Material Handlers are essential in manufacturing, retail and wholesale enterprises, the building trades, trucking, transportation and warehousing. Employment prospects in this field in Canada remain steady.

The Job

Work realities:
The Material Handler is usually based in a warehouse or works on or near a warehouse dock. Because the job requires lifting and moving material from trucks, pallets, or racks, steel-toed shoes and other protective gear are essential. The job requires physical strength and endurance, as well as the ability to lift 50 pounds. Most material handlers work a specific shift, even during overnight hours. Some workers in this field are called longshoremen.

Reporting to:
Material Handler personnel usually report to a warehouse foreman or supervisor.

Often using a forklift, hand truck, and other machinery, Material Handlers accept, count, and then move incoming deliveries to the warehouse or specific departments, properly place items for storage and access, move material around as needed, and may deliver outgoing materials to the shipping area. The worker should be able to follow directions and communicate clearly with other departments.

Future possibilities:
Material handlers can advance to lateral or supervisory positions in the warehouse or to other positions that may require training in machines used in the industry.


Ideal candidates for Material Handlers have good organizational skills, which are crucial to delivering the right materials to the warehouse and later retrieving them for use or shipping. Since many Material Handlers use a forklift, crane, or other machinery, accurate spatial perception is also important.

Required Skills and Training

Most companies prefer a high school education. Proficiency in English or French is usually required as well.

Many companies prefer new hires to have experience with material handling machinery and warehouse operations, although a few companies hire entry level material handling personnel.

Skills and Certifications:
Material handlers must pass safety courses in the use of lift trucks and other equipment. Some local school boards and organizations offer these courses.


Seeking a job in material handling? Randstad can help place you in this field, especially if you have experience click here to find the right material handling job for you.

Employers, need material handling personnel? We can match you with trained, experienced personnel who'll keep your products moving. Click here to find out how we can help with your recruitment strategy.

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