Bus Operator

Bus Operator recruitment

The application stage of the 2022 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

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Bus Operator
Bus Operator 31 May 2024
31 May 2024

Job profile 

OC Transpo provides transit services across Ottawa and into Gatineau. Serving nearly 340,000 riders per day and operating 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 been unsuccessful in the cognitive and/or driving assessments must wait at least six (6) months before being reassessed.

An applicant who has been unsuccessful in the New Bus Operator Training program within the last two (2) years will not be considered. After two (2) years, an applicant may re-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 twenty-four (24) months of continuous employment is $33.682/hr (2023 Rates of Pay).
  • Training rate (first 6 weeks) is 50% of full-time Bus Operator wage rate ($16.841/hr).
  • Rates of pay after successful completion of training is:
    • 1st - 8th month - 85% of Bus Operator rate ($28.630/hr)
    • 9th - 16th month - 90% of Bus Operator rate ($30.314/hr)
    • 17th - 24th month - 95% of Bus Operator rate ($31.998/hr)
    • After 24 months - Full Bus Operator rate ($33.682/hr) (2023 Rates of Pay)

Hours of Work 

Bus Operators work an average of forty (40) hours per week, seven and a half (7.5) hours per shift. Shifts are booked as part of four (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.

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 ten (10) 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 10.

The ten (10) stages are:

  1. Application and screening
  2. Online Assessments
  3. Written Assessments
  4. Interview
  5. Cognitive and Driving Assessments
  6. Reference Checks
  7. Medical Exam and Police Records Check
  8. Document Verification
  9. Language Assessment (if required)
  10. Training Date Confirmation

The City of Ottawa’s primary means of communication through this process will be via e-mail. Applicants should check their e-mail accounts frequently (including their junk mail).

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 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 of 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 license (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 – Online Assessments 

Applicants who meet the minimum requirements will be invited to complete online assessment questionnaires to determine suitability for the position of Bus Operator.

Note: The results of this assessment can continue to be used up to twelve (12) months following completion.

Stage 3 – Written Assessments

The customer service assessment is a twenty (20) question, multiple choice test specifically designed for use in the selection of Bus Operators.

The written assessment requires applicants to read a text recounting a day in the life of an OC Transpo Bus Operator, describing an incident or collision. The applicants must complete a Collision Report based on the text read.

Applicants MUST bring the following items to their assessment:

  • Proof of education and Foreign Credential Assessment if applicable 
  • Driver's abstract (free of demerit points) 
  • Valid Driver’s License 
  • References: Applicants must provide the names and contact information of three professional references who have directly supervised you in the workplace. You will be asked to sign a form authorizing the City to contact your references. 

Applicants who were successful in the Online/Written Assessments and who have provided the above listed documentation may proceed to the next stage.

Stage 4 – Interview 

The interview may be conducted virtually using Microsoft Teams. It will be conducted by a panel of two or three interviewers in a question and answer format. Questions will be a combination of behavioral, situational and knowledge-based.

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 will then take a driving assessment, which is an in-house/on-road evaluation of a driver’s ability to operate a vehicle safely. This driving assessment is conducted by an MTO-certified instructor who will carefully assess every aspect of your driving abilities.

*Note: These results can be used up to 6 months following completion.

Stage 6 – Reference Checks 

Reference checks will be completed for those applicants who are successful in the Cognitive/Driving Assessments. The references that were provided at the Interview stage will now be contacted. If references cannot be contacted within a five (5) day period, applicants cannot proceed to the next stage.

Stage 7 – Medical Exam and Police Record Check 

Applicants must pass the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario Medical Exam required to obtain a class "C” license. 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 the Police Service in their jurisdiction with clearance to work with the vulnerable sector. Police Record Checks completed by a third-party company will not be accepted. 

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

Stage 8 – Document Verification 

All documents provided by successful applicants up to this point will be reviewed by OC Transpo Recruitment in consultation with Human Resources. Verification of documents may include: 

  • Police Record Checks (Vulnerable Sector - Level 3) 
  • Ministry of Transportation of Ontario Medical Exam 
  • Proof of Education/Foreign Credential Assessment 

Applicant documentation must meet minimum requirements to the satisfaction of the City of Ottawa. 

Stage 9 – 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 10 – Training Date Confirmation

Applicants who have been successful in the first nine (9) 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 six (6) week full-time training program specific to the Bus Operator position.

Note: An offer of permanent employment as a Bus Operator is conditional upon successful completion of the mandatory training program. Applicants who are unsuccessful in the training and/or are unable to pass the Ministry of Transportation testing requirements to obtain a class "C” license 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-19 pandemic, stages of the recruitment process are subject to change at any time. 

  •  Image of 2 City of Ottawa buses with 4 employees stand in front of buses

    Employee Stories

    “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