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.  
August 17, 2016 - Issue 17

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Inside this Edition:
  1. OSBA and OASBO Special Needs Passengers Evacuation Video Available for Viewing
  2. National Safety Council Calls for School Bus Seat Belts
  3. REMINDER - Licence Upgrades and Renewals!
  4. CVOR and MVIS Program Services Will Soon be Online
  5. Electric School Bus Pilot Program - Massachusetts
  6. Plan Now for School Bus Safety Week and School Bus Driver Appreciation Day
  7. School Bus Wi-Fi Now Available - Minnesota
  8. P.R.I.D.E. Recertification Program - Only Two Courses Left This Year!
  9. IC Bus Unveils 'The Next Stop' to Explore Future of the Bus Industry
  10. First Student Offers 16 Back-to-School Safety Tips for Students, Parents and Drivers
  11. Order Your OSBA Publications Now!
  12. Upcoming 2016 Events
OSBA and OASBO Special Needs Passengers Evacuation Training Video Available for Viewing

For the past several years, the Ontario School Bus Association (OSBA) and the Ontario Association of School Business Officials (OASBO) have been working together on the development of a Special Needs Passengers Evacuation training video.

This video provides an excellent overview for drivers of special needs vehicles regarding the types of emergencies that can happen and how to quickly and properly evacuate passengers.

At this time, the video is available for viewing on the OSBA website.  We are currently working on a downloadable version and will advise when it becomes available. Simply log in to the members only section of the website (top right corner of the home page), then click on the "EDUCATION" button. If you have forgotten your website log in, don't have a log in, or if you would like more information regarding the video, please contact OSBA – 416.695.9965 Ext. 6
National Safety Council Calls for School Bus Seat Belts

Article By: School Transportation News (U.S.A.)
Article Date: August 12, 2016

It’s been almost a year since the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration endorsed the addition of three-point seat belts on school buses. Now the National Safety Council has joined in the appeal for the inclusion of safety restraints for child passengers.

The NSC announcement called for uniform safety practices for children across multiple modes of transportation, including school buses, airplanes and personal vehicles.

"It is time for consistent policies to ensure children arrive safely, regardless of the mode of transportation or the jurisdiction they travel through," said Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of the NSC.

The recommendation also urged the installation of lap and shoulder belts on new school buses with proper restraints for children with special needs, Hersman adding that these proposals are necessary due to the "patchwork system of laws, regulations and standards means the safety of our most vulnerable travelers can slip through the cracks."

The NSC stressed that while school buses remain the safest way to transport children to and from school, seat belts add an extra layer of protection.

“Seat belts are proven to save lives. Child restraints in personal vehicles reduce the risk of death by up to 71 percent among infants, 54 percent among toddlers and 45 percent among children ages 4-8,” the NSC said in a statement.  

The NSC is a nonprofit organization with over a century of experience saving lives by preventing injuries and deaths at work and in homes and communities, as well as on the road through leadership, research, education and advocacy.

A full explanation the recent NSC recommendations can be viewed here.
REMINDER - Licence Upgrades and Renewals!

Recognized Authorities (RA’s) and Signing Authorities (SA’s) are reminded that school bus drivers no longer need to have a referral notice/envelope when going to a DriveTest/Service Ontario center given that this information should already be electronically inputted into the MTO Driver Certification Program (DCP) system by the designated Recognized Authority Official (RAO).
  1. Upon arrival, drivers must advise the counter clerk at the DriveTest/Service Ontario centre that they require an upgrade or renewal and it was already entered into the DCP system.  This transaction needs to be initiated by the clerk in order for the information to be transferred from the DCP system.  If the clerk seems to be unaware of the process, the driver should ask for the centre manager.  If they still cannot process the transaction, the driver can ask them to call “Hotline”.  Hotline has access to the DCP system and can confirm the eligibility for an upgrade or renewal.
  2. Also, school bus drivers are required to complete an “Application for School Bus Driver’s Licence” form (SR-LD-006 2013/04 (p)) onsite at the DriveTest/Service Ontario center each time a licence upgrade or renewal is done.  This form will be given by the counter clerk to the driver at the time of upgrade or renewal.  MTO advises that the reason for completing this form each time is to ensure that MTO receives current and legal responses to the eight (8) questions asked on the form.
For further information, contact Keith Madill, Driver Programs Office, Program Development and Evaluation Branch, Road User Safety Division, 416.235.6704
CVOR and MVIS Program Services Will Soon be Online

