School bus driver improvement courses

To get a school bus driver's licence (class B or E) in Ontario, all applicants must successfully complete a ministry-approved School Bus Driver Improvement Course (SBDIC). Certificates issued by approve course providers are valid for 5 years from the date you complete the course.

Choose a course

Not all driver improvement or defensive driving courses are approved and accepted by the Ministry of Transportation as meeting the minimum requirements of a SBDIC.

When you choose a course, you may want to:

  • check the list of ministry-approved SBDIC providers (see below)
  • ask someone in the school bus industry to recommend a course provider
  • visit course providers' websites or call them to determine if their courses fit your needs

Ministry-approved

Internal clients only

  • Cornwall Transit
  • Dinyer Bus Lines
  • Durhamway Bus Lines
  • GO Transit
  • Greyhound Canada Transportation Corporation
  • J & T Murphy Limited
  • M.L. Bradley
  • Sinton Transportation

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: What topics does a School Bus Driver Improvement Course cover?

The following core topics are the minimum mandatory requirements for all ministry-approved course providers. They must be delivered in no less than 6.25 hours of total instruction time. Course providers are welcome to exceed these requirements.

You can find more details in the School bus driver improvement course program standards (SBDIC) (PDF - 471 KB) course provider manual.

Orientation

  • Legislative requirements
  • Licensing
  • Daily vehicle inspection
  • Hours of work
  • Legal responsibilities

The driver

  • Driver impairments
  • Alcohol
  • Drugs
  • Effects of aging
  • Fatigue
  • Emotional stress
  • Illness
  • Limiting in-vehicle distractions

Defensive/strategic driving

  • Vehicle dynamics
  • Stopping distances
  • Effects of weight and speed
  • Following distances
  • Defensive driving techniques
  • Driving conditions/weather
  • Route hazard identification
  • Railway crossings
  • Crosswalks/intersections
  • Traffic situations
  • Blind spots/danger zones
  • Backing
  • Merging
  • Passing and being passed
  • Turning
  • Vehicle controls
  • Limiting outside distractions
  • Preventable collisions
  • Avoidance
  • Protecting the right side of the bus

Passenger issues

  • Communication
  • Passenger management/discipline
  • Duty to report problems
  • Loading/unloading of passengers
  • Approach, curb side, cross-over
  • Post trip child check

Safety equipment/emergencies

  • Mirror adjustment
  • Lights
  • Stop arm
  • Front crossing arm
  • First aid kit
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Axe/claw bar
  • Emergency and other incidents
  • Evacuations
  • Special needs evacuations

Q2: If I have a complaint about a School Bus Driver Improvement Course, who should I talk to?

Who you should talk to depends upon the nature of the complaint. If you believe you are the victim of criminal activity, report it to the police and then to the ministry (see below).

The vast majority of complaints can be resolved if you work directly with the course provider. In most cases, the first person to discuss the issue with would be the course instructor.

If this doesn't resolve the matter or is inappropriate, all ministry-approved SBDIC course providers have an individual known as the course administrator. This person is accountable to the ministry for their course administration, delivery and related staff. They can normally be reached by contacting the course provider's main place of business.

If the issue remains unresolved, report it in writing to the ministry. Please include your return contact information, including a phone number, so we can get in touch with you.

By mail:

Ministry of Transportation
Manager, Evaluation and Training Office
Program Development and Evaluation Branch
1201 Wilson Avenue, Building A
Lower Level, Room B-051
Downsview, Ontario M3M 1J8

By email: ETOTraining@ontario.ca

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