Root Cause of Ontario School Bus Driver Shortages: Systematic Underfunding of Student Transportation

Without a remedy, planned minimum wage increases are likely to worsen the problem

TORONTO, Aug. 10, 2017 /CNW/ - The Ontario School Bus Association (OSBA) sent the following letter to the Ombudsman of Ontario in response to the report his office released today:

August 10, 2017

Mr. P. Dubé
Office of the Ombudsman of Ontario
483 Bay Street, 10th Floor, South Tower
Toronto, ON
M5G 2C9

Dear Mr. Dubé:

We thank the Ombudsman for "The Route of the Problem" Report.  We appreciate the recognition of the challenging, important jobs that professional school bus drivers and school bus operators provide to Ontario children across the province.

To the extent that the disruptions considered by the Report were mostly attributed to the communications, operations and planning of the school boards and the TSTG, OSBA is confident that the recommendations will contribute to improvements that could benefit the entire student transportation system.

We are concerned, however, that the Report stops short of addressing the real origin of the problem, which in our opinion is driver shortages, which has its root cause from systemic underfunding of student transportation.  In order to address this problem, it is necessary to provide funding to allow professional school bus drivers to be appropriately paid.

The proposed increases in Ontario's minimum wage will improve school bus drivers' wages, but current procurement and contracting practices will require bus operator service providers to absorb these increased wage costs.

OSBA is very concerned that these increased costs will create an impossible, unsustainable situation for bus operators and the entire student transportation industry when the minimum wage increase takes effect in January 2018.

A solution to this pending problem is required.  We will continue to work with the Ministry of Education and school boards/transportation consortia to implement a sustainable student transportation system.

Regards,

Mark Begg
President

cc:  Hon. Mitzie Hunter, Minister of Education

About OSBA

The Ontario School Bus Association (OSBA), founded in 1951, is the premier association providing advocacy, education, legislative and regulatory services to the provincial school bus industry.  Our school bus operator members own and operate 75% of all school purpose vehicles in Ontario.  OSBA member partners include school boards/transportation consortia and supplier/manufacturers.  Together, the school bus industry maintains the highest safety record of all commercial vehicles on the road, according to Transport Canada.

SOURCE Ontario School Bus Association

For further information: Media Inquiries: Emily Naddaf, enaddaf@strategycorp.com (quick response), 416-864-7920

RELATED LINKS
http://www.osba.on.ca

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Ontario School Bus Association

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