Traffic Technician

Job description

Traffic Technicians plan and manage the movement of personnel, materiel and equipment by road, rail, air and sea. Their duties include passenger reception, warehouse operations, aircraft and rail load planning, and aircraft loading/unloading.

The primary responsibilities of Traffic Technicians are to:

  • Prepare, load, secure and offload baggage, cargo and freight from road, rail, air and water transport vehicles
  • Plan and arrange movements of personnel, furniture and effects, materiel and equipment by military and commercial means
  • Liaise with commercial moving, storage and transportation firms
  • Prepare, process, record and account for all transportation documents and forms relating to personnel and materiel movements
  • Process passengers for travel at military air terminals and coordinate movement of passengers through commercial terminals
  • As a member of a team, load and unload aircraft of materiel and personnel
  • Operate military vehicles and materiel handling equipment, and
  • Process transportation invoices and maintain financial records

Traffic Technician

O’CONNOR : We get the Forces where they need to go. We keep the flow of supplies running and, when all is said and done, we bring everyone and everything back home.

I’m Private Kit O’Connor from British Columbia, and I’m a Traffic Technician with the Canadian Forces.

And I’m Corporal Tim Dymond from Winnipeg, Manitoba, and I’m a Traffic Technician in the Canadian Forces. 

In the Forces, there’s always something on the move and Traffic Techs are there to make that move safe and smooth.

DYMOND: Millions of pounds of freight and thousands of passengers are on the move in the Forces every year.  We may be moving supplies, equipment, vehicles, or troops.  We may be involved in humanitarian airdrops, or combat re-supply missions. 

O’CONNOR: Every move starts with detailed planning; making sure everything is accurately measured and accounted for.

DYMOND: For a Traffic Tech, strong mathematical skills are essential. 

O’CONNOR: Loads are built with precision to fit exact weight and space requirements, and placed and secured for maximum safety.

Moving loads for ground, sea and air transport requires a variety of vehicles and equipment, and it’s a Traffic Tech you’ll find at the controls, skilfully manoeuvring even the largest loader to within inches of an aircraft. You could even find yourself working with transportation specialists from other countries.

DYMOND: When it comes to passenger reception, we operate just like a normal airport.  Traffic Techs rely on the same sophisticated technology as civilian airlines to process travellers and their baggage.  We take care of getting the food on board and are responsible for sanitation services too.  It’s all part of what we do to keep the flow of Forces traffic moving safely and smoothly throughout Canada and the world. 

O’CONNOR: As a Traffic Tech, you will definitely get to travel. In theatre, Traffic Techs are the first in and last out. Even before the troops arrive, we’re there - part of the team that brings in the materials and supplies used to set up operations. When the mission is complete, we make sure everything is packed up and returned to where it’s supposed to be. And, of course, we get our members home safely. 

When I tell people what I do, they always want to know what it will take for them to join. First, I tell them you need to be the kind of person who enjoys working with numbers. You should be physically fit and good with your hands.

Training for a Traffic Tech begins with three months of Basic Military Training at the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec.

DYMOND: Then, at the Canadian Forces School of Administration and Logistics in Borden, Ontario, you’ll undergo training specific to the Traffic Technician’s occupation.

O’CONNOR: You’ll learn to operate and maintain military vehicles and specialized loading equipment. You’ll also receive basic administrative training to prepare you to be a Traffic Tech.

DYMOND: As your career progresses, you can train in dangerous cargo handling or take advanced training to become a Loadmaster specializing in a specific aircraft. Or you can take it to the next level and train in tactical airlifts or search and rescue operations.

O’CONNOR: With new aircraft coming on line, it’s a very exciting time to be a Traffic Tech in the Canadian Forces.

DYMOND: Being a Traffic Tech is a great occupation! I’m not confined to a desk. I have the opportunity to travel, to see the world and be part of a great team – a team that really makes you feel like you’re part of it!

O’CONNOR: I know that what I do makes a difference to the Forces and to Canada. If you’d like to do the same, then think about joining our team. 


