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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.  
January 8, 2020 - Issue 1

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Inside this Edition:
 
Change is in the Air…..At Least that’s What is Hoped For

OSBA’s Top 10 2019 Articles!
1. Transport Canada Advisory Panel/Task Force Regarding School Bus Safety/Seat Belts
2. Government Announcement - Stop Arm Camera Video Evidence
3. Bus Passenger Safety Study Report Released by Federal House of Commons
4. Handheld Radio Exemption Potentially Becoming Permanent
5. Winner of the 2019 OSBA Driver Excellence Recognition Award
6. Ontario Reviewing Vehicle Emissions Program for Heavy Vehicles
7. OSBA Successfully Hosts Alcohol and Drug Policy Workshop
8. Fact Sheet: Safety & School Bus Seating Capacity
9. Important Differences between MTO and OSBA/OMCA Driver Licence Status Check Programs
10. New School Bus Rider Safety Website Now Live! 

OSBA's Top 2019 Government Interactions
8. Parliamentary Assistant Sam Oosterhoff
9. Minister Caroline Mulroney
10. Minister Stephen Lecce
Change is in the Air…..At Least that’s What is Hoped For
 
The Ontario government’s process of creating stricter vehicle emission standards started in 2018 and is now being implemented. Vehicle emission standards and how they are enforced will be changing in several stages over the 1 ½ years with the first changes being implemented January 1, 2020.

In the November 13, 2019 newsletter OSBA provided an overview of the coming changes, with details known at the time. Now that changes are starting to happen, OSBA will be sending reminders of the changes as they happen via upcoming newsletters.

What changed on January 1st? For all motor vehicle the changes are:
  • clarification that on-road emission standards apply to all motor vehicles on Ontario's highways,
  • clarification that existing laws prohibit emission system tampering and a new prohibition on the sale of devices used for that purpose, and
  • a change in the visible emissions prohibition from fifteen (15) seconds in five minutes to five (5) seconds in a one-minute period
  • a change in the opacity standard from the current 30% to 20% for 2008 and newer heavy diesel vehicles.
Specific to the Heavy Diesel Commercial Motor Vehicle Emissions Program the changes are:
  • tighten the current smoke opacity inspection standard from 2008 and for newer heavy diesel commercial motor vehicles – from 30% to 20%
  • a requirement for an informational computer-based electronic emissions diagnostic inspection to help identify whether emission control systems are operating as intended for these vehicles that have a registered gross weight of between 4,500 kg and 6,350 kg (formally this was only an advisory test and in July 2020 will become mandatory)
For all the details you can check the Environmental Registry of Ontario posting ERO 019-0416 by clicking on the following link ERO 19-0416
OSBA’s Top 10 2019 Articles!

As we reflect on the past year for the student transportation industry, OSBA would like to highlight some important articles from 2019.
1. Transport Canada Advisory Panel/Task Force Regarding School Bus Safety/Seat Belts

As many OSBA members are aware, since the CBC’s “The Fifth Estate” TV show titled “Unbuckled: School Bus Safety” aired in the Fall of 2018, school bus occupant protection has been a frequent topic of discussion in the media, student transportation industry, and government alike.  During this time, OSBA has continually engaged with various levels of government and other stakeholders who are connected to the many operational, driver and funding impacts that accompany any decision made to mandate seat belts on school buses.
 
As such, OSBA was pleased to learn that Transport Canada formed a Task Force to explore methods to improve school bus safety, including occupant protection.  OSBA is participating on this Task Force via an Advisory Panel, which was formed to gather input from various student transportation industry stakeholders across the country.  As a member of the Advisory Panel, OSBA will continue to communicate with Transport Canada to provide the Association’s perspectives and ensure that we continue to submit input into the discussions on school bus safety and occupant protection.  We will also continue to keep members informed as the work of the Advisory Panel progresses.
 
