Minimum Wage Increase Could Trigger School Bus Driver Shortage

(© Can Stock Photo / bkilzer)

The executive director of the Independent School Bus Operators Association says the $60-million the province is offering to keep school bus drivers behind the wheel is welcome news.

Roger Caranci says the driver retention bonus of $1,000 will be paid to each driver this coming fall, the following spring, and then the next fall.  However, he adds that it’s a short-term solution to a long-term problem.

Caranci explains many of the school bus drivers are making just slightly more than the old minimum wage but are under contracts that in some cases extend for up to nine years. So the new minimum wage could be enough to encourage them to find other work.

“The only place we can get that money is really from the government because they’re the ones who fund the Ministry of Education, who fund the school boards, who fund the consortia, who pay the various service providers,” says Caranci.

He says the government has begun a visioning process that may provide some answers, but that’s at least a year away.