How to Become a Crane Operator in Canada in 4 Steps

Learn how to become a crane operator in Canada.

There are many career opportunities in the construction industry. Particularly, if you have great communication skills and you are highly coordinated, with an interest in operating heavy machinery, then becoming a crane operator might be good for you. So here we have how to become a crane operator in Canada.

It is important to understand the task, responsibilities, and career prospects of this profession. So, in this article, we will discuss what a crane operator is, the responsibilities of a crane operator, the career prospects of a crane operator, steps on how to become a crane operator in Canada, as well as the job opportunities for a crane operator in Canada.

What is a Crane Operator

A crane operator is part of a group of construction workers that is responsible for operating a crane to move, position, reposition, and lift different loads of material. They are responsible for controlling different crane functions by pressing foot pedals, navigating crane levers, and pressing some buttons.

A Crane operator is an important and integral part of any construction crew, that uploads accessories from vehicles or trailers. They will receive direction on what to do from a signal or rigger with verbal and hand signs as to the next point of action.

What does the crane operator do?

Basically, a crane operator is responsible for performing post-trip and pre-trip inspections as well as monthly and daily equipment inspections to ascertain if all equipment is functioning efficiently. As a crane operator, you will work directly under the supervision of a contractor and might have to work for long hours that require you to stand sit, climb and move.

Without a doubt, you’ll be subject to exposure to extreme year-round outdoor environmental conditions and might have to work on holidays and weekends.

Precisely here are the responsibilities of a crane operator

  • Operate the crane correctly, and under supervision.
  • Inspect the crane before and after usage to ensure its safety.
  • Perform routine maintenance to ensure the crane stays in a good condition
  • Carry tools for running repairs of crane parts
  • Understand and execute the job billing process.
  • Drive the crane to a worksite.
  • Wear PPT safety equipment.
  • Clean and maintain the crane hoisting mechanism.
  • Use lever and pedal controls efficiently.
  • Set up the manufacturer’s operator manual.

Career Outlook and job prospects of a crane operator in Canada

The job  Outlook of a crane operator in Canada is quite good because they are in demand nowadays. With constructions that are always ongoing in Canada on different construction sites, a crane operator will always be required to complete most of the construction jobs. That is why you need to know how to become a crane operator in Canada.

Between 2018 and 2028 crane operator jobs have been expected to increase by 10% according to the bureau of labor statistics. This percentage is quite high compared to the national average of the job market universally.

Most importantly, the crane industry has contributed immensely to the creation of a secure jobs for crane operators in Canada. Hence, your idea of becoming a crane operator in Canada is quite feasible.

How to become a crane operator in Canada?

Crane operators have a lot of responsibility and a broad career in the construction industry, and according to statistics, the crane operator job will drastically increase in the next few years. So here we have a stepwise guide on how to become a crane operator in Canada.

Step one: Complete secondary Education

The first step to becoming a crane operator in Canada is to have a secondary school diploma. You can also try to complement your classes with the knowledge that relates to crane operation when completing High School. For instance, you can try a woodworking workshop because many crane operators navigate through materials that are made of wood.

So, you must have a secondary school diploma because it is a crucial requirement for apprenticeship as a crane operator.

Step two: complete apprenticeship or internship

Completing an apprenticeship in an internship program is not negotiable to be a crane operator. Basically, the apprenticeship or internship program will include both on-the-job training and classroom training. When carrying out your apprenticeship program under a supervisor who is a full-time crane operator, he will help you develop the skills you need and provide you with constructive criticism.

Although, your internship or apprenticeship program may differ, depending on the equipment you are wanting to operate. However, you will spend at least 1 year to 3 years of training. But if you have experience or have completed a training program on crane operating before, your pre-apprenticeship program will be reduced. Note that you will get your certification during this period.

Step three: Obtain Certification

The type of crane you used and the province where you carry out your apprenticeship or internship program will determine your certification. In Quebec, Manitoba, Ontario, Alberta, and Nova Scotia, you will need to get the Mobile Crane Operator certification. However, you have to get the Tower Crane Operator certification in Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, and Nova Scotia.

Howbeit, if it is not compulsory to get certification in your province, you may want to complete them because certification demonstrates your dedication and skills to the field. Also, you can apply for the inter-provincial standard Red seal exam if you get your certificate to work in any province.

Step four: Get your regulatory licensing

We advise that you go to your province to obtain a license from a regulatory authority. Depending on the crane you operate, there are several licensing bodies for crane operators in the different provinces in Canada. The examples of regulatory bodies in each province are given below

Canada crane operating regulatory board

  • Alberta: Apprenticeship and Industry Training Office, Government of Alberta
  • British Columbia: Industry Training Authority British Columbia
  • Manitoba: Apprenticeship Manitoba
  • New Brunswick: Apprenticeship and Occupational Certification, Government of New Brunswick
  • Northwest Territories: Apprenticeship and Trades, Government of the Northwest Territories
  • Nova Scotia: Technical Safety Division, Labour and Advanced Education
  • Nunavut: Apprenticeship, Trade and Occupations Certification, Government of Nunavut
  • Ontario: Ontario College of Trades
  • Quebec: Commission de la Construction du Québec

Skills needed to be an outstanding Crane Operator

All jobs have specific skills needed to be successful. So, while checking how to become a crane operator in Canada, you must bear in mind the following skills that you need to be outstanding in your career.

# Verbal communication

Because you will work with several professionals from different Industries, you must have good verbal communication skills to communicate effectively. So, for this reason, you might consider improving your communication skill so that you can communicate safety concerns and express any issues to develop a strong professional relationship.

For instance, you may be concerned about if the crane can navigate through any heavy object or if the size of a material is suitable for a crane. You will need a proper form of communication skills to steer through this dialogue

# Manual Dexterity

You will have to navigate multiple levels and control them simultaneously, so you need strong manual dexterity. You can decide to establish or improve your manual dexterity to ensure that you can move large objects with precision and swiftness.

Basically, as part of your job description, you can expect to lift objects, place them in the correct position, or move them forward. So manual dexterity is very important

# Teamwork

Without a doubt, every crane operator is a member of a large team, and it is important to communicate together to divide tasks. This professional will have a supervisor that will provide them with work schedules and deadlines to catch up with. So, team spirit is needed to make sure everything is in order.

Therefore as a crane operator, you are to speak with other professionals to know where to place items, so that together everybody gets coordinated and meets up with deadlines.

# Hand-eye coordination

As a crane operator, you will need the skills of processing information that you see with rapt attention. Your eyes see what to do while your hand will make the necessary adjustments.

For instance, if you had to view a particular landing site for the materials you want to lift, your hand must particularly and precisely adjust the crane to achieve the purpose.

Also, you will need your Hand-eye coordination to move levers and press buttons by looking at the materials you are moving.

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Frequently Asked Questions

what are the rules for becoming a crane operator in Canada?

Basically, they’re no strict guidelines in operation. However, you must enroll in an apprentice program or on-the-job training while having a minimum high school diploma

How do I get a crane license in Canada?

To get a license as a Crane Operator, you need to complete a one- to a three-year apprenticeship program. After which should take a technical exam to get a junior person certificate

Is it hard to become a crane operator in Canada?

It is somewhat difficult yet rewarding


Being a crane operator is a rewarding job in Canada because of the rate at which construction work and reconstruction are happening in the country. We have provided the right information on how to become a crane operator in Canada to achieve your aims