I'm about to start my dream new life in Canada (from the UK). I have permanent residence so there are no restrictions on jobs. Having had a desk job for a couple of decades, I see this move as a completely new start and I want to pursue my dream of being a professional driver. I have the money for training etc. I have only ever had a normal licence and have only ever driven cars.
So I'm a complete newbie. In order to train for AZ it seems that most places insist that you have at least one year's driving experience in the province that you will be training. That makes total sense, and I'm definitely not an expert on winter driving conditions etc. But I do want to get started on training if I can, and I'm willing to put in as much time and training as necessary to pursue this dream.
Is it generally the case that I won't even get a look in on training until I have had a year's worth of driving time in Canada? I'm planning to move to Calgary but can be flexible on this in the short term.
I'm about as green as you can get - no Canadian driving experience, no trucking experience. The one thing I have is 20 years of driving experience and an absolute love of driving and being on the road.
If anyone has any advice on how I can get started, I would really appreciate the time. I'm all ready to get started in terms of relocating and finances.
New to Canada, new to trucking
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Alberta may be a little easier to get your start. I heard the schools will be able to issue class one license themselves again.
I started just driving a 14’ cube van for an electrical supply wholesaler. Then I went to a trucking company driving a 16’ box straight truck, plus they had 22’ ones on occasion. After six months they let me use a single axle tractor trailer pulling pups. After a year they put me into a cab over highway truck.
Driving in the winter out west is a little different than Southern Ontario due to the extreme cold. Ontario uses lots of road salt, even after a major snow storm the highways are usually bare again within a few days.
It is too cold at times out west for salt to work at all. You can start an extreme cold spell with perfectly dry roads. In the city with all the condensation dripping out of the exhaust pipes on the road, the streets can get really icy, even the highways get iced up if the wind blows the snow around and the sun makes it stick.
Caution is the key in winter driving, just because all the other idiots are running the speed limit or more, doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.
Welcome to Canada.
If you really want to learn, are not afraid of work, and don't mind spending the time, I would recommend looking at being mentored or signing up for a program that progresses you from the bottom up, or walk into the trucking company of your choice and tell them,
"I want to be a big time trucker and I'm willing to start at the bottom and work my way up. Give me job, NOW!"
My take, you learn far more by going to school every day than you ever will by a correspondence course.
You might start off on the dock lumping freight, learning how to load trailers, operate a forklift, work in the yard inspecting and repairing trailers of all kinds, drive a straight truck doing local P&D's, drive the yard donkey spotting trailers, do P&D work with a day cab and progressing to OTR, then the grand prize.........., a fully qualified, knowledgable, savvy and confident individual who knows WTF they're doing!
At the very least you'll be making money while being educated, maybe not a lot, but it's yours.
Or........, you could go to one of the many generic puppy mills, lay down your cash and become a super star in a large car that warms seats and holds a steering wheel like nobody else in 3 weeks or less.
As for location, if you want to learn about driving in Canadian winters you should consider MB or SK.
The roads are straight and it's nice and flat for the most part so there's less chance of driving off a mountain or having to deal with high density traffic, more serene than a few other places I've been to.
Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, Chicago, Detroit, LA, SF, St Louis, Indianapolis, Dallas...............
(breaks into song)
I've been everywhere, man
I've been everywhere, man
Crossed the deserts bare, man
I've breathed the mountain air, man
Of travel I've had my share, man
I've been everywhere
(snaps back to present time)
It gets "Real Canadian Cold" here during winter which is an experience in itself and a good place to get yourself climatized and learn how to start a frozen truck or reefer engine without electricity, or loosen a frozen set of brakes and other fun truck driver stuff.
It will prep you for the rest of the country, just start adding terrain and weather variables for each region as you drive east or west, won't get a whole lot colder no matter which direction you drive!
Just to add, the best paying jobs are in Alberta, but Winnipeg is the transportation hub of Canada, for whatever that's worth.
Happy trails, hope the dream works out for you.
Always follow your passion and you will find the joy in it. Sometimes it’s just a matter of finding the right type of trucking or the right company.
I actually got into electronics for my first career, but found I didn’t like it as a job, it was better as a hobby.
Meanwhile every time I had holidays, I drove off to some far off place. I lived near Red Deer, Alberta and drove to Florida on a trip, California on another, Alaska and other places in Canada. At some point I realized that I might as well get paid for it and got into trucking. I’ve been all over Canada and the USA driving a truck
But even still I drive far off on holidays, I live in Saskatchewan now. Last year I pulled my camper trailer to Newfoundland, this summer I went to Bella Coola on the west coast. Two years ago I flew to Australia, rented a camper van and drove 8,800 kms down there.
If you like to drive, as Nike says “Just do it !”
However, being a guy who started over after 6 layoffs and a 16 year career down the drain, this is all I could think of doing (or get a job doing). 3 years later, I can't see doing anything else.
Yes it was hard the first 2 years, yes its slow right now, yes there are lots of downsides; but most jobs these days (esp office/trades/warehouse) suck more IMHO; so this is what I do.
Anyway, where you call home, is going to be the biggest factor. So let us know that, and if you have any physical limitations, which will determine the type of work you can do.Phantom Trucker Thanks this.
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