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OSP Occupational Profile

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NOC Code: NOC Code: 1475 Occupation: Dispatchers and Radio Operators
Occupation Description: Occupation Description:
Dispatchers operate radios and other telecommunication equipment to dispatch emergency vehicles and to co-ordinate the activities of drivers and other personnel. They are employed by police, fire and health departments, other emergency service agencies, taxi, delivery and courier companies and other commercial and industrial establishments. Radio operators receive, transmit and record signals and messages using radios and other telecommunication equipment. They are employed by transportation companies, mining, forestry and other industrial establishments, and by the armed forces. Dispatchers operate radios and other telecommunication equipment to dispatch emergency vehicles and to co-ordinate the activities of drivers and other personnel. They are employed by police, fire and health departments, other emergency service agencies, taxi, delivery and courier companies and other commercial and industrial establishments. Radio operators receive, transmit and record signals and messages using radios and other telecommunication equipment. They are employed by transportation companies, mining, forestry and other industrial establishments, and by the armed forces.

  • Click on any of the Essential Skills to view sample workplace tasks for this occupation.
  • Skill levels are assigned to tasks: Level 1 tasks are the least complex and level 4 or 5 tasks (depending upon the specific skill) are the most complex. Skill levels are associated with workplace tasks and not the workers performing these tasks.
  • Scroll down the page to get information on career planning, education and training, and employment and volunteer opportunities.

Table will display the Skill Level for the Noc specified
Essential Skills Essential Skills Levels
Reading Text Reading Text 1 2 3
Writing Writing 1 2 3 4
Document Use Document Use 1 2 3
Computer Use Computer Use 1 2 3
Oral Communication Oral Communication 1 2 3 4
Money Math Money Math 1 2
Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting 1 2 3
Measurement and Calculation Measurement and Calculation 1 2 3
Data Analysis Data Analysis 1
Numerical Estimation Numerical Estimation 1 2
Job Task Planning and Organizing Job Task Planning and Organizing 1 2 3
Decision Making Decision Making 1 2 3 4
Problem Solving Problem Solving 1 2 3
Finding Information Finding Information 1 2


  • The skill levels represented in the above chart illustrate the full range of sample tasks performed by experienced workers and not individuals preparing for or entering this occupation for the first time.
  • Note that some occupational profiles do not include all Numeracy and Thinking Essential Skills.

If you would like to print a copy of the chart and sample tasks, click on the "Print Occupational Profile" button at the top of the page.


