Transport Truck Drivers

(NOC 7511)

in All Trades and Transportation

Transport truck drivers operate heavy trucks to transport goods and materials over urban, interurban, provincial, and international routes. They work for transportation, manufacturing, distribution and moving companies, and trucking employment service agencies, or they may be self-employed. This group also includes drivers of special purpose trucks and shunters who move trailers to and from loading docks within trucking yards or lots.

Job Outlook

Good

Read more

  • Estimate Weak growth employment change, 2019-2021
  • Estimate 560 openings due to growth and retirements, 2018-2020
  • Estimate High rate of unemployment in 2019

Compared to: All Trades and Transportation

  • Estimate 205 employment change, 2019-2021
  • Estimate 4385 openings due to growth and retirements, 2018-2020
  • Estimate rate of unemployment not available for these occupation.

At the beginning of the pandemic, some of truck drivers were laid off. However, many were rehired as the economy reopened. Overall, COVID-19 has worsened a pre-existing shortage of truck drivers. Long haul routes have become less desirable as they involve driving to other provinces or the U.S., where concerns of catching the virus are greater. Long lineups at border checkpoints have also created logistics problems for some truck drivers. These factors prompted some drivers to try to switch to regional routes or change careers altogether.

Demand for truck drivers has been very strong in recent years. In addition to employment growth, many workers in this occupation are reaching retirement age, causing a surge of vacancies to replace them. Many employers have reported difficulty in filling positions with qualified drivers. Those with a class 1 license, the ability to travel to the U.S., and no barriers to getting insurance will have the best employment prospects. Prior to concerns associated with the risk of getting COVID-19, there was already an acute shortage of drivers in long haul trucking. The lifestyle associated with this sector has been a deterrent to jobseekers. Some advances in logistics have reduced the distance individual drivers must travel. The shortage of truck drivers has prompted employers to recruit among underrepresented groups and outside of the province, raise wages, and offer incentives like subsidized tuition.

The median employment income for the 51% of Transport Truck Drivers who worked full-time, year-round in 2015 was $49,548. Across all occupations in Nova Scotia, the 59% of those who worked full-time, year-round had a median employment income of $43,600. (Source: 2016 Census)

Hourly Pay

$13.75

Minimum

$20.00

Median

$27.24

Maximum

Annual Pay

$11,476

Minimum

$42,140

Median

$72,070

Maximum

Compared to: All Trades and Transportation

Hourly Pay

$13.50

Minimum

$27.25

Median

$35.50

Maximum

Annual Pay

$7,580

Minimum

$37,269

Median

$79,787

Maximum

About the job

Nature of work

Transport truck drivers operate heavy trucks to transport goods and materials over urban, interurban, provincial, and international routes. They work for transportation, manufacturing, distribution and moving companies, and trucking employment service agencies, or they may be self-employed. This group also includes drivers of special purpose trucks and shunters who move trailers to and from loading docks within trucking yards or lots.

Job duties

Long-haul transport truck drivers:

  • Use and drive primarily tractor-trailer, long-combination vehicle and straight-body trucks weighing over 4500 kg to transport goods and materials over long distances.
  • Plan trip logistics and get required documentation to transport goods.
  • Inspect vehicle systems, equipment, and accessories likes tires, lights and turning signals, brakes, and cold storage before, during, and after trips.
  • Make sure cargo is secured properly according to safety requirements and follow safety procedures for carrying dangerous goods.
  • Get special permits and other documents required to move cargo on international routes.
  • Record cargo information, hours of service, distance travelled and fuel consumption.
  • Administer bills of lading and manually or electronically maintain logbooks.
  • Communicate with dispatcher, other drivers and customers using communication devices and on-board computers.
  • May carry out emergency roadside repairs.
  • May drive as part of a two-person team or convoy.
  • May transport hazardous products or dangerous goods.

Short-haul and local transport truck drivers:

  • Use and drive primarily straight trucks to transport goods and materials mainly on local routes and short inter-urban routes.
  • Inspect vehicle before, during, and after trips and oversee all aspects of vehicle like condition of equipment and loading and unloading of cargo.
  • May drive special purpose trucks like tow trucks, dump trucks, hydrovac trucks, or cement mixing trucks.

Sample job titles

  • fuel oil truck driver
  • long haul truck driver
  • moving van driver
  • oil transport driver
  • short haul truck driver
  • tow truck driver
  • tractor-trailer truck driver
  • transport driver
  • truck driver
  • truck owner operator

Skills

You should enjoy driving and be able to function under minimal supervision. You must be alert, responsible, and self-motivated. An awareness of safety is important. You must also get along well with people, as drivers often deal directly with customers. For some jobs, you should be willing to drive over extended periods of time and long distances. Long-haul drivers, especially, must have good map-reading skills and remain calm when driving in unfamiliar territory and navigating congested city traffic.

