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Labourer/Equipment Operator/Heavy Equipment Operator

Canadian National Railway

This is a Contract position in Montreal, QC posted June 15, 2022.

CN is home to opportunities for skilled tradespeople who are interested in continually learning and building a career in a safety-focused, team environment. Working on state-of-the-art equipment and train cars that carry freight from coast-to-coast-to-coast, you’ll feel proud knowing you’re a part of what makes the economy work. And with paid training, you’ll be able to evolve your skills. At CN, the careers we offer are meaningful because the work we do matters. Join us!


Intermodal Spareboard employees work on call and are given a minimum of 2 hours notice before their shift as they do not have a preset schedule for the week. They normally perform the tasks of Helper/Attendant, Equipment Operator and Heavy Equipment Operator.
Successful applicants will start as Intermodal ‘Spareboard’ employees where they will be required to train and qualify on the duties of:

  • Performing basic hand and horn signals to guide the Heavy Equipment Operators in the performance of their dutie
  • Lifting, carrying, placing and removing inter-box connectors (IBCs) weighing 8 to 10 lbs
  • Driving pickups and hitch trucks as well as operating yard tractors
  • Performing various tasks to ensure the proper setup of guides on the rail cars

Equipment Operator:

  • Setting up rail cars, assisting heavy equipment operators in loading/unloading containers and emptying chassis/trailers to and from rail cars
  • Shunting inbound and outbound loads to and from railcars for inbound/outbound trains
  • Lifting rail car hitches
  • Loading reefers from carters
  • Connecting and disconnecting gensets (portable fossil-fuel powered generators)
  • Placing, removing and locking/unlocking train connectors
  • Ensuring proper container/trailer placement on rail cars
  • Driving pickup and hitch trucks, operating yard tractors, forklifts and small cranes
  • Performing various tasks to ensure proper placement and setup of containers and train cars.
  • Interpreting and completing paperwork associated with the loading/unloading of railcars and trailers

Heavy Equipment Operator:

  • Operating mobile cranes (primarily ‘reach stackers’) that lift containers to and from railcars and truck chassis

Career progression:
Normal progression of training for spareboard employee is Helper/Attendant and upon successful completion of training and on-the-job experience, training usually progresses to the role of Equipment Operator, further progression of training usually moves on to Heavy Equipment Operator. With each progression comes an increase in salary and in level of responsibility. 

The work location:
Work within a specific yard


  • 40 hours classroom
  • 120 hours on the job training
  • The employee remains in this position for a minimum of three month after their hire date

Working Conditions:

  • Available to work on an on-call basis, 24 hours a day with a minimum of 2 hours notice
  • Ability to work various shifts, including nights, weekends, holidays, and occasional overtime
  • Ability to work outdoors in varying weather and environmental conditions, with heavy equipment, and exposure to dust, pollen, noise and vibrations
  • Frequent climbing and balancing, gripping hand-holds while working at heights of 4-8 feet (1-2 meters) off the ground
  • Frequent bending, stooping, squatting, kneeling, performing overhead work, lifting/carrying up to 50 pounds (22 kg) and occasionally up to 70 pounds (32 kg)

Employment Requirements:

  • Perform duties of Helper/Attendant, Equipment Operator and Heavy Equipment Operator
  • This job is considered safety sensitive so you need to have a drug test
  • High school diploma or equivalent General Education Diploma (GED)
  • Lift-truck operator certification
  • Proficiency with shovels, rod/pry bars, sledgehammers, jackhammers, wrenches, hand/power drills, hand tools and technical instruments (meters), etc. If experienced, use of heavy equipment such as backhoe, trencher, and directional barring machine
  • Proficiency in the operation of lift-truck, up to 21,000 pounds (10,000 kg) capacity
  • Good hand-eye coordination 

About CN

CN is a world-class transportation leader and trade-enabler. Essential to the economy, to the customers, and to the communities it serves, CN safely transports more than 300 million tons of natural resources, manufactured products, and finished goods throughout North America every year. As the only railroad connecting Canada’s Eastern and Western coasts with the Southern tip of the U.S. through a 19,500 mile rail network, CN and its affiliates have been contributing to community prosperity and sustainable trade since 1919. CN is committed to programs supporting social responsibility and environmental stewardship. At CN, we work as ONE TEAM, focused on safety, sustainability and our customers, providing operational and supply chain excellence to deliver results.

CN requires that all employees in Canada be fully vaccinatedagainst COVID-19 and provide proof thereof as a condition ofemployment. The Company’s vaccination mandate extends to employees of ourwholly owned subsidiaries as well as CN’s contractors, consultants, agents andsuppliers and anyone who accesses CN properties in Canada.

CN is an employment equity employer and we encourage all qualified candidates to apply. We thank all applicants for their interest, however, only candidates under consideration will be contacted. Please monitor your email on a regular basis, as communication is primarily made through email.