How to pass the Smart Serve?

Why pass it?

If you live in Ontario and want to work in an establishment that serves / sells alcohol, you must go through the SmartServe. It is a certificate on the accountability of the Alcohol Service. You’ll need it if you work in a restaurant, in a bar, as a cashier if the store sells alcohol ...

How much does it cost ?

Of course, this certification isn’t free. It will cost you $ 34.95 CAD and 2-3 days to spend on it (if you take your time because the website says it could be done in 4 hours). Once you’ve paid, you’ll have 30 days to learn the lessons and pass the exam. After what, you’ll have to pay again.

How does it work ?

Basically, you register here , then you access to interactive courses (available in French, English, Chinese, Korean, Punjabi and Spanish). These courses will teach you how to follow the different laws and rules that govern alcohol in Ontario. Some are very educational and will give you examples of concrete situations.

And after ?


After having completed all the courses available on the website, you can pass the exam. To succeed you’ll need several things:

· a webcam with good light: you’ll be filmed for all the duration of the test with facial recognition to prove that you’re not cheating and that you’re performing the test

· your passport/Canadian ID: the website will ask you to show your passport facing the camera in order to recognize it

· obtain a score of at least 80% correct answer

· if you miss the SmartServe you’ll have a second chance to succeed, then if you fail again, you’ll have to pay again the fees

Once this is accomplished, you’ll receive confirmation of your success by email (valid if you’re asked to show it), then by mail an official card of your SmartServe certification.

The essential points of the SmartServe to learn.

For the SmartServe, a lot of knowledge can be found in the courses, but you’ll essentially need to have a kind of small review sheet with important information to remember:

  • SmartServe history in brief (what year, laws ...)

  • the variation of alcohol in blood (LD) depending of age / sex / weight

  • the quantities to be served for each type of alcohol (in Oz please)

  • mandatory postings in an establishment serving alcohol

  • the age of service of alcohol which is 18 years while the age of consumption is 19 years (I still did not understand that one)

  • legal hours of service for alcohol (small change to New Year)

  • your responsibility for your alcohol service

  • how to recognize Ontario papers

  • common sense for most of the questions you’ll be asked

And now I hope it will shed some more light on one of these exceptions found in Ontario ;)

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