Find answers to commonly asked questions about the Smart Serve Responsible Alcohol Beverage Service Training Program.

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Getting Started

My Work/school game me a token, how do I use it?

From your homepage click on the “Redeem Token” button, then enter the token number.

If you see a message that says ‘could not find course token’:

  1. You may have already redeemed your token.  Please check your training status in the top right hand corner.  If it says ‘Not Enrolled’, click ‘Enroll’ and begin your training.
  2. If not, please contact your school/employer to verify the token number is correct and ensure the token is still available.

Can I start work before I complete this Training?

As of July 1, 2017, all employees of liquor licensed establishments are required to be Smart Serve certified prior to their first day of work.

Is there an expiry date on the Smart Serve certificate?

No. Currently, Smart Serve certificates do not expire.

Does the AGCO accept Certificates from other provinces?

No. At this time, Smart Serve is the only program approved by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) as a valid server training program for the Ontario hospitality industry.

Do I have to live in Ontario to sign up for this course?

No. You can take the training from anywhere in the world.

Is there an age restriction for taking the course?

This training can be taken at any age; However, an individual must be 18 years of age or older to serve, sell or handle alcohol in Ontario.

What is the cost for the online training?

The online training is $34.95 (plus HST) for a total of $39.49 CDN.

What methods of payment do you accept?

We accept the following forms of payment: Visa, Visa Debit, MasterCard, Amex and pre-paid credit cards. Some of the pre-paid cards must be activated first. Please be sure to follow the instructions on the back of the card first.

How long is this course?

It takes approximately 4.5 hours to complete the entire training program. The course does not need to be completed in one sitting. You can work at your own pace over the 30-day period from the date you purchased your training.

Do I have to complete the training in one sitting?

No. You have 30 days from purchase to complete it.

How many attempts at the final test am I allowed?

For each purchase you get two (2) attempts at the final test.

What happens if I fail both attempts?

You will be required to re-purchase the training at the regular price and re-do the entire course content before another two attempts at the test become available to you.

Is the final test open book?

No. The online test must be written without the aid of a workbook or notes.

Is there a time limit for the final test?

No. However, on average it takes approximately 30 minutes to write the final test.

Do I have the opportunity to review the course material before the final test?

Yes. You can review the course material as many times as you wish before writing the final test.

How quickly do I get the certificate number after I pass the test?

It takes up to 2 hours after the final test is submitted for the system to notify you of the results.

How do I find my final test score?

The final score is revealed to you on screen right after you submit the final test.

Can I print the certificate before the card arrives in the mail?

No. At this time we do not offer a printable version of the certificate.

How long does it take for the certificate to arrive in the mail?

You must allow up to 3 weeks for the certificate to arrive by mail.

Is the training available in other languages?

Online Training Language options include:

  • English
  • French

English with audio track available in:

  • Mandarin
  • Cantonese
  • Korean
  • Spanish

Course material, including quizzes videos and certification test are in English

In-Class Training language options include:

  • English
  • French

Do I need any special programs or settings on my computer to take this program?

This program is Flash based and will not work on mobile devices, including tablet computers.

Before you begin the training you need to turn off your pop-up blocker.

For detailed information on how to turn off the pop-up blocker please click on the link which best corresponds with your browser.

Chrome

Firefox

Safari

Can I use someone else’s card to pay for the online course?

Yes you can. However, be sure to create the account under your name. You will have the opportunity to enter the credit card holder’s information before you make the actual purchase.

What is a token?

Tokens are given to organizations that purchase the online training. They are for distribution to employees/students to grant them access to the online training and certification test.

Where can I find my tokens?

Login to your SmartServe.ca organization account and click “View your account/tokens”.

Do tokens expire?

Individual tokens expire 30 days after purchase. Bulk Purchase Tokens expire 1 year after purchase. Once redeemed by the individual ALL tokens expire after 30 days.

Do I need to purchase the DVD kit?

This item is available for purchase to organizations only. If you wish to facilitate the in-class training, you must purchase or have previously purchased, and be in possession of the DVD kit in order to purchase the certification kits.

Do I fill out one coversheet per test?

Only one coversheet per batch of tests is required when submitting tests for marking and processing.

How long is the in-class training?

