New National Occupational Standard clearly defines a truck driver’s job

The job of a commercial vehicle operator (truck driver) has been defined more clearly than ever before, thanks to the new National Occupational Standard unveiled earlier today by Trucking HR Canada.

The extensive list of knowledge, skills and abilities emerged during a national project known as Driving the Future, which over the last year joined together Trucking HR Canada, the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA), provincial trucking associations, individual fleets, truck drivers, trainers and other industry experts in unionized and non-unionized workplaces. Their work was guided by a National Working Group of fleet representatives from across Canada, involved regional consultation sessions, and incorporated feedback from in-person and online reviews.

The document can be downloaded for free from

“This National Occupational Standard will help to guide everything from training programs to certification initiatives – and it will support national efforts to recognize truck driving as a skilled occupation,” says Angela Splinter, CEO of Trucking HR Canada. “Fleets can use this document to determine if new or existing employees are prepared for the job, while training schools will be able to use it to ensure their programs meet employer needs. It also serves as a foundation for any discussions about mandatory entry-level driver training.”

The standard reflects the core knowledge, tasks and subtasks that are typically developed early in a career and shared by the widest-possible array of truck drivers. The people who meet this standard will be prepared to:

• Operate a straight truck or tractor-trailer with a Gross Vehicle Weight of up to 45,000 kg (100,000 lb.)

• Transport freight contained within a cargo-van-style trailer

• Handle general freight, Less-than-Truckload (LTL) or loose freight, tailgate deliveries, intercity Pickups and Deliveries (P&D), inner-city travel, and potentially heated (but non-refrigerated) loads

• Operate on urban, regional and national roads – in any terrain except mountain passes

• Operate in all types of weather. Commercial vehicle operators (truck drivers) who have yet to meet the National Occupational Standard may, at the discretion of their employer, be excluded from operating in extreme weather.

The standard also recognizes that additional job-specific knowledge, skills and abilities also need to be developed, depending on the role that a driver performs.