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Bus Operator recruitment

Bus Operator recruitment inventory

Steer your career. Join the group of over 1,500 transit operators who make up the driving force behind OC Transpo.

Bus Operator Inventory

The Bus Operator Inventory is now open. This Inventory will meet the ongoing operational Bus Operator requirements as well as requirements for the O-Train Confederation Line Phase 1 and Phase 2 projects.

Please use the following link for additional information:

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Job profile

Summary of Duties

The Bus Operator is responsible for providing customer friendly, safe, reliable and timely transportation service in co-ordination with scheduled bus times (weather and traffic permitting).

General Information about the Bus Operator Position

  • There are over 1,700 unionized Bus Operators positions within Transit Services.
  • All Bus Operator positions are full-time permanent positions working 40 hours per week.
  • Transit Services offers competitive wages and benefits including: Health Care and Dental plans, Group Life Insurance and a Pension Plan.
  • The Bus Operator training rate (first six (6) weeks) is 50 per cent of full-time Bus Operator wage rate.
  • The Bus Operator hourly wage rate is determined by the Local 279 ATU Collective Agreement.

The Challenges of being a Bus Operator

A Bus Operator’s job is physically demanding and includes tasks which are repetitive and constant, such as operating bus controls, talking to and assisting passengers while safely operating the bus, and keeping stairways clear of ice and snow build-up.

Weather conditions, construction, traffic, difficult passengers and following a set schedule are just some of the challenges that the Bus Operator will face on a daily basis.

Hours of work, vacation time, and days off are determined by seniority and can impact a new Bus Operator's personal and family life. The following is a description of what a new Bus Operator might expect.

  • Transit services are available 24 hours a day, seven (7) days a week, 365 days a year, which means that Bus Operators are required to work weekends, holidays, and both day and night shifts, at times changing from one to the other with little notice.
  • Daily work assignments will often be split shifts (example: beginning work at 6 am and working to 9 am and then another shift on the same day starting at 2 pm and working to 6 pm.
  • Holidays and days off may not be consecutive or consistent.
  • Though each new Bus Operator will receive three (3) weeks’ vacation after completing their first year, the choice of when they are taken will be dictated by seniority.
  • As seniority increases, so does a Bus Operator's choice of hours and vacation time.

Statement of qualifications

Applicants must possess the following minimum qualifications on the date of application:

  • legally entitled to work in Canada.
  • Ontario Secondary School Diploma (Grade 12) or recognized equivalency.

(If you acquired your educational credentials outside Canada you will need to obtain an assessment and recognition of your qualifications as a Canadian equivalency in order for you to proceed in the selection process. A translated document or an affidavit is not sufficient. If you require information regarding your educational qualifications, please contact the Credential Evaluation, Assessment and Qualification Recognition Services).

  • A valid Ontario unrestricted "G" class driver's licence (or provincial equivalent). Legally able to drive in Quebec
  • Driver’s Abstract with no demerit points and to the satisfaction of the City. (Recent convictions, discharges and other actions appearing on the driver’s abstract may also be considered)
  • Minimum five (5) years’ driving experience with a clean driving record free of demerit points
  • Minimum three (3) years of relevant customer service experience including direct contact with the public and dealing with a diverse population
  • A valid police ‘Vulnerable Sector Check’ to the satisfaction of the City (clearance to work with the vulnerable sector). Note that link is to Ottawa Police Service, applicants living outside of the City of Ottawa will need to contact their local Police agency.
  • Language proficiency English oral, reading, writing is required for all positions.
  • Some positions may be designated ‘Day 1 Ready’ with an immediate requirement for language proficiency in both English and French as follows:
    • French oral
    • English oral, reading, writing

(For all positions language proficiency for English and/or French may be assessed. Applicants must meet language requirements for the position to be considered for hire).

Please be aware The City of Ottawa’s primary means of communication will be through email. Invitations for assessments will be forwarded via the email account used when applying for the position. Applicants must frequently check their email accounts (including your junk mail).

Selection process

The recruitment process for the Bus Operator position consists of eight (8) stages and can take several months to complete. Applicants must meet the minimum criteria and must be successful at each stage before moving to the next stage, and only the most qualified applicants will be considered for the next stage.

Conditional offers of employment are only made to applicants who have been successful at each of the first seven (7) stages and are conditional on the applicant successfully completing Stage 8.

Please be aware the City of Ottawa’s primary means of communication will be through e-mail. Applicants must therefore frequently check their e-mail accounts (including their junk mail).

We thank all applicants for their interest, but advise that only those qualified to continue with the selection process will be contacted. 

Stage 1 – Application and screening

Applicants are screened based on the stated minimum qualifications of the Bus Operator position. Your application must clearly demonstrate that you meet all of the minimum qualifications to be considered for further assessment.

Please ensure the name you use to apply matches the name on your resume.

