Truck drivers are in high demand in Canada, as they transport goods and materials across the country and beyond. If you enjoy driving and spending long hours on the road, you may consider becoming a truck driver as a rewarding career option.
However, before you can start your journey as a truck driver, you need to meet some requirements and follow some steps.
We will look at the steps to become a truck driver in Canada and answer some frequently asked questions about the role.
Step 1: Get your driver’s licence
To get your truck driving licence, you first need a full driver’s licence for a standard vehicle. The type of licence you need may vary depending on your province or territory, but generally you need a Class G licence or equivalent. You should start the process of obtaining your driver’s licence as soon as possible, as it can take time and practice to get your full licence.
Step 2: Meet the minimum requirements
Before you can attend a truck driving school or earn your truck driver’s licence, you need to meet some basic qualifications. The exact requirements may differ depending on your province or territory, but here are some common ones:
- Be at least 18 years old
- Have a high school diploma or equivalent
- Have a clean driving record
- Pass designated medical and vision tests
- Pass a drug and alcohol test
You may also need to provide proof of your citizenship or legal status in Canada.
Step 3: Attend truck driving school
Many colleges offer truck driving programs, or you can choose a truck driving school that specializes in this type of education. You can typically find programs for specific types of trucks, such as straight trucks or tractor-trailers, so consider your career goals before choosing a course. A truck driving school will teach you the skills and knowledge you need to operate a truck safely and efficiently, such as:
- Driving techniques and maneuvers
- Traffic rules and regulations
- Vehicle inspection and maintenance
- Cargo handling and documentation
- Emergency procedures and safety measures
A truck driving school will also prepare you for the written and road tests that you need to pass to get your truck driver’s licence.
Step 4: Get your truck driver’s licence
The type of truck driver’s licence you need in Canada depends on the weight of the truck, the towed vehicle and their combined weight, whether the vehicle is a tractor-trailer, and whether or not the vehicle has air brakes. The most common types of truck driver’s licences are:
- Class A licence: This licence allows you to drive any truck/tractor-trailer combination with a full air brake system on both the tractor and trailer. You need to complete a mandatory entry-level training course before attempting the Class A road test. As of July 1, 2023, the type of transmission in the vehicle you use for your road test will determine what types of Class A trucks you can drive in Ontario.
- Class D licence: This licence allows you to drive any straight-body truck with a gross weight rating of more than 11,000 kg (24,000 lbs), regardless of whether it has air brakes or not. You do not need to complete a mandatory entry-level training course for this licence.
- Air brake (Z) endorsement: This endorsement allows you to operate any vehicle with air brakes. You need to complete an air brake endorsement program before attempting the air brake test.
To get your truck driver’s licence, you need to pass a written test and a road test for the class of licence you want. You also need to pay the required fees for each test and for your licence.
Frequently asked questions
Here are some common questions that people have about becoming a truck driver in Canada:
Q: How long does it take to become a truck driver in Canada?
A: The time it takes to become a truck driver in Canada depends on several factors, such as:
- How long it takes you to get your full driver’s licence for a standard vehicle
- How long it takes you to complete a truck driving school program
- How long it takes you to pass the written and road tests for your truck driver’s licence
Generally, it can take anywhere from six months to two years to become a fully qualified truck driver in Canada.
Q: How much does it cost to become a truck driver in Canada?
A: The cost of becoming a truck driver in Canada varies depending on the type of licence you want, the truck driving school you choose, and the province or territory you live in. Some of the costs you may incur are:
- Fees for your driver’s licence and tests
- Fees for your truck driving school program
- Fees for your medical and vision tests
- Fees for your drug and alcohol test
- Fees for your air brake endorsement program
You may also need to pay for additional expenses, such as fuel, insurance, and maintenance for your truck.
Q: How much do truck drivers make in Canada?
A: The salary of truck drivers in Canada depends on several factors, such as:
- The type of truck you drive
- The distance and duration of your trips
- The type of cargo you transport
- The company you work for
- Your experience and skills
According to the Government of Canada Job Bank, the median hourly wage for truck drivers in Canada was $23.00 in 2020. However, this can vary widely depending on the factors mentioned above. Some truck drivers may earn more or less than the median wage.
Q: What are the benefits and challenges of being a truck driver in Canada?
A: Being a truck driver in Canada can have many benefits and challenges, such as:
- You can enjoy the freedom and flexibility of working on your own schedule
- You can travel to different places and see new sights
- You can earn a good income and have job security
- You can meet new people and make connections
- You may have to work long and irregular hours, including nights, weekends, and holidays
- You may have to deal with traffic, weather, and road conditions that can affect your safety and efficiency
- You may have to spend a lot of time away from your family and friends
- You may have to cope with stress, fatigue, and loneliness
Being a truck driver in Canada can be a rewarding career choice for those who love driving and travelling. However, it also requires dedication, responsibility, and adaptability. If you are interested in becoming a truck driver in Canada, you should follow the steps outlined above and prepare yourself for the challenges and opportunities that await you.