Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to commonly asked questions about the Smart Serve Responsible Alcohol Beverage Service Training Program. Email us at questions@smartserve.ca to ask us your own questions or get in touch with technical support.

Getting Started

My work/school gave me a token, how do I use it?
From your homepage click on the "Redeem Token" button, then enter the token number.

Can I start work before I complete this training?
By current law, all licence holders have 60 days to ensure that all managers and servers are Smart Serve certified. However, in some instances you might be asked to complete the training prior to that.

Please note: Effective July 1, 2017 this grace period will be eliminated.  All employees of liquor licensed establishments will be 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.

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 hours to complete the entire training.

Do I have to complete the training in one sitting?
No.You have 30 days from purchase to complete it.

What is the passing grade for the final test?
The passing grade is 80%.

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.

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.

Can I print the workbook online?
No. If you purchase the workbook it will be sent by mail.

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.

I don't want to complete the training online, what are my options?
For a list of in-class sessions click here.

Is the training available in other languages?
Yes. For a list of available language options click here.

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?
Having a webcam is the fastest and most reliable way to successfully complete the final test.

What if I don't have a webcam?
Complete your training. Connect to the proctor and the proctor will check your system to determine the best options for proctoring your final test based on your available technology.

What times are the proctors available?
Our proctors are available 24/7.

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.

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Why is the system telling me I have an incorrect password/enrollment key?
This is a blocked pop-up issue.  To resolve this, follow these steps:

1. Log out of the course and your account
2. Close all programs
3. Open your browser and turn OFF the pop-up blocker
4. Log back into  your account and click the "Continue Training" button

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

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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.

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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.

When attempting to access the final test, why is the system telling me "This task must be completed by my supervisor"?
To resolve this issue, please call the office at 416-695-8737 or Ontario toll-free at 1-877-620-6082.

I passed the online test, but my training status shows "In Progress".
It may take up to two (2) hours for the status to change

Managing My Online Account

How do I edit my account information?
Changes to your account can only be made by Smart Serve Ontario representatives. You may either email (info@smartserve.ca) or call the office during business hours to resolve this issue.

We can be reached:
Monday to Friday
8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. EST
Phone: 416-695-8737
Ontario Toll-free: 1-877-620-6082
Email: info@smartserve.ca

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 no longer have access to your email, you will need to create a brand new account with the new email. Be sure to call our office to have the new account validated.

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?
You need to allow a minimum of 3-4 hours to deliver this 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 the tests be faxed in order to expedite the process?
No. We only process original tests.

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 reservethe 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 "Things You Must Know" 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.

Can I accept an expired driver's license as a proof of legal age?
No. The ID must have a valid expiry date.

Replacement Cards

Full details are avaiable in the Replacement Card tab.
Click here to access this tab now.

The Retail Alcohol Sales Training Module

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 30 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 enable the pop-up blocker in your browser.
1. From your online account click on the "Purchase" button.
2. On the purchase page select the "Retail Alcohol Module" and click on "Start Now".
3. If necessary, update your shipping information.
4. Choose the langauge option (French coming soon) and click on "Continue to Course".
5. Work at your own pace and when ready complete the final quiz within 30 days of enrollment.