The Ontario School Bus Association (OSBA) is a non-profit association providing advocacy, education and legislative consultation services to the owners of school bus fleets, school boards/transportation consortia and supplier/manufacturer companies across Ontario.  
November 25, 2015 - Issue 24

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Inside this Edition:
  1. MTO Issues Enforcement Guidelines to Officers Re: School Bus Markings
  2. Aftermarket Conversion of a Gasoline or Diesel Powered School Bus to Propane is Against the Law
  3. 2016 Professional Instructor in Driver Education (P.R.I.D.E.) Program Update
  4. A Brand New Look For Ontario's Snow Plows and Salters
  5. Two-Sticker System For PMVI Inspections To Continue Until 2017
  6. Upcoming OSBA Webinars
  7. "Schools Out" Greeting/Note Cards For Sale
  8. Presentations Available From 2015 OASBO Pupil Transportation Conference
  9. Upcoming Events
MTO Issues Enforcement Guidelines to Officers Re: School Bus Markings

Ministry of Transportation (MTO) recently issued guidelines to its enforcement officers to help them with the enforcement of the Highway Traffic Act (HTA) and Regulation 612 in regard to markings added to a school bus - including the operator’s name, logos, slogans, emblems, etc. 

The intent of the regulations is to preserve the unique, uniform and consistent appearance of Ontario’s school bus fleet so as to prevent confusion or distraction by ensuring the school bus remains distinct, easily identifiable and conspicuous.  The CSA D250 Standard and HTA Regulation 612 are very restrictive as to additional markings, lettering, or colour on a school bus.  The CSA D250 Standard says “the uncluttered yellow colour scheme cannot be compromised” [Ref. 4.4] It also says lettering on the bus body must be black [Ref. section 6.4.2]

While OSBA fundamentally agrees with and supports the rationale for the rules, we asked the MTO to allow bus operators some latitude/flexibility when it comes to displaying their name, slogan or logos and unit numbers. For decades, thousands of school buses in Ontario have operated with markings that are not all black. It has only been recently (the last year or so) that some MTO officers began voicing concerns.  After consultations with the industry as represented by OSBA and ISBOA, MTO developed guidelines which do provide a reasonable degree of flexibility to operators.  Here are the guidelines as we understand them:
  1. Operator may use the space between the two upper rub-rails to display their name, using any colour of lettering, provided the letters are applied on a chrome-yellow background.
  2. Operator may place a graphic/symbol and slogan/tag line in addition to the operator’s name, within the same space between the two upper rub rails, provided the background is chrome yellow.
  3. Operator may display its name and contact information in any other location on the side of the bus within a 30 cm square space using black lettering on a chrome yellow background.
  4. For smaller Type A1 buses with limited space between the two upper rub rails, the operator may display its name, logo and tag line/slogan between the centre two rub rails.
  5. No solid (non-chrome yellow) painted areas (for example, between the rub rails).
  6. No graphics, decals, logos/emblems etc. (for example, private school emblems) that extend beyond the space between two rub rails.
  7. Markings/lettering must not interfere with any of the prescribed markings on the bus, such as signage and retro-reflective tape.
  8. Slogans/tag lines cannot be deemed “advertising” of a product or service, rather it must be related to/part and parcel of the operator’s brand. 
  9. No lettering (including operator’s name) on engine cover (hood) if it is in the line of sight of the driver when seated.
  10. Operator’s name is permitted on hood on older buses where the leading edge of the hood is vertical and letters are not in the driver’s line of sight.
  11. No lettering, markings or unit numbers on front or rear bumper. Bus manufacturer’s markings/logo is permissible (per CSA D250).
  12. The optional message “This Vehicle Stops at all Railway Crossings”, if a decal, can be of any colour lettering or background provided it is placed on the glass portion of the rear emergency door. If these optional signs are applied to the bodywork of the bus, it must be black letters applied directly to the chrome yellow background. They should not be placed on the rear bumper.
  13. While not explicitly addressed in the guidelines, it seems at the present time that moderately sized driver recruitment messages are permitted on the lower glass area of the rear emergency door. Typically these signs are of modest size and have white or black letters that do not compete for attention with other signage. An operator may find themselves in trouble with MTO if they try to make these signs more conspicuous (size/colour/messaging, etc.) and are deemed a distraction.
It must be stressed these are guidelines only, intended to help MTO officers enforce the rules while at the same time allowing bus operators a reasonable degree of latitude when marking their buses.  Guidelines do not supersede the law. Law enforcement officers have the authority and mandate to enforce the law as written, and the laws take precedence over guidelines in a circumstance where a charge is laid under the Act.  For more information, contact Dave Carroll -, 416-695-9965 Ext. 4.
Aftermarket Conversion of a Gasoline or Diesel Powered School Bus to Propane is Against the Law

