School Bus Driver Retention Program (DRP)


As previously noted, bonus payments to drivers are payable approximately 3 months after the end of each school period.  This allows time for school bus drivers to submit Exception Application Forms to their school bus operator employers if required, school bus operators to complete all their paperwork regarding the claims submission process, and for DRP to complete its review of the claims submissions and Exception Application Forms for almost 17,000 school bus drivers.  Payments are anticipated to be issued as follows: 

*   Period #2 (September 1-December 31, 2018) – approximately March 31, 2019
*   Period #3 (January 1-June 30, 2019) – approximately September 30, 2019


This information will be published soon.  Please note that Period #2 Exception Application Forms will NOT be accepted in Period #3.  If any Period #2 Exception Application Forms are submitted in Period #3, they will be automatically denied and the driver will NOT receive a bonus payment.



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 Period #1 (January - June 2018) and 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. 

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.  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) will be paid directly to eligible school bus drivers.  PLEASE NOTE: DRP bonus payments are not an entitlement based only on employment as a school bus driver. The purpose and intent of the DRP, as designed by the Ontario Ministry of Education, is to reward school bus drivers for meeting the eligibility criteria, including continuous employment during a payment period. The bonus payments are a financial incentive to stay on the job during the payment period, and are not automatic payments earned only by working as a school bus driver. A cheque will be mailed to each eligible school bus driver via Canada Post from a “Service Provider” (payroll company) hired by the Ministry of Education.  The Service Provider will also mail T4A’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.

Eligible school bus operator employers that participate in this program, will collate and verify information about their school bus drivers in order to submit a claims submission document for bonus payments. A program guide, tools, templates and training has been provided to support school bus operator employers with their submissions.

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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