Here’s an interesting question: Will a criminal record prevent someone from starting a truck driving career? I hate to be elusive, however, the answer is – it depends. There are several variables that go into a definitive answer. The type of crime you were convicted of (and how long ago), the type of truck driving career you are seeking, an employer’s security requirements, and international border issues all come in to play.
Let’s start with the easiest – international borders. Canada is fairly strict when it comes to a criminal record. Shop-lifting and drink driving offenses are sufficient to have you barred from entering Canada. There are, however, exemptions that you can apply for. You will need to contact Canada’s border security for the latest details.
Employers have security requirements of their own, often enforced on them by insurance companies. For example, an armored service that delivers money to banks is probably not going to employ someone who has been convicted of armed robbery.
Likewise, some trucking jobs require drivers to have a HazMat endorsement on their commercial drivers license. There is a special Homeland Security assessment undertaken before you are issued with a HazMat endorsement.
In most instances, a criminal record in itself will not prevent someone from obtaining a commercial drivers license. A criminal record, especially a recent one, may well impact on whether or not you can find employment. Most employers won’t worry too much about a shop-lifting charge from ten years ago. Recent drug charges or several drunk driving charges almost certainly will make life difficult.
What is important is to provide employers with a reason to employ you rather than a reason not to employ you. If you have a clean record for five or more years, a good work history with good references, and you have diligently completed a truck driver training program, then employment, whilst difficult, won’t be impossible.