For questions/further information, members are encouraged to contact OSBA’s Safety and Legislation Team at 416.695.9965 Ext. 4 or abugeya@osba.on.ca
2. Government Announcement - Stop Arm Camera Video Evidence

The Government of Ontario recently announced regulatory measures that would enable the use of video camera evidence to be used in court without the requirement of a witness such as the school bus driver.  In addition, the government announced its intention to introduce legislation that would allow municipalities to target drivers who threaten the safety of children on school buses with additional monetary penalties.

As members may recall, when Bill 174 (Cannabis, Smoke-Free Ontario and Road Safety Statute Law Amendment Act) passed in December 2017, The Highway Traffic Act (HTA) was also amended to include new offences for passing a stopped school bus with its stop arm activated.  This amendment was brought forward to better support the use of video camera evidence in prosecuting drivers who fail to stop for school buses.  While the Bill 174 amendments have not yet come into force as no supporting regulations had yet been drafted, the announcement speaks to the drafting of those regulations. Prior to this HTA amendment, the offence for passing a stopped school bus only referenced the overhead alternating lights. 

(Photo - L to R - OSBA President Chris Harwood, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Education Sam Oosterhoff, Minister of Transportation Jeff Yurek, MPP Rick Nicholls, ISBOA President Rob Murphy, OSBA Director Kevin Langs)

OSBA believes that the government’s announcement is a step in the right direction and has the potential to continue improving school bus safety and reduce the need for school bus drivers to record and report blow-by’s.

OSBA supports legislation that enables the use of stand-alone stop arm camera video evidence, however, we would also like to see legislation adopting the 8-lamp amber-red advance warning system enacted in conjunction with stop arm camera video evidence.  We will provide further details of the proposed regulatory and legislative changes as soon as they are made available.


OSBA will continue to work with the government to address operational considerations surrounding stop arm camera use on school buses such as responsibility for equipment maintenance and evidence collection.  As with any new safety measure that can improve school bus rider safety, the adoption must be accompanied by adequate funding mechanisms to address proper implementation.

This announcement, which included Minister of Transportation Jeff Yurek and Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Education, Sam Oosterhoff, took place at Langs Bus Lines, with OSBA President Chris Harwood and OSBA Director Kevin Langs in attendance.

For more information, comments or questions, please contact OSBA’s Safety and Legislation Team at
 abugeya@osba.on.ca or 416.695.9965 Ext. 4.
3. Bus Passenger Safety Study Report Released by Federal House of Commons

On June 11, 2019 the federal House of Commons Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities released their report speaking to their study of bus passenger safety in Canada.  The study was announced on November 1, 2018 and included a review of all sectors of the bus industry, including school bus, transit and motor coach.  OSBA submitted a written brief to support the study as well as provide context, considerations and perspectives on student transportation in Ontario, particularly with respect to more analysis and time being allocated to addressing the driver, operational and funding issues that accompany school bus safety initiatives.

While the report contains numerous recommendations, of particular interest to OSBA members are:
  • Recommendation 3 That the Government of Canada support ongoing efforts, through the Council of Ministers Responsible for Transportation and Highway Safety, to develop a national standard for entry-level commercial drivers, including bus drivers.
  • Recommendation 6 That the Government of Canada develop and implement crashworthiness standards for both school buses and motor coaches and ensure that these standards are equivalent to or higher than those set by the American Public Transportation Association.
  • Recommendation 8 That the Government of Canada direct Transport Canada to study the impacts of alternative seat designs such as integrated booster seats for children, integrated "wings" to reduce lateral head movement, and passenger airbags, on bus passenger safety.
  • Recommendation 9 That the Government of Canada support ongoing efforts by the [Transport Canada] Task Force on School Bus Safety to review data on school bus safety and seat belts and identify potential ways to strengthen school bus safety, and that it seriously consider the implementation of any recommendations made by the Task Force in this respect.
The report also re-emphasized the high level of safety demonstrated by school buses in Canada, stating in the opening summary, “Although there is room for improvement, testimony from stakeholders demonstrated that buses, particularly school buses, are among the safest modes of transportation available.”

The on-going Transport Canada Task Force on School Bus Safety was also referenced several times in the report.  OSBA is continuing to work with the Task Force via the Industry Advisory Panel and will continue to keep members informed as the work of the Task Force unfolds.

