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.  
October 12, 2016 - Issue 21

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Inside this Edition:
  1. School Bus Driver Shortage - Systemic Problem Due to Historic Issues
  2. eLion, An Electric Bus For The Next Generation
  3. Bruce Rodrigues Named Deputy Minister of Education
  4. Dates Set For 2018 Canadian Pupil Transportation Conference
  5. Celebrating the 20th Walk to School Day
  6. Plan Now For School Bus Safety Week and School Bus Driver Appreciation Day
  7. STC/Elgie Bus Recognizes Anti-Bullying Month and Celebrates Thanksgiving
  8. 2017 P.R.I.D.E. Program Dates
  9. REMINDER - 2016 OASBO Annual Conference
  10. OSBA Webinar - October 19, 2016
  11. 2017 P.R.I.D.E. Recertification Program Dates
  12. Tougher Penalties For Drug Impaired Drivers Begin October 2, 2016
  13. Order Your OSBA Publications Now!
  14. Upcoming 2016 Events
School Bus Driver Shortage - Systemic Problem Due to Historic Issues

News Release: Ontario School Bus Association (OSBA)
Date: October 6, 2016

The school bus driver shortage and high driver turnover in the GTA and elsewhere is related to a number of issues that have been simmering over many years including a government funding formula that has not been re-examined or revised in 10 years and does not reflect today’s student transportation needs.  Costs of school buses and parts have increased 35% as a result of product imports and the strong US dollar.  The Request for Proposals (RFP) process mandated by the Provincial Government eight years ago, must be overhauled to ensure it is a fair, open, and transparent process reflecting reasonable operating contracts to support safe school bus operations and sustain all employee jobs including office staff, maintenance personnel and professional school bus drivers.
In a safety sensitive industry, delivery of secure and on-time student transportation is the responsibility of several key stakeholders working cohesively together – government, school boards/transportation consortia and school bus service providers.
OSBA is calling on the Provincial Government, specifically the Ministry of Education, to fulfill Premier Kathleen Wynne’s written election promise of June 2, 2014:  “Further, as part of our consultations for next year’s school board funding, we will review transportation benchmarks to ensure we have an appropriate understanding about how to deliver safe, high quality transportation services across the province.”  Promise made.  Promise broken.
On January 28, 2016, the Ministry of Education released a “Student Transportation Competitive Procurement Review (STCPR) Report” completed by former Justice Colin Campbell outlining 29 recommendations regarding improvements to the competitive procurement process for student transportation.  While some steps have been taken to instigate a few of these recommendations, to date, most of them have not been implemented.
Government funding levels have not kept pace with rising costs of operating student transportation and are inadequate for a vital public service.  Driver wages and the cost of school bus vehicles and parts take up the biggest portion of contract fees paid by school boards/transportation consortia to school bus service providers.  While a competitive procurement process contributes to accountability, it has also led to processes and outcomes that mistakenly focus on achieving lowest possible costs which inadvertently result in pressure on school bus driver wages seeing as this is the single largest cost of school bus operations.
Funding supplied by the Ministry of Education to school boards is not flowing to student transportation service providers to adequately cover rising costs.  Minister of Education Mitzie Hunter has stated that “…we’ve increased that funding by 40 per cent (since 2003)” (2.5% per year over 16 years).  Unfortunately, a majority of service providers in Ontario have received 25-30% or less since 2003 - representing less than 2% or CPI, or even 0% each year.  Where is the difference going?
OSBA is also requesting the Ministry of Education confirm that all funding provided to school boards/transportation consortia for delivery of pupil transportation services, is allocated directly to cover all costs of transporting students safely and on-time to school, and NOT re-directed to fund other initiatives.

For further information/feedback: Les Cross, President, Ontario School Bus Association (OSBA), Cell 705.229.6835, Email:
eLion, An Electric Bus For The Next Generation

Article By: School Transportation News (Canada)
Article Date: September 29, 2016

Looking to be a role model for society, the eLion electric school bus from Lion Bus is quickly making headway in changing how school districts and the public view this form of alternative transportation.

Lion Bus, a school bus manufacturer founded in 2008, believes that the next step in student transportation is to “get away from the old standards,” said Marc Bédard, president and co-founder of the Canadian-based company. 

Recently, the Québec Government Office welcomed Lion Bus to Washington D.C. Joined by representatives from the U.S. government, as well as regional decision-makers, the day was packed with discussions of the future of sustainability and cost-effective ways to bring green technology to American school districts.

Bédard showcased the eLion at the Embassy of Canada. He also spoke about the importance of global partnerships and how they shape policies and practices to ensure the health and safety of the next generation. 

For now, he said that Lion Bus has a mission to take the electric bus mainstream. While the process to broaden the appeal of electric buses has been a challenge, it is achievable. However, to attain this objective, development must be started now since it is this sort of “long-term thinking that makes a difference.”

“Gasoline is not the investment for the next 50 years,” Bédard said, adding that in the next two years, a Type A electric bus will be released.