The Ministry of Transportation (MTO) will be implementing an online public service that will allow clients to access their business information in one place and conduct a variety of transactions.  The new online channel seeks to improve service delivery and client satisfaction.  
The online option will allow clients to:
  • Submit original applications for Commercial Vehicle Operators Registration (CVOR) Certificates and MVIS Licences.
  • View transaction status updates and notifications.
Clients will be permitted to complete the following specific transactions:
1.      Commercial Vehicle Operator Registration
  • Renew an expired CVOR certificate
  • Re-enter the CVOR program
  • Update client information
  • Terminate a CVOR certificate
  • Initiate a dispute regarding a safety rating or event
  • Upload written submissions in relation to a sanction
  • Request a voluntary facility audit
  • Order carrier abstracts
2.      Motor Vehicle Inspection Station (MVIS)
  • Renew an expired MVIS licence
  • Update client information
  • Terminate a station licence
  • Add or delete station technicians
  • Order stock
For more information, contact:  Brian Swan, Carrier Safety & Enforcement Branch, Ministry of Transportation, 905.704.3946,
Electric School Bus Pilot Program - Massachusetts

Article By: CleanTechnica (Massachusetts)
Article Date: August 16, 2016

The government of the state of Massachusetts has awarded a total of $1.4 million in grants to pay for the operation of a new electric school bus pilot program, according to recent reports.

The grant money was spread across four different awards ($350,000 each) and will be used to purchase electric school buses and chargers, and to pay for the operation of the pilot project. The pilot is intended to test the viability and potential benefits of the technology (reduced emissions, etc.).

The stated goal of the state Department of Energy Resources’ new “Vehicle-to-Grid Electric School Bus pilot program” is apparently to reduce petroleum fuel usage by around 22,680 gallons of “gasoline equivalent.” The 4 grants went to: the Acton-Boxborough Regional School District, Amherst Public Schools, Cambridge Public Schools, and Concord Public Schools.

As most have probably already guessed, the new Vehicle-to-Grid Electric School Bus pilot program is one of the first electric school bus demonstrations in the US, and especially on the East Coast.

“Massachusetts schools are leading the way by testing clean and resilient energy technology that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation sector,” commented Governor Charlie Baker. “This innovative project will also reduce fuel costs and aid our commitment to a cleaner future for the Commonwealth.”

The electric school buses used in the pilot project will be supplied by the Canadian manufacturer Lion Bus, whose electric school bus Kyle Field highlighted for CleanTechnica in May.

Here are a couple of further details on the bus: “The new type C electric bus from Lion Bus, called the eLion, first hit the roads in Canada and the United States in 2015. Powered by a TM4 electric motor, the bus can travel up to 75 miles on a full charge. It will be available in multi-function school activity and commercial applications with up to a 72 passenger capacity", said Marc-Andre Page, marketing manager for Lion Bus.
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.  “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.

THE POSTER BELOW IS COMING TO YOU at the beginning of September – please place in driver areas and any other location you think appropriate!
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.  School bus drivers are a very special and talented group of people who embrace a tremendous responsibility to ensure kids remain protected and out of harm’s way each and every day.

School Bus Wi-Fi Now Available - Minnesota

Article By: School Transportation News (Lisle, IL)
Article Date: August 15, 2016

The Minnesota Department of Education announced it is accepting applications for the Broadband Expansion Off-Campus Learning Grant Program, which includes funds to make Wi-Fi available on school buses.

