What it Takes to Drive a School Bus in Ontario
The following general information provides parents, school bus driver applicants and the public with details on school bus driver qualifications.
School buses carry precious cargo, and the people who drive them carry the responsibility for making sure that school bus travel remains a safe way for children to travel.
To become a school bus driver, applicants must meet the highest standards of any licensing class. Ontario is the only province which has separate classifications for school bus drivers.
For detailed information on the requirements for school buses and school bus drivers, please refer to the "Official Bus Handbook for Bus and School Bus Drivers". The following information is provided as a general guide.
To drive a school purposes bus, school bus drivers must have either an "E" or a "B" licence. The "B" licence qualifies a school bus driver to drive any school purposes vehicle. A school bus driver who has an "E" licence is qualified to drive a school purposes vehicle that can only carry up to 24 passengers.
In order to become a licensed school bus driver, the applicant must:
- be at least 21 years of age
- meet medical and vision standards
- not be classed as a probationary or novice driver
- have successfully completed a driver improvement course approved by the Minister of Transportation
- have knowledge of bus equipment maintenance and passenger safety and control
- pass a Ministry of Transportation Driver Examination or obtain a certificate of competence from a recognized authority by passing a vision screening, knowledge test and a driving test in a bus of appropriate size
- not have accumulated more than six demerit points on his/her driving record
- not have had a driver's licence under suspension at any time within the preceding 12 months as a result of having been convicted or found guilty of:
- driving under suspension;
- speeding over 50 km above the limit;
- careless driving;
- racing on a highway;
- leaving the scene of a collision;
- a Criminal Code of Canada offence committed by means of a motor vehicle or while driving or having care and control of a motor vehicle;
- flight from police
- not having been convicted or found guilty within the preceding five years of two or more offences under the Criminal Code of Canada, committed on different dates by means of a motor vehicle, or while driving or having care and control of a motor vehicle;
- not having been convicted or found guilty within the preceding five years under section 4 or 5 of The Narcotic Control Act of Canada;
- not having been convicted or found guilty within the preceding five years of certain sexual or morals offences under the Criminal Code of Canada;
- not have been convicted or found guilty of any offence for conduct that affords reasonable grounds for believing that he/she will not properly perform his/her duties, or is not a proper person to have custody of children;
- in addition, a holder of a class "B" or "E" driver's licence may not accumulate more than 8 demerit points.
If operating a school bus equipped with air brakes, a "Z" endorsement is required on the driver's licence.
Before proceeding onto the highway, the driver must complete all of the components (both inside the bus and outside) of the daily vehicle inspection (more information available in "The Daily Circle Check" of this Guide). As well, the driver must:
- check that the driver's seat belt is correctly worn and fastened;
- drive forward and brake to a stop to test the service brake;
- make an additional check of all gauges;
- complete the log book entry.