To drive a school bus carrying passengers in Manitoba, individuals are required to meet the training requirements of both Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI) and Manitoba Education. While there is no prescribed order for taking the training required of these two organizations, the Pupil Transportation Unit recommends that individuals begin with the Manitoba Education Requirements. This specialized school bus training, combined with assistance from your instructor, will be invaluable as you complete MPI’s requirements. An overview of all requirements is presented below.
In Manitoba, an individual who drives a school bus carrying passengers must hold a class of driver’s licence for the size of vehicle being operated:
The Drivers and Vehicles Act, Regulation 47/2006 provides definitions of Class 2 and Class 4 vehicles.
NOTE: It is strongly recommended that all school bus drivers in Manitoba hold a Class 1 or Class 2 driver's licence, thus allowing the option to operate every size of school bus.
Before being issued a Class 1 or Class 2 driver’s licence, you will be required to pass a medical examination, a written knowledge test for the specific class of licence you are seeking, and a road test in the appropriate vehicle. Where a school bus is to be driven, a written school bus knowledge test (sometimes referred to as a Class 8 test), and a pre-trip inspection of a school bus vehicle will also be required. Specific information on each of these steps is outlined below.
Applicants must undergo a medical examination and have a medical examination report completed and signed by a licenced physician or nurse practitioner. MPI’s Medical Records office must approve the medical examination report before the written knowledge test can be taken. Individuals with specific medical conditions may be prohibited from holding a Class 1, 2, 3, or 4 driver’s licence. However, most medical conditions or physical disabilities may be considered for a higher licence class provided specific medical standards are met.
Under The Drivers and Vehicles Act, the Registrar of Motor Vehicles requires that certain drivers be medically examined to determine their fitness and ability to drive. All Class 1, 2, 3, and 4 drivers must submit an MPI medical examination report form every five years between the ages of 18 and 45, every three years between the ages of 46 and 64, and annually thereafter. Should a specific medical issue arise, an employer or authority having jurisdiction may request that a medical examination be performed. Drivers with specific medical conditions may be required to submit medical reports to Medical Records more frequently.
Applicants for a Class 1, 2, 3, or 4 driver’s licence who require corrective lenses to meet the required visual standards may pass their vision screening while wearing glasses or contact lenses. Drivers who wear contact lenses are advised to carry glasses with them at all times while driving since there may be times when contact lenses must be removed due to eye irritation.
Drivers must meet specific hearing standards depending upon the class of licence held and the type of goods transported. If a hearing impairment exists, an audiogram report may be required. The use of hearing aids may be used to achieve hearing standards.
NOTE: Manitoba Health will NOT pay third party requests for a medical report including any related examinations, tests, or telephone calls to the physician. Applicants are responsible for these costs.
For information on medical examination reports or questions about medical conditions, contact MPI as indicated below or visit a driver testing centre or mobile testing unit in your area.
Medical Records, Manitoba Public Insurance
206-1075 Portage Avenue
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3C 4A4
Toll free 1-866-617-6676
For Classes 1, 2, 3, and 4, tests include a sign recognition test; a written knowledge test pertaining to the class of licence sought; and in the case of driving a school bus, a written school bus knowledge test. These tests are based on the Manitoba Driver’s Handbook; the Professional Driver’s Manual, and this handbook. When preparing for a written test, keep in mind it is not an open-book format.
Upon successful completion of the written knowledge test(s), an individual who is in the process of obtaining his/her full licence will be issued an “Authorized Instruction” licence in order to train and become familiar with the vehicle. Other school bus driver trainees are permitted in the vehicle during this stage, but should be kept to a minimum. Student transport is not permitted at this point. Where the individual is pursuing a Class 1, 2, 3, or 4 driver’s licence, he/she may be accompanied by a “supervising driver” who has held the same class of licence for a minimum of two years.
