Ontario Invests to Retrofit School Buses with Safety Lighting

Published on April 14, 2022

Government Delivers $4 million to Install Amber Red Warning System 

WATERLOO REGION — The Government of Ontario is taking a major step forward to make school buses safer for children by providing school bus operators access to more than $4 million in one-time funding to help offset costs for retrofitting Ontario school buses with the Eight Lamp Amber-Red Warning System.

"I am very happy that Ontario has actioned my Private Members’ Bill, the Safer School Buses Act, and is providing operators with funding for this important safety feature that will help prevent tragic accidents that too often involve our school-aged children," said Mike Harris, Member of Provincial Parliament for Kitchener-Conestoga. "The health and safety of our future generations should be everyone's top priority, and I can't wait to see the retrofitted buses on the roads next school year."

School bus operators will be able to apply for grants to equip their buses with a new Eight Lamp Amber‑Red Warning System. Operators must complete the retrofits in time for the 2022-23 school year.

The adoption of this upgraded lighting system will make it easier for drivers and other road users to recognize when school buses are slowing and stopping at the roadside, improving road safety for school bus passengers. The Eight Lamp Amber-Red Warning System uses two stages of flashing coloured lamps to signal the slowing (amber coloured lamps) and stopping (red coloured lamps) activities of school buses to surrounding motorists.

"Our government is making school buses safer for your children to prevent tragedy and protect students while on the road,” said Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education. “This investment will ensure retrofits to Ontario's existing school bus fleet installing modern lighting and decals that are designed to slow down traffic while children enter or exit a school bus.”

“School Bus Ontario represents over 20,000 buses in the Province of Ontario and the Eight Lamp Amber-Red Warning System will enhance the safety of all passengers on a daily basis, for home to school transportation,” said Rob Murphy, President of School Bus Ontario.

“We all want to protect our children. Thank you to the Province and to MPP Harris for putting child safety front and centre,” said Township of Woolwich Mayor and Waterloo Region Councillor Sandy Shantz.

“Keeping our students safe on their way to and from school is of top importance, and we know parents and students alike expect and deserve clear action to keep students safe. This grant will help ensure that all busses in the province are equipped with light systems that will keep students safer on the roads,” said Sam Oosterhoff, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Education and Member of Provincial Parliament for Niagara West.

Additional details concerning eligibility criteria and the application process for this grant program expected in May 2022 will be communicated to the sector when finalized.

QUICK FACTS

  • On May 12, 2021, the Safer School Buses Act (2021) received Royal Assent and amended the Highway Traffic Act to mandate all school buses manufactured on or after January 1, 2005, to operate an Eight Lamp Amber-Red Warning System in Ontario effective July 1, 2022.
  • An estimated 20,000 vehicles will require retrofitting to operate this system.
  • Grant amounts are expected to range from $110 to $1,630 per vehicle to reflect the complexity of retrofits required.
  • The grant application process will be determined in partnership with School Bus Ontario.
  • School Bus Ontario is a non-profit association providing advocacy, education and legislative consultation services to the owners of school bus fleets.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

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