CN Rail is hiring hundreds of new employees in Western Canada. (Shannon Lough / The Northern View)

CN to hire 600 people in Western Canada

After laying off 1,000 employees over past two years, Canada’s largest rail company on hiring spree

CN Rail is on a hiring spree and plans to hire 600 employees in Western Canada.

The largest railway company in Canada has seen growth in its business with more demand in coal, Canadian grain, containers and frac sand.

“We are looking to hire approximately 385 conductors alone in the west for the first quarter in 2018. This includes approximately 100 positions in B.C. and 100 in Alberta. The majority of our roles will be located in Smithers, Prince George and Kamloops in B.C. In Alberta, the focus is on Edmonton and Jasper,” said Kate Fenske, media relations for CN in an email.

In northern B.C., there are other positions available in Prince Rupert, such as assistant train crew supervisor and car mechanic.

Adding hundreds of jobs reflects positive growth for CN after the Montreal-based railway company experienced more than a year of declining volumes starting in 2015. During the downturn more than 1,000 CN employees were laid off. But by the end of last year, business picked up, and by the first half of 2017, CN reported double-digit growth.


“Hundreds have come back, but as the economy improved and time went by, many found other opportunities and did not return,” Fenske said.

By the end of this year, CN will have hired 3,500 employees across its rail network with a focus on Western Canada. The company is hiring for a wide range of positions, including train crews, heavy duty mechanics, track maintainers and electricians.

In the fourth quarter, more than 250 conductors will be hired with another 400 by the first quarter of 2018, Fenske said, adding that CN is increasing investments to infrastructure and equipment by $100 million.

“Beyond our people, we continue to invest in new capacity and equipment,” she said.

CN has been adding more dock rail track at DP World’s Fairview Container Terminal in Prince Rupert with the expansion of the terminal. CN’s executive vice-president and chief marketing officer Jean-Jacques Ruest, was at the Fairview terminal expansion ribbon-cutting ceremony on Aug. 29 in Prince Rupert.

“We want to make Rupert a premium gateway for import and exports. It’s one of the few ports where 98 per cent leaves by rail and comes back by rail,” Ruest said in August.


This year, the port has seen growth in the container business, revival of coal in B.C. and more investments with companies such as AltaGas building a propane export terminal on Ridley Island.

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