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Do You Need a License to Operate a Forklift in Ontario?

Operating forklifts without proper training and precautions can lead to serious accidents and injuries. The Occupational Safety & Health Administration estimates that forklifts account for 34,900 serious injuries and 85 forklift-related fatalities annually. Considering this, Canadian authorities are urging forklift operators to acquire the necessary certification and training. This may leave you wondering, “Do you need a license to operate a forklift in Ontario?”

Read on to know the answer to this important question and the regulations surrounding forklift operations in Ontario. 

Do You Need a License to Operate a Forklift in Ontario?

Yes, getting a license is mandatory for every forklift operator in Ontario. It’s not like your ordinary vehicle license; however, the forklift license actually refers to the certification that showcases that you possess the necessary knowledge to use a forklift safely. 

Requirements for Getting a Forklift License in Ontario

After learning the answer to the question, “Do you need a license to operate a forklift in Ontario?” you should fulfill the requirements set by the Ministry of Labor in Ontario. These include:

  • Must be 18 years of age or above.
  • Enroll in a training program approved by the Ministry of Labor.
  • Training should cover the theoretical as well as practical aspects of forklift operation.

How to Get a Forklift Training and License in Ontario?

Here’s the step-by-step guide on forklift truck training and license acquisition:

  1. Choose a Credible Training Provider 

First, start by choosing a credible training provider who abides by the OSHA regulations and follows the standards set by the Ministry of Labor, Ontario. This ensures you are investing your time in the right place, paving the way for many job opportunities. 

  1. Attend Classes Regularly

The duration of the forklift license training is short, typically ranging from one to five days. So, make sure you take some time daily and attend classes regularly, which will allow you to absorb the necessary knowledge and skills efficiently. 

  1. Focus on Learning

During classes, the trainer will cover a wide range of topics around forklifts, such as:

  • Inspection and maintenance of forklifts before moving machinery 
  • Correct methods for starting and stopping a forklift
  • Knowledge about load capabilities and how to stack and unstack loads on forklifts
  • Identifying and preventing potential hazards and incidents 
  • Information about safety standards, including the OSHA act

You should actively participate in class discussions, ask questions, and take thorough notes to ensure you understand all aspects of forklift usage in a facility. 

  1. Get Your Forklift License Card 

Once you’ve completed your training, the trainer will require you to take a practical exam to test the knowledge you have gained. If you pass the exam, you’ll receive your forklift license card.

What are the Penalties for Non-compliance?

There are many penalties that the employer and the employee may face if they work with a forklift without any certifications. Some of these are:

  • Workplace shutdowns: Authorities have the power to shut down workplaces where forklifts are operated without proper certification. This not only disrupts business operations but gives an impression that the employer doesn’t care about workplace safety standards. 
  • Fines: Both employees and employers may face hefty fines for non-compliance with forklift certification requirements, putting them in a financial strain. 
  • Other Legal Liabilities: Operating forklifts without proper certification increases the chances of accidents and injuries in the workplace. In case of an accident, the employer may face legal liabilities, including lawsuits and compensation claims. 

How Often Do You Need to Renew Your Forklift License?

The OSHA requires you to renew your forklift certificate or license every 3 years. In the renewal process, you will learn about updates in safety regulations and other forklift operations. You may have to enroll in refreshment training from the same mentor who provided you with initial training or opt for another professional. 


A forklift license is mandatory for workers in every sector, be it construction site or warehousing. Oftentimes, it’s the responsibility of the employer to facilitate the initial certification and renewal. If employees work without one, it’ll result in hefty fines for employees as well as the employers. 

Looking for professional machinery moving services? Contact Solid Hook Inc! We have a highly skilled team of certified professionals who safely operate all load-carrying solutions, from trucks to forklifts. With us, you can rest assured that your operations are as per OSHA standards, eliminating the risk of legal liabilities.