If you are up to it, oil field jobs in Canada might just be for you.
Canadian oil field jobs can be a paradise for trades people looking for work or wanting to try something new or different, it can provide a vast opportunity for a new challenge and a fat paycheck. Located mostly in the northern half of Alberta and B.C., and parts of Saskatchewan, it covers a huge area of land, in fact, everything about the oil patch is huge, and can seem intimidating if you don’t know anything about it, or how to approach trying to find work there or what to expect, so I will pass on some hints and tips from someone who has been through the process, and am now enjoying the challenges, and the money, that a career in the oilfield can provide!
Canadian Oil Field Jobs Typical Schedule
First off, decide if this is something you want. There is good money, really good money to be made here, but there is no easy money, at least not that I have found! The days are long, 12 hrs is the norm, with many jobs closer to 16, 7 days a week. Most companies provide several work schedules to try and accommodate workers, such as 14 days on, 7 off, 21 and 7, 14 and 14, etc. Most companies require days off be taken after 24 days, but not all. The company I drive truck for in the winter follows the gov’t allowed schedule which is you’re allowed to drive 13 hrs, be on duty 15 hrs, and as long as you get 8 hrs off between shifts, you can do that 365 days a year. The last 2 winters I’ve worked for them I only had 2 days off in 3 months due to weather, but I couldn’t keep that up all year! Conditions can be brutal, winter temps can drop to -40 Celsius or colder, with long stretches around -30c. Summers can be hot and dry, or wet and mud up to your elbows (if you’ve never experienced northern Canadian mud you’re in for a treat!) and bazillions of the biggest, biting insects you can imagine!
Who Can Get Canadian Oil Field Jobs
You’re still reading? Good! Your first paycheck will make up for the hardships! So what kinds of Canadian Oil Field jobs are available? Just about any trade you can think of. Construction workers might try the camp building companies. Camps are a huge part of the oil industry, and there are always new ones being built and set up, old ones being taken down, moved, and setup again. Journeymen and apprentice carpenters and laborers are hired for this. Welders are always in demand, and not just pipeliners, many plant projects are steel frame, and again, welders helpers and laborer required. Equipment operators, especially Cat, backhoe and grader operators have many opportunities, from pipelining to road and lease construction, contaminated soil excavation, and many others.
Are you a trucker? The Canadian oil patch runs on heavy trucks, from entry level water and vac truck jobs to highly skilled bed truck and winch tractor oversized load work, and everything in between. Electricians, plumbers, concrete finishers, there’s work for you too.
Canadian Oil Field Jobs Basic Requirements
Ok, you know what you want to do and you want to make some money, now let’s make you hireable. The first thing you need to do, and probably the biggest pita of the whole process is to get your safety tickets. It doesn’t matter if you welded the space shuttle together or hauled gravel for the president, if you don’t have your safety tickets you won’t be hired for any Canadian oil field jobs, period. At a minimum, you will need H2S aware training, a day long course that teaches the dangers of hydrogen sulphide gas and how to use the safety equipment. In addition, you’ll need a First aid course, I believe the 2 day course is required now. The WHMIS, online or day course that teaches you how to use the warning labels on chemicals. Additionally you’ll need construction safety training and petroleum safety training (CSTS and PST), online safety courses available through enform (google it).
Those are the basics of Canadian Oil Field Jobs, truckers will usually need transportation of dangerous goods (TDG), others may need confined spaces, there are others but are more job specific and you will be informed of anything extra you may need when hired, but if you have the basics you will be considered for the job.
NOTE: While this is not a typical BeThePro.com tools article, it is published to show the different types of jobs that are out there for skilled construction professionals. If you have an interesting job and would like to tell your trade brethren and sisters what’s involved and how to be best qualified, simply send a message to email@example.com and we will be happy to consider posting it. Only members can have articles posted.
About the author…
Gary Lamb (gomoto69) is a Red seal automotive mechanic with 15 years’ experience. For the past five years he has been a Class 1 Truck Driver, concentrating mostly oil patch, road and lease construction as well as contaminated soil hauling. His extensive years as a mechanic serve him well as he must often use those sills to ensure his rig performs well in extreme conditions. He is an offbeat Pro who enjoys a challenge and knows the value of investing in great tools.