Student Transportation: Review of Competitive Procurement

On January 28, 2016, the Ministry of Education released the Student Transportation Competitive Procurement Review Report.

The report acknowledges that the method of competitive procurement known as request for proposals, or RFPs, is a viable option for school boards wishing to acquire student transportation services. However, the report does outline ways in which the RFP process can be improved.

Overall, the report outlines 29 opportunities for improved competitive procurement. These opportunities fall under four main categories:

  • to sustain and enhance a competitive marketplace
  • to increase economy, efficiency and flexibility
  • to increase the effectiveness and defensibility of evaluation and selection
  • to improve industry relationships

Prior to the submission of the final report to the Minister of Education, the Treasury Board Secretariat reviewed all opportunities and confirmed their compliance with the Broader Public Sector Procurement Directive.

No alternative competitive procurement options are identified in the report.


In 2014, Premier Kathleen Wynne committed to an independent review of competitive procurement processes for student transportation. The review had two intended purposes:

  • A review of current competitive procurement practices and student transportation Requests For Proposals (RFPs) that have been issued since December 31, 2011 to identify best business practices and opportunities for improvement in competitive procurement of student transportation in Ontario; and
  • To explore options other than RFPs for competitive procurement of student transportation that are in compliance with the Broader Public Sector Procurement Directive for the consideration of the school board sector in Ontario.

The review was chaired by the Honorable Colin Campbell, retired Justice of the Ontario Superior Court. The two members of the review team were Leo Gotlieb and Paul Emanuelli.

The review team conducted extensive consultations with stakeholders, including; the Independent School Bus Operators Association (ISBOA), the Ontario School Bus Association (OSBA), the Council of Senior Business Officials (COSBO), the Ontario Association of School Business Officials (OASBO) and Unifor.