We thank our Sustainer Members for their support:



2014 Annual General Meeting and Workshops
April 12, 2014 | Sandman Signature Hotel Toronto Airport
Click here to register for the event 


  • 9:00 - 12:00 noon –  Board Meeting (Directors Only)
  • 11:00 – 12:00 noon – Set up for Sponsor Displays        
  • 12:00 - 12:30 pm –  Lunch for all attendees
  • 12:30 - 1:30 pm –  AGM, Financial Report and Elections
  • 1:30 - 4:00 pm – Workshop Topics:
    - Using Technology To Increase Your Bottom Line (Vehicle Telematics 101): Session presented by Mike Olds of Zonar Systems. Mike will cover GPS, Fuel & Diagnostics, Electronic Pre- and Post Trip Inspection, Student Tracking, and in-vehicle Tablet Computer. What is the technology? What does it do? What does it look like? How does it work? How much does it cost? Why should I be interested? Several recent case studies from Ontario Operators will be presented. Wrap up with Q & A session.
    - Miriam Isenberg, Workplace Management Consultants Inc. – “Survival Tidbits” – Topics to include new rules for Mandatory Health and Safety Training under the Occupational Health and Safety Act; Job Hazard Analysis; Dealing with Regulatory Bodies over Employee Issues
    - “I Stop, You Stop”: A special presentation by Kathleen Both from M.L. Bradley Ltd. – How to organize your own public awareness campaign targeting stop arm runners
    - Costing Model and Model Contract Presentation: Presented by Vaughn Richmond from Richmond’s School Coach and Frank Healey of Healey Transportation
  • 4:00 - 5:00 pm –  Independent School Bus Operators' YouTube Video Launch with Guest Speaker: Jonathan Lisus, Partner, Lax O’Sullivan Scott Lisus LLP
  • 6:00 - 9:00 pm –  Reception and Dinner fully sponsored by Girardin
Saturday April 12, 2014

Sandman Signature Hotel Toronto Airport,
55 Reading Ct, Toronto, ON M9W 7K7
(416) 798-8840

Room Reservations:
 By telephone at 1-800-SANDMAN or 416-798-8840 x 2,
 By e-mail at

Mention ISBOA or 334175 to receive special group rate of $119/night for April 11 – 12, 2014

Click here for Sponsorship Details



 STEO is now a province-wide challenge

Notice of Motion          

Excerpt from Notice of Motion:          

c) As a result of Ministry documents obtained through Freedom of Information Requests (FOI Documents) in the Fall of 2013, Ministry’s productions, STEO’s productions, and the examinations for discovery of Ms Hayward and Mr. Cotnam, a significant body of evidence has come to light subsequent to the Intervention Order. This evidence demonstrates that the Ministry has been much more intimately involved in designing and directing the use of unfair and illegal RFPs
issued by consortia across the province and in STEO’s RFP than it has previously represented;

Amended Statement of Claim

Excerpt from Amended Statement of Claim:

(b) as against the Defendant, Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Ontario (the “Ministry”):
(i) A declaration that the Ministry owes small and medium sized school bus operators in Ontario, including the Plaintiffs, common law and statutory duties, described herein, and that it breached said duties;
(ii) A declaration that the Ministry has directed school boards and their transportation consortia to use RFPs, or in the alternative, influenced, school boards and their transportation consortia that RFPs are the “approved” and/or “preferred” approach to the procurement of student transportation contracts to the exclusion of other procurement methods;
(iii) A declaration that the Ministry ignored or failed to properly respond to the Task Force Report (defined herein);
(iv) A declaration that RFPs are not an appropriate method to procure student transportation contracts in markets serviced by small and medium sized rural operators;
(v) An order prohibiting the Ministry from directing consortia to use RFPs in markets served by small and medium sized rural operators;


February 5, 2014: 

Recently released FOI documents prove what small business has feared – Liberal policy stacked in favour of big business.


Click here to view the detailed documents


 Some Of The 128 Rural Ontario Companies
Saved By Legal Action

Click on the image below to view/download a scalable PDF of the map and view some of the companies that have been saved by legal action





Justice Alfred O'Marra is the fifth and latest judge to side with school bus operators in their fight against unfair procurement policy and implementation.  On Friday, July 19, 2013 plaintiffs in the Epoch's case prevailed over the government's attempt to strike their claims and claim immunity from its involvement in RFPs that they directed.  The government is now inextricably linked to the Wellington-Dufferin case, and to the larger province-wide problems with student transportation procurement.

