Canadian National Railway

Canadian National Railway Employee Reviews in Canada

  • Job Work/Life Balance
  • Salary/Benefits
  • Job Security/Advancement
  • Management
  • Job Culture
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Challenging and highly demanding
Assistant Track Supervisor (Current Employee), Toronto, ONNovember 25, 2015
Pros: Good salary and expenses. Company vehicle.
Cons: Long hours in all weather. Forced relocation.
Operating 24 hours a day, the railway doesn't allow for much work/life balance. Safety is critical, and there are severe consiquneces for mistakes. Engineering is extremely complex and critical to safe operating practices. Supervision of Unionized employees isn't difficult, however the rare disiciplinary action that may be required does add tension to an already stressful job. On the whole, the Unionized employees are among the finest and most professional in the industry. Safe, quick, and intelligent.

The best part of the job is in knowing that your inspections and ability to spot defects is preventing derailments, keeping people safe and you're saving lives.
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It's an interesting place to work and there is a lot of diversity with this job.
Conductor (Current Employee), Saskatoon, SKNovember 12, 2015
Pros: Paid schooling, room for growth, company shares, good pay
Cons: Long hours, high expectations and low reciprocity, difficult managers, absence of a good training program, unfair reprocutions for first time minor mistakes.
CN is for the most part a decent place to work, with all of its pros and cons. However, It would be good to implement some new ideas, maybe give CN a fresh outlook on things. I'd like to stay with CN till I retire but getting laid off all of the time is making that difficult. Not having enough income to survive due to company layoffs is very stressful.
I'd like a better way for employees to be able to look things up in cats or on eportal. When it comes to their current job or when it comes to finding a new one or for anything for that matter.
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good pay and pension
Freight Conductor (Current Employee), Sarnia, ONNovember 8, 2015
Pros: pay
Cons: hours and instability
The pay and pension is good but the work is unstable and CN doesnt care abouth their employees. The hours are unpredictable and you work in any kind of weather.
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7/365 busy. Always something to do.
Heavy Equipment Operator (Current Employee), Brampton, ONOctober 29, 2015
Pros: Opportunity for growth
Cons: Dangerous work environment
The most enjoyable part of my job was operating state of the art Railway Transportation Heavy Equipment. Always something to do, so the day flew by. Plenty of opportunity for growth.
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Don't expect a fair deal
Assistant Track Supervisor / Road Master (Former Employee), Vancouver, BCOctober 27, 2015
Pros: Excellent benefits package
Cons: Poor people Management and a non-existent work life balance
Although this company is trying to change it's corporate culture it is too mired in the past to make any real gains.
Senior Managers (generally those who have been there 30 years) have a vested interest in keeping costs down as they are financially rewarded for reducing expenditures. The result is a lack of staff and equipment to make the job functional. It is like pulling teeth trying to get the proper tools for the job.
Additionally the management style is stuck in the 1970's. Very shouty. shouty and heavy into a blame culture. The first and most valuable lesson to learn is "trust no-one" (a direct quote from my regional chief).
If you do not want work/life balance and feel you deserve to be punished for things out of your control than apply here.
If you don't want to be on call 24 -7 and want to be able to sleep at night, look elsewhere.
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They don't practice what they preach
N/A (Former Employee), Montréal, QCOctober 22, 2015
Pros: competitive salary $$
Cons: Politics, "NO" growth opportunity
Absolutely "NO" growth opportunity.. They don't practice what they preach. eXEXCS MAKING THE BIG BUCKS AND MIDDLE CLASS (REGULAR EMPLOYEES, WHO ARE DOING MOST OF THE JOB) SUFFER
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Ok place to work if you don't want a life
Labourer/Tractor Operator (Former Employee), TorontoOctober 9, 2015
Pros: good pay, good benefits, job security
Cons: Terrible shifts and off days, no work life, just a number, no sick days
The people i worked with were great. The management treats you like you are a robot. If you call in sick you are punished and frowned upon. You will have absolutely no life working here as you will most likely be on nights with two week days off for at least the first 10 years of service.
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Great
Locomotive Engineer (Former Employee), Hornepayne, ONOctober 5, 2015
Pros: Travelling across Canada
Cons: Very demanding at times
Working for CN has been great. It has provided me the opportunity to take on new challenges and work with amazing people.
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No opportunity for growth but well paid
IT projects & implementation specialist (Former Employee), Montréal, QCSeptember 25, 2015
Pros: well paid
Cons: no career development
A work place with old management style and a culture of management fighting unionized workers... So expect little career progress but fairly good compensation.

People go home at 5pm, so good work/life balance... Good place for lifers who just want to a job to pay the bills, then retire.