A total of $500,000 in grant funds are available, and individual applicants are eligible to receive up to $50,000 each. The goal of the grant program is to provide access and connectivity to students from low-income families and/or in underserved neighborhoods.

“The grant program is available to public and charter schools to support expanding broadband access for students,” said Rep. Dale Lueck, R-Aitkin last week. “We fashioned this program to go right at unserved and underserved areas like rural Aitkin and Crow Wing counties. The program also takes into consideration access for low income families. Broadband is a very important tool for all our students in today’s education environment.”

The program is split into two parts. Part A supports wireless, off-campus learning through the use of USB modems, data cards or other mobile broadband devices. Applicants must discuss their approach in prioritizing access for low-income students, and may include descriptions of local or private matching grants or in-kind contributions.

Part B focuses on school bus internet access. School districts that are eligible for general education transportation sparsity revenue may apply for a school bus internet access grant as part of the overall application process. Part B funds may be used to buy or lease things like routers and mobile hotspots, as well as 1:1 devices.
P.R.I.D.E. Recertification Program - Only Two Courses Left This Year!

The P.R.I.D.E. Program is an approved course provider to deliver the Ontario Ministry of Transportation Driver Certification Program (DCP) Recertification program. This course is only one day of classroom training plus pre-course study/preparation work.  It focuses on recertifying Signing Authorities (SA’s) on the principles and techniques of effective adult education in a commercial vehicle driver trainer context.  It also provides a refresher regarding the roles and responsibilities of a Recognized Authority, Recognized Authority Official, Signing Authority-Trainer, Signing Authority-Examiner, road test route configurations, marking road tests and an overview of DCP and the Signing Authority Examiner Code of Ethics.  Recertification is valid for a period of five years.  

Two courses are scheduled for the remainder of 2016 -- Sept. 28 and Nov. 23.  Participants from a variety of industries (fire, school bus, public transit, motor coach) who attended this year’s programs provided the following accolades:
  • Keep doing what you are doing; P.R.I.D.E. is the “benchmark of excellence”!
  • Very informative; beneficial to be able to come together with others that are Signing Authorities and get new ideas and how to do new things.
  • Excellent!  Content, pace was very good.  I cannot see anything to improve this course.
  • Well facilitated, constructive atmosphere, lots to learn as a trainer.
The Sept. 28 program is filling up quickly so send in your registration form today! 
P.R.I.D.E. Programs are held at the Admiral Inn Burlington,  Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis. Contact for further information –
IC Bus Unveils 'The Next Stop' to Explore Future of the Bus Industry

Article By: School Transportation News (Lisle, Ill)
Article Date: August 15, 2016

IC Bus has launched a new initiative, 'The Next Stop', aimed at imagining the needs of the bus industry's future. Through a collaborative approach, IC Bus will lead the way in bringing together the brightest minds of the industry to map out the road ahead.

"This initiative reflects our commitment to lead, innovate and revolutionize the bus industry as a leading manufacturer of school buses," said Trish Reed, vice president and general manager, IC Bus. "As technology advances the pace of change, IC Bus is a value driven company poised to cultivate and model the best solutions to the current and future demands of the school bus industry. We hear what people say—that they want safe, renewable, technology driven transportation solutions for their buses—and the fact is, we agree."

The campaign includes an Imagination Contest for students K-8 and an Innovation Summit to generate collaboration among industry thought leaders and innovators:

  • Imagination Contest – What will the bus of the future look like? Who better to ask than our future visionaries? Details on the contest that will launch on September 15th will be posted on
  • Innovation Summit – IC Bus will convene a cross section of industry thought leaders in early 2017 at the Navistar world headquarters in Lisle, Ill. for a conference to cultivate and bring to market imaginative, challenging and big ideas—all with the goal of demonstrating the future of the school bus industry.
"The Next Stop initiative facilitates dialogue with all the stakeholders in pupil transportation -- parents, students, customers and transportation partners alike," said Mark Johnson, vice president, Marketing, Navistar. "We are committed to engaging these stakeholders through events, social media and other new marketing vehicles to collectively chart the path of the industry over the next decade."

