Frequently asked questions about staffing

Trent-Severn Waterway National Historic Site

We've received some great questions from candidates in past years. Here are some of the most common ones, and our answers. 

What is a “staff inventory”?

A “staff inventory” is a pool of interested applicants that Managers can access to create randomised lists of applicants interested in specific job opportunities. We will continue to access our inventories for more applicants as vacancies arise. To ensure your application has the greatest chance for consideration - apply early!

The job posting “inventory” says it closes in June. Why should I apply now?

Apply now! Even though the inventory “poster” says it will close in late June, we begin reviewing resumes and scheduling interviews at the end of February for almost all positions. In order to ensure your application is considered, we encourage applicants to apply right away to avoid disappointment. 

What areas are included in each of the sectors of the Trent-Severn Waterway?

The areas of the Trent-Severn Waterway are as follows,

  • Southern Area (Murray Canal & Locks 1-18 / Trenton to Hastings)
  • Kawartha Area (Locks 19-31 / Peterborough to Buckhorn).
  • Northern Area (Locks 32-45 / Bobcaygeon to Port Severn) **Note this sector is often subdivided into two groups Locks 32-41 and Locks 42-45. 

I don’t have a driver’s license. Can I still apply?

Most of the positions with the Ontario Waterways Unit require a driver’s license and you will see it’s a standard item listed on the posters. A minimum license G2 is required but this requirement is at the discretion of the Manger and occasionally is not required. 

I don’t have a valid First Aid certificate. Can I still apply?

For our Operations, Maintenance and Visitor Experience positions a valid First Aid Certificate is a must. With that said - students who do not currently have one may apply, but will be required to obtain one prior to starting employment with us.

When do students typically start work for the season?

This answer varies depending on the job you are interested in.

  • For Office students, positions typically begin in late April/Early May.
  • For Maintenance students, positions typically begin in early to mid-May or the end of June.
  • For Operations students, positions begin in two phases; there are limited positions that begin in mid-May, with the majority of students beginning work in late June. 
Most students finish work Labour Day weekend.

What are the hours of work for students?

  • Office students typically work 37.5 hours per week Monday to Friday.
  • Maintenance students work 8:00 am to 4:30 pm - 40 hours per week - Monday to Friday.
  • Operations students hours of work match our lock station operating hours and students are scheduled by their Supervisor for 36 to 40 hours per week.

I still have more questions, where do I get more information?

If you require further information, please do not hesitate to contact Human Resources at

How do you select people to interview?

Applicants were randomly selected using our online system. On average we invited five people to interview per position we have open. For jobs where we went out and asked for interest, we chose the first 5 good applications. This often meant that qualified candidates didn't even get a chance to interview. Additionally, we were very tough. We discarded resumes sent without reference to a job, without a subject line, addressed to the wrong company, and those with large numbers of spelling errors.

Why didn't you respond to my email?

We're very sorry that we've not responded individually to every email.  Unfortunately, we had very short timelines. To reduce pay problems, we wanted 8 weeks to get all documentation together. With jobs starting in May and June, that gave us six weeks to review 1532 applicants, to interview over 900 people and hire almost 300 people. I wish this process could have been more personal. 

How can I increase my chances next year?  Are there some mistakes I can (should) avoid? 

The vast majority of applications we received were superb. At the end of the day, we simply had more great candidates than we had great jobs. Saying that, there are some common errors you can watch out for, and some things you can do to improve your chances in the future. 

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