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Material Handlers (NOC 7452) may also be called:

  • shipment assembler
  • bin attendant/filler
  • building materials yard attendant
  • building supplies handler
  • box bander/filler
  • hand bundler
  • conveyor tender
  • hand bagger / bundler / packer / packager
  • conveyor console operator
  • forklift truck operator
  • truck loader
  • warehouse man/woman

What Would I Do?

Materials Handlers move, load and unload materials by hand or using a variety of material handling equipment.

Materials Handlers – Manual

  • load, unload and move products and materials by hand or using basic material handling equipment
  • move household appliances and furniture on and off moving trucks or vans
  • do other material handling activities, such as counting, weighing, sorting, packing and unpacking.

Materials Handlers – Equipment Operators

  • run winches and other loading devices to load and unload materials on and off trucks, railway cars and loading docks of warehouses and industrial establishments
  • operate industrial trucks, tractors, loaders and other equipment to transport materials to and from transportation vehicles and loading docks and to store and retrieve materials in warehouses
  • connect hoses or pipes and operate equipment to load and unload liquid petroleum, chemicals or other products into or from tank cars, tank trucks or storage tanks
  • operate equipment to dump materials such as coal, ore and grain into or to remove materials from railway cars, trucks or other vehicles
  • operate conveyors and equipment to transfer grain or other materials from transportation vehicles to elevators, bins or other storage areas
  • may do other activities, such as opening containers and crates, filling warehouse orders, assisting in taking inventory and weighing and checking materials.

More information:

Am I Suited For This Job?

Material Handlers should have:

  • physical strength (required for manual material handlers who work with heavy materials)
  • good communication skills
  • good vision
  • basic math skills

 They should be:

  • organized
  • comfortable with repetitive tasks
  • able to work independently

Material Handlers work takes place indoors and outdoors in various weather conditions. They may be on their feet much of the time and may have to carry heavy items and do bending and lifting.

Sources: WorkBC Career Profile for Material HandlersCareer Cruising database (Profiles for ‘Shipping & Receiving Clerk’, ‘Stock Clerk’).

What Are The Wages And Benefits?

In British Columbia, the average annual salary for Material Handler ranges from $44,000 – $53,000. According to WorkBC, hourly wages can range from $10.75 – $28.85. In BC’s regions, material handlers can expect to make:

material handlers, NOC 7452 Hourly Wages

Table from Job Bank Canada Wage Report

In addition to a salary, material handler clerks who are employed by government, hospitals, and large organizations usually receive health and dental benefits, paid vacation and sick days, and contributions to retirement savings plans.

Sources: WorkBC Career Profile for Material HandlersCareer Cruising database (Profiles for ‘Shipping & Receiving Clerk’, ‘Stock Clerk’).

What Is The Job Outlook In BC?

WorkBC reports that for the period 2014-2024, the average annual growth rate of employment will increase. The expected annual demand growth rate will be 0.7% across the province. In BC’s regions, the growth rate will range from a low of 0.1% annual increase (Cariboo) to a high of 1.0% (Vancouver Island/Coast).

JobBank Canada reports that for the 2014-2016 period, the employment outlook is expected to be fair for Material Handlers (NOC 7452) in British Columbia.

Material handlers job outlook

Sources: WorkBC Career Profile for Material Handlers, JobBank Canada, Employment Outlook

How Do I Become a Material Handler?

In BC, there is no certification required to work as a material handler. However, secondary school education is usually required and graduation is usually needed in order to advance to supervisory positions. College level courses or programs in warehouse operations, production and inventory management, or supply chain management will also improve your chances of advancing your career.

Voluntary Certification: ‘Parts and warehousing Person 1’, ‘Parts Person 2’, ‘Parts Person3’

In BC, the Industry Training Authority – ITA offers courses and apprenticeships as a ‘Parts and warehousing Person 1’ or ‘Parts Person 2’ or ‘Parts Person 3’. These programs will train you to order, warehouse and keep inventory control over parts and accessories for industries like the automotive, commercial transport, heavy duty, marine and warehousing sectors. If you successfully complete all three parts of the program and the Interprovincial ‘Red Seal’ exam, you will be certified as a ‘Red Seal’ Parts Person 3 by the BC Industry Training Authority. For more details, see:

How Do I Find A Job?

Where would I work?

  • transportation, storage and moving companies
  • a variety of manufacturing and processing companies
  • retail and wholesale warehouses

Finding Advertised Jobs

Jobs are advertised in a variety of sources including newspapers, magazines and online job sites.

Local Newspapers

You can look at the Vancouver Sun & The Province at Vancouver Public Library for free. Check the job postings daily, the careers section in the Vancouver Sun on Wednesdays and Saturdays and, in The Province on Sundays.

Online Job Postings

  • Canadian [can search by category of ‘materials handling’, ‘shipping & receiving’, etc.]

Finding “Hidden Jobs”

Many job vacancies are not advertised. The resources below will help you with finding jobs in this “hidden” job market.

Using Directories to Create a List of Potential Employers

You can use directories to produce lists of companies that warehouse or handle materials/parts. Contact them directly to find out if they’re hiring.

  • Canadian Shipper. Buyers Guide
    Under ‘Search for companies’, click on ‘all industries’ and then click under ‘location’ to search by country (Canada)
  • Canada
    can search by province/city and by product/service
    covers transportation, trucking, supply chain, logistics, warehousing, distribution, freight, forwarding, third-party logistics, movers
  • Reference Canada
    Click on “Start Search” beside Canadian Businesses, then select the “Advanced Search” button.
    Select both “Keyword/SIC/NAICS” under Business Type and “City” under Geography.
    In the top search box enter “material handling” and click LOOKUP.
    Select the appropriate headings.
    Lower down, select the Province, choose the cities, and click the “View Results” button.
    NOTE: You can access this database from a Library computer. If you are using a computer from outside the Library, you will need a Vancouver Public Library card to login to this database. After clicking on the database name, you will be asked to enter your library card number and PIN (usually last four digits of your telephone number).

Networking, Volunteering and Temporary Agencies

Many positions are filled by people who have been recommended by someone they know. Networking, working as a volunteer or registering with a temporary employment agency are good ways of helping you find jobs and meet people in your industry.

Networking and the Hidden Job Market:

When looking for work, be sure to talk to friends, relatives and neighbours. They may know someone who is hiring! Working as a volunteer, attending events, and joining clubs and associations are good ways to gain “Canadian experience.” They are also good ways to meet people to learn about the local job market.

Volunteer opportunities

For additional tips see:

Applying for a Job

In Canada, employers usually expect to receive a resume and a cover letter that identifies the position you are applying for and summarizes your relevant experience. Use the library catalogue, to find books on writing resumes and cover letters specific to your industry.

For more information see:

Where Can This Job Lead?

With the right kind of experience, material handlers may move into other positions such as storekeeper, warehouse manager, senior parts person or parts manager.

Where Can I Find More Information?