Legislation and Regulation


Following are some of the laws and regulations that apply to school buses in Ontario:

  • The Highway Traffic Act (HTA)
  • Dangerous Goods Transportation Act
  • Public Vehicles Act
  • Motor Vehicle Transport Act
  • Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act
  • Environmental Protection Act 

Section 175 of the HTA helps keep children safe by specifying rules that apply only to school buses.  For example, the HTA specifies that only school buses can be painted chrome yellow. Section 175 also requires motorists to stop when a school bus is stopped with its overhead red signal-lights flashing.  Motorists must not proceed until the bus moves or the lights have stopped flashing.  Failing to stop can result in heavy fines and demerit points.

School bus operators must also comply with  Regulation 612  of the Highway Traffic Act (HTA) which specifies that school buses must be compliant with (1) Canadian Standards Association (CSA) Standard D250, a prescriptive manufacturing standard that school buses must be built and maintained to throughout the service life of a school bus; (2) CSA Standard D409-M84 which prescribes standards for physical accessibility including wheelchair accessibility; and (3) mandatory equipment including overhead signal lights, stop arms, pedestrian-student safety crossing arm, and signage, as examples.


School buses are the mostly highly regulated vehicle on the road.  The Ministry of Transportation (MTO) monitors school bus operations throughout the year.  Facility audits, carrier safety ratings, inspections and spot checks are performed to ensure service providers operate with the highest integrity.