Reading Text
  • Read faxes with special instructions about transporting people or goods. (Dispatchers) (1)
  • Read email messages dealing with scheduling details. (1)
  • Refer to flight or sail plans submitted by pilots or boaters. Read these plans when aircraft or boats are overdue. (Radio operators) (2)
  • Read memos from organizations such as the Canadian Police Information Centre. (Dispatchers) (2)
  • Read letters from clients. (Dispatchers) (2)
  • Read company and governmental policies, regulations and procedures. (2)
  • Read incident reports. (2)
  • Read manuals outlining requirements for towing vehicles or for transporting dangerous goods. (Dispatchers) (3)
  • Read manuals concerning weather, beacons and navigation points. (Radio operators) (3)
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Writing
  • Write daily logs with pertinent notes for the next shift. (Dispatchers) (1)
  • Complete fax forms to answer customer inquiries. (Dispatchers) (1)
  • Take notes while talking by phone or radio. These notes are used to prepare incident reports or to maintain records. (Dispatchers) (1)
  • Write interoffice memos and email. For example, write to the accounting office about special billings. (Dispatchers) (2)
  • Write communication search reports with details of air/sea rescues conducted in their area of jurisdiction. These reports are amended each day of the search to add new information. (Radio operators) (2)
  • Write reports to inform supervisors that a pilot has contravened regulations. (Radio operators) (2)
  • Record information about school bus runs, noting any special circumstances which drivers need to know, such as a child having a broken leg. (Dispatchers) (2)
  • Write ambulance reports, outlining the urgency of the call, the condition of the patient and action taken to reach family members. These reports record the information which the dispatcher has passed to the ambulance driver. (Dispatchers) (3)
  • Write police incident reports providing names, addresses, dates, relevant background information and details of cases. (Dispatchers) (3)
  • Write an analysis of procedures, with recommendations for changes. (Radio operators) (4)
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Document Use
  • Consult city directories to verify if certain addresses exist. (Dispatchers) (1)
  • Read shift schedules showing the number of hours to work on a daily and weekly basis. (2)
  • Read a variety of forms, such as ambulance transport forms which note the circumstances of transport and the condition of patients and taxi "trip tickets" which record the address of the customer and the cab number of the taxi dispatched. (Dispatchers) (2)
  • Look at street and road maps to identify the best route to particular destinations. (Dispatchers) (2)
  • Enter information in weather briefing forms. (Radio operators) (2)
  • Use highway weigh scale charts to schedule loads for drivers. (Dispatchers) (2)
  • Read telephone rate tables in the Direct Distance Dial Directory when placing marine calls. (Radio operators) (2)
  • Complete data strips showing aircraft type, point of departure and destination. (Dispatchers) (2)
  • Interpret drawings of correct towing techniques for various vehicles. (Dispatchers) (3)
  • Complete 911 trace forms when a phone trace must be made to locate a caller. (Dispatchers) (3)
  • Obtain information from the Dot Plot, a colour coded information display of weather systems in all parts of Canada. (Radio operators) (3)
  • Interpret marine charts and telcharts, the computerized version of the charts. (Radio operators) (3)
  • Take measurements from scale drawings to pinpoint areas of turbulence for pilots (Radio operators) (3)
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Computer Use
  • Use bookkeeping, billing and accounting software. For example, enter invoice information. (2)
  • Use word processing. For example, type memos and reports. (2)
  • Use computer applications. For example, dispatchers may use paging and dispatch tow-truck software. Radio operators may obtain computer-generated information from the radar screen. (2)
  • Use communications software. For example, access environmental information on the Internet. (2)
  • Use graphics software. For example, retrieve satellite and radar imagery and print out maps. (2)
  • Use a database. For example, compile data on transport or retrieve data from a specialized weather database. (3)
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Oral Communication
  • Talk to customers over the phone or in the office in order to determine their transportation needs. (Dispatchers) (1)
  • Take direction from supervisors about changes in procedures or schedules. (1)
  • Interact with boaters and other members of the public when placing marine radio calls to and from boats (Radio operators) (1)
  • Announce the marine broadcast Notices to Shipping over the radio. (Radio operators) (1)
  • Listen to drivers to keep track of their locations and speak with them via a two-way radio to send them to various destinations. (Dispatchers) (2)
  • Attend staff meetings to exchange information and to discuss problems and ways of improving service. (2)
  • Provide weather briefings to small groups of pilots (Radio operators) (2)
  • Exchange information about the volume of business with co-workers and co-ordinate tasks with other dispatchers. (2)
  • Interact with emergency personnel to arrange for quick and effective response by police vehicles, fire trucks or ambulances. (3)
  • Communicate with pilots about flight plans or alternate landing procedures. (Radio operators) (4)
  • Interact with distressed boaters or pilots to clarify their location or determine what sort of aid is needed. Communicate authoritatively and calmly to soothe captains who may be in a state of panic (Radio operators) (4)
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Money Math
  • Perform quick addition and subtraction to inform clients of the amount owing. (Dispatchers) (1)
  • Accept payment from customers if they come into the office to pay in advance. (Dispatchers) (1)
