The safety of Canada’s road users is a priority for federal, provincial, and territorial governments, and that starts with the safe transportation of our school children.
Today, the Minister of Transport, the Honourable Marc Garneau, announced that the Government of Canada is launching a pilot project introducing seatbelts in some school buses with the District of Sudbury, Ontario, and at a second location in British Columbia, which will be announced at a later date.
The pilot projects will involve a limited number of new school buses, equipped with three-point seatbelts that follow the latest federal safety standards.
School buses are the safest way to transport an estimated 2.2 million Canadian children to school. Recognizing that seatbelts can provide an additional layer of safety in rare, but severe school bus collisions, these pilots are an important step in examining the optimal and most efficient use of this safety feature in Canada.
The Sudbury Student Services Consortium as well as British Columbia expressed interest in this pilot. The Government of Canada is also open to partnering with other governments or jurisdictions who would be willing to step up and participate in a pilot.
The need for pilot projects stems from the report of the Task Force on School Bus Safety, Strengthening School Bus Safety in Canada, which explains the considerations associated with installing and using seatbelts on school buses, such as proper seatbelt adjustments for children.
“The Government of Canada is pleased to collaborate with the Government of British Columbia and with Ontario’s Sudbury Student Services Consortium on these important pilot projects involving seatbelts on school buses. School buses continue to be the safest means of transporting children to and from school in Canada, but if there is an opportunity for improvement, we will explore all options as we continue to study and analyse the potential use of seatbelts on school buses. These pilots are an important element of our collective efforts to further strengthen school bus safety in Canada, and we look forward to the findings.”
– Minister of Transport, the Honourable Marc Garneau
“The Province of B.C. looks forward to working with Transport Canada to identify how jurisdictions can strengthen and improve safety in and around school buses. Participation in this pilot project will provide important information that will help guide decisions on school bus safety.”
– Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, the Honourable Claire Trevena
Government of British Columbia
“The Sudbury Student Services Consortium is thrilled to be working in partnership with Transport Canada on this very exciting project to support school bus safety. We are looking forward to working with our local school boards, school bus operators, students, and parents on this very important initiative.”
– Renée Boucher, Executive Director, Sudbury Student Services Consortium
Each day, Canadian children travel to and from school every day on 51,670 school buses.
In July 2018, Transport Canada published new requirements to support the voluntary installation of three-point seatbelts on school buses.
In January 2019, the federal, provincial, territorial Council of Ministers Responsible for Transportation and Highway Safety established a special Task Force to carefully examine the issue of school bus safety, both inside and outside the bus, with an emphasis on seatbelts.