Find out more at
First Student Offers 16 Back-to-School Safety Tips for Students, Parents and Drivers

Article By: School Transportation News (Cincinnati, OH)
Article Date: August 12, 2016

It's back-to-school season, which means yellow buses are back on the roads. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, school buses are 23 times safer than passenger cars and 10 times safer than walking.

First Student, North America's largest student transportation provider, has the industry's strongest safety record. The company's hiring, training and ongoing development programs help deliver a ride that is twice as safe as the industry average. First Student is also the only school transportation company to receive the National Safety Council Green Cross for Safety®, the highest award for safety in North America.

According to First Student, everyone plays a role in the safety of students on school buses.

"There is an entire ecosystem of safety around school buses. This includes road signs, traffic laws, the size, weight and construction of the bus, and the skill of the driver. It also includes the parents, drivers and other motorists," said First Student President Dennis R. Maple. "We all play a crucial role in ensuring students get to school safely. Please, be aware, be alert and be safe this school year."

First Student offers the following back-to-school safety tips to students, parents and drivers:

Top 5 Bus Safety Tips For Students:
  1. Stand Back. Stay 10 giant steps away from the outside of the bus at all times. If you stand too close, the bus driver can't see you.
  2. Wait for OK to Cross. Wait until your bus driver gives you the OK sign before crossing the street.
  3. Use the Handrail. Heavy backpacks and wet shoes are no match for the handrail. Hold on tight when getting on and off the bus to keep from tripping or slipping.
  4. Sit the Right Way. Once you sit down, keep both feet flat on the floor and your back against the seat.
  5. Be Still Until the Bus Completely Stops. It's fun to be first, but it's more important to be patient. Wait for the bus to completely stop before you try to get on board. And always stay in your seat while the bus is moving.
Top 5 Bus Safety Tips for Motorists:
  1. Maintain a Safe Distance. School buses stop frequently. Leave plenty of distance between your car and the bus in front of you so you can safely apply the brakes once lights start to flash.
  2. Stop for Stop Arms. Red flashing lights and an extended stop arm mean a child is entering or exiting the bus. On two-lane roadways, come to a complete stop (in either direction) until the stop arm and red lights are deactivated.
  3. Never Pass From Behind. Passing a stopped school bus from behind as it loads and unloads children is illegal.
  4. Give Riders Plenty of Room. Children are hard to see within the 10-foot area surrounding a school bus. When stopping, help keep children safe by giving them plenty of room to get on or off the bus.
  5. Know Your Local Laws. Laws regarding when to pass a stopped school bus on a roadway with four or more lanes can vary. 
Top 6 Tips for Parents of First-Time Riders:
  1. Read About the Bus. There are lots of great children's books about buses - read them together to allow your child to "experience" riding a school bus from the comfort of home.
  2. Explore a Bus. School orientation events often offer first-time students a chance to check out the bus and go for a short ride around the community.
  3. Visit the Bus Stop. Before school starts, drive past your child's bus stop and review how pick up and drop off works. Reassure your child that you or a caregiver will be by their side.
  4. Test the Memory. Many kids fear that they'll never be able to find their bus without mom or dad. Help your child remember his or her bus number and write it down in case he or she forgets.
  5. Introduce Your Child. A quick hello will help your bus driver learn your child's name and help your child recognize the driver in the bus line.
  6. Show Your Excitement! Children take cues from their parents - celebrate your child's first bus ride with big hugs, high fives and lots of pictures!
Additional tips can be found at
Order Your OSBA Publications Now!

As the summer break comes to an end, it's the perfect time to purchase your publications for the upcoming school year!  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.  
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.