  • Calculate the amount of money owed by customers or the payment due to independent contract employees. (Dispatchers) (2)
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Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting
  • Schedule deliveries, assessing road and weather conditions, routes and distances. (Dispatchers) (2)
  • Adjust delivery schedules to accommodate special needs, such as a high priority shipment. (Dispatchers) (3)
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Measurement and Calculation
  • Calculate how many trucks are needed to handle freight of a given weight and dimension. Take into account the weight of skids and packaging and how much will fit in a load. (Dispatchers) (2)
  • Calculate time and distance using radar and linear graphs. (Radio operators) (3)
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Data Analysis
  • Compile daily operational statistics and compare them with figures from other days. (Radio Operators) (1)
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Numerical Estimation
  • Estimate weights of loads from customer information to make sure trucks do not exceed government or trailer manufacturer limits. (Radio Operators) (1)
  • Provide an estimated cost for a service based on distance, method of payment and previous experience in sending vehicles to the same general area. (Radio Operators) (2)
  • Estimate the time it will take for taxis at various locations to reach a customer. (Radio Operators) (2)
  • Estimate the length of time it will take for an aircraft or a vessel to travel a certain distance, taking into account weather conditions, including wind speeds. (Radio operators) (2)
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Job Task Planning and Organizing
  • Radio operators' tasks are determined to a large extent by external and unpredictable circumstances such as planes being overdue, medical emergencies or fires on board aircraft or boats. Some parts of the day, such as times of high air or marine traffic, are busy and may require several operators working together to handle the volume. They plan their days so that they may attend to administrative matters at times when volume is light. (3)
  • The daily activities of dispatchers are in response to customer demands. Planning is short-term but must meet many demands, some of which are urgent. Many unpredictable variables, relating to weather, availability of staff and the condition of vehicles, must be taken into account to organize the day. Setting effective priorities is essential. (3)
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Decision Making
  • Decide whether to send one or two tow-truck drivers to change a tire on a busy highway. (Dispatchers) (1)
  • Decide which of several calls is the most urgent when several calls come in at once. (1)
  • Decide which drivers to send out and which routes and vehicles to use. (Dispatchers) (2)
  • Decide which police officer to dispatch to a call, taking into account such factors as the time remaining on officers' shifts and the language skills required. (Dispatchers) (2)
  • Decide when to switch frequencies when communicating with remote aircraft. Take into account the clearness of other frequencies and the possible needs of other users. (Radio operators) (2)
  • Decide whether to tell a driver to wait for a child who is not at the school gate at pickup time or whether to send the driver on another call. The decision is delicate, since time and profit must be weighed against child safety. (Dispatchers) (3)
  • Decide whether to call in formal search and rescue teams or whether simply to call on ships in the area to watch for missing boats. (Radio operators) (4)
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Problem Solving
  • Communication with a vehicle on the runway is lost and the operator is unable to warn the driver to leave immediately because of incoming air traffic. Flash the runway lights on and off to alert the driver. (Radio operators) (1)
  • A driver has reported a physical threat. Respond quickly by calling police. (Dispatchers) (1)
  • Scheduled drivers have cancelled at the last minute. Find replacement drivers if possible. (Dispatchers) (1)
  • Essential information for a "time call" is missing from the file. Search manuals and directories to find the needed phone number or address. (Dispatchers) (1)
  • Deal with irate customers when snow delays prevent cars from keeping expected schedules. Calm customers and in urgent cases you may call other drivers to see if another vehicle will be able to respond more quickly than the one originally dispatched. (Dispatchers) (2)
  • Monitoring equipment is giving obviously false or unlikely readings. Examine the logic of the readings and turn to backup equipment until the equipment can be repaired. (Radio operators) (2)
  • A vehicle breaks down. Reassign scheduled work, if possible. For truck dispatchers, vehicle breakdowns require the reloading of cargo. (Dispatchers) (2)
  • The computer system crashed. You may call the coast guard in another jurisdiction to request emergency coverage and then search for the cause of the failure. (Radio operators) (3)
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Finding Information
  • Consult maps to help drivers. (Dispatchers) (1)
  • Contact clients to get directions for the driver. (Dispatchers) (1)
  • Use a computer database to read codes indicating where various vehicles are located. (Dispatchers) (1)
  • Consult phone lists to contact customers in response to inquiries or complaints. (Dispatchers) (1)
  • Seek information from colleagues on radio frequencies for various American flight services. (Radio operators) (2)
  • Refer to data in computerized databases such as the Meteorological Information Display System (MIDS). (Radio operators) (2)
  • Locate aviation regulations and information about aircraft types in sources such as the Canadian Air Regulations (CAR) textbook and the Manual of Operations (MANOPS). (Radio operators) (2)
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