure the CSS continues to evolve to meet the needs of everyone in training new officers.

You can follow what’s new at our dedicated CSS website  ( and access helpful resources such as our informative videos on various aspects of the CSS itself.

During 2022, I expect that our CSS Committee, our Psychological Services Committee, and TNT Justice Consultants (which administers the CSS on behalf of the OACP and Ontario police services) will be very busy ensuring the system continues to evolve.

If you are interested in a policing career, a good way to navigate through the application and recruitment process is simply to ask questions. Police recruiters are happy to engage with potential candidates, offer advice and even information sessions (virtually and hopefully in-person in the not-too-distant future). You can get answers about the CSS at [email protected].

If you are at a police service and work in recruiting, we want to hear from you. To use an agricultural analogy, good ideas are like small seeds – they produce big harvests. This blog is the first of many future blogs. If you have a blog on recruitment issues your service is experiencing or good ideas you want to share, contact Joe Couto at [email protected] or suggest a good topic we can write about and share with recruiters and potential police recruits.

Jeff McGuire, O.O.M.,  is the Executive Director of the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police. He has more than 40 years in law enforcement, including serving as Acting Deputy Chief of the Toronto Police Service, Chief of Police of the Niagara Regional Police Service, and OACP President in 2015-2016. He can be reached at [email protected].