Transportation Sector

Transportation services have been pivotal to the province’s economic development over the years. This sector  literally connects all regions of the province to each other. The fact that most large cities are located near a major port or on an important trade route is no accident. Airports, port facilities, rail lines, and highways have all contributed to the growth of BC’s cities. They have also led to the development of related industries that provide goods and services used by these facilities, or which depend on easy access to shipping routes.


What are the most common occupations?


More than half of the people working in this industry are trades, transportation & equipment operators.

What is a typical wage?

  • Hourly earnings in transportation averaged $23.52 in 2008, a little higher than the average for all industries in BC.
  • Within the industry, wages are highest in water ($31.43), rail ($27.49), air ($24.10), and transit & ground passenger ($22.96) transportation. Wages are lowest in the couriers & messengers ($17.92) and warehousing ($17.26) industries.
  • A typical work week was just over 40 hours long–four hours more than the average for all industries.

Hourly earnings in this industry tend to be a little higher than the all-industry average.

What are the characteristics of the workforce?

  • Nine out of 10 workers in the transportation industry are employed full time.
  • Seasonal variations are important in some parts of this industry (such as passenger transportation), but overall, employment doesn’t show a lot of seasonality.
  • Only 8% of the people working transportation were hired on a temporary basis.
  • 77% of workers in transportation are male.
  • Some of the jobs in this industry are physically demanding, or require long stretches of time on the road, and this might make them less appealing to some women.
  • 50% of workers in this sector have union coverage – well above the 31% average for all other industries in the province.
  • 20% of the industry’s workers were self-employed in 2008 this is partly related to growth in the couriers & messengers industry, where two out of five workers are self-employed.
  • 40% of truck drivers are self-employed as are 21% of transit & ground passenger transportation workers, which includes taxi drivers.

Half of the workers in this industry have union coverage.

Where are the jobs located?

  • Vancouver is the hub of the province’s transportation infrastructure system. It is home to over two million people, the location of Canada’s busiest port, the western terminus for shipments of resource and other commodities produced in BC and the rest of Canada, and the first available stopping point for flights to Canada from the Pacific Rim.
  • The North Coast & Nechako, where the Port of Prince Rupert is located, also has a higher share of employment in this industry than its share of the total workforce. Prince Rupert is emerging as an important deep sea port where commodities shipped via the northern rail line are loaded for transport to Asia and other destinations.

Vancouver is the hub of BC’s transportation infrastructure system and the location of Canada’s busiest port.