Job requirements

  • High school is usually required.
  • On-the-job-training is provided.
  • An accredited driver training course of up to three months duration, through a vocational school or community college, may be required.
  • A Class 3 or D licence is required to drive straight-body trucks.
  • A Class 1 or A licence is required to drive long combination vehicles.
  • Air brake endorsement (Z) is required for drivers who operate vehicles equipped with air brakes.
  • Transportation of dangerous goods (TDG) certification is required for drivers who transport hazardous products or dangerous goods.
  • Additional licensing endorsement or certification may be required to drive articulated trucks.

Other considerations

Movement to supervisory positions or to non-driving jobs like driver trainer, safety officer, or truck dispatcher is possible with additional training or experience.

By the numbers

Quick look

7,960

employed in 2016

90.6%

employed full-time

9.6%

self employed

3.0%
Icons/female Created with Sketch.
97%
Icons/male Created with Sketch.
51.7

median age

Compared to: All Trades and Transportation

57,925

employed in 2016

85.9%

employed full-time

11.8%

self employed

5.3%
Icons/female Created with Sketch.
94.7%
Icons/male Created with Sketch.
46.8

median age

Where will I likely work?

29.6%

Halifax

25.4%

North Shore

16.9%

Annapolis Valley

14.4%

Southern

13.6%

Cape Breton

Compared to: All NS Occupations

47.0%

Halifax

15.6%

North Shore

12.9%

Annapolis Valley

12.7%

Cape Breton

11.8%

Southern

Top Industries of Employment

52.7%

Transportation and warehousing

11.1%

Construction

8.3%

Wholesale trade

6.6%

Retail trade

6.4%

Manufacturing

What is the age of Employment?

29.0%

45-54

28.0%

55-64

18.0%

35-44

11.0%

65+

10.0%

25-34

4.0%

15-24

Compared to: All Trades and Transportation

24.4%

45-54

22.1%

55-64

17.7%

35-44

17.7%

25-34

10.9%

15-24

Top levels of education

31.5%

Less than high school

$42,415 median annual income
25.8%

High school

$42,067 median annual income
24.0%

Apprenticeship

$43,559 median annual income
15.8%

College Diploma

$41,101 median annual income
1.5%

Bachelor

$29,747 median annual income

Compared to: All Trades and Transportation

29.2%

Apprenticeship

$46,494 median annual income
25.5%

High school

$31,260 median annual income
22.3%

College Diploma

$42,050 median annual income
18.7%

Less than high school

$28,319 median annual income
2.8%

Bachelor

$30,527 median annual income

Education & training

Adult High School Siploma or Equivalent

High School Program

The Nova Scotia School for Adult Learning (NSSAL) administers, coordinates, and supports the development and delivery of adult education programs through learning partners in Nova Scotia. Our learning partners include the Nova Scotia Community College, Adult High Schools, Université Sainte-Anne, and community-based learning organizations that offer tuition-free programming across the province. NSSAL offers clear, accessible pathways from adult basic education to a high school credential or GED, empowering Nova Scotians to achieve their learning and employment goals.

Institutions providing this program

Universite Sainte-Anne

Pointe-de-l'Église, NS

Nova Scotia Community College - Adult Learning

Various, NS

Adult High Schools

Various, NS

Community Learning Organizations

Various, NS

Ground Transportation - Other

College or Trades Program

This includes any program not listed elsewhere that relates to Ground Transportation.

Institutions providing this program

Commercial Safety College

Truro, NS

Truck and Bus Driver/Commercial Vehicle Operation

College or Trades Program

These programs prepare students to apply technical knowledge and skills to drive trucks and buses, delivery vehicles, for-hire vehicles and other commercial vehicles. They include courses in operating gas, diesel, or electrically-powered vehicles, loading and unloading cargo or passengers, reporting delays or accidents on the road, verifying load against shipping papers, arranging transportation for personnel, and keeping records of receipts and fares.

Institutions providing this program

Breton Commercial Truck Training

Sydney, NS

Transport Training Centres of Canada

Dartmouth, NS

Maritime Environmental Training Institute

Sydney, NS

Commercial Safety College

Truro, NS

Operating Engineers Training Institute of Nova Scotia

Falmouth, NS

Employment requirements & contacts

No regulating bodies were found under this occupation profile

Contacts

Atlantic Provinces Trucking Association
Dieppe, NB
Service Nova Scotia and Internal Services
Halifax, NS
Trucking Human Resource Sector Council Atlantic
Truro, NS
Transport Canada
Dartmouth, NS
Safety Services Nova Scotia
Dartmouth, NS

Additional resources

There are no additional resources for this occupation.