School bus drivers in Ontario are held to the highest standards of safety, supervision, and preparedness considering the precious cargo they transport. They receive hours of specialized training, both in the classroom and on the road, to provide safe and reliable transportation.
Training and instruction include, proper use of school bus equipment, daily pre-trip and post-trip vehicle safety inspections, safe driving techniques including defensive driving skills, procedures for loading and unloading passengers, procedures for entering and exiting school zones, student management, accident and emergency response including evacuation, First Aid/CPR, route instructions, use of electronic communications, and much more.
Ontario has two classes of driver’s licences specific to school bus operation.
• Class E – Permits the driver to operate a school bus or school purpose bus with a maximum seating capacity of up to 24 passengers.
• Class B – Permits the driver to operate a school bus or school purpose bus with a seating capacity exceeding 24 passengers.
Prior to obtaining a class B or E licence, drivers must demonstrate their knowledge of traffic laws, policies and procedures in addition to demonstrating exemplary driving skills and the safe operation of a school bus. Driving records are screened and criminal background checks are performed during the hiring process. Drivers must also meet minimum vision and medical standards. Drivers must also complete a mandatory School Bus Driver Improvement Course. School bus drivers are also subject to regular re-examinations to learn about new techniques and improve their skills.