The Regional District Kootenay Boundary has an Emergency Services Committee that both School Districts 20 Kootenay-Columbia and 51 Boundary actively participate on. Recently it was brought to the attention of the committee that changes are being considered/implemented in regards to School Bus insurance coverage, specifically that they may not be insured for the summer months. Like many local authorities access to School Buses for evacuation purposes is part of our evacuation planning and response capacity. Any changes that would affect quick access to these busses will create an issue for many communities across the province.
The Ministry of Education has confirmed that as part of the new K-12 insurance model that is has been recommended that buses not being used in July and August have their insurance renewals delayed and in most cases until late August. School Districts are able to insure a portion of their fleets based upon their individual needs. Should a bus or busses need to be insured for an emergency they would only be able to have insurance renewed at a broker during regular business hours as ICBC does not provide any after hours insurance processing.
Interestingly, EMBC was not identified as a stakeholder in the bus insurance discussion and it is my concern that any emergency evacuation needs during the summer months may not be able to be fulfilled by local school districts.
I just wanted to ensure others were aware of these changes that are coming from the Ministry of Education? If so, has your community made alternate plans or entered into discussions with the School District or be able to provide emergency bussing if required?” Or are you making other plans for evacuation bussing capacity i.e. with Transit?
Thanks for posting this Dan! Your post prompted us to check with our School Districts. We are fortunate that the local School Districts are ensuring their school busses year round but it created some good discussion and recognition by both agencies that we are interdependent and before we change something, we should check with other agencies to ensure there are no negative repercussions. We all need to keep thinking beyond our own part of the world.