The eLion has a range of 100 miles on a single charge. In the next five years, with advances in battery life, Bédard foresees the range of electric buses hitting the 200-mile mark, and eventually, running for even longer on the road before powering up again. 

According to Bédard, interest in the eLion is increasing with Lion Bus procuring orders from a number of school districts around California and Massachusetts, and potential orders reportedly going to other transportation departments around the country.

Currently, a few hundred eLions are in service, districts making purchases from dealers or directly from Lion Bus. As for down the road, Lion Bus expects that districts will seek help from government programs, such as the DERA program or the CARB program in California, as well as the Volkswagen settlement money, to increase their fleet of electric school buses.

“It’s a growing market across the country,” Bédard said. “The electric bus is the right technology for the future.”
Bruce Rodrigues Named Deputy Minister of Education

Article By: Ontario Public School Boards' Association
Article Date: September 29, 2016

Bruce Rodrigues, Chief Executive Officer of the Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO), has been appointed Ontario's Deputy Minister of Education. He will remain with the provincial agency until the middle of October before taking on his new role with the Ministry of Education. 

Mr. Rodrigues takes the helm from interim Deputy Minister of Education Nancy Matthews, who will become Deputy Minister of Children and Youth Services.

A career educator, Mr. Rodrigues has been with EQAO since 2013.  Previously he was the Education Director of the Toronto Catholic District School Board and the Associate Director of Education for the Waterloo Catholic District School Board.
Dates Set For 2018 Canadian Pupil Transportation Conference

Article By: School Transportation News (Niagara Falls, ON)
Article Date: October 11, 2016

The Canadian Pupil Transportation Conference is headed next year to Niagara Falls, Ontario.

The 10th bi-annual event will be held May 13-16, 2018, at the Marriott Gateway Niagara Falls. A one-day trade show is scheduled for the final day.

Conference organizers said on the website that they “are already planning an exciting and informative conference with a diverse group of keynote speakers and presenters, each able to share first-hand knowledge of their specific fields,” to reflect the many aspects and components of safely transporting students.

The 9th CPTC was held this past April in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

For more information, please visit the following link:
Celebrating the 20th Walk to School Day

Article By: U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S.)
Article Date: October 5, 2016

On October 5, 2016, tens of thousands of children, families, and school and community leaders laced up their sneakers and walked to school in celebration of the 20th Walk to School Day.

It’s a fun way to promote active and safe transportation to schools and destinations throughout communities. And it’s more than that: these improvements benefit people of all ages and abilities.

Many communities are finding that starting their efforts focused on safety for children can help build the support needed in order to make bigger changes, including implementing Vision Zero plans to eliminate all traffic fatalities and serious injuries.

Those are some of the key goals of USDOT’s Mayors’ Challenge for Safer People and Safer Streets.

We’ve been working with the Department and local officials nationwide to encourage mayors to join Walk to School events and talk about their community’s commitment to child and youth pedestrian safety.

As a former mayor himself, Secretary Foxx knows well that city leaders have been an important part of the 50,000 Walk to School Day events held since the initiative began.

In fact, at the first Walk to School Day in 1997, it was two mayors – Chicago’s Richard Daley and Los Angeles’ Richard Riordan – who led the first events. 

Recently, NHTSA Deputy Administrator Terry Shelton joined community leaders and residents on behalf of USDOT at a kickoff event in Washington, DC’s historic Lincoln Park.

DC Mayor Muriel Bowser, representatives from the National Center for Safe Routes to School, the FIA Foundation, the Capitol Hill Public School Parents Organization, the District Department of Transportation, and many other special guests joined energetic Walk to School Day participants from local elementary, middle and high schools as they headed to school.

“Improving pedestrian and bicycle safety for kids can benefit people of all ages, abilities, and resources,” said Secretary Foxx. “We are proud to support Walk to School Day and help communities as they work to eliminate traffic fatalities and serious injuries.”

We’ve come a long way in 20 years, and we look forward to many more.
Plan Now For School Bus Safety Week and School Bus Driver Appreciation Day

October 17-21, 2016 is School Bus Safety Week, a special opportunity for bus companies, school boards/transportation consortia, media, parents, students, teachers, motorists and many others - to come together and reinforce the importance and safe image/brand of student transportation across Ontario.  “Bully Free Zone!” is this year’s OSBA theme (adopted from NAPT).  It helps remind everyone that differences should be respected not ridiculed.  A bully free environment is important so that children can feel secure travelling to and from school knowing that bullying will not be tolerated and that there is an ongoing commitment of keeping all kids safe.  HOPEFULLY BY NOW MEMBERS HAVE RECEIVED THE FOLLOWING POSTER – please place in driver areas and any other location you think appropriate!  If you require more copies, please don’t hesitate to let us know!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016 is School Bus Driver Appreciation Day.  Please send us information regarding your driver appreciation activities so that we may highlight in the OSBA newsletter.  Without a doubt, school bus drivers are a very special and talented group of people who embrace a tremendous responsibility to ensure kids remain safe and out of harm’s way each and every day.
STC/Elgie Bus Recognizes Anti-Bullying Month and Celebrates Thanksgiving

Congratulations to Student Transportation of Canada (STC)/Elgie Bus, as they recognize Anti-Bullying month by wearing blue t-shirts!

