What is Smart Serve?
Smart Serve (or SmartServe Ontario) was created with the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) in 1995 to provide responsible alcohol beverage service training for the Ontario hospitality industry.
Who Needs Smart Serve Certification?
Smart Serve is now required by anyone who serves or handles alcohol and managers and security staff in Ontario. Since the early 2000s, all staff, managers, licensees, and security must be certified and carry their Smart Serve cards while working.
Where Is It Valid?
Smart Serve is an Ontario program, so it’s only valid in Ontario. Other provinces have their certification programs, such as Serving it Right in BC and ProServe in Alberta, but the programs’ aim is similar: to teach staff how to serve alcohol to the public responsibly.
If you are interested in bartending in Alberta, we’ve written a guide to ProServe here, as well as one for Serving it Right here. For a complete guide to licences needed in Canada, see this guide to Canadian licencing requirements.
Even if you’re looking to become a Cicerone (or “beer sommelier”), you will still be required to have Smart Serve to work in a restaurant. If you are interested, we’ve written an article on the Cicerone exam here.
I Have a Serving Licence From Outside Ontario. Can I Use That Instead?
No, Smart Serve is the only program approved by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO).
How Old Do You Have To Be To Take the Smart Serve Test?
There is no age limit. However, you must be 18 years to serve alcohol in Ontario.
Do Smart Serve Certificates Expire?
Yes, if you have a certificate from before July 1, 2018, you will need to re-certify before June 2023. New certificates will last for 5-years. More information can be found on the Smart Serve website.
How Long Do I Have To Get My Smart Serve After Being Hired?
You are required by law to have your certification by the 1st day of work.
How Much Does Smart Serve Certification Cost?
Smart Serve is done as an online test. It costs $34.95 each (plus HST) and gives you two tries at passing the test. Taking the test in a classroom depends on the school.
What Do I Need To Take My Smart Serve Certification Test Online?
You can take the exam on a computer or a mobile device. For a computer, it’s recommended you have Chrome (or Firefox). You can check if your computer meets the requirements by going to: www.smartserve.ca/proctoring-exams and clicking on the online tool.
What Languages is the Smart Serve Test Available In?
The online training and test are fully translated (text, video, audio) into six languages: English, French, Chinese, Korean, Punjabi, and Spanish.
How Long Does the Test Take, and What’s the Passing Mark?
The training course and test take approximately 3-4 hours. Once you’ve taken the training, the test can take 30-45 minutes.
Suppose you score 80% or higher and pass the integrity check. Your confirmation and certificate number will be emailed to you within 2 hours. Cards are mailed out after and take about 2-3 weeks to arrive by Canada Post.
If I’ve Lost My Smart Serve Card, How Much Is It To Replace It?
The cost is currently $10. You can order a replacement at: www.smartserve.ca/replacement-cards by logging into your account.
Schools Offering Smart Serve Certification Training
Note: Since the online testing release, several locations may no longer offer in-class testing.
|Loyalist College – Bancroft Campus||Bancroft||(613) 332-1743|
|Sault College – Employment Solutions||Blind River||(705) 356-1611|
|Georgian College||Bracebridge||Terri Plaxton-Smith||(705) 646-7629 ext 4813|
|St. Clair College||Chatham||Doris Summerfield||(519) 354-9100 ext 3260|
|Georgian College||Collingwood||(705) 445-2961 ext 2900|
|Mohawk College||Hamilton||Bonnie Pataran||(905) 575-2307|
|Northern College||Kirkland Lake||Glenda Jackson||(705) 567-9291 ext 3624|
|Bartender One||Toronto||(416) 461-4441 ext 4203|
|iTrain – Workplace and Hospitality Training||Toronto||Jesse Prasad||(647) 477-7978|
|Toronto Institute of Bartending||Toronto||(416) 862-7272|
|FoodPrep Inc||Toronto||Melanie Myers||(416) 838-2032|
|St. Clair College||Windsor||Continuing Education||(519) 972-2711|
Other Organizations Offering Smart Serve Certification Training
|Focus Community Development Organization||Alliston||Lisa Griffin||(705) 435-9821 ext 137|
|Employment Help Centre||Beamsville||Pat Stewart||(905) 563-9675 ext 2221|
|Community Employment Services||Belleville||(613) 966-0205|
|bradfordWORKS-Community Employment Services||Bradford||Martha Greig||(905) 778-9058|
|John Howard Society of Peel-Halton-Dufferin||Brampton||Reception||(905) 459-0111 ext 317|
|Employment and Education Centre||Brockville||Lesley Cameron||(613) 498-2111 ext 222|
|Town of Bracebridge – Recreation Department||Bracebridge||Christine Cousins||(705) 645-3037 ext 237|
|Town of Collingwood||Collingwood||Michelle Kusiar||(705) 445-9463 ext 3286|
|Campbellford Community Resource Centre||Campbellford||Carolyn Anderson||(705) 653-5161 ext 220|
|London Training Centre||London||Kristie Balatsoukas||(519) 685-4331 ext 225|
|John Howard Society||Oshawa||Sarah Van Niedek||(905) 579-8482 ext 240|
|Employment Planning and Counselling||Peterborough||Jessica Deans||(705) 748-9110|
|Goodwill Future Focus||Chatham||Reception||(519) 354-5888 ext 240|
|Job Gym||St Catharines||(905) 682-8372|
|Aboriginal Career & Employment Ne-Chee Friendship||Kenora||Patti Fairfield/Sherry||(807) 468-5440|
|Keys Job Centre||Kingston||(613) 546-5559|
|On Track Employment Resources||Smith Falls||(613) 283-6978|
|Town of Richmond Hill||Richmond Hill||Michael Watson||(905) 884-0855 ext 220|
|Yes Employment Services||Thunder Bay||Sharon Kovacic||(807) 624-1960|
|Municipality of Chatham-Kent||Tilbury||Rob Veccia||(613) 283- 6978|
|Employment Solutions||Welland||Ina||(905) 788-3751|
|Insight Advantage Inc||Windsor||Tabitha Hicks||(519) 254-1445 ext 101|
|Unemployed Help Centre||Windsor||Ella/Patti||(519) 944-4900 ext 113/103|
For the full list, see www.smartserve.ca/in-class-training-sites