The Ottawa Paramedic Physical Ability Test (OPPATTM) was designed by academic researchers as an evidence-based, job specific simulation to test the physical ability required to meet the demands of paramedic work. Administered by Wilfrid Laurier University, the test is a result of many years of collaboration between kinesiology researchers and Ottawa Paramedic Service.

Why is a new best practice standard necessary?

In 2013, through an arbitration on physical employment testing in the paramedic sector, Union (CUPE local 503)  and Management reached a Minutes of Settlement agreement resolving that static strength testing could not be included within paramedic-based physical employment tests. The Ottawa Sun reported : 

“Many of the medics forced to submit to the {previous protocol} found it difficult to complete and highly unrealistic…several veteran paramedics either failed or were injured while completing the test.” 
Source: James Watson, Vice President CUPE 503 Ottawa Sun, July 28, 2013.

The Ottawa Paramedic Physical Ability Test (OPPATTM) was designed by academic researchers as an evidence-based, job specific simulation to test the physical ability required to meet the demands of paramedic work.

Find out more about the Research and Development behind the OPPATTM.

OPPATTM roll out

Beginning in January 2018, select Paramedic and Emergency Medical Services in Ontario will include the Ottawa Paramedic Physical Abilities Test (OPPATTM) as part of their physical demands testing of prospective recruits, paramedics returning to work, and special operations teams. Developed by Drs. Fischer, MacPhee  and Sinden, the OPPATTM is a bona fide occupational test that emphasizes the tasks associated with being a front line paramedic, including:

  • lifting/lowering of a stretcher (with and without a weighted mannequin);
  • performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR);
  • walking a short distance while carrying a backboard with a weighted mannequin in place; and,
  • loading/unloading of the stretcher from an ambulance (with and without a weighted mannequin).

To participate

Register for OPPATTM testing at one of our testing locations.