Working environment

Traffic Technicians work in offices, warehouses, air terminals, and flying squadrons in Canada and in support of Forces’ operations around the world. They may be required to work shifts and,  employed in extreme climates and conditions.

Pay and career development

The starting salary for a fully-trained Traffic Technician is $51,500 per year; however, depending on previous experience and training the starting salary may be higher. Traffic Technicians who demonstrate the required ability, dedication and potential are selected for opportunities for career progression, promotion and advanced training.

Related civilian occupations

  • Warehouse Manager
  • Cargo Agent (Air, Rail, Land and Sea)
  • Customs Agent, and
  • Shipping and Receiving Agent

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Basic military qualification

The first stage of training is the Basic Military Qualification course, or Basic Training, held at the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec. This training provides the basic core skills and knowledge common to all trades. A goal of this course is to ensure that all recruits maintain the CAF physical fitness standard; as a result, the training is physically demanding.

Basic occupational qualification training

Traffic Technicians attend the Canadian Forces School of Administration and Logistics in Borden, Ontario. Training lasts approximately 18 weeks and includes the following topics:

  • Driver Training:
    • Operation, maintenance and servicing of military vehicles
    • Operation, maintenance and servicing of forklifts and other container movers
    • Airbrake qualification
  •  Traffic Technicians Training:
    • Personnel and materiel movement by road, rail, sea and air
    • Aircraft load planning, weighing and balancing
    • Loading and unloading of fixed wing and rotary wing aircraft
    • Rail load planning materiel
    • Customs requirements
    • Movement of furniture and effects
    • Passenger processing
    • Transportation invoices and financial records, and
    • Process documentation applicable to personnel and materiel movement

Specialty training

Traffic Technicians may be offered the opportunity to develop specialized skills through formal courses and on-the-job training, including:

  • CC130 Hercules Aircraft – Loadmaster Search and Rescue
  • CC130 Hercules Aircraft – Air to Air Refueling
  • CC130J Hercules Aircraft - Loadmaster
  • CC150 Airbus Aircraft – Loadmaster
  • CC177 Globemaster Aircraft – Loadmaster, and
  • CH147F Chinook Helicopter - Loadmaster

Advanced training

As they progress in their career, Traffic Technicians who demonstrate the required ability and potential will be offered advanced training. Available courses include:

  • Dangerous cargo handling
  • Helicopter Underslung Operations
  • Ship Loading and Stowage
  • Tactical Airlift  Support
  • CC177 MAMS Loading Specialist
  • Aerial Delivery – Basic, and
  • Airline Host Check-In System

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Entry plans

We accept applications for this job through Direct Entry, Occupational Transfer, or Component Transfer.

Required education

The minimum required education to apply for this job is the completion of the provincial requirements for Grade 10 or Secondary IV in Quebec. Foreign education may be accepted.

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Part-time option (Reserve Force)

This occupation is available part-time within the following environment: Air Force

Serve with the Reserve Force

The minimum required education to apply for this job is the completion of the provincial requirements for Grade 10 or Secondary IV in Quebec. Foreign education may be accepted.

Part-time employment

This job is available within the following environments: Air Force, and Army at certain locations across Canada. Reserve Force members can serve at an Air Force Wing, Navy Base, or an Army base in their community, and may serve while going to school or working at a civilian job. They are paid during their training. They are not posted or required to do a military move. However, they can volunteer to move to another base. They may also volunteer for deployment on a military mission within or outside Canada.

Reserve Force training

Reserve Force members are trained to the same level as their Regular Force counterparts. They usually begin training with their home unit to ensure that they meet the required basic professional military standards. Following basic military training, the home unit will arrange for additional training for specialized skills. Training for the Reserve Force mirrors that of the Regular force as described above.

Working environment

Reserve Force members usually serve part-time with their home unit for scheduled evenings and weekends (Air and Army Reserve Traffic Technicians usually serve up to 12 days per month in a regular work day), although they may also serve in full-time positions at some units for fixed terms, depending on the type of work that they do. They are paid 85% of Regular Force rates of pay, receive a reasonable benefits package and may qualify to contribute to a pension plan.

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