Other recent activities at STC/Elgie Bus included a lucky draw for a wonderful Thanksgiving basket with the winner being Trevor Marr.

If your company has any special initiatives planned for School Bus Safety Week and/or School Bus Driver Appreciation Day next week, please email us at OSBA would love to highlight and share your activities with all members!

Mark Your Calendar - 2017 P.R.I.D.E. Program Dates

With the last Professional Instructor in Driver Education (P.R.I.D.E.) Program of 2016 just around the corner Oct. 16-21, you may wish to mark your calendar with the 2017 dates.  For 27 years, the P.R.I.D.E. Program has been providing fleet driver instructors with powerful non-lecture adult training techniques and philosophies.

2017 Dates:
  1. January 15-20 - SOLD OUT
  2. March 12-17 (March break)
  3. May 7 - 12
  4. July 9-14
  5. August 13-18
  6. October 15-20
For more information - please visit or contact
REMINDER - 2016 OASBO Annual Conference

If you are not already registered for the upcoming Ontario Association of School Business Officials (OASBO) Annual Pupil Transportation Conference Oct. 26-28, you may wish to consider doing so. Information at following links: 
A number of interesting business sessions have been organized; view conference agenda at the following link: 

Exhibitor registration info for the 1-day trade show at following link: 

For more details:  Ljiljana Allgeier, OASBO, Tel: (905) 209-9704  Fax: (905) 209-9705,
OSBA Webinar - October 19, 2016

A reminder that OSBA's next webinar is Oct. 19, 2016. Only 45 minutes of time to receive valuable information on important student transportation and regulatory issues - 10:00-10:45 am EDT.

The goal of these webinars is to provide attendees with essential operational and safety data not frequently published or easily resourced. Significant, day-to-day performance information is provided that could contribute to changing the way you do business!  Stay tuned for details. Invitation to follow!
2017 P.R.I.D.E. Recertification Program Dates

With the last Professional Instructor in Driver Education (P.R.I.D.E.) Recertification Program of 2016 just around the corner Nov. 23, you may wish to mark your calendar with the 2017 dates:  
  1. Thursday, February 2
  2. Thursday, April 27
  3. Wednesday, June 21
  4. Saturday, August 12
  5. Thursday, October 26
  6. Wednesday, December 6
For more information - please visit or contact
Tougher Penalties For Drug-Impaired Drivers Begins October 2, 2016

Article By: Ministry of Transportation (MTO)
Article Date: September 29, 2016

The province is improving the safety of Ontario roads by bringing in penalties for drug-impaired driving that match those already in place for drunk drivers.

Starting October 2, 2016, drivers under the influence of drugs face the following penalties:
  • A $180 penalty
  • An immediate licence suspension of three days for the first occurrence, seven days for the second occurrence and 30 days for the third and subsequent occurrences upon failure of a roadside sobriety test
  • A possible 90-day licence suspension and a seven-day vehicle impoundment following further testing by a drug recognition expert at a police station
  • Mandatory education or treatment programs, and installation of an ignition interlock device in their vehicle, for drivers with two or more licence suspensions involving alcohol or drugs within a 10-year period
These new measures were introduced as part of the Making Ontario's Roads Safer Act last year. In addition to these penalties, impaired driving can lead to criminal charges which could ultimately result in a loss of licence, additional fines and jail time. 

Keeping our roads safe is part of the government's economic plan to build Ontario up and deliver on its number-one priority to grow the economy and create jobs.
Order Your OSBA Publications Now!

Needing to buy some publications? Visit the OSBA website at and click on the "STORE" tab from the home page to order the following publications.  Or click on the links below and go directly to each order form: Once you have completed the necessary order form, scan/email it to or fax to 416-695-9977. 
Upcoming 2016 Events

Oct. 16-21 Professional Instructor in Driver Education (P.R.I.D.E.) Program - SOLD OUT
Oct. 17-21 School Bus Safety Week (SBSW)
Oct. 17-23 National School Safety Week (Canada Safety Council)
Oct. 19 School Bus Driver Appreciation Day
Oct. 19 OSBA Webinar
Oct. 27-28 2016 OASBO Annual Pupil Transportation Conference
Nov. 23 P.R.I.D.E. Recertification Program
Jan. 15-20 Professional Instructor in Driver Education (P.R.I.D.E.) Program - SOLD OUT
Feb. 2 P.R.I.D.E. Recertification Program
Mar. 12-17 Professional Instructor in Driver Education (P.R.I.D.E.) Program
Apr. 9-12 2017 Ontario Transportation Expo – Conference and Trade Show
Apr. 27 P.R.I.D.E. Recertification Program
May 1-5 Alberta Student Transportation Advisory Council (ASTAC)
May 7-12 Professional Instructor in Driver Education (P.R.I.D.E.) Program
June 21 P.R.I.D.E. Recertification Program
July-Dec. See OSBA website for future events/dates:
Copyright © 2016 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.

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