Correctional Officer Physical Abilities Test (COPAT)


COPAT is an assessment tool used to identify candidates who possess the minimal physical abilities required to meet the demands of the job. The COPAT simulates the physical tasks that must be performed by Correctional Officers (CO).

COPAT Test Components

Each activity is reduced to its simplest form demonstrating normal work experiences. The test requires candidates to complete a number of consecutive activities within 3 minutes and is pass/fail.

Test Fees

Candidates will be charged a non-refundable $50.00 administrative fee to take the test and will receive a certificate following successful completion. Cheques will be made out to the Minister of Finance. Fees must be paid prior to taking the test.

COPAT Circuit (Floor Plan)

The test circuit is made up of the following activities:

  • run from start to stairs
  • run up/down six flights of stairs
  • run and negotiate obstacles down/through a corridor, hallway, cafeteria, etc.
  • push open a door or move obstacle/person (push/pull station)
  • pull open a door or move obstacle/person (push/pull station)
  • control over resisting subject by demonstrating endurance and agility
  • remove the subject (object) by carrying a 70lbs. weight out of the corridor, cafeteria, etc.

Each of the test activities must be completed successfully prior to moving onto the next item in the circuit. If an individual commits an error at one of the stations, then they must start that specific station again while the time is not interrupted.

Failure to complete any of the test items will disqualify the candidate.

All test items with the exception of the weight carry, must be completed within the strictly enforced time limit of 3:20 minutes. COPAT-Video Demonstration.

Participant Safety

Candidates must be medically cleared to complete the test. Candidates must notify their physicians of the physical demands of testing and cautioned that individuals who are not accustomed to regular strenuous exercise and/or have been identified as having medical conditions (e.g. heart disease) could be at risk during testing.

Candidates are required to provide informed consent acknowledging their rights and responsibilities, and the physical requirements of testing. Candidates accept the risk associated with test participation and agree to indemnify Correctional Services.

Each component of the test will be explained to ensure candidates understand they will be performing maximum work and, that as a direct result of their efforts, they will experience their maximum heart rate. They will be watched closely throughout the test and may be stopped if there is any sign of abnormal difficulty.

Candidates are advised:

  • to wear running shoes and exercise clothing
  • to arrive 30 mins in advance of testing to allow time for BP to normalize
  • that they may withdraw from the test at any time
  • that test administrators will stop the test if they appear to be in distress
  • to not eat for at least two hours prior to the test and refrain from drinking alcohol or caffeinated beverages
  • to not exercise vigorously 24 hours prior to the test
  • they will not be permitted to take the test if they have smoked within two hours of testing

Candidates must have blood pressure on or below 144/94. Should a candidate present high blood pressure (BP) prior to taking the test, he/she will be permitted a 15 minute period of rest to allow time to return to normal before being retested. If normal, he/she is permitted to take the test. However, if their BP is still elevated, further medical documentation will be required. Once there is approval from the candidate’s doctor then the test can be administered.

Candidates must complete warm-up activities for a period of three to five minutes to lessen the risk of injury. You should already be physically active. One should not expect to pass or perform the COPAT unless you are familiar with consistent physical/demanding activity.

COPAT Medical Clearance Form

Six Week “Pre-test” Training Program

Studies have shown that candidates who undertake a 6 week training program have a greater chance of completing the test successfully.

Challenging yourself and becoming physically active are very important elements to successfully passing the COPAT. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and a consistent exercise regime are also crucial. Significant intensity is required to reach your maximum heart rate and maintain that heart rate for 20 minutes. This can be achieved by implementing the following

  • warming up
  • cardio
  • resistance
  • cooling down

Cardiovascular Training (3-4 times a week)

This is an aerobic type activity; jogging, stair climbing, swimming, speed walking. You should remember to vary your speed and add additional challenges.

Resistance Training (2-4 times a week)

Also known as muscular strength training; can be achieved by using resistance bands, weights, body weight and circuits at 3-5 sets per session. Attempt to use all major muscle groups (legs, shoulders, triceps, back, biceps, and abs).

Interval Training (at least once a week)

Interval training combines short/high intensity bursts of speed within short recovery phases that are repeated throughout a single workout. For example, tuck jump, lateral running, shuttle runs, plyometric jump, box sprints, push-ups, sit ups, lateral plyometric jumps, v-sits, and lunges.

Interval sets should last 30-120 seconds and performed at 80-90% maximum heart rate. Beginners are recommended to maintain short intervals lasting 6-30 seconds. The shorter the interval phase, the faster the recovery for the next interval. If you are doing 10 second intervals you may recover in 60 seconds. It is important to remember that work/rest ratio varies, when at rest you should perform light weight activity. Progression is key if you are not physically active; over time

  • increase your amount of weight
  • increase your number of sets
  • increase your repetitions in a set
  • decrease the rest period between sets/intervals

Gradually increase the difficulty of the program.