How Can I Get a Heavy Machine Operator License in Ontario?

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Operating heavy equipment in Ontario requires a D license (vehicles over 11,000 Kg) with an air brake (Z) endorsement. Each piece of equipment requires its own specialized ticket, which opens employment opportunities in the construction and industrial sectors. These tickets are available from private career colleges across Ontario, and receive their ability to grant approved training from the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities.

Obtaining a heavy equipment ticket can be funded through employment-related programs through Employment Ontario. The rates for training vary depending on the type of equipment as well as the institution.

Find out what equipment interests you. Speak with workers already familiar with heavy equipment to find out what equipment may be most in demand in your area. Employers are a good source of information regarding who they will hire. Researching your local labor market will maximize chances of employment post training.

Common equipment that requires training includes backhoe-loader, bulldozer, excavator, grader, dump truck and skid steer.

Visit training facilities in your area. Two of the major training providers in Ontario are Transport Training Centres of Ontario and 5th Wheel Training Institute. These types of private career colleges generally have ongoing intakes and will have a list of available start times.

Check into funding options. If you are a recipient of Employment Insurance, or have been in the past three years (regular claim) or five years (from the start of maternity benefits) it is possible to have the training paid for. The funding program is called Second Career, and is accessible through the Employment Ontario Service Delivery Network.

If you are looking at funding options, the private career college will provide an acceptance letter and breakdown of costs associated with the training.

Apply to the program of your choice. Costs fluctuate depending on the type(s) of equipment selected. Standard programs typically allow the student to select three pieces of equipment to train on; however, it is possible to add in additional pieces or choose from programs with more than three pieces.

If accessing Second Career, the program will only fund a three-piece training.

Prepare the documents required to attend training. Each facility will provide a list of the program's required documentation. A clear medical report and driver's abstract are always required, and in some cases a clear criminal background check. These documents are not included in the tuition cost.

Attend training at the facility. Training includes classroom theory, independent study and practical training.

The student must have steel-toed safety boots to wear during the practical training. These are not covered in the cost of tuition.

Complete Ministry of Transportation of Ontario Class D knowledge test ($10) and road test ($75). Complete Air Break (Z) endorsement test ($50). Quoted costs are current as of June 2010.

As of July 2007, there have been changes to the required pre-trip inspections requiring additional checks. Check with the DriveTest Ontario website to ensure that there have been no changes to required pre-trip inspections before attempting the road test portion.