Advice for a newbie in Montreal

Discussion in 'Canadian Truckers Forum' started by Blueshift, Jun 3, 2020.

  1. Blueshift

    Blueshift Bobtail Member

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    Hello,

    I was temporarily furloughed from my career as a pilot. It'll likely be two years until I'm recalled. In the meantime, I'd like to find a relatively well paying gig with a quick training program. Truck driving is something I know many in my industry have taken up in such times, given the similarities in operating heavy machinery, focusing on safety, and being away from home for extended periods. Ideally, I'd like to focus on short/medium-haul, where I'd only be away from home for a few days at a time.

    I only have a class 5 licence presently. A number of local schools indicate it'd be possible to get my class 1 and airbrake within three months. Does this seem realistic? Is it necessary to conduct further schooling, or will the licence itself be sufficient.

    Similarly, what is the job market like in Montreal for someone with zero experience? Is French pretty much a prerequisite, or can an anglophone get by? Are there many short-haul/medium haul positions available? In summary, I guess I'm just hoping to figure out how realistic of a stopgap plan this is.

    Thanks for your help!
     
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  3. AModelCat

    AModelCat Road Train Member

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    The starting pay seems so low these days. Like it'll cover basic living expenses and keep you out of the poor house. I've been debating hopping in the driver's seat for a bit too but that starting pay is a tough pill to swallow.

    I'd imagine they've increased the standards of testing and stepped up the caliber of training since Humboldt. Used to be you didn't even need training, passing the written and road tests were enough. I can totally see it being a month or so of training nowadays.
     
  4. not4hire

    not4hire Road Train Member

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    Getting the licence itself is easy. Schools generally don't teach squat about becoming a Class 1 driver. All the important stuff you will learn on the job.

     
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  5. Blueshift

    Blueshift Bobtail Member

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    @AModelCat,

    That's somewhat the sense I've gotten too, although it appears there's no real decent paying entry-level jobs out there, no matter the industry. Would you say $40k/year would be a reasonable expectation working full-time?

    The school I was looking at had approximately 12 online training modules. I believe it also includes 18 hours driving course. Does that sound in-line with the post-Humboldt training requirements? I know in Quebec, I've seen some job ads indicating a preference for those who've attended a six month vocational program.

    @not4hire,

    Sounds very similar to aviation then. The commercial licence barely taught enough skills to be safe - it's the first job where you really begin to learn.
     
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  6. Weekend Warrior

    Weekend Warrior Bobtail Member

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    In Sask, you need to have all the written exams and medical completed (which gets you a learners permit) prior to going to any school, then the mandatory training course itself here is 4 weeks (@ $10,000).......then you have your full 1A.
     
  7. Ol'Shusquatch

    Ol'Shusquatch Light Load Member

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    Yup. 10 grand later and looking for driving work in a tight post Covid (maybe) market. Then there are the requirements of two years experience, maybe one year if you can uncover such an outfit.
    All the while anticipating less far less than 20 bucks an hour.
    Dunno Montreal rates. Maybe target local driving, delivery, gravel, construction stuff. Probably break 20 an hour and be home at night. Just my 2 cents. Good luck anyway.
     
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  8. not4hire

    not4hire Road Train Member

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    If the OP has held a Class 5 for 36 months or more, then the Quebec requirements are quite minimal; no intensive driving schooling required (even if recommended).

    I tend to agree with @Ol'Shusquatch, I would look local. Some OTR carriers might have a tuition plan, but you'll likely be an indentured servant for 1-2 years. You might end up having to make a choice about bailing on a contractual agreement if you get recalled for flying. Paying your own way gives you flexibility.

    And honestly, OTR generally sucks these days.
     
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  9. Blueshift

    Blueshift Bobtail Member

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    @Weekend Warrior, that's quite pricy, especially given the low salaries to start. I've begun contacting local schools in the Montreal area to see whether their prices would be comparable.

    @Ol'Shusquatch, is the job market pretty tight all across Canada at the moment? I would've assumed there was still a demand for truckers to keep the supply chains moving. The local market might be my best bet then. Would a Class 1 still be advisable, or would a Class 3 be more appropriate?

    @not4hire, would you advise it better to take the more extended training courses anyway, or will most companies bridge the gap between the bare minimum licence and being a safe driver?

    Yes, paying on my own way might be my best bet, given I don't exactly know when recalls will come.

    Do you still consider OTR worthwhile though, considering the investment to get the licence?
     
  10. Weekend Warrior

    Weekend Warrior Bobtail Member

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    Yup, it's pricey, and it's mandatory.
    If you lived in Sask, I'd advise against it, mainly because of the cost and that you're only looking to do this temporarily.
     
  11. Blueshift

    Blueshift Bobtail Member

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    @Weekend Warrior at that price, I would certainly agree. It appears that in Quebec, they only recommend 20 hours one-on-one driving before the road test. I'll continue getting quotes
     
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