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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 application stage of the 2020 Bus Operator recruitment campaign is now open. We thank all applicants for their interest, but advise that only those qualified to continue with the selection process will be contacted. This campaign will meet the ongoing operational Bus Operator requirements.

Please see below for additional information on the recruitment process.

Job profile

OC Transpo provides transit services across Ottawa and into Gatineau. Serving nearly 340,000 riders per day, operate 365 days a year, to bring riders safely and comfortably to their destinations.

If you have customer service experience and a solid driving record this could be just the challenge you’re looking for. Join a team of over 1800 unionized bus operators who share a passion for serving the public. Operators have flexible hours, access to career opportunities within the City of Ottawa, and competitive pay, pension and benefits that all start day one.

“What I enjoy most about my job is the opportunity to meet new and interesting people on a daily basis. OC Transpo also encourages me to seek out new career opportunities and provides the support and training I need to achieve my goals.

If you are seeking an exciting career path, with opportunities to grow, this is the place you want to be!”

  • Karen Scantlebury, Electric Rail Operator and former Bus Operator

NOTE: Candidates may only apply once per competition.

Applicants who have failed the cognitive and/or driving assessment must wait at least six months before being reassessed.

An applicant that has been unsuccessful in the New Bus Operator Training within the last two (2) years will not be considered. After two (2) years, an applicant may apply but will have to demonstrate successful completion of a defensive driving course.

General Information about the Bus Operator Position

  • Bus Operator positions are full-time permanent positions.
  • When you become a Bus Operator you become a member of the Amalgamated Transit Union 279.
  • Pension and Health Benefits start the first day of training.
  • Full-time Wage rate after 24 months of continuous employment is $31.563/hour (2019 rates of pay).
  • Training rate (first 6 weeks) is 50% of full-time Bus Operator wage rate ($15.782 /hr).
  • Rates of pay after successful completion of training is:
    • 1st - 8 months – 85% of Bus Operator Rate ($26.829 /hr)
    • 9th - 15 months – 90% of Bus Operator Rate ($28.407 /hr)
    • 16th - 23 months – 95% of Bus Operator Rate ($29.985 /hr)
    • After 24 months – Full Bus Operator Rate ($31.563/hr)

Hours of Work

Bus operator’s work an average of 40 hours per week, 7.5 hours per shift. Shifts are booked as part of 4 General Bookings spaced throughout the year. At the General Booking, your shifts will change, including the runs that you can book, which garage you will work out of (St. Laurent, Industrial, Merivale or Pinecrest), and what days and hours you will be working.

At each booking, shifts are booked in order of seniority, which means that, as a new bus operator, you have less choice over which shifts/days and vacation times you can book. New operators should expect to work regular weekend shifts and will likely only be able to take holidays mostly in October-November and January- February. This can be an adjustment for you and your family, but, as you gain seniority over the years, you also gain flexibility and the ability to select the shifts that best suit your schedule.

Recruitment Process

The recruitment process for the Bus Operator position consists of nine (9) stages and can take several months to complete. Applicants must successfully complete each stage before being considered for the next stage. Conditional offers of employment are only made to applicants who have successfully arrived at stage 9.

The 9 stages are:

  1. Application and screening
  2. Competency Assessment
  3. Job Observation
  4. Interview
  5. Cognitive and Driving Assessments
  6. Reference Check
  7. Medical Exam and Police Records Check
  8. Language Assessment (if required)
  9. Training date confirmation

The City of Ottawa’s primary means of communication through this process will be e-mail. Applicants should check their e-mail accounts frequently (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 by Human Resources for the Bus Operator position. Your application must clearly demonstrate that you meet all of the minimum qualifications to be considered for further assessment.

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 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).
  • Due to licensing restrictions, OC Transpo is unable to license drivers from Quebec. Applicants from Quebec must hold a full “F2” license if they reside in Quebec and must be legally able to drive in Ontario.
  • 3-year uncertified Driver’s Abstract which is no more than six (6) months old 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 of 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, reading
  • 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 –Competency Assessment

Qualified applicants will be invited to complete an competency assessment questionnaire to determine suitability for the position of bus operator. Applicant must provide evidence of education, as well as customer service and driving experience to meet the Transit basic requirements.

Stage 3– Job Observation

Applicants who successfully complete the online competency assessment will be invited for an interview by e-mail.

Prior to attending the interview, applicants are required to participate in a job observation, which involves taking an OC Transpo bus ride and observing the Bus Operator in his/her role. Any costs associated with the job observation will be the responsibility of the candidate. Be sure to ask for a bus transfer (proof of payment) which you must bring to your interview as proof that you completed this stage. In the Interview, you will be asked to comment on what you observed during the job observation.

You MUST bring your proof of job observation participation (OC Transpo bus transfer) to your interview.

Stage 4 – Interview

Applicants MUST bring the following items to their Interview:

 The names and contact information of three work-related references. You will be asked to sign a form authorizing the City to contact your references.

  • The interview will be conducted by a group or two or three interviewers in a question and answer format. Questions will be a combination of behavioural, situational and knowledge based.

The Customer Service Assessment is a 20 question, multiple choice test specifically designed for use in the selection of Bus Operators.

The written assessment requires applicants to read a text similar to a day in the life of an OC Transpo bus operator describing a incident or collision and complete a Collision Report.

Stage 5 – Cognitive and Driving assessments

Applicants will first complete a cognitive assessment test using a computer. The testing will be completed at OC Transpo.

Applicants who successfully pass the Cognitive Assessment will then take a driving assessment, which is an in house/on-road evaluation of a driver’s ability to operate safely.

Stage 6 – Reference Checks

  • Reference checks will be completed for those applicants who successfully pass their Driving Assessment. The references that were provided at the Interview stage will now be contacted. If references cannot be contacted within a 5-day period, applicants cannot proceed to the next stage.

Stage 7 – Medical and Police Record Check

Applicants must pass the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario medical exam required to obtain a class "C” licence. Applicants can contact the Ministry of Transportation for more detailed information at 1-800-268-1481.

Applicants must also present a valid Police Record Check with clearance to work with the vulnerable sector.

Any costs associated with the medical exam and Police Record Check are the responsibility of the candidate.

Stage 8 –Language Assessment

Applicants may be required to have their language proficiency in English or French assessed.

  • 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

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

Stage 9 – Training date confirmation / Start of employment

Applicants who have been successful in the first eight stages of the recruitment process will be contacted to confirm a start date for the next scheduled training session.

At this point, you will become a New Bus Operator Trainee, and will be scheduled to participate in a 36-day full-time training program specific to the Bus Operator position.

Note: An offer of permanent employment as a Bus Operator 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 "C” licence with a "Z” endorsement (air brake), will have the conditional offer of employment withdrawn.

To ensure the integrity of the recruitment process, individual test scores and results cannot be disclosed.


Due to the COVID pandemic, stages of the recruitment process are subject to change at any time.