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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.  
September 28, 2016 - Issue 20

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Inside this Edition:
  1. Ombudsman to Investigate Toronto School Busing Issues
  2. OSBA Follow Up With Minister of Education
  3. Meeting with Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) - Vehicle Emission Inspections
  4. Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) - Bill 132 Amendments
  5. 2016 OSBA Driver Excellence Recognition Award
  6. Camera Trial Catches Dozens of Vehicles Passing Stopped School Buses
  7. REMINDER - 2016 OASBO Annual Conference
  8. Plan Now For School Bus Safety Week and School Bus Driver Appreciation Day
  9. 360 Degree: Video Technology Addresses School Bus Blind Spots
  10. REMINDER - OSBA Webinar - October 19, 2016
  11. Upcoming 2016 Events
Ombudsman to Investigate Toronto School Busing Issues

Press Release By: Ombudsman Ontario
Article Date: September 26, 2016


Ombudsman Paul Dubé has announced his office will conduct a systemic investigation into recent school busing problems at the Toronto District School Board and Toronto Catholic District School Board.
 
The investigation will focus on whether the boards’ oversight of student transportation and their response to delays and disruptions at the start of the 2016-2017 school year was adequate.
 
“Nearly four weeks into the school year, we continue to receive complaints from frustrated families who are experiencing chronic delays or are repeatedly forced to scramble to get children to school when their buses don’t show up,” Mr. Dubé said.
 
Both boards have received formal notice and the Ombudsman’s team of investigators will now conduct interviews with relevant officials and witnesses, and gather all relevant information from the boards and their transportation consortium. The investigation will be completed as quickly as possible, Mr. Dubé said.
 
“Our primary focus will be on what happened with these two boards, leading up to and during the present situation. We will look at what the boards knew about possible transportation problems, how they responded and, communicated with parents, and what can be done to prevent such problems in future,” he said.
 
Noting that a few of the 49 complaints received about this issue to date related to other boards and broader issues, the Ombudsman said his office will keep an eye on those while moving ahead with the Toronto-focused probe.
 
“We have had a few complaints about busing in other areas, and some indicating there is a broader problem with the school transportation procurement process across the province,” he said. “As we determine what happened in Toronto, we will be able to evaluate whether it’s necessary to look at broader issues.”
 
Anyone who has information relevant to the investigation can contact the Ombudsman’s office through the online complaint form, by phone (1-800-263-1830), or email (info@ombudsman.on.ca).
 
The Ombudsman’s mandate was expanded to include oversight of all Ontario school boards as of September 1, 2015, and it has received more than 800 complaints about them to date. This is the first formal investigation of school boards; other cases were quickly resolved and closed.
 
The Ombudsman is an independent, impartial Office of the Legislature that oversees Ontario government organizations (including the Ministry of Education), as well as municipalities and universities. The Ombudsman recommends constructive solutions to individual and systemic administrative problems.
OSBA Follow Up With Minister of Education

On behalf of all members, OSBA Government Relations Consultant Rick Donaldson spoke with Minister Hunter's political staff Sept. 19/16 regarding school bus start up and funding concerns. He emphasized that Premier Wynne's promise in June 2014 to review cost benchmarks for the 2015-2016 school year was not kept.  Also, former Minister Sandals acknowledgement in 2015 to address how student transportation is funded as there is no true formula existing, has also not been kept.  Rick requested a formal response to OSBA’s June letter, more details than the form letter we recently received, in advance of the October OSBA Board of Directors meeting.  It is past time for the government to honour their commitments to address student transportation funding.
Meeting with Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) - Vehicle Emission Inspections

On Sep. 23, 2016, OSBA, ISBOA and OMCA attended a meeting with the MOECC’s Sector Compliance Branch regarding their Vehicle Emissions Program.  The meeting provided an overview of the emissions program, outlining objectives, current activities and how it differs from Drive Clean.

Current components of the Vehicle Emissions Program are:
  1. Roadside inspections which focus on vehicles with excessive smoke exiting their exhaust in relation to tail pipe emission limits set out in the Environmental Protection Act.
  2. Ways to promote vehicle emission control system compliance.
During the meeting, MOECC suggested a proposed School Bus Vehicle Emissions pilot project.  This pilot would look at a small sample of the school bus industry’s diesel powered school buses to observe emission levels and maintenance practices.  MOECC noted that they are sensitive to current industry challenges and are committed to working innovatively with the industry going forward. 

The MOECC vehicle emissions program differs from Drive Clean in that roadside inspections are conducted on all ages of vehicles (Drive Clean only evaluates vehicles 7 years and older).  In addition, diesel engine emissions are checked for additional harmful compounds whereas Drive Clean only targets opacity (smoke density) levels.

OSBA looks forward to continued discussions with the MOECC this Fall and believes this is an opportunity to highlight the school bus industry’s high level of maintenance standards and compliance regarding vehicle emissions.

