Requirements for Employment

Applicants must meet all of the following requirements to be considered for employment.

Citizenship Status  

Canadian citizen or landed immigrant. Candidates must currently be eligible to work in Canada.

English Skills

As English is the international language of the ports, all candidates must be proficient at speaking and writing English.


Minimum corrected visual acuity: better eye 6/12 (20/40)
Excellent color and peripheral vision is required.


No greater than 40 dB loss average across 500 to 3000 KHz.

Medical Fitness  

The applicant must pass a comprehensive medical exam


Applicant must be 17 years of age or older.

Physical Fitness

The applicant must be able to complete an industry related physical fitness test.

Security Clearances

The applicant may be required to submit to a Transport Canada background security check and clearance. This must be maintained as a condition of employment.

In addition to the above requirements, applications are reviewed for suitability based on criteria which is pre-determined by port needs and in consultation with the International Longshore Workers Union. Full details of the application process and selection criteria will be detailed within the job posting at the time of recruitment.

All selected candidates are required to successfully complete aptitude and physical testing detailed below to ensure their capability for Longshore work.

Waterfront Basics

The Waterfront Basics program provides candidates with the basic knowledge of waterfront procedures and safety regulations required by waterfront workers, such as:

  • Professionalism
  • Basic waterfront work procedures
  • Rules and Regulations 
  • Duties and Rights of Employers and Employees
  • Emergency Response
  • Personal Protective Equipment
  • Hazard Identification
  • Safety Standards
  • Workplace Hazards

Candidates must successfully complete a written test at the end of the orientation to ensure their understanding and knowledge retention of the materials covered.


Physical Testing

The final portion of the recruitment testing process deals with physical requirements of waterfront labour.  New longshore workers start their careers as labourers doing container lashing and unlashing, or handling cargo such as steel, logs, or bulk commodities. In order to perform these tasks, a minimum level of physical capability is required.  Candidates are evaluated on a combination of time and performance based criteria after a classroom and field orientation and an opportunity to practise before the testing takes place.

**Please note: candidates are required to complete a medical examination prior to the physical testing stage deeming them fit to participate in the testing and future longshore work. The BCMEA will provide an examination form to be completed by your GP at your own expense.


Labour Training

Candidates who successfully pass both the written and physical portions of the testing receive basic labour training in the areas of logs, steel, container lashing bulk or break bulk, depending on the primary cargoes being handled by the terminals in their area.  Successful completion of this training qualifies the workers to be dispatched as casual labour.

Training and Advancement Opportunities

Although new members of the longshore work force start in the area of labour, there are many opportunities for training and advancement into more specialized and technically oriented areas. 

Waterfront workers have the opportunity to be trained in the areas of: 

  • Bulk Operator
  • Bulldozer
  • Loader Backhoe
  • Computer Checker
  • Dock Checker
  • Standard Checker
  • Mobile Gangway
  • Pusher
  • Bombardier
  • Head Checker
  • Mobile Crane 
  • Front End Loader
  • Ship Gantry Crane
  • Heavy Lift Truck
  • Reach Stacker
  • Switchperson
  • Excavator
  • Linesperson
  • Lift Truck
  • Rail Mounted Gantry
  • Locomotive Engineer
  • Rail Car Mover
  • Red Dog Crane
  • Topside
  • Rubber Tire Gantry
  • Tractor-Trailer
  • Wheat Specialty  

These skills represent heavy equipment operation, inventory management, and other industrial and shipping-oriented occupations.
The BCMEA also offer apprenticeship opportunities to current employees in the areas of Heavy Duty Mechanics, Electrician and Millwrights.


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