Crane Operators (NOC 7371)

Last updated: 2 September 2020

If you are interested in working as a Crane Operator in Canada, you will be pleased to know that the job outlook for your occupation in Canada is extremely positive.

You can use this overview of the Canadian employment prospects in your field to start planning your immigration and settlement in Canada.

Why your employment prospects in Canada are excellent:

  • There have been many reports on the shortage of not only cranes, but more importantly the workers qualified to operate them.
  • The crane industry is currently facing the challenge of developing qualified operators, and a shortage could become a serious problem as current operators continue to retire.
  • Crane Operators are employed by the government, construction, industrial, mining, quarrying, cargo handling, and railway companies and contractors. They may also be self-employed.
  • Red Seal trade certification for mobile crane operators allows for interprovincial mobility.

Some areas of Canada where your occupation is in demand:

While there is a shortage of Crane Operators across Canada, the following cities and provinces listed below have a particularly high demand for this occupation.

British Columbia:

  • The Construction industry, in which crane operators are predominantly employed, has recently experienced strong growth throughout the province, increasing demand for operators.


  • Alberta’s oil and gas sector is at the heart of the economic boom in the province, and crane operators are in high demand in this sector.
  • Crane operators are in demand in oil communities like Dawson Creek, Fort St. John, Grande Prairie, and especially Fort McMurray.


  • Employment prospects for crane operators for the period 2010 to 2014 are good throughout the Province.
  • As the economy rebounds manufacturing firms will start to reinvest and recruit more crane operators.
  • Over the forecast period (2010-2014), a number of major construction projects such as the Canadian Human Rights Museum, the Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson Airport, and the hydroelectric dams in Northern Manitoba will require crane operators.
  • Recruitment increases in the spring as construction activity peaks in the summer months.
  • An older than average age profile for Canadian crane operators suggests there will be vacancies as workers retire.
  • Across industries in Manitoba , crane operators are found in Construction (44%), Manufacturing (22%), Wholesale Trade (18%),Transportation and Warehousing (10%) and Mining and Oil and Gas Extraction (6%).


  • Roughly 50% of all workers in this occupational group were at least 45 years of age in 2006. As a result, many will be retiring over the next few years creating an increase in demand for workers.


  • The federal fiscal stimulus incentive, which includes investment in infrastructure projects, will positively affect employment opportunities for crane operators.
  • It is expected that demand for crane operators will grow significantly, particularly in warehousing and storage.

Hamilton, Niagara Peninsula, Brantford Area, Ontario:

  • Employment prospects in these local areas are considered to be good.
  • Retiring workers have increased demand for this occupation.
  • In addition, there is projected growth in the construction industry in the Niagara Region in the industrial and the tourist sectors.

New Brunswick:

Moncton, Shediac, Sackville, Richibucto, New Brunswick

  • Employment prospects are considered to be good in these local areas.
  • There is a shortage of crane operators in these areas and employers are having a hard time recruiting for available positions.

Duties for Crane Operators

Crane operators operate cranes or draglines to lift, move, position or place machinery, equipment and other large objects at construction or industrial sites, ports, railway yards, surface mines and other similar locations. They are employed by construction, industrial, mining, cargo handling and railway companies.

Description of Main Duties:

  • Operate mobile and tower cranes to lift, move, position or place equipment and materials
  • Perform pre-operational inspection, and calculate crane capacities and weight to prepare for rigging and hoisting
  • Operate pile driving cranes to drive pilings into earth to provide support for buildings and other structures
  • Operate cranes equipped with dredging attachments to dredge waterways and other areas
  • Operate gantry cranes to load and unload ship cargo at port side
  • Operate locomotive cranes to move objects and materials at railway yards
  • Operate bridge or overhead cranes to lift, move and place plant machinery and materials
  • Operate offshore oil rig cranes to unload and reload supply vessels
  • Operate cranes mounted on boats or barges to lift, move and place equipment and materials
  • Operate dragline cranes to expose coal seams and ore deposits at open pit mines
  • May assemble tower cranes on site
  • Perform routine maintenance work such as cleaning and lubricating cranes.

Example job titles for Crane Operators:

  • apprentice mobile crane operator
  • apprentice operator, mobile crane
  • boat crane operator
  • boom crane operator
  • boom truck crane operator
  • boom truck hoist operator
  • bridge crane operator
  • cantilever crane operator
  • cinder crane operator
  • climbing crane operator
  • climbing tower crane operator
  • construction crane operator
  • crane and hoisting equipment operator
  • crane hoist operator
  • crane operator
  • crane operator apprentice
  • crane operator, drilling rig
  • crawler crane operator
  • demolition crane operator
  • dragline crane operator
  • dragline operator – crane
  • drilling rig crane operator
  • electric crane operator
  • electric dragline operator
  • electric gantry crane operator
  • electric monorail crane operator
  • electrical equipment operator – Derrick
  • floating crane operator
  • gantry crane operator
  • hoist operator – foundry
  • hoist operator (except underground mining)
  • hoist operator, boom truck
  • hoist operator, crane
  • hot metal crane operator
  • jib crane operator
  • ladle crane operator
  • locomotive crane operator
  • locomotive craneman/woman
  • mechanical hoist operator
  • mobile crane operator
  • monorail crane operator
  • operator, boom truck hoist
  • overhead crane operator
  • pile driving crane operator
  • power crane operator
  • rail crane operator
  • railway car puller – crane
  • rigger (except shipbuilding and aircraft assembly)
  • ship crane operator
  • skip operator
  • tower crane operator
  • tractor crane operator
  • truck crane operator
  • walking bridge crane operator
  • wrecking crane operator

Find out about salary ranges for Crane Operators in different Canadian cities with our Canada Salary Calculator.

You can start looking for a job in Canada by using our Canada Job Search Tool.