Through The Years



  • Great Lake Members host a safety meeting with all Members & Operators including ISBOA & Local OPP to promote Public Service Announcement Safety Messages.
  • New PSA’s on ‘Being a Bus Driver’ & ‘School Bus Loading Zones’ are produced and aired on Local TV.
  • Members attend local radio stations to do live interviews on ‘Back to School’ safety.
  • DTN Weather services are contacted to bring in weather stations to be mounted at Operator Locations.
  • Current PSA members are contacted and membership renewals processed.
  • PSA Library promoted to Ontario Student Transportation Consortium.
  • Best Practices are reviewed and shared with Members.


  • Meeting with local OPP on Road Closed Issues.
  • Inclement weather procedures discussed.
  • Safety Patrol Program procedures shared.
  • Live Radio interviews completed on School Bus Safety.
  • Consortium Managers contacted to promote PSA Library available.


  • Neil Badder, owner of Badder Bus Lines joins the Membership
  • CTV London joins a meeting to discuss expansion of PSA Viewing area and options for Members.
  • New Membership fee is approved and distributed to all customers.
  • Safety KPI’s list created and distributed.
  • Bus Operator Injunction discussed.
  • Ontario Disability Act Requirements shared.


  • Government Task Force on RFP Issued.
  • Member Mike Murphy to sit on Task Force.
  • No news to share since all Task Force Members signed Confidentiality Agreement.
  • OASBO KPI group formed, member David Frier apart of the group.
  • Letter to MTO supporting Two-Way Radio exemption written and mailed.
  • Letter on the increasing amount of Light Pollution sent to Ministry.  Feeling that other vehicle flashing lights take away from the School Bus 8 Light System.  Ie. Garbage Truck Flashing Lights


  • Early dismissal situations from a school discussed.  Affects busing.
  • Booth at Ottawa CPTC confirmed and attended to promote PSA’s.
  • Member Dennis Harris, HPSTS Manager announces retirement.  Dennis was one of the founding members of the Great Lakes Transportation Association.
  • Presentation from CTV on “Choosing the Most Effective Media to Deliver Your Message”
  • Bill 157 reporting procedures.
  • David Frier appointed new HPSTS Manager and joins Great Lakes.


  • Kent Orr resigns at Chatham-Kent to take new position in Hamilton.  He will no longer be serving on Great Lakes.
  • Bully-Free Zone decals are introduced and purchased for all operators.
  • Decals are placed in each bus, visible to passengers as they enter.
  • DTN Weather Service contract is extended.
  • Dennis & Michelle attend the first Ministry sponsored RFP Information Session in March 2009.
  • RFPs issued….York Results are first to come in.  Small operators are not pleased with the process or the results.
  • Operators start meeting with local MPP’s to voice concerns over the RFP Process.
  • Steve Lustig joins association in April 2009.
  • Website is launched
  • First Radio PSA created and aired locally in all areas.
  • H1N1 outbreak in fall prompts Operators & School Boards to have Pandemic Plans.
  • ‘A’ Morning Show is cancelled suddenly!  Great Lakes writes a letter protesting the cut and fear ‘A’ Channel could close it’s doors.



  • explore radio PSA’s on BOB FM (102.3)
  • review Van recommendations from New Brunswick, post fatal accident with team van
  • welcome Larry Kirby – Blue Water Consortium and Kent Orr – Lambton Kent Consortium as newest members
  • Jim Talbot asks for leave of absence
  • Membership to include Windsor Essex to be considered
  • Review EA role in loading and unloading of special needs passengers
  • 2010 Canadian Pupil Transportation Conference – can we have a booth?
  • Study Ministries information on RFP?
  • Establish student disembarking policy
  • Bus Accident Procedure


  • Marg VanBakel leaves Great Lakes
  • Discuss Family Day – impact on Boards and Operators
  • All members to attend 2008 Canadian Pupil Transportation Conference in Victoria, BC
  • DTN will cost each board $1300.00 approx. and operators cost is $1000.00
  • A channel agrees to PSA link to School Bus Monitor
  • April 27 – Host operators and school board officials Blue Water, Lambton Kent, FFL, OSBA plus member senior officials to review our safety and PSA programs, everyone supported and made suggestions for the future
  • Think of Us on the Bus” and PSA’s available on WOSBA website


