How to pass the Smart Serve?

Why should I take it?


If you live in Ontario and want to work in an establishment that serves/sells alcohol, you will need to pass the SmartServe. This is a certificate of alcohol service accountability. You will need it if you work in a restaurant, in a bar, as a cashier if the store sells alcohol...


How much does it cost?


As you may have guessed, getting certified is never free. Here it will cost you 34,95$ CAD and 2-3 days to pass it (taking your time as the site indicates that it can be done in 4 hours). Once you have paid, you will have 30 days to learn the lessons and take the test. After that time you will have to pay an entrance fee.


How does it work?


Basically, you register here, then you access a range of more or less interactive courses (available in English, Chinese, Korean, Punjabi and Spanish). These courses will teach you about the different laws and rules that govern alcohol in Ontario and how to follow them. Some of them are very educational and will give you examples of real-life situations.


What happens next?

After completing all the courses available on the website, you can take the SmartServe test. To pass the test you will need several things:

  • a webcam with a good light: you will be filmed during the whole test with a facial recognition to prove that you are not cheating and that you are doing the test

  • your passport: the site will ask you to show your passport to the camera in order to recognize it

  • to obtain a score of at least 80% correct answer

  • if you fail the SmartServe you will have a second chance to pass, after which you will have to pay an entrance fee


Once this is accomplished, you will receive confirmation of your achievement by email (valid if you are asked to show it), and then an official SmartServe certification card by mail.


SmartServe essentials to learn.


For SMartServe, a lot of the knowledge is in the course, but essentially you will need to have some sort of small review sheet of important information to remember:

  • the brief history of the SmartServe (what year, laws...)

  • the variation of BAC (blood alcohol content) according to age/sex/weight

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

  • the mandatory displays in an establishment serving alcohol

  • the serving age for alcohol is 18 while the drinking age is 19 (I still don't get that one)

  • the legal hours of serving alcohol (small change in the new year)

  • your responsibility for your liquor service

  • recognizing Ontario papers

  • common sense for most of the questions you will be asked

  • I hope this will shed some light on one of the exceptions found in Ontario ;)


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