Applicants must possess the following minimum qualifications on the date of application:

  • Legally entitled to work in Canada.
  • Ontario Secondary School Diploma (Grade 12) or recognized equivalency. (If you acquired your educational credentials outside Canada you will need to obtain an assessment and recognition of your qualifications as a Canadian equivalency in order for you to proceed in the selection process.  A translated document or an affidavit is not sufficient. If you require information regarding your educational qualifications, please contact the Credential Evaluation, Assessment and Qualification Recognition Services.)
  • A valid Ontario unrestricted "G" class driver's licence (or provincial equivalent). Legally able to drive in Quebec.
  • Possess or obtain prior to hire, a “Z” driver's licence endorsement (air brake), or provincial equivalent. (Applicants who do not currently possess a Z endorsement or provincial equivalent may apply, however, must obtain prior to a conditional offer of employment being made).
  • 3-year uncertified Driver’s Abstract which is no more than six (6) months old (from date of Stage two (2) test) with no demerit points and to the satisfaction of the City. (Recent convictions, discharges and other actions appearing on the driver’s abstract may also be considered).
  • Minimum of three (3) years customer service experience including direct contact with the public and dealing with a diverse population.
  • Minimum of five (5) years of motor vehicle operator experience in high-density traffic.
  • Language proficiency English oral, reading, writing is required for all positions. 
    Some positions may be designated 'Day 1 Ready' with an immediate requirement for language proficiency in both English and French as follows:
    • French oral
    • English oral, reading, writing

(For all positions language proficiency for English and/or French may be assessed. Candidates must meet language requirements for the position to be considered for hire.)

Stage 2 – Job Observation

This stage is only to be done once being invited to the interview.

Applicants will be required to participate in job observation as part of this process. Job observation will involve taking OC Transpo bus rides and observing the Bus Operators in their role. In the Interview Stage, stage 3, some questions will be based on the job observation exercise and as such applicants are encouraged to observe carefully. Applicants will bring their OC Transpo bus transfers (proof of payment) to the interview as proof that the job observation was done. 

Applicants will be instructed to perform stage 2 – Job Observation - through an e-mail message and will be emailed specific instructions for the Job Observation.

Applicants will not be able to continue to participate in the selection process if proof of job observation participation is not presented at the interview. Any costs associated with the job observation will be the responsibility of the candidate.

Stage 3 – Interview

Applicants must meet the minimum qualifications and the most qualified applicants will be invited through an email message to attend an interview and written assessment.

Applicants are required to bring documented proof of the following items to the interview session. Applicants who are unable to provide proof of the following items will not be permitted to participate in the interview and will be disqualified.

The interview board is comprised of two or three members and is conducted in a question and answer format; questions are a combination of behavioral, situational and knowledge based.

Applicants must receive a minimum pass mark of 70 percent at the interview to be qualified to move on to stage 4 – Driving Assessment.

At the time of the interview applicants will be asked to provide three (3) work-related references and sign a consent form authorizing the City to contact these references.

Personal references and references from coworkers will not be accepted.

Stage 4 – Driving Assessment

Applicants successful in Stage 3 - Interview will be invited to participate in a driving assessment which is an on-road assessment of a driver’s ability to operate a vehicle safely.  Applicants must achieve a threshold acceptable to the City of Ottawa in order to move on in the application process.

Stage 5 – Reference Checks

  • Reference checks will be completed to the satisfaction of the City after Stage 4 – Driving Assessment. 
  • A period of two (2) weeks will be given to contact references. If references cannot be contacted within the two-week period, applicants will not proceed to the next stage.

Stage 6 – CZ License Pre-requisite/ Medical

Applicants successful in Stage 5 - Reference Checks must pass the Ministry of Transportation medical exam required to obtain a class "C” licence. Any costs associated with the medical exam will be the responsibility of the candidate. Applicants are encouraged to contact the Ministry of Transportation for more detailed information at 1-800-268-1481..

Stage 7 – Language Assessment

Applicants successful in Stage-6 – CZ License Pre-requisite / Medical may be required to have their language proficiency in English or French assessed. 

  • Language proficiency of English oral, reading, writing is required for all positions. 
  • Some positions may be designated ‘Day 1 Ready’ with an immediate requirement for language proficiency in both English and French as follows:
    • French oral
    • English oral, reading, writing

Applicants must meet language requirements for the position to be considered for hire.

Stage 8 –Training date confirmation / Start of employment

Applicants who have been successful in the first seven (7) stages of the recruitment process and who have met the Ministry of Transportation medical requirements for a class "C” licence with a "Z” endorsement (air brake) will then be contacted to confirm a start date for a scheduled training session.   

Prior to the commencement of training applicants must present a valid police ‘Vulnerable Sector Check’ with clearance to work with the vulnerable sector, to the satisfaction of the City of Ottawa. Note that link is to Ottawa Police Service, applicants living outside of the City of Ottawa will need to contact their local Police agency.

Successful applicants will be scheduled to participate in a six (6) week full-time training program specific to the Bus Operator position. 

Note: An offer of employment is conditional upon passing the mandatory training program. Applicants who do not pass the training and/or are unable to pass the Ministry of Transportation testing requirements to obtain a class "CZ” licence will have the conditional offer of employment withdrawn. 

The successful completion of any phase of the selection process does not guarantee proceeding to the next phase. 

To ensure the integrity of the recruitment process, only a successful/unsuccessful result from all testing will be disclosed.  Detailed information about test results or the scores will not be provided.