  • Agree to share Ontario Booth in Halifax and promote PSA’s & Centennial project
  • Hosted two members of MOE Transportation Department and 8/36 Operators on a costing model project
  • Met with Nancy Naylor re: fuel cost issues
  • Agreed to host and have information meeting of all PSA partners in 2007
  • Studied hours of service regulations for bus drivers
  • Lin Steffler retires and request Marg VanBakel replace her on the Great Lakes
  • Michelle Murphy-Bukala appointed Secretary-Treasurer
  • Reviewed new DDC program for drivers
  • Lin made Honourable Member of Great Lakes
  • Field trip form request to be used by all members
  • 2010 Canadian Transportation Pupil Conference has Jim Talbot on Committee
  • Michelle presents at London Anti-Bullying Coalition
  • Reviewed Sabrina’s Law and bus signs re: Bullying
  • Received thank you from fire departments re: Centennial Project
  • Great Lakes creates a common CPR and first Aid program for all drivers in both districts
  • Study seat belt fastening protocol for handicap and small passengers
  • DTN has improved format for our people
  • Create inclement weather policy
  • Discuss 2008 Canadian Pupil Transportation Conference in Victoria


  • MTO agrees to help fund PSA’s (requested in 2004)
  • Bank account for PSA’s established
  • New Brunswick orders PSA’s verbally
  • Plans are made for all members to market PSA’s in Halifax for 2006 Canadian Pupil Transportation Conference
  • Study fog bank issues from Northern Ontario
  • Bill 73 on child restraint
  • Best practice – co-operative services
  • Provincial funding issues
  • HTA 170(1)(b) stopping in poor visibility on a hill etc.
  • Develop “Letter of Understanding” for all partners and CHUM re: PSA’s re: license
  • Share a booth with Ontario at Hamilton, OASBO May conference highlighting PSA’s – Centennial project is also exhibited
  • Host manager of MOE Transportation Department to review safety and provincial school program
  • Study fleet smart information from Canadian Government
  • Reviewed Bill 195/09 restraints on school vehicles
  • Reached agreement to share OASBO 2005 booth with Ontario Government
  • Received report – injuries on buses must be reported to Ministry of Labour via school board
  • Review possibility of Common Board / Operator Agreements
  • Kerry Pond leaves MOE in Queens Park


  • reviewed with MTO operators qualification list i.e. Insurance, Licenses, back ups, contacts, etc
  • Great Lakes to supply rubber gloves to all operators in our districts and remove the latex ones
  • Met with provincial superintendents on split guardianship issues
  • Study video surveillance guidelines
  • Study consumer privacy policy of operators
  • Request operators in Great Lakes area to consider supply of 72 passenger wheelchair bus for charter
  • April – issue a call to make School Bus Safety Week more visible. Ask MTO, OSBA and local bus operators to consider production of a TV and radio safety messages
  • Meet with Middlesex Mutual Aid “chief” re: bus construction and emergency evacuation by firemen
  • Presented to the legislature finance committee in Queens Park and requested Rosanski funding schedule be followed
  • Student – wind-chill and fuel gel factors and guidelines
  • Confirm Quebec Conference arrangements
  • Combine all resources in membership to share DTN
  • Request from Newfoundland for copy of our programs received
  • Review 8/36 and 11/38 procedures
  • Develop bus decal for video cameras on buses
  • Study personal and confidential issues re: student lists on buses, etc.
  • Agree to a safety program at Centennial School involving TV, Board Directors, OPP, Fire Departments, Board staff and Bus Operator staff
  • Details include evacuation program, bus construction, Buster the electron bus, firemen extraction


  • review child seats on school buses
  • April 25, 2003 meet with several officials of MTO re: the vehicle inspections and MTO expectations for drivers, operators and mechanics
  • Arrange an all operators, MTO and school board officials – meeting in London for May 15, 2003
  • Criminal checks policy by company reviewed
  • Review district wide driver safety programs plus CAS communications
  • Meet with communications officers for London District Catholic SB, Avon Maitland District SB, and Thames Valley District SB
  • Meet with Dale Coglin and Keith Aronson to review safety program
  • Review CVOR clause for each company plus Sports Equipment on buses
  • Review safety programs in each school district
  • All members agree to attend 2004 Canadian Pupil Transportation Conference in Quebec City, QB
  • Approve “Draft” child abuse policy
  • Report from MTO on the “Think of Me on the Bus” program
  • All agree to have DTN supply weather warning system
  • 3 members attend MTO School Bus Safety Meeting in London
  • viewed Bus Discipline and legal issues video from USA, reviewed CAS procedure for Huron County
  • attend Equality Education task force meeting in London