We understand some school bus operators are being approached by propane conversion shops offering to convert gas or diesel school buses to propane.  It is against the law (HTA Reg 612 per CSA D250 and the federal motor vehicle safety standards Section 301.1) to do an aftermarket conversion of a school bus to propane.   Buses that are not “school buses” are not subject to the same codes in respect to post production propane engine technologies and may be converted to propane however, conversions must comply with the CSA B149.5 regulatory requirements, Ontario Regulation 211/01 under the TSSA Act, and the TSSA Code Adoption Document.  For more information, contact Dave Carroll -, 416-695-9965 Ext. 4.
2016 Professional Instructor in Driver Education (P.R.I.D.E.) Program Update

The January 10 – 15, 2016 P.R.I.D.E. Program is fully booked.  The next regularly scheduled program is March 13 – 18 (March Break).  This program is also filling up quickly so we suggest forwarding registration forms soon!  The balance of the 2016 program dates are scheduled as follows:
  • May 1-6
  • July 10-15
  • August 7-12
  • October 16-21 
If you have training requirements outside of the above dates, please email your suggested dates to  If 12 spaces can be filled, efforts will be made to schedule an additional program.
The link to the 2016 P.R.I.D.E. Program brochure including the registration form is available here
A Brand New Look For Ontario's Snow Plows and Salters

This fall and winter, drivers will notice some Ministry of Transportation (MTO) plows and salt trucks (on King’s Highways) with new warning lights and signs designed to increase visibility and make them more consistent in appearance. The new standard was developed after in-house testing and industry consultation.  Prior to winter maintenance being out-sourced (in the mid-80’s), MTO’s yellow and black snow removal equipment had its own “brand identity”.  Today, on the King’s Highway system, 100% of winter maintenance in Ontario is done by contractors. As a result, snow plows have taken on many different appearances and it was sometimes difficult for motorists to identify and appropriately respond to snow removal equipment. MTO’s winter maintenance contractors also raised concerns about visibility and requested the ability to use new and brighter LED lighting systems.

Research determined that LED lights are most effective because they produce the greatest visibility. While a strobe can get a driver’s attention quickly, they were found to be less effective than LED lights because they don’t enable motorists to identify the source of the light effectively.

The tests also demonstrated that the best conspicuity (checkerboard) panel on the rear of the truck is a pattern using fluorescent yellow-green and black.  
MTO’s research determined that the checkerboard conspicuity panel should be augmented with blue and amber LED lights in an “H” pattern to convey the height and width of the vehicle, with the upper arms including stop/turn signals, and culminating in blue and amber beacons. Research showed that blue is the most conspicuous colour both day and night, and needs the least intensity, thereby reducing glare for motorists. Research also showed a combination of colours is more effective than a single colour warning light. 

The study also recommended that the existing roof lighting on snow removal vehicles be replaced with an amber and blue LED light bar. Rear lighting effectiveness was determined to be best when the amber lights remain continuously illuminated, while the blue lights flash at a rate of one flash per second). This slower rate of flashing subconsciously indicates to motorists that the vehicle is moving slowly and avoids any potential issues associated with higher flash rates or strobes.

At night, an ambient light sensor on the trucks will reduce the light output by 35% to reduce glare while still alerting motorists.  In addition, MTO’s research found that an air foil on the rear of the truck can help prevent snow, slush, and salt from building up on the rear lights and checkerboard panel. These air foils are used in Alberta and are now included as part of the new standards.

It will take some time (up to two years in some areas of the province) before all the trucks are converted to the new standard.

