Education and Training
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To operate a school bus for Manitoba's public schools, individuals are required to meet all training and testing requirements of both Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI) and Manitoba Education and Training. While there is no prescribed order for taking the training required of these two organizations, the Pupil Transportation Unit recommends that individuals begin with Manitoba Education and Training requirements. This specialized school bus training, combined with assistance from your instructor, will be an asset as you complete MPI's requirements. An overview of all requirements is presented below.
In Manitoba, an individual who operates 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.
The Pupil Transportation Unit strongly recommends that school bus drivers in Manitoba hold a Class 2F driver's licence, thus allowing the option to operate every size of school bus.
Before being issued a Class 2F driver’s licence for the purpose of operating a school bus, the applicant will be required to pass a medical examination, written knowledge tests, and a road test in a school bus vehicle. Specific information on each of these steps is outlined below.
- Medical Examinations
An individual applying for a Class 2F driver's licence must undergo a medical examination and file a Medical Examination Report completed and signed by a licensed physician or nurse practitioner. Applicants are permitted to write the Class 2 knowledge text before the Medical Examination Report is approved. Individuals with specific medical conditions may be prohibited from holding a Class 2F driver’s licence. However, most medical conditions or physical disabilities may be considered for a higher licence class provided specific medical standards are met.
All Class 2F 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 applying for a Class 2F driver’s licence are required to have their vision tested and must meet minimum vision standards. If the applicant requires corrective lenses, they will be required during the vision screening testing. Applicants who fail to meet minimum vision standards will be denied the class of driver's licence sought.
Applicants applying for a Class 2F driver's licence must meet specific hearing standards. The use of hearing aids may be used to achieve hearing standards. If a hearing impairment exists, an audiogram report may be required. If a hearing loss is determined, it is the applicant's responsibility to notify Medical Compliance and Assessments.
NOTE: Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active LIving 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, visit an MPI Service Centre or contact MPI as follows :
Medical Compliance and Assessments
510-234 Donald Street
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3C 4A4
Telephone: in Winnipeg 204-985-1900; toll free 1-866-617-6676
- Written Knowledge Tests
If the applicant currently holds a Classe 5F driver's licence and plans to operate a school bus, he/she will be required to write a Class 2 knowledge test and a school bus knowledge test based on the Manitoba School Bus Driver's Handbook, the Manitoba Driver’s Handbook, and the Professional Driver’s Manual. These tests can be booked at an MPI Service Centre or Autopac agency. When preparing for written tests, keep in mind they are not an open-book format.
- Authorized Instruction
Upon successful completion of the written knowledge tests and having met medical standards, MPI will issue the applicant a temporary driver's licence certificate (valid for 45 days) allowing “Authorized Instruction” (A permanent one-piece driver's licence will follow in the mail.) While acquiring a Class 2F designation for the purpose of operating a school bus, your class of driver's licence will be identified as Class 5F2A. This "Authorized Instruction" stage allows the applicant the opportunity to become familiar with, and train in, the school bus vehicle. Student transport is not permitted at this point. The "trainee" (applicant) must be accompanied by a “supervising driver” who has held the same class of licence for a minimum of two years.
- Road Test
To complete the final stage of acquiring a Class 2F driver's licence for the purpose of operating a school bus, a school bus vehicle will be required. The first step of the road test is to perform a pre-trip inspection of the school bus vehicle. The second step is the road test itself, at which time you will be evaluated (tested) on your ability to safely operate the vehicle.
NOTE: Failing the pre-trip inspection will automatically cancel the road test portion of the testing. 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.
For information on Driver Testing, contact MPI in Winnipeg at 204-985-7000, toll free at 1-800-665-2410, or visit an MPI Service Centre.
If you intend to operate 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 2F driver’s licence. The School Bus Operator's Certificate is issued by the Pupil Transportation Unit, Manitoba Education and Training.
Two separate clauses in The Public Schools Act, School Buses Regulation 465/88R, outline Manitoba Education and Training’s requirements for new school bus drivers:
Requirements of driver
15 The driver of the 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 receives a minimum of 24 hours of instruction in school bus driver training prior to operating a school bus carrying passengers;
The minimum 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, the MPI Driver's Handbook, and the Professional Driver's Manual is conducted by School Bus Driver Instructors who have been certified by Manitoba Education and Training. The 24 hours of training will focus on:
- General school bus knowledge;
- Instruction for performing a thorough and effective pre-trip inspection;
- In-vehicle and behind-the-wheel instruction.
Once the individual is familiar with the school bus vehicle, he/she will be scheduled to write/perform the following MPI tests at an MPI Service Centre:
- a written Class 2 knowledge test;
- a written school bus knowledge test;
- a pre-trip inspection (failing a pre-trip inspection automatically cancels the road test);
- a road test in a school bus vehicle (road test fees are non-refundable if the test is cancelled due to failure of the vehicle to meet standards under The Highway Traffic Act and its Regulations.)
Upon successful completion of all requirements, the new school bus driver will receive a Class 2F driver's licence from MPI, and a School Bus Operator's Certificate from the Pupil Transportation Unit, Manitoba Education and Training.
Becoming a School Bus Driver for a Manitoba School Division/School Bus Contractor if a Class 1F or Class 2F Driver's Licence is Currently Held
While holding a Class 1F or 2F driver's lience indicates an individual has previously met all MPI requirements for that class of licence, Manitoba Education and Training requires that an applicant complete a minimum of 24 hours of instruction focusing on operation of the school bus vehicle. This instruction is offered through school divisions and school bus contractors and is conducted by School Bus Driver Instructors who have been certified by Manitoba Education and Training. Instruction includes general school bus knowledge, performing pre-trip inspections, and time in-vehicle and behind-the-wheet. The applicant will be tested on his/her understanding of the training received.
Upon successful completion of Manitoba Education and Training requirements, the new school bus driver will receive a School Bus Operator's Certificate from the Pupil Transportation Unit, Manitoba Education and Training.
Manitoba Education and Training also requires that school divisions/contractors provide annual inservicing to certified school bus drivers as outlined in The Public Schools Act, School Buses 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.
A driver's abstract may be required for employment or legal purposes. Potential shcool bus drivers can obtain a copy of their driver's abstract by applying at any MPI Service Centre or Autopac 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 types of driver’s abstract exist:
- a non-commercial driver's version (those holding a Class 5F driver's licence);
- a commercial driver's version. This 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.