TORONTO, Feb. 14, 2018 /CNW/ - Unifor, the union representing over 2,000 school bus drivers across Ontario, presented their recommendations to the provincially appointed school transportation advisors and called for immediate action.
"This meeting is a welcome first step in addressing the important issue of creating a more stable and reliable school transportation system across Ontario," said Unifor's Ontario Regional Director Naureen Rizvi. "We're pleased to see the province starting to address these issues as part of a larger approach in tackling precarious work."
The Ontario government announced in December that it would conduct a public review to improve the student transportation system in Ontario. The review will focus on four main areas: safety and well-being for students, equity in transportation services, responsiveness to student needs and accountability in service delivery. Along with today's presentation, Unifor plans to make a formal written submission by the March 28 deadline.
Unifor's key recommendations presented to the provincial advisors include:
- Establishing a School Bus Industry Council to review issues facing the school bus transportation industry and develop collaborative policy solutions;
- Increase funding to the Student Transportation Grant and review of the transportation funding formula;
- Implementing a Fair Wage Policy for School Bus Drivers and ensuring access to Employment Insurance benefits for school bus drivers;
- Improve accountability and transparency surrounding school transportation contracts; and
- Thorough review of the application of any technology for use in school buses with key stakeholders including the use of any ride-sharing apps or driverless technology
Since 2014, Unifor has engaged in an on-going campaign to highlight the poor working conditions faced by school bus drivers in Ontario. The lack of fairness, decent wages and benefits, poor job security are factors that contributed to the school bus shortage crisis that continues to happen throughout Ontario.
Deb Montgomery, Unifor Local 4268 President, who is herself a school bus driver added, "This sector needs some stability. The core issue remains the lack of sustainable funding that has created a cycle of instability for drivers and students alike."
Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector, representing more than 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.
For further information: Unifor National Communications Representative Rob Thompson at [email protected] or 647-327-9371 (cell)