Excavators in Ontario: What You Need to Know

Do you need a license to operate an excavator in Ontario? Honestly, it’s good to have licensing and certification to prove you know what you’re doing with an excavator; otherwise, you may find yourself with limited work.

But do you need a license to operate an excavator in Ontario? The answer to that is more complicated; you can get Excavator Operator Certification, but not an excavator license. That being said, there are a few other licenses and qualifications you should have in order to operate an excavator. Let’s go over those briefly.



As we covered previously, Ontario does not require you to have an excavator-operating license. However, if you plan on driving the excavator on the road or otherwise transporting it, you will need to have a legal driver’s license and a commercial driver’s license.

Besides allowing you to transport your excavator legally, having these driver’s licenses will also open more opportunities for work with construction companies.


Operating an excavator does not happen overnight; in fact, it can takes weeks, even months, of training before you can be a qualified operator. There are even criteria you have to meet before you begin training; first, you must be at least 18 years old, and second, you need to have a high school education. If you meet these requirements, there are three training options available to you:

  1. On-the-job Training: this means you can learn how to operate an excavator with the guidance of a skilled trainer.
  2. An Apprenticeship Program: this is a hybrid of on-the-job training and in-school training. An apprenticeship program will require a specific number of hours in each setting in order to receive your certification.
  3. In-school Training: this kind of training is theoretical and covers safety principles, inspection checklists, and other information that is relevant to excavator operation and handling.

Excavator operation may vary from employer to employer, so you should always check to see if they require any other kind of licensing or certification.

There is a lot more that goes into operating excavators, so be sure to check out our online course for more information!

If your interested in any of the other safety trainings we offer, feel free to visit our website! The Hard Hat Training series is all about your safety in the workplace, in every form, so don’t hesitate to contact us there is a training you’re looking for, but we don’t have (yet)!

Good luck and stay safe!

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