Government of Canada launches school bus seatbelt pilots in the District of Sudbury, Ontario and British Columbia

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Together with Gary Lillico of Canadians Parents for Mandatory Seatbelts I have been urging Transport Minister Marc Garneau to introduce legislation to require seatbelts on school buses across Canada. The evidence is compelling. Injuries can be reduced and lives can be saved. While this week's announced pilot project is a significant step forward I encourage you to contact your Member of Parliament as well as Transport Minister Marc Garneau and make your voice heard.
-GJN

TORONTO, Feb. 14, 2020 /CNW/ – 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.

Quotes

“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 Transportthe 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

Quick Facts

  • 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.

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SOURCE Transport Canada

Urging the government to put seatbelts on school buses

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You may know that I have joined with Gary Lillico and his advocacy group Seatbelt’s for Canadian School Buses Now to urge Federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau to require seatbelts on all school buses. Thousands have signed a petition in support. Read details on this campaign and watch an incredible CBC report for background information.

Tonight, Mount Royal Member of Parliament, Anthony Housefather, rose in the House of Commons to ask about this important issue. Thank you Anthony for pressing forward. We hope to see solid action by the Minister early in the new year to increase safety for school children from coast to coast.

I’ll continue to call upon Minister Garneau to move the necessary regulations or legislation. I have already spoken with him on three occasions on this topic over the last 12 months and I believe that he is interested in making good on this important subject that falls within his ministerial mandate.

Feds must act to require school bus seat belts

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Tens of thousands of school children are riding daily on buses that Transport Canada knows are not safe enough. Despite evidence showing that three point seat belts on school buses prevent or lessen injury and save lives, the government has not taken action to correct this serious situation.

In October 2018 the CBC Fifth Estate investigated the issue and concluded that seatbelts on school buses could have prevented thousands of injuries and numerous deaths.

The report continued with a follow up in December looking a the campaign to make buses safer across Canada by changing outdated legislation.

An online petition is nearing its goal of 50,000 signatures. I have signed and encourage you to do so as well.

More can be done to bring about change.

I call upon my mayor, Mitchell Brownstein, of Cote Saint-Luc, Quebec, to adopt a resolution in support of this urgent legislation at the next public meeting and ask the city to share their resolution with all municipalities across the Montreal region. You can do the same in your city or town anywhere in Canada.

As well, I am fortunate to have one of the most passionate and accessible members of parliament, Anthony Housefather, as my representative. I call upon him to speak with his colleague, Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport, who has reportedly called for a report from his department in the past weeks. You too should contact your MP’s office.

Finally, there must also be pressure upon industry itself. To that end I will raise the issue with my kids’ school, where I serve on the Board of Directors. Bus companies that offer seat belts should be hired ahead of those that don’t. Bus companies should know that parents and schools are seeking providers that are proactive and take the necessary measures to keep children safe, even in advance of legislation.

Each of us plays an important role in making school buses safer across Canada.

Montreal anglo ridings continue to make national press

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Mount Royal and Westmount-Ville Marie ridings continue to be covered in the national press as we near the May 2 federal elections.  Mount Royal has been all-Liberal since the 1940s but the National Post and Globe and Mail both tout this one as a riding to watch.

I met Conservative candidate Saulie Zajdel last week.  He made a point of saying he’s not running against Liberal incumbant Irwin Cotler, rather he is running against the Liberal Party.  Cotler, he said, could continue to do his fine work in advocacy and human rights outside of Parliament basically creating two strong advocates for Israel.  Interesting comment and strategy for Zajdel as he runs against a giant in human rights.

As for Westmount-Ville Marie my long time friend Neil Drabkin hopes to turn the tide and offer this central Montreal riding strong representation in a Conservative government.  Drabkin has deep roots with the Tories going back almost 30 years and would surely merit a cabinet position should he win, which is surely an uphill battle.  I have personally witnessed him in action in Ottawa.  His name and reputation are door openers on Parliament Hill and he has the ability, drive and skill to make a difference.  While I have met sitting MP Marc Garneau and have great respect for his achievements of reaching lofty heights (pun intended), Drabkin too has the spirit and know-how to go pretty high. (Watch Global News report on the local race in Westmount-Ville Marie).

Also of interest is how the Conservatives have placed the word “Canada” boldly across their posters, a sight unseen in many an election here in Quebec.  Having been forgotten for far too long by all federal parties Quebec anglos should search out who best represents their minority within a minority interests (and add yet another minority for Quebec anglo Jews).

The NDP has only French text on their posters while the Liberals merely have the bilingual version of the riding name.

While Gilles Duceppe tried to back Stephen Harper into a corner in the English and French language debates in egging him on to extending the dreaded Bill 101 to federal jurisdiction industries (such as Transportation, Banking and Telecommunications) representing some 300,000 workers, Harper didn’t budge.

Read Barbara Kay as she comments in the National Post: 

via Barbara Kay: It’s time for Montreal’s anglos to vote for a Tory majority | Full Comment | National Post.

And click here for the latest round up from my friend, City Councillor and blogger Mike Cohen about all the candidates in Mount Royal Riding.

Not to be missed: The Mount Royal candidates will take part in a number of debates, including one co-sponsored by B’nai Brith Canada and the City of Côte Saint-Luc on Thursday evening April 28 at Beth Zion Congregation on Hudson Avenue.