How Much Do Heavy Equipment Operators Make in Canada?

by Usama Chaudry on September 6, 2022

Are you a Canadian resident or an immigrant considering pursuing the heavy equipment career path?

Then this critical question must constantly be revolving around your mind:

How much do heavy equipment operators make in Canada?

If so, you need not worry anymore as we have got you covered.

Heavy equipment operators are one of the highest-paid construction jobs in Canada.

The income of these workers is influenced by various factors, including areas, experience, the level of difficulty of the specific job, and the organization type.

Pay scales might also vary significantly based on numerous crucial aspects, such as education, skill sets, and credentials.

This article will look closely at the average heavy equipment operator’s salary and which type of heavy equipment operators earn the most money in Canada. Furthermore, we will also inform you about the skills, competencies, and educational requirements essential to getting your foot into the industry.

Let’s begin our discussion right away.

Highest Paid Heavy Equipment Operators in Canada

Highest Paid Heavy Equipment Operators in Canada

Following are the highest-paid heavy equipment operators in Canada:

  1. Excavator Operator
  2. Crane Operator
  3. Bulldozer Operator
  4. Backhoe Operator
  5. Rigger

1. Excavator Operator

Excavator operators are in charge of running heavy machinery used to clean up, carry, and dig up land. They frequently use excavators equipped with front-mounted crane attachments that let them hoist and put heavy items.

This position’s typical responsibilities include carrying out routine maintenance, putting safety precautions into place, managing inventories, repairing and servicing gear, and disposing of trash.

The average excavator operator’s salary is CAD 55,380 per year in Canada.

2. Crane Operator

Crane operators are in charge of running cranes, which are substantial components of machinery used to lift and haul bulky objects. Their duties involve coordinating with other employees, employing virtual consoles, hoisting heavy items, setting down goods, and handling platforms to transport industrial resources.

The average crane operator’s salary is CAD 52,650 per year in Canada.

3. Bulldozer Operator

Bulldozer operators are responsible for running heavy machinery to clear land, construct streets and other infrastructures, or dig materials. They frequently employ bulldozers, which help in removing and leveling terrain. They may also operate more machinery to provide adhesion and stability and level up ground irregularities to complete a task on a job location.

The average bulldozer operator’s salary is CAD 50,700 per year in Canada.

4. Backhoe Operator

Backhoe operators utilize heavy machinery to burrow, scoop, and carry items. They usually run backhoes, which are massive excavators with a bucket on adjustable arms. These instruments can help with backfilling trenches, collecting and dumping debris, hauling heavy items, tearing down concrete or rock, and digging ditches.

The average backhoe operator salary is CAD 53,079 per year in Canada.

5. Rigger

Riggers are responsible for setting up, repairing, and dismantling rigging gear. They are commonly addressed to incorporate safety devices in building locations or industrial workplaces where heavy equipment is employed.

The average rigger salary is CAD 52,650 per year in Canada.

Salary of a Heavy Equipment Operator in Canada by Region

Salary of a Heavy Equipment Operator in Canada by Region

The heavy equipment operator is a good career path in terms of remuneration, and it is one of the core reasons for pursuing it, as workers in this field can make a pretty handsome living.

The incomes of heavy machinery operators listed below are computed by multiplying the hourly rates by a 40-hour workweek exclusive of overtime. It is imperative to highlight that heavy equipment operator wages might vary depending on a range of factors, including:

  • Type of organization
  • Contract
  • Area
  • All relevant collective agreements
  • Status of the local and global economies

The average heavy equipment operator salary in Canada is CAD 52,672 per year, which translates to CAD 27.01 per hour.

Entry-level heavy equipment operator positions have a starting salary of CAD 42,900 per year or CAD 22 per hour.

In contrast:

The most experienced heavy-duty equipment operators earn up to CAD 65,181 per year or CAD 33.43 per hour.

Here is a list of the median annual heavy machinery operator salaries in various regions of Canada:

Name of ProvinceAverage Annual Salary
British ColumbiaCAD 66,200
YukonCAD 65,442
AlbertaCAD 60,450
QuebecCAD 54,600
SaskatchewanCAD 52,650
OntarioCAD 51,675
ManitobaCAD 48,175
New BrunswickCAD 40,950
Nova ScotiaCAD 39,975

Educational Requirements of Heavy Equipment Operators in Canada

Following are the educational requirements that are essential and will be beneficial in becoming a heavy-duty equipment operator in Canada:

  • Obtaining a high school diploma or GED.
  • Pursue technical education and complete internships.
  • Taking high school-level courses like maths and automotive technology.
  • Clearing the written and practical exams to acquire relevant licenses or certifications from national organizations such as the commercial driver’s license (CDL) or crane operator certification.

Skills Required for Heavy Equipment Operators in Canada

Here is a list of the skills and competencies required to excel when performing duties in the heavy equipment operator job:

1. Mathematical Understanding

Computation abilities are necessary for heavy machinery operators to operate equipment and grasp mathematical concepts. Therefore, hiring managers prefer individuals with these abilities, as strong mathematics skills enable you to decipher blueprints, maintain records, and analyze product inventories.

2. Mechanical Proficiency

An essential factor in becoming a successful heavy equipment operator is possessing a fundamental comprehension of mechanics and how machines function. This ability enables these workers to maximize resource utilization while mitigating frequent machine repair problems caused by mishandling.

3. Mentoring Skills

A heavy machinery operator’s daily routine may include instructing fresh recruits on operating various types of machinery. The capability to give appropriate training and guidance helps to avoid workplace accidents and maintain a secure working environment.

4. Coordination Skills

Coordination is crucial for heavy equipment operators since you primarily employ your hands and feet to run the machinery. Therefore, you can operate the equipment more confidently and effortlessly if you have good coordination skills.

Top Companies in Canada for Heavy Equipment Operators

Following are the top companies that offer heavy equipment operator jobs in Canada:

  1. Bouchier.
  2. Suncor.
  3. Heavy Metal Equipment & Rentals.
  4. Union Tractor Ltd.
  5. KMC Mining.
  6. SMS Equipment Inc.
  7. ClearStream Energy Services.
  8. Morgan Construction & Environmental Ltd.
  9. Ledcor.
  10. Toromont Cat.

How to Get a job as a Heavy Equipment Operator in Canada

There are numerous ways to get a heavy equipment operator job in Canada. However, the most effective way is to browse through our find work page to look for a position. Primus Workforce is an organization dedicated to assisting job hunters in finding the best oil and gas job opportunities in Canada. You can browse for vacant roles through our platform and submit your application directly to recruiters.

In addition, you can better your job prospects by undergoing a three- to four-year internship program or heavy equipment operator training.

Lastly, voluntarily obtaining specialized certifications in Newfoundland and Labrador and Nunavut, such as trade certificates, is a terrific approach to landing a heavy equipment operator job and jumpstarting your career.


Heavy equipment operators are always in demand. For this reason, they tend to earn pretty competitive salaries, even higher than their college contemporaries at the beginning of their career paths. We hope this article provided you with immense information on how much do heavy equipment operators make in Canada. If you are interested in pursuing this career path, we recommend reading our article on how to become a heavy equipment operator.

Usama ChaudryUsama has a Bachelor's Degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Alberta. Computations of electrical and thermal characteristics are among his research interests. Usama's hobbies outside of professional work include reading, playing tennis, and trekking.


The Primus Workforce team is proudly built on hands-on industry knowledge and experience.