Information regarding vehicle emission limits and the drive clean program are contained in Ontario Regulation 361/98, which can be viewed at: https://www.ontario.ca/laws/regulation/980361

In addition, a copy of the Drive Clean Guide can also be viewed at: http://www.downloads.ene.gov.on.ca/envision/env_reg/er/documents/2015/012-3944_Guide.pdf

For further information or to provide any comments/suggestions, please contact OSBA's Safety and Legislation Consultant, Alex Bugeya – abugeya@osba.on.ca or 416-695-9965 Ext. 4
Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) - Bill 132 Amendments

On Mar. 8, 2016, the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) was amended through the enactment of Bill 132 – “Sexual Violence and Harassment Action Plan Act”.  Highlights are as follows:

A requirement for employers to develop and maintain a written workplace harassment program

The written workplace harassment program must be developed in consultation with a joint health and safety committee or health and safety representative within the organization.  A workplace harassment program differs from a workplace harassment policy in that the program is intended to outline how the policy itself is to be administered in the workplace.  At minimum, the program must be reviewed annually and include:
  • reporting procedures
  • how incidents will be investigated or dealt with
  • how confidentiality will be maintained during an investigation
  • how the results will be communicated to the complainant, including any corrective action being taken. 
An alternate reporting option as part of the workplace harassment program

Where the alleged harasser is the complainant’s supervisor or employer, an alternative reporting option must be available.  This may include a number of designated persons, however where the alleged harasser is the employer, the person designated must not be under direct control of the employer (alleged harasser).

A requirement that the employer ensure an appropriate investigation is conducted as part of the workplace harassment program

OHSA requires the employer to conduct an investigation that is “appropriate in the circumstances” into complaints or incidents of workplace harassment.  This should include any interim measures that are to be taken and how the elements of the complaint or incident will be kept confidential and not disclosed unless absolutely necessary.

Enhanced authorities for Ministry of Labour (MOL) Inspectors

There is a new authority for MOL inspectors to issue a written order requiring an employer to conduct a workplace harassment investigation utilizing an impartial third party.

Additional definition for “workplace sexual harassment”

“Workplace sexual harassment” has now been included in OHSA’s definition of “workplace harassment”.  This specifically outlines and clarifies that sexual harassment is included in the broader context of workplace harassment and thus, specifically includes it in the required policies, programs and reporting to address workplace harassment.

The full text of Bill 132 can be viewed at this link, with Schedule 4 containing the OHSA changes: http://www.ontla.on.ca/web/bills/bills_detail.do?locale=en&BillID=3535

Additionally, more information on workplace harassment policies and programs can be found through the Ministry of Labour’s “Code of Practice to Address Workplace Harassment Under Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act”:
https://www.labour.gov.on.ca/english/hs/pubs/harassment/

For further information or to provide any comments/suggestions, please contact OSBA's Safety and Legislation Consultant, Alex Bugeya – abugeya@osba.on.ca or 416-695-9965 Ext. 4
2016 OSBA Driver Excellence Recognition Award

A quick reminder that the deadline date for submission of nomination forms for the 2016 OSBA Driver Excellence Recognition Award is this Fri. Sept. 30! A tremendous opportunity to recognize and thank dedicated school bus drivers for their ongoing commitment to safe driving and customer service excellence. Please submit the following nomination form to info@osba.on.ca. The form can be found at the following links:
All nomination forms will be reviewed and one candidate will be selected by a committee of the OSBA Board of Directors.  The awards will be presented on Oct. 27, 2016 at the Blue Mountain Resort, Collingwood during the Ontario Association of School Business Officials (OASBO) annual pupil transportation conference (to be confirmed).
 
We look forward to hearing from you by
Sept. 30th.  If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at info@osba.on.ca.
Camera Trial Catches Dozens of Vehicles Passing Stopped School Buses

Article By: CTV News (Kitchener, ON)
Article Date: September 26, 2016


A pilot project equipping Waterloo Region school buses with cameras to catch other drivers passing stopped buses caught more violations than even the president of the company supplying the cameras expected to see.

For 23 days near the end of the last school year, Force Multiplier Solutions Canada arranged for cameras to be placed on six school buses around the region.

An apparatus containing seven cameras was placed on the side of each of the buses.

By the time the trial was over, the cameras had recorded 97 occasions on which another vehicle had illegally passed a stopped school bus – an average of about 0.7 violations per bus per day.

“We knew it was happening often. We just didn’t realize that it was at that rate,” said Jean Souliere of Force Multiplier Solutions Canada.

Souliere said he expected the per-bus-per-day number to sit somewhere between 0.1 or 0.25. He says a similar project in Mississauga caught 2.5 vehicles blowing passed the average stopped bus on a typical day.

In one local case, Souliere says, the same child ended up in danger twice on the same day – once from a vehicle passing their bus, and once due to a vehicle approaching it from the opposite direction.

