School Bus Driver Retention Program (DRP)

DRP UPDATE - Bonus Payments

Click here to view: NEW and Previous Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) – as of September 13, 2018

Click here to view: Exception Application Form

The Province of Ontario, through the Ministry of Education, has committed up to $60 million dollars to fund three bonus payments directly to eligible school bus drivers for the January to June 2018, September to December 2018, and January to June 2019 school semesters as a reward for continuous employment within each period.  The purpose of the bonuses is to enhance school bus driver recruitment and retention rates among school bus operators in the Province of Ontario. 

The Ontario School Bus Association (OSBA) is pleased to be administering this program (also referred to as the “DRP”) -- an initiative in partnership with the Ministry of Education and other industry stakeholders.

To be eligible for the bonus payments, school bus drivers must meet the eligibility requirements including being employed by a school bus operator that provides to and from school student transportation services in Ontario to one or more of the prescribed Education Organizations including student transportation consortia, school boards, school authorities and provincial and demonstration schools identified by the Ministry of Education which can be viewed at this link.

Click here to view: School Bus Driver Eligibility Criteria

NEW!  Since the eligibility criteria were announced last week, a number of concerns were raised about the 95% attendance criteria.  OSBA and ISBOA have discussed those concerns with the Ministry of Education and industry stakeholders.  As a result, a new exception process was created to ensure more widespread inclusion under the DRP.  The Ministry of Education and industry stakeholders want to ensure that the largest number of School Bus Drivers as possible receive the driver retention bonus while still fulfilling the objectives and the parameters of the Program.  To achieve this goal, certain exceptions will be permitted for Payment Period #1 (January - June 2018).  A School Bus Driver who meets all of eligibility criteria #1 to #5 but does not meet the minimum percentage of days worked (95% attendance from May 1, 2018 to the last school calendar day of June 2018) may be eligible for an exception and qualify for the bonus in Payment Period #1. To request an exception, a School Bus Driver must apply by completing, signing and submitting the “Exception Application Form” to their School Bus Operator employer.   In order to be considered for an exception, School Bus Drivers MUST complete Parts 1 to 3 of this form and return it to their School Bus Operator employer as soon as possible and no later than July 6, 2018NOTE: Exceptions are not required for absences prior to May 1, 2018 for Payment Period #1.  Click here to view the FAQs on exceptions.

Bonuses (less applicable taxes and government remittances) will be paid directly to eligible school bus drivers.  At this time, our understanding is that the bonuses will be treated as income.  A cheque will be mailed via Canada Post from a “Service Provider” (payroll company) hired by the Ministry of Education.  This “Service Provider will also mail T4’s via Canada Post directly to each driver.  The bonus will not replace or affect regular compensation. Receiving a bonus for Payment Period #1 should not affect your ability to obtain Employment Insurance in the months of July and August 2018. The bonus may impact other benefits that you receive, for example benefits related to disability or maternity. For more information on Employment Insurance and other benefits, see FAQs #29-31.  Individual school bus drivers do not need to sign-up or register for the bonus payments.  All eligible employers will be contacted to submit the appropriate information about their eligible school bus drivers.  

Eligible school bus operator employers that participate in this program, will verify information about their school bus drivers in order to submit claims for bonuses.  A program guide, accessible tools and templates and training will be provided to support school bus operator employers before the first submission period.

Click here to view: New and Previous Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

Click here to view: Exception Application Form

Click here to view: School Bus Driver Consent Form

Click here to view: The Ministry of Education news release.


For more information contact:

The Driver Retention Program (DRP):

If you are a school bus driver:
Email Address –; Toll-free Number – 1-833-346-6177

If you are a school bus operator:
Email Address –; Toll-free Number - 1-833-715-7360

OSBA - Ontario School Bus Association
3075 Lenworth Drive, Mississauga, Ontario, L4X 2G3
Tel. 416-695-9965 / Fax 416-695-9977

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