For a copy of the decision, click here.

For a copy of the government's factum click here.

For a copy of the plaintiff's factum click here.



 (August 30, 2013 )  Plaintiffs Neil Badder and Rose Ravin - and indeed all school bus operators - have received a nice start to the holiday weekend - $190,000 in costs payable "forthwith".          

Award of Costs Decision Aug 30.pdf

From the Award:

"In my view, given the intractable stand of the defendant to forge ahead with the RFP, even though the defendant was the only consortium in Ontario to have taken that position, the plaintiffs had no choice but to commence the action and bring the motion for an interim injunction.  The consequences to the plaintiffs, had they not done so, could have caused irreparable harm to them for the reasons that were set out in my endorsement granting the interim injunction.

The decision by the defendant to proceed with the RFP, thus forcing the plaintiffs to bring the action and the motion for an interim injunction and then opposing the motion rather than attempting to reach a reasonable compromise is difficult to understand.  Indeed, there was no evidence before me that the defendant was in any different position than all of the other consortia in the province who took a different position.  They made the decision to force the issue and thus are responsible for some of the financial consequences to the plaintiffs.

It hardly behoves the defendant to argue that any payment of the costs should await the outcome of the trial in the East Region when it was not prepared to await that outcome before proceeding with its RFP."



2012 Trust Fund

The Trust Fund makes it possible for ISBOA to sustain our public, media and government relations strategy. Only through the contributions of industry friends and ISBOA members have we been able to fundamentally change the focus of the debate.

Click here to download the brochure

Competitive Procurement – A Full Analysis of Competitiveness in the School Bus Industry

"The student transportation industry in Ontario is in a period of transition. … During this period of change, it appears to have been an implicit assumption that any approach to procuring that does not involve the use of requests for proposals (RFPs) is inadequate, and therefore cannot achieve the value-for-money objective sought by the school boards. This seems to have remained an unexamined assumption, as we are not aware of any analysis offered by the Government* that has assessed the strengths and weaknesses of what may broadly be termed the "non-negotiated fixed-price" approach to procuring student transportation services, which has been widely used in Ontario since the late 1990s. (*By 'Government', we mean mainly but not exclusively the Ministries of Education and Finance, whose mandate has been most directly related to the student transportation mandate in Ontario).

This memorandum argues that while the non-negotiated fixed-fee approach may be improved, it produces many of the benefits normally associated with competitive procurement because it is, in substance, competitive. In fact, if properly understood and implemented, it can produce benefits greater than those flowing from the use of traditional RFPs. A central theme of this memorandum is that RFPs should be viewed as one tool available in the toolkit of school board consortia, and that the indiscriminate use of RFPs in all circumstances when procuring student transportation services fails to optimize the long-term value achievable by school boards."


Click here to download the complete document in PDF format


Click here to download the Expert Analysis and Sworn Affidavit of Denis Chamberland

(Refer to Pg. 59 for the full review of Tri-Board RFP #2012-001, for the purposes of identifying areas where (i) the evaluation methodology is inadequate and procedurally unfair, (ii) some bidders will be put at a disadvantage by virtue of the way the RFP is designed, and (iii) the safety of students being transpored may come to be compromised as a result of the approach adopted in the RFP.


PD Day for School Bus Driver:
Anti-Bullying Training

Osborne Task Force Report Officially Released

March 26, 2012

The Report of the Student Transportation Competitive Procurement Task Force to the Ontario Minister of Education has been posted on the Ministry of Education website and is now publicly available through the following link:


Professor James Cooper
February 25, 2012

Ontario Schools Transport Optimizing purchasing policy
FINAL REPORT - March 2, 2012

The paper concludes that the most commonly applied methods of contracting via RFP for area based services fail to deliver optimal services, fail to ensure wider community benefits, and encourage the development of monopolistic markets that will, over time, work to encourage reducing benefits to the contracting authority, lower service standards and a failure to realise local economic gain.

Click here to view the report

Question Period February 21 at the 

Legislative Assembly of Ontario 

To listen to Question Period and two questions about the Drummond Commission recommendations regarding student transportation,  

1. Click on the link below: 


2. Click on "House Video Archive" (right side);

3. Select February 21, 2012;

4. Drag the "play video" tab to 44:27 (min, sec);

5. End of questions at 47:27 (min, sec). 

Please find below the excerpt from the draft version of the Hansard from February 21, 2012, which contains a question on School Transportation.