The initial pilot program was funded by Souliere’s company.

He says he hopes the results will lead school boards to see value in a wider rollout of the technology, although he sees challenges on that front due to shrinking budgets for busing and lack of the “commercial incentive” driving similar changes in the private sector.

“The technology used to move our things is much more advanced than the technology school bus companies use to move our kids,” he said.

Waterloo Region District School Board staff have recommended installing cameras on buses permanently, but ultimately the decision rests with Student Transportation Services Waterloo Region, which oversees busing in the region.
REMINDER - 2016 OASBO Annual Conference

A few quick reminders regarding the upcoming Ontario Association of School Business Officials (OASBO) Annual Pupil Transportation Conference Oct. 26-28: 
A number of interesting business sessions have been organized; view conference agenda at the following link: http://c.ymcdn.com/sites/www.oasbo.org/resource/resmgr/transportation/OASBO_Transp_Agenda_August_2.pdf 

Exhibitor registration info for the 1-day trade show at following link: http://c.ymcdn.com/sites/www.oasbo.org/resource/resmgr/transportation/TranspExhibit2016_sponsorshi.pdf 

For more details:  Ljiljana Allgeier, OASBO, Tel: (905) 209-9704  Fax: (905) 209-9705, ljiljana@oasbo.org
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.
360 Degree: Video Technology Addresses School Bus Blind Spots

Article By: School Transportation News (U.S.)
Article Date: September 20, 2016


School districts are showing a growing interest in a developing trend in video technology they believe could have a tremendous impact on student safety around the school bus by making the Danger Zone less dangerous.

The technology is known by different product names, depending upon the manufacturer, but its common vernacular is the 360-degree video camera system. It comprises a series of cameras mounted around the bus that complements FMVSS mirror systems by effectively eliminating driver blind spots that have proven so deadly in the past. 

School bus OEMs Thomas Built Buses and Collins Bus offer the technology as options as do the industry’s traditional video surveillance providers. But the practice of customers specifying the cameras is in its “infancy” right now, said Matt Scheuler, vice president of Collins for parent company REV Group.

One of those taking note is Houston Independent School District. Shop Manager Andres Montes said he’s been impressed with the 360-degree system on display at trade shows. Houston currently has a four-camera system but blind spots remain. “What I like most about the 360-degree system is you can see everything around you from the view above the bus,” he explained. “If something is there you’ll be able to see it.”

Josh Rice, transportation director for nearby New Caney ISD, said even though his district does not have the 360-degree camera system, he believes it will become very popular in the school bus market by adding to the safety of students around the bus. “As we train new drivers, we always stress the danger zones that exist around the buses,” Rice said. “What a great way to assist the driver in eliminating that area by being able to see it on camera. I believe that it will aide in the loading and unloading process by giving the 360-degee view around the bus.”

Lori Jetha, director of marketing for video surveillance manufacturer Seon, said 360-degree technology has been around for a couple years but has just recently received media notice. “We’ve seen this type of system become more popular within the past year,” Jetha said. “But there are still not that many systems in operation. I think it’s a matter of awareness because the technology is available. As an industry, we just have to get the word out.”

Jetha said backup cameras are a relatively low cost solution if backing up is the main concern. Most school districts prohibit school bus drivers from backing up unless they have a guide or they are navigating the bus yard. Some states have laws prohibiting it. “We’ve found the view in the front of the bus and the curbside view are most important. If there’s a child running beside the bus the driver might not see that in a side mirror because it is a blind spot,” she said. “But you would see the child with a 360-degree system.”

The introduction of the new technology is also accompanied by concerns that bus drivers are distracted. Skeptics say the more technology advances to make children safer on school buses and add to the efficient operation of bus fleets, the more instruments are placed on a school bus that require the bus driver’s attention.

Jetha said she has not heard of any concerns expressed about the system’s monitors distracting drivers. “In essence, the 360-degree camera system is like a mirror, she said. “And mirrors are not seen as distractions. This is a way to see around the bus.”

She added that kids are most at risk when a bus is moving away from a stop. “That’s when most accidents happen,” she said. “That’s the benefit of having four cameras; you’re getting a live view from around the bus.”

A bigger issue, she added, is whether the driver checks the mirror each time before putting the bus in motion. “It’s the same with monitors as with mirrors,” Jetha said. “It’s a training issue.”

Richie Howard, president and CEO of AngelTrax, said the 360-degree system is used mostly on automobiles and requires some modification on buses because the setup is dependent upon the length of the vehicle. He cautioned that the 360 system may not be a substitute for side cameras or backup cameras because the system’s lack of depth of field. “When you use a 360-degree camera you may get three to four feet on the side of the bus, but if you need to see what’s happening in the adjoining lanes or across the street, you won’t get that,” Howard said.
REMINDER: OSBA Webinar - October 19, 2016

A reminder that OSBA's next webinar is on October 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!
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  
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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