School Bus Driver Retention Program (DRP)


Click here to view: NEW and Previous Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) – as of November 12, 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 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 for 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


Since the eligibility criteria were announced on May 1, 2018, a number of concerns were raised about the 95% attendance criteria.  OSBA and ISBOA discussed those concerns with the Ministry of Education and industry stakeholders.  As a result, an 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 were permitted for Payment Period #1 (January - June 2018) and will be permitted for Payment Period #2 (September - December, 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) may be eligible for an exception and qualify for the bonus in Payment Period #2. 

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 for Payment Period #2, 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 January 11, 2019.  NOTE: Exceptions are not required for absences within the allowable 5%  - it will be assumed that any absence described in an Exception Application Form is over and above the allowable days.

Bonus Payments

Bonuses (less applicable taxes and government remittances) will be paid directly to eligible school bus drivers.  A cheque will be mailed via Canada Post from a “Service Provider” (payroll company) hired by the Ministry of Education.  The Service Provider will also mail T4’s via Canada Post directly to each driver.  Individual school bus drivers do not need to sign-up or register for the bonus payments, but they must complete a consent form and provide the consent form to their school bus operator employer.  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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