We generally recommend setting aside 4-5 hours to facilitate.

Who marks the certification test?

All in-class tests must be submitted to Smart Serve by the organization facilitating the training program.All tests must be marked in office by Smart Serve staff members.After processing, certificates and retake tests will be mailed back to the organization to be distributed to the participants.

Proctoring

What are proctored tests?

Proctored tests are overseen by an impartial individual (called a proctor) who monitors or supervises a student while he or she is taking the final test.

What are the acceptable forms of Identification for proctoring?

The identification must have a photo, date of birth and a valid expiry date. The document must also be government issued.The Personal Health Information Protection Act prevents Smart Serve Ontario from accepting Health Cards as valid identification.

Is my foreign passport an acceptable form of ID?

Yes. However, the information must be legible to an English-speaking proctor and it must have a valid expiry date.

Do I need a webcam to write the final test?

Yes. Having a webcam is the only way to successfully complete the integrity check during the final test.

What times are the proctors available?

Our proctors are available 24/7.

Why do I need a photo ID?

The proctor needs to verify that your identity matches the information provided during registration.

How will the webcam be used during the final exam?

The proctor will use the webcam to validate your identity and monitor your immediate surroundings during the final exam.

Can I take the final test on a mobile device?

Yes. You can take the final test (not the training) with a computer, tablet, or mobile device -24/7. A strong internet connection is recommended and you must enable your camera and microphone, as all final tests are Proctored.

Technical

When I click on “Continue Training” nothing happens?

In order to access the course content you must enable pop-ups. For detailed information on how to turn off the pop-up blocker please click on the link which best corresponds with your browser.

Why is the system telling me I have an incorrect password/enrollment key?

Please ensure you are logging in at www.smartserve.ca. This could be a time-out issue. To resolve, please follow these steps:

  1. Close out of all open internet browsers.
  2. Open a new browser and ensure you are logging in at www.smartserve.ca
  3. If you are still unable to login, click on “forgot password” at sign in page, and follow the instructions to reset your password

How do I enable pop-ups?

For detailed information on how to turn off pop-up blockers, please follow the link which corresponds with your browser.

Why is the system forcing me to repeat an already completed module?

Users who leave their accounts idle for an extended period of time will experience time-out issues. To end this follow these steps:
1. Log out of the course and your Smart Serve account.
2. Close all other applications.
3. Clear browsing data.
4. Log back into your Smart Serve account and click on the “Continue Training” button.

How do I download the latest version of Adobe Flash Player?

To download the latest version of Adobe Flash Player click here.

I passed the online test, but my training status shows “In Progress”.

It may take up to two (2) hours for your training status to update.Once your certificate is issued, you will receive an email with a certificate number, or instructions for contacting us.

Online Account

How do I change my password?

Forgotten passwords can be retrieved by clicking on the “Forgot Password” link on the Registration/Log-in page.

How do I change my email address?

If you need to update your email address in your Online Account please contact us.

Where do I find my certificate number in my online account?

Certificate numbers can be retrieved from the home page under the “View Your Account” section.

Where do I find a copy of my receipt?

Receipts can be retrieved from the home page under the “View Your Account” section.

Can I print my certificate from my online account?

No. At this time we do not offer a printable version of the certificate.

Licensee/Corporate

As a corporate trainer, do I need special qualifications to deliver this course to our employees?

Ideally, the in-class sessions should be facilitated by an experienced leader in responsible alcohol service. This could include: managers, owners or professional trainers. Further, the appointed trainer should be in possession of a Smart Serve certificate.

What are the requirements for Private Trainers interested in offering the in-class training?

If you plan on offering the in-class training to members of your community, you must first be granted permission by Smart Serve. Please contact our office for further details.

How is the in-class training delivered?

The in-class format consists of three components: DVD, Workbook and Certification Test. The DVD supports the content of the Workbook and is used in preparation for the final test. All materials must be purchased directly from Smart Serve.

How long is the in-class training?

We generally recommend setting aside 4-5 hours to facilitate the in-class training.

Can I return the certification kits if I purchase too many?

We do not accept returns. All sales are final.

How do I order the DVD training materials?

You can place your order online or by fax. Click here to access the order form.

Who marks the final tests?

All tests are marked by Smart Serve.

Can I use photocopied tests?

