Crisis in Ontario school bus system continues due to inaction by Ford government: Unifor
“I hear Education Minister Stephen Lecce saying that his government is doing everything possible to address the driver shortage and concerns about safety aboard school buses but that simply isn’t the case”
Press release excerpt, September 17, 2020:
Unifor, Ontario’s largest school bus driver union, maintains that the crisis in the school bus system continues due to inaction by the provincial government.
“I hear Education Minister Stephen Lecce saying that his government is doing everything possible to address the driver shortage and concerns about safety aboard school buses but that simply isn’t the case,” said Debbie Montgomery, President of Unifor Local 4268. “While it’s true the province has designated some funds towards health and safety and driver retention the fundamental issue remains the lack of provincial standards to go with those dollars.”
As students return to schools across the province there are widespread school bus route cancellations happening in several jurisdictions...
...“We have been clear on driver’s concerns and they have yet to be addressed,” said Montgomery. “We have drivers receiving manifests with upwards of 70 kids on-board, no social distancing and instances where drivers are receiving inadequate PPE supplies, some of which are substandard quality. This is the result of throwing money at student transportation without a plan to enforce consistent standards.”
The majority of Ontario school bus drivers are above 60 years old, considered a higher risk group for COVID-19.
“Knowing the demographic of drivers, the government should be doing everything in its power in terms of COVID-19 safety protocols to maximize the number who feel safe to return and prevent the loss of additional drivers, which I guarantee will happen if they fail again to move on this,” said Montgomery."