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The Ontario School Bus Association (OSBA) is a non-profit association providing advocacy and education services for the owners of school bus fleets, school boards/transportation consortia and supplier/manufacturer companies across Ontario.  
January 6, 2015 - Issue 1

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Inside this Edition:
  1. Happy New Year
  2. School Bus Transportation Procurement A "Mess" In Ontario - Student Safety Taking A Back Seat?
  3. Cold Snap Prompts Health & Safety Question About Minimum Interior Temperature of a School Bus
  4. Reminder - Additional AODA Requirements Effective January 1, 2015
  5. 2015 OSBA Webinars
  6. Upcoming Events

As the New Year transitions with fresh hopes and aspirations, the OSBA Board of Directors and contractors wish all OSBA members and their families a very happy, healthy and prosperous 2015.

School Bus Transportation Procurement A "Mess" In Ontario - Student Safety Taking A Back Seat?

In a news release issued by OSBA on Jan. 5/15 to approximately 900 media outlets, it was noted that if the Ministry of Education does not soon step in and take much needed action to advise school boards on how to appropriately purchase and maintain student transportation services, these services may have to be cut, parents may have to pay for their kids to take the school bus, or be left with less safe alternatives for getting their kids to and from school.

Seven years ago the Ontario government decided that school bus transportation would be included in the Government of Ontario’s Broader Public Sector Accountability Act (BPSAA).  School bus services would be acquired through a competitive procurement process (or “RFP” - Request for Proposals), instead of the historical negotiation process, in order to be fully and rightfully accountable to the taxpayers of Ontario.

OSBA continues to support a fair purchasing process, however, countless delays and uncertainty in reviewing and revamping the process from its initial development, are causing numerous, tentative, ill-advised, ad-hoc practices which are being executed by school boards and their affiliated transportation consortia due to the ambiguity of an impartial procurement process.

Lawsuits against the Ontario government and school boards have frozen contract rates and negotiations to a point that risks the impeccable safety record of the industry.  This has already caused an exodus of qualified, caring drivers and support staff to higher paying jobs in other industries and could result in service cuts and more parents having to arrange and pay for private school busing.

This is a matter of preserving an important service upon which Ontario families depend.  It is about maintaining school bus vehicles and service at an appropriate level to ensure secure, on-time transportation for all kids.  It is not about large or small bus companies, local or multi-national corporations.  This is about ensuring appropriate procurement and funding processes for school busing in Ontario.

Members, the public and media are strongly encouraged to contact local school board trustees and MPP’s, urging them to reach out to the Ministry of Education for action – to confirm a fair procurement process and sufficient funding for all student transportation in Ontario.

Cold Snap Prompts Health & Safety Question About Minimum Interior Temperature of a School Bus

OSBA recently received a call from a member asking if there is a workplace health and safety regulation that prescribes a minimum temperature to be maintained in a school bus. The school bus company was responding to a concern raised by a driver about the cool interior temperature when the bus was operating on very cold days. OSBA checked with the Ministry of Labour who informed us that there is no minimum temperature or exposure limit prescribed for a school bus as a “workplace” in Ontario.  A school bus would not be considered an “enclosed workplace” under s. 129 of the Industrial Regulation.  However, the Occupational Health and Safety Act, section 25(2)(h), requires an employer to take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker and this would include assessing the risk of cold weather exposure (cold stress) and implementing appropriate control measures where risks are identified.

REMINDER - Additional AODA Requirements Effective January 1, 2015

The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) was passed in 2005. If you operate a business in Ontario (unless your business is federally regulated), you are subject to the AODA and the standards.  Many of the requirements under the Act and regulations have been phased in gradually since 2012.   January 1, 2015 was the next “trigger date” for additional obligations under the Act and regulations as follows:

  • Effective January 1, 2015 businesses with 50 or more employees must ensure customer feedback processes are in a format accessible to persons with disabilities and must notify the public of the availability of accessible formats.
  • Effective January 1, 2015 businesses with under 50 employees must implement policies on how they will achieve accessibility through compliance with the regulation. [This requirement has been in place since January 1, 2014 for businesses with 50 or more employees].
  • Effective January 1, 2015 businesses with under 50 employees must consider accessibility when designing or procuring self-service kiosks. [This requirement has been in place since January 1, 2014 for businesses with 50 or more employees].
     
  • Effective January 1, 2015 businesses with 50 or more employees must ensure:
    1. Training is provided to all employees appropriate to their duties (including anyone who provides services on behalf of the business) on the requirements of the Integrated Accessibility Regulation (O. Reg. 191/11) and on the Human Rights Code as it pertains to persons with disabilities.
    2. Changes to the organization’s Accessibility Policies & Plans are covered in training on an on-going basis.
    3. Training records are kept, including dates and number of employees trained.
2015 OSBA Webinars

Mark your calendar now for upcoming OSBA webinars with OSBA safety and legislative expert Dave Carroll on the following dates:

  • March 11
  • June 10
  • October 21
  • December 2

Timely, helpful topics are presented regarding industry information not easily or quickly found elsewhere.  Gather your staff together and build training opportunities for your team.  Suggestions for webinar topics are always welcome.  Send to info@osba.on.ca.

Upcoming Events
 
P.R.I.D.E. Program
Jan. 11-16, 2015


OSBA Webinar
Mar. 11, 2015

P.R.I.D.E. Program
Mar. 15-20, 2015


Ontario Transportation Expo (OTE)
Apr. 12-15, 2015
P.R.I.D.E. Program
May 24-29, 2015

OSBA Webinar
June 10, 2015
P.R.I.D.E. Program
July 12-17, 2015
P.R.I.D.E. Program
Aug. 9-14, 2015
P.R.I.D.E. Program

Oct. 18-23, 2015
OSBA Webinar
Oct. 21, 2015
OSBA Webinar
Dec. 2, 2015
Copyright © 2014 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
SUBMISSIONS WELCOME
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.