No. Only original tests will be processed.

Can the final test be written without watching the DVD?

No. All participants are required to view the DVD prior to writing the final test. Test questions are based on information presented in the DVD.

Can an organization purchase online training for staff?

Yes. Once you make the purchase, you will be provided with a list of tokens for distribution to your staff/students/volunteers.

Special Occasion Permits

Is Smart Serve mandatory under a Special Occasion Permit?

Under a Special Occasion Permit (SOP) Smart Serve certification may and may not be mandatory, depending on the location of the event. If the event is held on a licensed premise then all servers are required to have their Smart Serve certification as per current Ontario liquor law regulations. If the event is held on municipal property, the municipality has the authority to enforce the certification through their Municipal Alcohol Policy guidelines.

Who is responsible for the safety of guests under a SOP?

The permit holder, event organizer and the venue are equally liable for the safety of all guests.

Does the SOP have to be in the name of the person renting the venue?

Special Occasion Permits are issued by the AGCO. Please follow this link for further information.

My Rights and Responsibilities

Do I have the right to refuse service due to medical condition?

No. You may not refuse service based on medical issues.

Can employees consume alcohol while on the job?

As alcohol impairs judgment and affects the ability to serve alcohol responsibly, it is strongly recommended that staff not consume alcoholic beverages while on duty.

Can volunteers be given complementary alcoholic drinks at an event?

Supplying staff with a complimentary alcoholic beverage after a shift is not permitted. You can only provide complimentary liquor, according to the Liquor Licence Act Reg. 719 Sub.20.2:

Can a certified server be fined/charged for over-serving or failing to obtain proper ID?

Yes. It is the responsibility of all staff to ensure that all patrons consuming alcohol are of legal drinking age. Further, it is against the current Ontario liquor laws to serve to the point of intoxication or to serve to an intoxicated person.

Who needs to be Smart Serve certified?

Anyone who serves, handles or sells alcohol, as well as security staff, must be in possession of a Smart Serve certification.

Do persons selling beer/liquor tickets, but not serving alcohol require Smart Serve certification?

To reduce risk it is strongly recommended that persons selling beer/liquor tickets be Smart Serve certified as they are seen as the first line of defense to ensure that alcohol is being sold according to the Liquor Licence Act & its Regulations.

How old do you have to be to serve alcohol in Ontario?

You must be 18 years of age and older to serve alcohol in Ontario.

What is the legal drinking age in Ontario?

The legal drinking age in Ontario is 19.

Does the owner of a licensed establishment need to be Smart Serve Certified?

All licensees involved in the day-to-day operations of the establishment must be Smart Serve certified.

Do part-time and/or unpaid volunteers serving alcohol need to be Smart Serve certified?

Yes. This requirement applies to full-time, part-time, contract employees and volunteers.

Do employees of a Liquor Delivery Service need to be certified?

Yes. Liquor delivery licence holders must ensure that managers and persons involved with taking liquor orders and/or supplying liquor to customers have successfully completed the training. This requirement applies to full-time, part-time and contract employees, as well as any licensees who are involved in the day-to-day operations of the business.

Do golf course marshals need to be certified?

Yes. Even though golf course marshals do not serve alcohol, they do however, fulfill the role of security and therefore must hold a validSmart Serve certificate.

Can my Smart Serve be revoked?

Yes. Smart Serve Ontario reserves the right to revoke certificates if it has been determined that false information has been submitted in the provision of the test.Further, Smart Serve Ontario reserves the right to conduct random audits on all submitted tests. As a result of such audit or for any other reasonable cause, as determined by Smart Serve Ontario in its absolute discretion, we reserve the right to revoke certification at any time. Refunds will not be issued for voided or revoked certification.
Please review Smart Serve Ontario’s Terms of Use for more information.

Risk Management

How do I set up a responsible house policy for an establishment?

Information for creating a house Policy and Procedures can be found under the “Resources” page.

Can patrons walk around a restaurant with their drinks?

As long as patrons keep their drinks restricted to the licensed areas, they may walk around with their drinks.

When is it okay to ask customers if they are driving when they have been drinking?

Using the “Chat & Check” method taught in the online training, we suggest casually asking your table when they order their first round of drinks if anyone will be driving later; this way you can tailor your service to that information.

