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Background Check Changes Proposed for Ontario Bus Drivers

The Ontario government has proposed changes for school bus driver criminal record checks that the Ontario School Bus Association (OSBA) said would be a major improvement over the current requirements. According to OSBA, most school boards now insist on a “vulnerable sector search” for school bus driver applicants, which is a separate criminal check from the check that’s required under the Highway Traffic Act (HTA) to qualify for and hold a Class B or E (school bus) driver’s license. The criminal check required for the B or E driver’s license doesn’t include a check of the pardoned sexual offender database. The vulnerable sector check adds even more time and cost to the process for hiring a new school bus driver, and the association’s members have expressed frustration over the delays in getting background checks cleared for applicants. Under the changes proposed by the Ministry of Education, the HTA would be amended to eliminate the requirement for a criminal record search as a condition of getting a Class B or E driver’s license. Instead, the Education Act would be amended to require that school bus drivers have a vulnerable sector search only, which is the same requirement for school board employees. The proposed date of implementation is July 1, 2013.

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