Ms. Lisa MacLeod: My question is for the Minister of Education. Both on January 11 and February 1, I asked you to release Coulter Osborne’s report on school busing. I know the minister has received this report and I know it contains recommendations on the RFP process that has forced small businesses in many of our communities to stop their school bus routes. Last week, Don Drummond’s report recommended the moratorium on the RFP process be lifted as soon as possible.

Minister, is the reason you’re keeping the Osborne report secret, because it cautions against monopolies in school busing and conflicts with Drummond’s report?

Hon. Laurel C. Broten: I know that for many parents like myself and like the member opposite, perhaps, the school day begins the moment we put our kids on the bus. We know that that is so critically important that our bus system and our school transportation system be safe, efficient and accountable. We know that school boards and operators share that goal with us. So, yes, I want to thank the task force for the efforts to study what is a very complex issue and look at the many competing interests and needs.

I want you to know that I appreciate the sector’s support of the task force and the work and advice that they’ve given. I’m currently reviewing the report and its recommendations ...

(Hon. Laurel C. Broten)

... appreciate the sector’s support of the task force and the work and advice that they’ve given. I am currently reviewing the report and its recommendations, and it will provide guidance as we make decisions, moving forward, on such a critically important issue.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Supplementary?

Ms. Lisa MacLeod: She’s had the Osborne report for a month and she’s still reviewing it. Meanwhile, the school boards and consortiums have already gone out to tender.

I have a quick question for the minister. You saw the Osborn and Drummond reports before anyone else in the education sector. You’ve strung small independent operators along for months now. Why are you hiding the Osborn report? Does it conflict with Drummond, and does it caution you against creating monopolies like Ornge in the bus sector?

Hon. Laurel Broten: I think the complexity of the issue is evident from the member opposite’s question. Her leader has said that their party would implement the entirety of Don Drummond’s report. At the same time, we hear a query with respect to what advice have we gotten from another group of experts, led by Coulter Osborne, who brought together a group of diverse interests to give us some advice. It’s incumbent upon me, as the minister, to take that advice and examine it in the context of how do we ensure that public education, that starts when you put your kids on the bus, is safe and efficient and accountable as well.

That’s what we are doing: We’re taking a look at the report. And unlike the members opposite, we won’t move aggressively and immediately without examining the facts and the circumstances and taking that advice and reflecting upon it.


ISBOA President Steve Hull - Message to Members 

 ISBOA Perspective - Osborne Report trumps Drummond Report

February 16, 2012

Dear Industry Friends and Colleagues:

Yesterday’s release of the much-awaited Drummond Report may seem, at first blush, to be the final nail in the school bus industry coffin.  As a quick summary, it calls for the immediate lifting of the Moratorium (proof that the Drummond Report is working with old information) so that competitive bids can be used for 2012-13.  Follow this link for the details of Recommendations 6-15, 6-16 & 6-17.


From ISBOA’s perspective, the report merely repeats the government’s current thinking with respect to RFP’s, and does not benefit from the work of the Coulter Osborne Task Force.  In our February 8th letter to Education Minister Laurel Broten (here), ISBOA reiterates our call for the release of the report.  Now, in the wake of the Drummond Report, it is even more important that the Minister release the Osborne Report, to let everyone read for themselves the recommendations and the fuller understanding of the student transportation industry that was developed through that exercise.

ISBOA Executive Director Karen Cameron, and our consultant Denis Chamberland, are meeting with Minister Broten’s staff tomorrow, and will use this opportunity to confirm the Minister’s support for the win-win approach that we believe is contained in the Task Force Report.  We have also met with nearly 20 MPP’s in recent weeks, and we know there is great support for ISBOA’s position – to avoid the creation of monopolies through RFPs, and develop more appropriate procurement options for school boards than just the RFP approach that has been required to date.

ISBOA’s February 25th Workshop will feature Denis Chamberland, Procurement Lawyer, Baker and McKenzie and will prepare our members for the challenge ahead.  This workshop is your opportunity to hear first-hand the latest information about the Task Force, the moratorium, and the 2013 deadline – be it accelerated or delayed.  Go to http://www.isboa.ca/page-1169901 to register.

To go into more detail about the Drummond Report, a fuller reading of the Report adds some context.  For example:

As indicated in Table 6.2, the Commission has identified other potential restraint measures in non-salary expenditures related to textbooks, learning materials, classroom supplies and computers. Permanent funding reductions in capital renewal and student transportation can be considered, although they would remain the lowest-priority measures recommended by the Commission.”  (See Table 6.1)  Indeed, student transportation across the entire province costs $800 Million annually, for actual service delivery to families on a daily basis.  By contrast, the government’s portion alone of the contribution to teacher pensions is $1.3 Billion annually.