Good job security as long as you do your job.
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Productive and fun place top work
Tractor Trailer Operator (Former Employee), Toronto, OntarioSeptember 24, 2015
Very productive and fun place to work with great people. A lot of room for an employee to grow with great training to go along with it.
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Wprked there for 19 years. Experienced alot and grew with the company.
Train Movement Clerk (Former Employee), Edmonton, ABSeptember 10, 2015
Pros: Benefit program.
In my many years with CN, I grew with the company, learned alot about the railway industry. Excellent benefits. I worked in two parts of the railway, fiirst was the Revenue Management, learnt how to apply payments from customers, deposits, data entry. The second part was a Train Movement Clerk which was building the trains by watching cameras and applying the switching on computers and sending to the Engineers.
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Challenging job with lots of responsibilities
REL SUPERINTENDENT, REL ASST Superintendent (Former Employee), Surrey, BCSeptember 8, 2015
The jobs I had were very high level and stressful managing union staff both in office and on the ground example train crews. I would plan my day according to what has transpired over the night and come up with a recovery if needed or plan the days work for all people I was supervising.
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Good money, pretty cool job. No personal Life
Freight Train Conductor (Former Employee), Edmonton, ABAugust 6, 2015
I only got to spend a year with CN before being laid off. In my time though, I found the job to be pretty cool. They don't however promote any sort of personal life, even though they tell you they do during the hiring process. If you're single and want to make a lot of money in only a few years, than this is the job for you. Family person? Not so much.
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Great Organization
Garage Supervisor Fleet Services (Current Employee), Concord, ONAugust 2, 2015
Great place to work, believe highly in training and support for Front Line Supervisors. Management also very supportive and helpful. Huge Focus on Safety.
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Do not take this job if you want a Trade
Heavy Duty Mechanic Apprentice / DEM (Current Employee), Edmonton, ABJuly 15, 2015
Pros: Great people
Cons: Everything else
Regardless of their recruitment you will not get a Red Seal Trade.

I came in with a Blue book and a lot of hours, and when i pushed for school after being promised it during my interview they refused. Even though they had signed my blue book.

Their DEM program is limited to a select few provinces and not in Alberta (where I reside). DEM is not recognized here at all and never will be.

The guys in the shop are awesome save for a select few white hats, But the upper management is horrible.

Yes they provide tools, but good luck getting them.

The Union is useless, good luck getting anywhere with them. Example; Their safety reps have never taken a safety course nor do they know about contacting OHS in the event of problems from management. Their Trades and Apprenticeship reps do not hold tickets nor have they ever picked up a phone to contact the Apprenticeship Board. Its just bad.

But again the people there are awesome to work with.

Great experience though besides the aforementioned, but CN is a very pale shadow compared to its former glory, now that it is for all intensive purposes an American company now.
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ok place to work
Train Conductor (Former Employee), Edmonton, ABJune 24, 2015
good job if you don't have kids or a family, otherwise you won't see them a lot. you have to be prepared to work long hours and work on no schedule and be on call.
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so so
Developer designer application (Former Employee), Montréal, QCJune 18, 2015
CN is very big company, most co-workers are nice, but I am not luck met a co-worker is not like me, The hardest part of job is communicate with him, so hard and unhappy.
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Payed well with exemplary benefits and investment opportunity
Freight Conductor (Former Employee), Prince George, BCJune 10, 2015
Pros: Good pay, great people, strong company
Cons: long hours, difficult management system
Very safety driven company as there are no minor injuries when you are dealing with trains and heavy equipment, days range from 8 to 16 hours depending on division and willingness to work, management could use a makeover but many were helpful and friendly, co-workers were awesome, friendly, helpful and upbeat. Hardest part of the job was being called at all hours to cover some other conductor who had called in sick or unavailable, and being away from your family for long stretches. Physically demanding job requiring a lot of upper body strength used for throwing switches and climbing up and around train cars(think monkey bars as a kid for 8 hours a day) with breaks sometimes not coming till the last hour of your work day due to heavy work load and priority of work. I liked the people i worked with, 99% had awesome attitudes and worked hard for the sake of an easier stretch at the end of the day, pay was great, benefits were great, shares in company were great, i would do the job again as it was both literally and figuratively a breath of fresh air.
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Difficult but fun
Conductor (Former Employee), Edmonton, ABJune 9, 2015
Great company, great people. I loved every aspect of this job including the crazy hours.It is not an easy job by any means but the pay and the people make up for that.
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Good job if you can hold a position
conductor (Current Employee), saskatoonJune 6, 2015
Pros: pay
Cons: your never at home
Excellent wages and benefits. however since CN rail is a seniority based work place there is a very high possibility to get laid off after your done training. (excluding management) You should also expect to get called for work at all hours of the day with 2 hours notice max. If you can hold a position you will get paid very well but don't expect to have much of a home life.
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Employees
10,000+
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Links
Canadian National Railway website
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