More information on the House of Commons Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Safety’s study of Bus Passenger Safety can be viewed here.  A copy of the report can be viewed here.

For further information, or to provide any comments, please contact the OSBA Safety and Legislation Team – abugeya@osba.on.ca or 416-695-9965 Ext. 4.
4. Handheld Radio Exemption Potentially Becoming Permanent

On September 18, 2019, the Ministry of Transportation announced they are seeking comment on proposed updates to the distracted driving regulation which would make the temporary two-way radio exemption for large truck and bus drivers permanent.  The temporary exemption was previously extended in December 2017 and is set to expire on December 31, 2020.

OSBA is supportive of making the temporary two-way radio exemption for large truck and bus drivers permanent and has been advocating that MTO explore a permanent exemption for the student transportation industry.  OSBA’s submissions requested that the permanent exemption include both school buses and school purpose buses, as well as school purpose vehicles (e.g. minivans, etc.).  The rationale to include all types of school vehicles was to reinforce that two-way radios are a key safety device used in the student transportation industry and preventing their use in certain school buses and school purpose vehicles will have a number of unintended consequences.

OSBA is pleased with this proposal and will continue to pursue a permanent exemption for school purpose vehicle drivers as the current proposal does not include drivers of these vehicles (e.g. minivans, etc).

It is important to note that this exemption only applies to two-way radios.  The use of other handheld communication or entertainment devices, such as cell phones or MP3 players, continues to be prohibited.

Anyone who wishes to find out more information about the regulatory registry posting or provide comment can view the information here.  The comment period will remain open until November 4, 2019.

For further information, or to provide any comments, please contact the OSBA Safety and Legislation Team at abugeya@osba.on.ca or 416-695-9965 Ext. 4.
5. Winner of the 2019 OSBA Driver Excellence Recognition Award
 
OSBA is very pleased and proud to announce the winner of the 2019 OSBA Driver Excellence Recognition Award – Ms. Gail Brun of First Student.  There were a number of extraordinary nominations received this year making it very difficult to select a winner.  OSBA extends sincere appreciation to all those who submitted nominations.

Gail Brun is one of the most patient, humble and likeable people in her company.  Gail started her professional school bus driving career 40 years ago and has maintained the highest level of professionalism throughout this duration.  She is always friendly and courteous and has the ability to manage her students with respect and fairness.  She always has a smile for everyone and is well liked by colleagues, students, school staff, customers and managers alike.

Gail takes the utmost pride in who she is and the important role she plays in the lives of her school bus passengers.  She is very reliable, loyal and always keeps her bus clean and organized.  Gail is never late for her scheduled duties and customers are always impressed with her friendly, caring attitude.  She has received many commendations over the years for her exemplary level of customer service and consistently goes above and beyond to deliver the safest and most enjoyable experience possible.

Gail has been a loyal employee with an exemplary attendance record.  She has driven accident free for her entire 40-year career which is certainly an amazing achievement in itself.  Gail is a wonderful mentor to other school bus drivers and a model employee with very high personal standards.  School bus operators can train people to be safe drivers, but it is always an individual’s choice to maintain those good driving habits at all times.  Gail drives every trip like she is taking her road test and is a true testament to professional school bus drivers across the province and the country.

OSBA would like to thank the Awards Selection Committee for their time and effort in making this wonderful, albeit difficult selection.


Please note that changes are in store for the 2020 Program including a $500 award to the Nominator of the selected winner (in addition to the $1000 award to the winning driver), so start planning now for next year! Nomination forms will be available in June 2020.
6. Ontario Reviewing Vehicle Emissions Program for Heavy Vehicles

For some time now, the government of Ontario has outlined their intentions to change and modernize the emissions program for vehicles operating on our highways. Earlier this year, the government announced the removal of the emission testing requirement for light duty vehicles as some first steps, however changes to the heavy-duty vehicle are still to be finalized.

