Job prospects Heavy Equipment Operator in Ontario

Job opportunities for Heavy equipment operators (except crane) (NOC 7521) are fair in Ontario over the next 3 years. These job prospects are also applicable to people working as a heavy equipment operator.

Note: These employment prospects were published in December 2021 based on the information available at the time of analysis. The next update will be in December 2022. To learn more, see our FAQs. You can also find additional information on the Canadian Online Job Posting Dashboard.

Job opportunities in Ontario

heavy equipment operator
Prospects over the next 3 years

The employment outlook will be fair for Heavy equipment operators (except crane) (NOC 7521) in Ontario for the 2021-2023 period.

The following factors contributed to this outlook:

  • Employment growth will lead to a moderate number of new positions.
  • A moderate number of positions will become available due to retirements.

What Types of Employers Are Out There?

  • Most work across the construction industry as site preparation contractors, and in highway, street and bridge, and building and utility system construction
  • A smaller number work in manufacturing, mining, municipal government, and waste management

What are the Main Trends Affecting Employment?

  • Construction activity is expected to be favourable across Ontario over the forecast period, led by large infrastructure investments in transit, power generation, and highways and bridges.
  • Steady demand for housing to meet population growth including multi-unit buildings in larger urban centres, investments in industrial projects, and improved commercial construction.
  • Ongoing activities to repair and upgrade existing buildings and infrastructure.
  • Improved levels of investment and expenditures on mineral exploration and mining development.
  • Greater manufacturing activity and demand for steel, non-metallic minerals, and lumber.

What Skills Do I Need to Succeed?

  • There are three voluntary skilled trades associated with this occupation in Ontario named Heavy Equipment Operator–Dozer, Heavy Equipment Operator–Excavator, and Heavy Equipment Operator–Tractor Loader Backhoe.
  • Completion of a trade certificate or college courses in heavy equipment operation may be preferred.
  • Licence to operate various pieces of equipment is required depending on the job duties.
  • Knowledge of safety practices such as the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS).
  • Completion of a working at heights training program for some positions.

What Other Information Will I Find Helpful?

  • A valid driver’s licence is usually required to visit various sites.
  • There may be more work during the spring and summer months because of greater construction activity.
  • Opportunities with companies that provide waste management, snow removal and large-scale landscaping services may be available year-round.

Operators may progress into contractor and supervisor roles based on experience and skill sets.

Here are some key facts about Heavy equipment operators (except crane) in the Ontario region:

  • Approximately 25,300 people work in this occupation.
  • Heavy equipment operators (except crane) mainly work in the following sectors:
    • Construction (NAICS 23): 60%
    • Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction (NAICS 21): 8%
    • Local, municipal, regional, aboriginal and other public administration (NAICS 913-919): 6%
    • Management and administrative services (NAICS 55, 56): 5%
  • The distribution of full-time and part-time workers in this occupation is:
    • Full-time workers: more than 95% compared to 79% for all occupations
    • Part-time workers: less than 5% compared to 21% for all occupations
  • 51% of heavy equipment operators (except crane) work all year, while 49% work only part of the year, compared to 63% and 37% respectively among all occupations. Those who worked only part of the year did so for an average of 33 weeks compared to 31 weeks for all occupations.
  • 6% of heavy equipment operators (except crane) are self-employed compared to an average of 12% for all occupations.
  • Breakdown by region

    Explore job prospects in Ontario by economic region.

    Legend: The job opportunities can be: Undetermined Limited Fair Good

    Source Labour Market Information | Prospects Methodology

    To view this data on a map, go to: LMI Explore

    Labour market conditions over the next 10 years

    We expect that the labour supply and demand for Heavy equipment operators (except crane) (NOC 7521) will be balanced in Canada over the next 10 years.

    Learn more

Labour Market Information Survey
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