MTO Photo: Ontario’s “new look” plow trucks and salters feature a fluorescent yellow/green & black checkerboard panel, outlined with blue & amber LED lighting
MTO Photo: An air foil above the checkerboard panel is designed to divert air flow downwards across the panel and LED lights to reduce snow and salt accumulation.
Two-Sticker System For PMVI Inspections To Continue Until 2017

Earlier in 2015 there was talk about the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) doing away with having two different coloured stickers (yellow and orange) for the annual and semi-annual inspections of buses, accessible vehicles and school purposes vehicles.  The latest info from MTO is that the current two-sticker system will continue at least until January 2017.
Upcoming OSBA Webinars

Please note that the Dec. 2, 2015 OSBA webinar is cancelled, however, webinars will be offered on the following dates in 2016:
  1. Wed. January 13
  2. Wed. May 25
  3. Wed. October 19
Your ideas and suggestions are always welcome for webinar topics.  Please send to
"Schools Out" Greeting/Note Cards For Sale

As a reminder, OSBA has “Schools Out” Greeting/Note Cards for sale….just in time for the holiday season!  These cards are based on the original painting and limited edition prints done by Johannus Boots (specifically for OSBA), and are sized approximately 8.5"w by 5.5"h.  They are great to use for any occasion as they are blank inside. 

To order these cards, click on the following link and go directly to the order form:  Or visit the OSBA website at and click on the "STORE" tab from the home page.  Then click on the "Schools Out Greeting/Note Cards" webpage.

Once the order form is completed, please scan/email to or fax to 416-695-9977.
Presentations Available From 2015 OASBO Pupil Transportation Conference

According to a number of attendees, the 2015 annual pupil transportation conference of the Ontario Association of School Business Officials (OASBO) conducted Oct. 28-30 in Collingwood, Ontario, was very successful.  A Google drop-box has been created to download presentations and view pictures.  Access is available via the following steps:
  1. Login here:
  2. Input the username:
  3. Input the password: 889pupiltrans
  4. In the far right corner, click on the icon with nine tiny squares.
  5. Then click on "Drive" button.
  6. From there, click on the "OASBO Pupil Transportation Conf. 2015".
  7. You will then be able to select and view all of the conference presentations.
For more information, contact OASBO at,  905.209.9704
Upcoming Events
Canada Safety Council – National Safe Driving Week
Dec. 1-7, 2015
Dec. 2, 2015
OSBA Webinar
Jan. 13, 2016

Professional Instructor in Driver Education (P.R.I.D.E.) Program
Jan. 10-15, 2016
Professional Instructor in Driver Education (P.R.I.D.E.) Program
Mar. 13-18, 2016

Alberta Student Transportation Advisory Council (ASTAC) - Annual Conference
Mar. 15-18, 2016

Student Transportation Association of Saskatchewan (STAS) - Annual Conference
Mar. 30-Apr. 1, 2016

Canadian Pupil Transportation Conference (CPTC)
Apr. 16-21, 2016

Ontario Transportation Expo (OTE)
Apr. 24-27, 2016
Ontario Transportation Expo - Trade Show
Apr. 26, 2016
Professional Instructor in Driver Education (P.R.I.D.E.) Program
May 1-6, 2016
Association of School Business Officials of Alberta (ASBOA) - Annual Conference and Trade Show
May 9-11, 2016
OSBA Webinar
May 25, 2016

Professional Instructor in Driver Education (P.R.I.D.E.) Program
Jul. 10-15, 2016
Professional Instructor in Driver Education (P.R.I.D.E.) Program
Aug. 7-12, 2016
Professional Instructor in Driver Education (P.R.I.D.E.) Program
Oct. 16-21, 2016
OSBA Webinar
Oct. 19, 2016
Copyright © 2015 Ontario School Bus Association
All rights reserved.  This publication is intended for the exclusive use of OSBA Members.  Reproduction without prior permission is prohibited.

Contact OSBA:
3401 Wolfedale Road, Mississauga, ON, L5C 1V8
Tel.416.695.9965 Fax 416.695.9977 |
Please address all enquiries and submissions to  Opinions expressed do not necessarily express the opinions of the OSBA or its Board of Directors. Nor does acceptance of advertising constitute endorsement.