Common questions about bus operator recruitment

What is a Driver’s Abstract/ Driving Record and how can I obtain one?

In Nova Scotia, drivers begin with zero (0) demerit points on their driving record and then accumulate a certain number based on the offense committed. You may obtain a copy of your Driver’s Abstract through the Province of Nova Scotia, at the approximate cost of $19. You are responsible for this cost.

I have more than two (2) demerit points on my abstract.  Is there anything I can do to have them removed?

As of December 11, 2012, the Registrar may deduct up to four points from the record of a driver who has successfully completed a self-improvement defensive driving course within the preceding year. The points deducted are those that were first entered and are still existing on the driver's record. (Note: This does not apply to persons under the Graduated Licensing System.) An individual may apply for point deduction once in a 5-year period. Once the individual has completed the course, they may come into an office with their completed certificate from the course and complete a Form 1 (Application for Driver Licensing and Identification Services). The individual will be notified by mail whether or not points will be deducted from their driver's license.
The Defensive Driving courses are available through Safety Services Nova Scotia. You may wish to contact them directly for the course locations and dates. Their contact telephone number is 902-454-9621 or toll-free at 1-866-511-2211.

When and how do I obtain the Standard Emergency First Aid with AED certification?

You will be asked to obtain the Standard Emergency First Aid certification when you are contacted to start training with Halifax Transit. You will be required to pay for the training up front at a cost of approximately $60 and you will be reimbursed after you commence training with us. If you already have a valid certification for Emergency First Aid (EFA) + CPR Level A with AED, this will be accepted. Do NOT register for training until contacted with your start date if you want to be reimbursed for this course.

Can I submit a photocopy of my Vulnerable Sector Search including the Criminal Record check and Driver’s Abstract?

No. You must submit the original documents. You will be asked to submit your first Driver’s Abstract at the time of testing. You will be asked to submit your Vulnerable Sector Search including the Criminal Record check and an updated Driver’s Abstract when you are offered a position. 

How do I obtain a Vulnerable Sector and Criminal Record search?

You must request the Vulnerable Sector and Criminal Record search certificate in person at either your local RCMP or Halifax Regional Police detachment.  You will pay approximately $50 - $75 and this is not reimbursed. Please note that it can take up to a minimum of 7 to 10 days to obtain your records.
Note: You will be re-directed to the ‘my’ website. When ordering, click on the ‘Vulnerable Sector’ link which will include both the Criminal Record and Vulnerable Sector checks. You are responsible for this cost. Do not obtain these documents until instructed to do so by the Recruiter.

What is a Vulnerable Sector Check?

A vulnerable sector check is an enhanced criminal record check. This type of record check was created in 2000 to protect children and vulnerable persons and is governed by section 6.3(3) of the Criminal Records Act. Policies and procedures related to vulnerable sector checks can be found in the Dissemination of Criminal Record Information policy and the Ministerial Directive Concerning the Release of Criminal Record Information by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Vulnerable sector checks are used to verify if an individual has a record suspension (formerly pardon) for sex offences. They also include checks of national data bases maintained by the RCMP and local police records where the applicant lives.

What sources of information are used in a Vulnerable Sector Check?

Some of the sources of information for the Vulnerable Sector Check include:
The National Repository of Criminal Records
Investigative Data Bank on CPIC
Police Information Portal (PIP)
Local Police Records

How do I obtain a Child Abuse Registry Check?

Halifax Transit will provide you with the Child Abuse Registry ‘Child Abuse Register Request for Search (Form A)’ if you reach ‘Stage 5 – Placement in Resource Bank ‘of the hiring process. The candidate will be required to attach a copy of their driver’s license or health card to the completed form and mail it to the Child Abuse Register Department of Community Services. Once you are in receipt of the Child Abuse Registry check results, the original document must be provided to Halifax Transit for your file.

How do I obtain the air brakes endorsement?

Visit a branch of Access Nova Scotia and obtain a copy of the ‘Air Brake Manual’, also available online.  You will need to study the manual and make an appointment to write the test. After passing the test, you will have them add the endorsement to your license. The endorsement will appear as 03 on your license. The cost to write the knowledge test is approximately $15.00 and to place the endorsement on your license is approximately $12.00. There is no reimbursement for these costs.

How do I obtain the Professional Driver’s Manual to pass the Class 2 Knowledge Test?

You must obtain the Professional Driver’s Manual from any branch of Access Nova Scotia. You will need to study the manual and make an appointment to write the test. The cost to write the Class 2 Knowledge Test is approximately $15.00 and this is not reimbursed. DO NOT write this test until asked to do so as it expires after twelve months. You will not need to take the Class 2 road test until after you start training with Halifax Transit.  

