The Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO) will not eliminate the province's driver certification program that aides the learning of school bus drivers amid concerns from about 140 recognized authorities and trade associations.
In Canada, recognized authorities are companies or organizations appointed by the province via an application process to certify an individual is competent to operate a particular class of vehicle. One of the associations, the Ontario School Bus Association (OSBA), said the MTO had considered cancelling or significantly modifying the program after an internal audit called for more oversight to increase "program integrity."
OSBA added that MTO was told of the program's critical importance in ensuring an adequate number of drivers are trained, tested and licensed to meet business demands. Time delays and additional costs associated with sending drivers to testing centers would result in a "crippling impact on commercial driver availability," OSBA explained.
"MTO hear loud and clear of the need to keep the program, as the alternative is simply unacceptable to industry," said OSBA in a statement.
Instead, MTO will implement a new business model that will require recognized authorities to enter binding agreements with MTO for a "robust" audit that includes cost recovery.
OSBA said MTO will again consult with recognized authorities and trade organizations in the near future to discuss details of the new business model.