Am I allowed to confiscate the keys of an intoxicated person?

Anyone who engages in serving or providing alcohol to patrons/guests must ensure that no over service takes place. In the event that a guest does become intoxicated and insists on driving, it is your legal duty to do everything in your power (within reason) to prevent that individual from getting behind the wheel; even if it means calling the police.

Under the BYOW (Bring Your Own Wine) endorsement, can a customer open their own bottle of wine?

No. Only Smart Serve certified staff can open and serve alcohol in a licensed establishment.

Can I be held liable for accepting fake ID?

Yes, it is your responsibility to be able to identify a fake ID and to ensure that everyone you serve is of age.

Replacement Cards

Does the certification expire?

Currently, Smart Serve Certification does not expire.

How much does it cost to replace my lost/ card?

Replacement cards can be purchased at a cost of $10 (HST incl).

What if my name has changed?

To order a Replacement Card, please Login or Register to your online account, select “Lost Card” and follow the prompts to attach the required documents to submit for account validation. You will then be notified by email once the account has been validated and you will be able to proceed with the purchase of your replacement card.

What if my address has changed?

You can still order a replacement card.  You will be provided with an opportunity to change your address at the time of purchase.

I don’t remember when/where I took the training?

You will not be asked to provide this information.

Where do I find my certificate number?

Your certificate number is located on the“Home Page” of your online account.

How can I pay for the Replacement Card?

We accept the following forms of payment: Visa, Visa Debit, MasterCard, American Express, and other pre-paid credit cards.

How long does it take to receive my Replacement Card?

Please allow 7-10 business days for your card to arrive.

Can I order a Replacement Card by phone?

No, we are unable to accept orders over the telephone.

Can I still work without my card if I know my certificate number?

The certificate number alone is not considered as sufficient proof of certification; you are expected to have your wallet-sized certificate with you at all times while working.

Retail Alcohol Sales Training Manual

What is the Retail Alcohol Sales Training Module?

The Retail Alcohol Sales Training module is designed to ensure that grocery store and manufacturers’ retail store employees understand their individual responsibilities and obligations under the current Ontario liquor laws when selling or serving alcohol to the general public.

Who needs to complete this module?

  • Designated employees of an authorized retail store who sell or handle alcohol
  • Manufacturers’ representatives and staff at on-site and off-site manufacturers’ retail stores that are involved in the sale, service and sampling of alcohol

Do I have to re-do the entire Smart Serve course again?

No. If you currently hold a valid Smart Serve certificate you have the option to access the Retail Alcohol Sales module only. Those not yet certified under Smart Serve will be required to complete the entire Smart Serve Training program, which includes the current content as well as the new retail training.

What is the cost for this module?

Valid Smart Serve certificate holders can access this module at no cost directly from their online account.

How long is this new module?

It takes approximately 45 minutes to complete this module.

Can I access this module on a mobile device?

No. A desktop or a laptop computer is required.

Do I have to complete this module in one sitting?

No. You can work at your own pace as long as the module is completed within 30 days of activation.

What is the passing mark?

This module has one final quiz. The final quiz consists of 10 multiple choice questions and is designed to test your knowledge only. You are required to complete the quiz only once.

Is the final quiz proctored?

No. The final quiz in this module is not proctored.

Do I get a new certificate number after completing this module?

You will be issued an updated version of your current certificate number. The new version will contain a “RS” suffix. (e.g. If your current certificate number is (e)010102030405, the updated number will be displayed as (e)010102030405RS).

How long does it take for the updated certificate to arrive?

Please allow up to two (2) weeks for delivery.

Is this module available in a paper version?

No. This module can only be accessed online.

What if I don’t have an online account?

You are required to create an online account first. To create an account, return to the Homepage of this site and click on the “Register” button and follow instructions.

How do I access this module from my online account?

Before attempting to access the module, be sure to allow the flash player in your browser settings.

  1. From your online account, select “purchase now” in the “Purchase Training” bucket.
  2. On the purchase page select the “Retail Alcohol Module” and then “Start Now”.
  3. If necessary, update your shipping information.
  4. Choose the language option, and click on “Continue to Course”.
  5. Work at your own pace and when ready, complete the final quiz within 30 days of enrollment.