How will I know when Halifax Transit is recruiting Operators? Can I apply at any time?

Applications from eligible candidates will be accepted year-round and entered into a pool for ongoing hiring opportunities. Apply today!

Please keep an eye on our website for information regarding testing sessions, which will be scheduled as required. 

Is there a fee for testing?

No. There is no fee for testing, however, you will be asked to bring a Driver’s Abstract to testing with you at a cost of approximately $19.

What is the minimum age requirement?

While there is no specific age requirement to be an Operator, the candidate must have at least 5 years of recent driving experience.

Is there an age limit? 

We do not have an age limit. The only requirement is that candidates must pass a medical, which is a requirement of Access Nova Scotia, to obtain and maintain a Class 2 license.

How long does the recruitment process take?

It usually takes 4 to 6 months to complete the recruitment process. Successful candidates are then placed in a Resource Bank and are hired from that bank as required. The hiring needs of Halifax Transit fluctuate and are dependent on factors such as attrition, new service, legislation, budgets, etc.

Will I be notified when my application is received? And how often should I expect to hear from recruitment personnel?

When you apply for a position with Halifax Regional Municipality, you will receive an email notification confirming the receipt of your application. Recruitment personnel will contact you at each stage in the process. All communication will be done via email so please keep an eye on both your inbox and junk mail.

I've already been through the testing phase and was not successful. Can I apply again? 

If you were unsuccessful in the competition, we encourage you to re-apply during the next competition. Please note that you may only apply once to each posting. Halifax Transit usually recruits Bus Operators at least once per year. Please keep an eye out for the next posting.

Where can I find information on becoming eligible for employment in Canada?

You may contact the Government of Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Centre. 

I do not have Grade 11. Can I still apply?

Yes. Each application is evaluated on its own merits (i.e. life and position-related work experiences combined with education).

I do not live in Nova Scotia; do I have to transfer to a Nova Scotia license prior to my training start date?


What does the medical examination consist of?

The medical examination tests functional abilities (physical demands of the job) as outlined in the job posting and other health related testing not limited to the requirements to obtain a Class 2 license through the Province of Nova Scotia. Candidates will be asked to set up their appointment date with the employer’s service provider when they reach Stage 6 of the recruitment process and are provided with a conditional offer of employment.  The employer will pay the cost for the medical examinations.

What kind of questions will be asked in the interview?

The interview may include a variety of types of questions: situational, knowledge, and behavioural. Knowledge questions require specific facts for answers. Situational and behavioural questions ask you to describe events that demonstrate how you would deal with or have dealt with a particular situation in the past.
Please access our job seeker tools to assist you in preparing for the application and interview process.

Is the Transit Operator position a union position?

Yes, Transit Operators are members of the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU), Local 508.

Will I work shifts as a Transit Operator?

Operators pick their work four (4) times per year in seniority order. There are three types of shifts at Halifax Transit:

  • Spareboard – work 6 days per week – 1 day off
  • Vacation Board – Backfill work for operators off on vacation
  • Shift – There are 8-hour shifts that have 2 consecutive days off and 10-hour shifts that have 3 days off that are not always consecutive. A majority of shifts are ‘split’ to accommodate getting the majority of our clients to work each morning and back home later on in the day. A ‘split shift’ requires operators to work a total of 8 – 10 hours per day with a sometimes-lengthy unpaid break in between. The maximum spread is 12 hours.

An 8-hour shift example is:

  • Report time: 6:27 a.m. to 8:55 a.m.
  • Unpaid break
  • Report time: 1 p.m. to 6:01 p.m.

Shift work will have an impact on your personal life. All candidates must consider this aspect of the position very seriously.

What is the 7-week training period like?

Halifax Transit’s 7-week Basic Operator Training program is nationally accredited by the Motor Carrier Passenger Council of Canada (MCPCC).

What is a Resource Bank?

The Resource Bank is a list of bus operator candidates who have made it to Stage 5 of the Recruitment Process and are waiting for a training start date. Candidates are hired from the Resource Bank as bus operator positions are required to be filled as a result of attrition and service requirements.

Candidates are hired based on a combination of their online assessment ranking, testing and interview results and will remain in the Resource Bank until such time that an opening becomes available (this can take up to one year from the time of application).

I don’t have a computer at home. Where can I go to apply online?

Check with your local library to see if they have computers on site available for public use. You may be required to reserve the computer with your library card. Consult your local phone directory for a library near you.
Many Service Canada Centres and local Community Centres such as the YMCA may also offer the use of their computers for the purposes of applying for positions online


A PDF version of these common questions can be found here.