In September 2018, the government initiated a consultation process regarding the emissions program for heavy duty vehicles with the posting of a notice on the Environmental Registry of Ontario (ERO). Based on the government’s policy objectives and feedback from the 2018 posting, a subsequent posting to the ERO was made on October 9th, 2019 to provide details surrounding the proposed heavy vehicle emissions program. This new proposal is part of the, “Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan”. The main objectives are to tighten emission control standards and testing requirements for heavy diesel commercial motor vehicles, which include school buses. Under the proposal, only heavy diesel commercial motor vehicles will continue to be subject to periodic emissions testing, while all vehicles (light and heavy duty) will be subject to enhanced on-road standards and enforcement of the revised emission standards.

Included in these proposals, however with less confirmed details so far, is the development of an integrated emissions and safety inspection program for heavy duty diesel vehicles, again including school buses.

For more details, refer to the notice EPO 013-3867 here. The proposed draft regulation and related documents posted to the ERO on October 9th can be viewed here.

OSBA will continue to monitor developments and advise members as details become finalized.

For further information, or to provide any comments, please contact the OSBA Safety and Legislation Team at abugeya@osba.on.ca or 416-695-9965 Ext. 4.
7. OSBA Successfully Hosts Alcohol and Drug Policy Workshop

On May 8th, 2019, OSBA successfully hosted a one-day alcohol and drug policy workshop at the Sandman Signature Toronto Airport Hotel. The workshop provided an opportunity for the over 30 attendees to work with Barbara Butler, a well-respected expert in this field, and learn about the development and updating of company alcohol and drug policies to address fitness for duty requirements in the workplace.

The workshop came about due to the demand from membership for more tools to address the legalization of Cannabis and changes to impaired driving laws. Topics of discussion included industry trends, Employee Assistance Programs (EAP), alcohol and drug testing, policy implementation considerations, and a walkthrough of a sample alcohol and drug policy document to explore the importance and application of various fitness for duty considerations. The workshop was also tailored to focus on the student transportation industry.

For further information, or to provide any comments, please contact the OSBA Safety and Legislation Team – or 416-695-9965 Ext. 4.
8. Fact Sheet: Safety & School Bus Seating Capacity

In response to on-going questions and concerns about the proper seating capacity of school buses, OSBA produced the following reference document: FACT SHEET: SAFETY & SCHOOL BUS SEATING CAPACITY.

For safe, effective and efficient student transportation, it is helpful for all those involved in the planning process to have a common understanding of the maximum seating capacity of school buses.  The specified seating capacity as stated by the school bus manufacturers and as dictated through the federal safety standards, is commonly misunderstood.  To ensure student safety, it is imperative that occupants are properly seated on a school bus so that they are adequately protected in the event of a collision.  

The Fact Sheet clarifies the origin and purpose of the manufacturer’s stated seating capacity and summarizes regulations and notable information for determining the appropriate seating capacity of a school bus.

For a copy of the Fact Sheet or for further information, comments or questions, please contact the OSBA Safety and Legislation Team at
 abugeya@osba.on.ca or 416.695.9965 Ext. 4.
9. Important Differences between MTO and OSBA/OMCA Driver Licence Status Check Programs

Earlier in the Fall of 2019, the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) announced they are making changes to the Ontario Drivers Licence Status Check (DLSC) Program.  PLEASE NOTE the MTO based DLSC program differs from the OSBA/OMCA status check service offered by the associations.  The MTO based DLSC program has been in existence for several years, however, prior to the recent change it was a paper-based system where applicants were required to submit forms to complete licence status checks.  The MTO has now transitioned their DLSC program to an online platform as well as waived their fee which was previously charged for each check.
 
OSBA/OMCA will continue to maintain the existing fee-based status check system for members as the MTO DLSC does not identify class changes which would leave members unaware of driver class changes and downgrades.  Benefits of the OSBA/OMCA status check service include:
  • MTO DLSC allows 100 licences only to be checked at one time.  OSBA/OMCA service does not have a limit.
  • OSBA/OMCA service has negotiated policies to mitigate vehicle impoundments for drivers who are under suspension when a company participates in the program.
  • MTO DLSC does not identify when a driver has been downgraded (i.e. fail to file medical or testing failures).  The OSBA/OMCA service will identify class/endorsement changes to mitigate against having drivers operating a school bus with the improper class of licence.
  • The OSBA/OMCA service has options to offer quick, easy access to 3-year detailed drivers abstracts.
OSBA will continue to monitor changes to the MTO DLSC program.  Anyone who wishes to find out more information about the OSBA/OMCA status check service, click here.  Information on the MTO DLSC program is available here.
 