A road test must be completed in a vehicle appropriate to the class of licence sought. To acquire a Class 2 licence, a school bus vehicle is required. A pre-trip inspection of the school bus must be performed in addition to the road test. Fees for the road test are not refundable if the test is cancelled due to the vehicle failing to meet vehicle standards under The Highway Traffic Act and its Regulations.
NOTE: Failing a pre-trip inspection will automatically cancel the road test.
For more information on driver testing, contact MPI as indicated below or visit a driver testing centre or mobile testing unit in your area.
Driver Testing, Manitoba Public Insurance
1006 Nairn Avenue
Winnipeg, Manitoba R2L 0Y2
Telephone: 204-985-7000 or toll free 1-800-665-2410
If you intend to drive a school bus for a school division in Manitoba, or secure employment through a contractor that supplies drivers to Manitoba school divisions, you will be required to obtain a School Bus Operator’s Certificate in addition to holding a Class 1 or Class 2 driver’s licence. This Certificate is issued by the Pupil Transportation Unit, Manitoba Education.
Two separate clauses in Manitoba Regulation 465/88R outline Manitoba Education’s requirements for new school bus drivers:
The Public Schools Act - Manitoba Regulation 456/88R
15 The Driver of a school bus shall
(i) obtain a school bus operator's certificate from the office of the Pupil Transportation Unit of the Department of Education before operating a school bus carrying passengers;
18(1) The school board shall ensure that
(a) each new school bus driver received a minimum of 24 hours of instruction in school bus driver training prior to operating a school bus carrying passengers;
The 24 hours of instruction required to obtain a School Bus Operator’s Certificate is offered through school divisions or by school bus contractors. The training, which focuses primarily on the Manitoba School Bus Driver's Handbook, is conducted by School Bus Driver Instructors (SBDI) who have been certified by Manitoba Education. The training requires that individuals successfully complete 24 hours of instruction which will include a written school bus knowledge test, school bus pre-trip inspection, and road test. Once all requirements of the training are successfully completed, the SBDI will submit a School Bus Driver Endorsement Form to the Pupil Transportation Unit, Manitoba Education whereupon a School Bus Operator’s Certificate is issued.
Occasionally, an individual already holding a Manitoba Class 1 or Class 2 driver's licence wishes to become a school bus driver. In this instance, the individual is exempt from completing MPI's requirements, but must successfully complete the training required by Manitoba Education. This training, which focuses primarily on the Manitoba School Bus Driver's Handbook, is offered through school divisions or by school bus contractors and is conducted by School Bus Driver Instructors (SBDI) who have been certified by Manitoba Education. The training requires that individuals successfully complete 24 hours of instruction which will include a written school bus knowledge test, school bus pre-trip inspection, and road test. Once all requirements of the training are successfully completed, the SBDI will submit a School Bus Driver Endorsement Form to the Pupil Transportation Unit, Manitoba Education whereupon a School Bus Operator's Certificate is issued.
Manitoba Education also requires that school divisions and contractors provide annual
inservicing to certified school bus drivers:
The Public Schools Act - Manitoba Regulation 465/88R
18(1) The school board shall ensure that
(b) each school bus driver receives a minimum of eight hours inservice training during each school year.
School divisions/employers, Manitoba Infrastructure and Transportation, and other agencies may require a driver’s abstract for employment purposes. Potential school bus drivers can acquire a copy of their driver’s abstract by applying at any MPI agency and paying the required fee. If an abstract is requested by the employer, written permission from the individual must be obtained before an employee’s, or potential employee’s, driving record will be released.
Two versions of the driver’s abstract exist: one version pertains to non-commercial drivers (e.g. school bus drivers); the second version to commercial drivers. The commercial drivers’ version includes infractions committed under commercial driver legislation and regulations (e.g. a commercial driver is charged with the vehicle being overweight, or the log book was found to be out of date).
The commercial driver’s abstract affects an employer’s safety fitness rating. Under the National Safety Code, a motor carrier’s safety fitness rating is affected by the driving offences of its employees. This information will help a motor carrier decide how an employee’s, or potential employee’s, driving record will affect the employer’s safety fitness rating.