The incomplete nature of the Drummond Report review of Student Transportation cannot be overstated.  For example, the report states that, in spite of efficiencies through co-operation and creation of consortia, student transportation expenses have continued to increase, from $629 million in 2002–03, to an anticipated $845 million in 2011–12, an increase of 34%.  This has nothing to do with competitive procurement.  To suggest as much is grossly misleading.

A quick look at the three main costs in the industry - wages, bus costs and fuel – tell the real story.

  • The minimum wage in 2002 was $6.85 per hour.  In 2012, it is $10.25 per hour – a 50% increase.  It was the government of Ontario, not school bus operators, that imposed those wage increases.
  • Bus costs in 2002 were $81,802.  In 2011 $93,503.  This increase was largely due to EPA emission standards and increased safety standards, regulations mandated by governments.  What is more telling though is the reduction in age limits for school buses.  Assuming a change from 15 years in 2002 to 12 today, the capital cost per year increased from $5,453,47 per bus to $7,791.92 per bus or 42%.
  • Fuel - In 2004 the average price was $0.63 per litre.  In 2011 it was $1.05, for an increase of 67%.

To prove this point, one of our members has taken the 2007 cost benchmark study and taken out wages, fuel and capital costs.  By inserting the 2002 numbers, then repeating the exercise by inserting the 2011-12 numbers, you get a 32% increase which equates to $829 million.    Clearly, any increase in student transportation costs can be laid squarely at the feet of government.

Our commitment to our members is to get this analysis and perspective into the hands of local decision-makers.  You can help by using the MPP Backgrounder attached, and this email, recent media coverage (on the ISBOA website at this link:


to let your local Reeves and Deputy Reeves, Chambers of Commerce, Rotary Clubs, and trustees know the real story – that small business and student transportation is under attack yet again.

Looking forward to seeing everyone on February 25th.

Steve Hull
President, ISBOA

Our members in Action!

 Mt. Forest      


 Introduction to ISBOA

“The request for proposal process found that all operators scored well on technical requirements.  It really did come down, in the end, to money.”

Greg Seguin, GM, Wellington-Dufferin Student Transportation Services, Guelph Mercury Article, Feb 26, 2010

[complete article here]


"When your local businesses are your neighbours and your friends, it only helps to strengthen one’s community.” 

Mayor Mike Broomhead, Wellington North

[complete news article here]


“Our members advise that at a recent forum you assured them that no  small operators will be driven out of business on account of the new procurement system.  They are grateful to have your personal commitment...”

Catherine Swift, President and CEO, Canadian Federation of Independent Business

[complete letter to the Minister here]


“There is no question in my mind that the cost of student transportation will only go up if the family-owned independent School Bus Operators are forced to exit the business.”

MPP Ted Arnott to Minister of Education 2009 May 08

[complete letter to the Minister here]



ISBOA was formed in the fall of 2008 when it became apparent that the government's short-sighted proposal for competitive tendering of school bus services was going to destroy Ontario's enviable school bus industry. Two rounds of pilot projects have now proven that the process is flawed, leading to inconsistent and arbitrary outcomes.   The RFP process has no integrity, and is driving Ontario companies out of business.


This website is designed to:

  • share information about this process and the efforts of ISBOA to save independent school bus operators across the province.
  • serve as a resource for independent school bus operators as they meet with their local Councils, MPP’s, School Boards, Parent Councils, and media
  • provide concerned members of the public with a way they can support their local independent school bus operator by getting involved.

Our Results after THREE years:

  • Successful in pressuring the government to call a moratorium on RFP's and to establish a Task Force to review the outcomes and process of failed pilot project experiments.
  • Over 100 independent school bus operator members, representing nearly 2000 school bus routes - and growing!
  • Grassroots efforts by members during the provincial election campaign helped educate candidates of all stripes about the problems with competitive procurement when applied to the school bus industry.
  • Resolutions of support from dozens of City Councils in support of ISBOA's efforts to stop the Ministry's short-sighted procurement policy - with more coming all the time.
  • Letters of support from business leaders, including the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.
  • Our Petition has been signed by over 5000 people, read 5 times in the Ontario Legislature, by 3 MPP's who support our cause.



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