For further information, or to provide any comments, please contact the OSBA Safety and Legislation Team at abugeya@osba.on.ca or 416-695-9965 Ext. 4.
10. New School Bus Rider Safety Website Now Live!

A new school bus rider safety website has been published by the Ontario Education Cooperative Marketplace (OECM) to help support school bus safety in Ontario. The materials are free to download. As noted on the website, the information is: “Funded by the Government of Ontario, this website provides access to standardized school bus rider safety training materials and key information, in English and French, for students, parents/guardians, teachers/school staff, and transportation professionals including consortia members, bus operators, and drivers!”

OSBA provided input into the development of some of the materials along with feedback from other organizations within the Ontario student transportation industry, including the Independent School Bus Operators Association (ISBOA) and the Ontario Association of School Business Officials (OASBO).

One of the primary goals of the new website is to promote a standard approach for a school bus driver crossing signal to help improve student safety when crossing in front of a school bus. OSBA will be assisting in increasing awareness of the website and driver crossing signal through a social media campaign running through the month of August in preparation for “Back to School”. Be sure to keep an eye out for the campaign by checking the OSBA
 Facebook page or following us on Twitter @ontschoolbus!

The School Bus Rider Safety website is available here.

For questions/further information, members are encouraged to contact OSBA’s Safety and Legislation Team at 416.695.9965 Ext. 4 or abugeya@osba.on.ca
OSBA's Top 2019 Government Interactions
Parliamentary Assistant Sam Oosterhoff brings greetings to the 2019 OSBA Annual General Meeting. To view the full article, click here.
OSBA Meets with Ontario Minister of Transportation Caroline Mulroney. To view the full article, click here.
OSBA Meets with Ontario Minister of Education Stephen Lecce. To view the full article, click here.
Upcoming Events
 
2020  
Jan. 22 P.R.I.D.E. Recertification Program
Feb. 9-14 Professional Instructor in Driver Education (P.R.I.D.E.) Program
Feb. 12 OSBA Webinar
Mar. 15-20 Professional Instructor in Driver Education (P.R.I.D.E.) Program
Mar. 25 OSBA Webinar
Apr. 15 P.R.I.D.E. Recertification Program
Apr. 19-22 Ontario Transportation Expo (OTE)
Apr. 27-May 1 Canadian Pupil Transportation Conference (CPTC)
May 3-8 Professional Instructor in Driver Education (P.R.I.D.E.) Program
May 27 OSBA Webinar
June 6 P.R.I.D.E. Recertification Program
July 12-17 Professional Instructor in Driver Education (P.R.I.D.E.) Program
Aug. 9-14 Professional Instructor in Driver Education (P.R.I.D.E.) Program
Aug. 15 P.R.I.D.E. Recertification Program
Oct. 7 P.R.I.D.E. Recertification Program
Oct. 7 OSBA Webinar
Oct. 18-23 Professional Instructor in Driver Education (P.R.I.D.E.) Program
Nov. 22-27 Professional Instructor in Driver Education (P.R.I.D.E.) Program
Dec. 6-11 Professional Instructor in Driver Education (P.R.I.D.E.) Program
Copyright © 2020 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:
3075 Lenworth Drive, Mississauga, ON, L4X 2G3
Tel.416.695.9965 Fax 416.695.9977  
info@osba.on.ca | www.osba.on.ca
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Please address all enquiries and submissions to info@osba.on.ca  Opinions expressed do not necessarily express the opinions of the OSBA or its Board of Directors. Nor does acceptance of advertising constitute endorsement.






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School Bus Ontario (SBO) · 3075 Lenworth Drive · Mississauga, ON L4X 2G3 · Canada

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