  • April 23, 2002 – 3 members attend costing models unveiling by Drew Nameth in Toronto
  • The New PL channel 10 and 8 has approached Great Lakes to help expand the bus cancellation program to Huron and Perth counties
  • Experiencing on-going issues with the OPP/MTO procedures agreed to in 1999 re: roads closed, OPP agrees to meet again in fall of 2002
  • Barrie Woodley speaks to OSBA – strategic plan meeting on benefits of Great Lakes Committee
  • Develop Anti-Harrassment/Anti-Dicrimination policy
  • Meeting with Provincial Superintendents at Milton May 22/02 re: provincial schools, time tables, hours of travel and date conflicts driving up costs
  • Four members and spouses attend 2nd Canadian Pupil Transportation conference in Penticton BC
  • Establish a medical alert Policy suggestion page
  • Meet Superintendent Clive Hodder at Roberts Oct. 24/02
  • Issues develop with environment Canada weather service during storms their screen and server freeze up
  • Review emergency training for drivers program April 2002


  • Began work on an Environment Canada pilot project on weather reports for boards and operators
  • Committee agreed to forward Ministry of Education a standardized Data Spreadsheet for board and operator reports to government recommended standard form to 8/36 and 11/38 operators
  • Three members and spouses attending the first Canadian Pupil Transportation Conference in Saint John, NB
  • Received a report from the USA on vans being used for student transportation – several states may not legally use vans
  • April 28, 200 hosted Sandra DiPropero and Peggy McCormick from the Transportation Funding Committee (Queens Park)
  • June 7, 2000 our assistant secretary requests a raise in pay, our secretary reduces his pay by 5% and demands a refund for 1998
  • Nov 28/08 – invited members of staff in Ministry of Transportation Office at Queens Park to our December 15, 2000 meeting


  • June 11/99 – report on the Ministries Funding Review Committee meetings – Lin and Mike are members
  • Study policy on ineligible students on vans
  • Study the most effective colour and cost of strobe lights for school buses
  • Study laser pointers and safety concerns related to driver vision
  • Develop policy re: passenger requiring emergency attention on a school bus
  • Compare delay/cancellation policies and procedures among members
  • Meeting Schedule
  • Met dispatchers and district Commander of OPP re: road closures their policy and bus operators issues and a list of 8/36 and 11/38 operator members
  • Met with officials of Robarts School, London and the McDonald school in Brantford – one issue was their demands for guests and alternate addresses, 2nd issue they requested a 70 minute maximum ride time, 3rd issue weather and closed roads, 4th issue high-needs students, their drugs and other information not available to drivers and operators
  • Nov/99 – Jim Talbot to be interviewed as potential member by Keith Grigg and Mike Murphy
  • Studied Epipen training for drivers and staff


  • Jan/98 Studied fire suppression systems for buses and schools
  • Oct/98 – funding announcement re: increase to boards
  • Oct 27/98 – Request OASBO/OSBA to produce a safety video with a Canadian message and point of view


  • review proposal from SBM on school bus advertising
  • discuss consortium for Southwestern Ontario
  • review Crosbie report
  • Bill 78 on bus passing law – response
  • cut backs on plowing and sanding of roads studied
  • July ’96 Jack Webster, Transportation Officer and Charter Member of Great Lakes resigns to take position with School Bus Power Buying Group
  • the purpose of this committee is to promote and develop, where possible, common policies and procedures between boards i.e. accident procedure areas under review, loading of buses, medically fragile passengers, eligible vs. actual riders, contract costs during teacher or staff strikes
  • met with Ministry of Transportation re: Bill 39 and the Public Vehicle Act – new safety rating system, audit system, facility audits.
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Our Association was created in 1996 by Transportation Managers  of the School Boards and owners of School Bus Operations in Southwestern Ontario.  At that time the one bus operator, Murphy Bus Lines, served home to school transportation for 5 School Boards under 5 different transportation managers.  The idea came about to create an association that all School Board Transportation Managers could belong to with representation from a School Bus Operator to share ideas, develop projects, procedures and policies, and to ensure the safe delievery of home to school transportation.  All members were working under the same principals and mandates and what better way to make it more efficient and effective then to develop items together.

From there the The Great Lakes Transportation Association was started and has evolved as members have retired, school boards have amalgamated, and Student Transportation Consortiums started.  Our current list of members are listed to the left of the page.

Some of the accomplishments of the Association has been developing policies under a consistant platform.  Provide Epipen training for School Bus Drivers.  Welcome a new weather radar service that all operators and School Board Officials can utilitze during inclement weather decisions.  Create and Produce 14-30 sec Public Service Announcements for TV on School Bus Safety with the finincail backing of 10 partners.  And most recently, expand our PSA Campaign to Radio, creating and producing 3 new spots for Radio airtime.

We have initiated and maintained many good relationships with the Ministry of Transportation, Ministry of Education, CTV, Blackburn Radio, School Bus Operator Associations, and the New Student Transportation Consortiums that represent School Boards in Southwestern Ontario.  All in the interest of keeping our students safe on and around the School Bus!