First Student Canada
|Founded||2006 (purchase of Laidlaw)|
|Headquarters||3221 North Service Road
|Service area||Canada (nationwide)|
|Service type||school bus contractor
public transit contractor
First Student Canada, a subsidiary of the British company FirstGroup and a division of FirstGroup America, is a major contractor of school bus services and public transit systems. The company provides services in Canada comparable to those delivered by sister companies First Transit and First Student in the United States. The component parts of the operation consist of the former Laidlaw services and subsequent new acquisitions by First Canada.
The Farwest Group of companies provides transportation services in various communities in British Columbia. These companies were acquired by First Canada in 2004. and are contracted to operate public transit services for BC Transit in Chilliwack, Kamloops, Kelowna Region and the Central Fraser Valley.
Several companies branded as "Cardinal" operated school buses in different locations across Canada. In 2005, Firstbus Canada acquired 471136 B.C. Limited and Cardinal Transportation B.C. Inc., Vancouver, BC and Cardinal Coach Lines Limited and Focus Capital Inc., Calgary, AB and Cardinal Coach Lines (Ont.) Ltd., North York, ON.
King Transportation Ltd., is a Winnipeg based company that provides school bus transportation, special education transportation services, charter and maintenance services. The company was acquired by FirstBus Canada in 2008.
2014 Calgary Controversy
In February 2014, the company was subject to criticism after it fired Kendra Lindon, a school bus driver after she used her own vehicle to pick up children from her route after her bus failed to start. Due to the extremely low temperature (-26 degrees Celsius), and due to the failure of her dispatch to send replacement buses on the previous day, Lindon decided that "it wouldn’t be right" to leave children out in the cold and feared they might suffer frostbite, since many were not properly dressed for such cold weather. Upon learning of Lindon's actions, the company immediately terminated her employment, on the grounds that it was "against company policy to pick up children in a personal vehicle." Lindon defended her decision, stating that "I was not acting as a bus driver at that point, but as a concerned parent...I saw these kids I’ve known since they were five. I was acting as a parent and a concerned neighbour and friend. I couldn’t just drive past them and leave them to freeze."
When contacted by Licia Corbella of Postmedia News, the assistant location and safety manager, Mike Stiles, declined to comment and referred her to the First Student's Cincinnati headquarters, which did not return any calls for inquiry. Three lawyers, who have offered to represent Ms. Lindon pro bono, have suggested that she may have a case against First Student for wrongful dismissal.
School boards served by First Student Canada include:
- Algoma District School Board
- Calgary Board of Education
- Calgary Catholic School District
- Conseil scolaire de district des écoles catholiques du Sud-Ouest
- Conseil scolaire Viamonde
- District School Board of Niagara
- Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board
- Durham District School Board
- Edmonton Catholic School Board
- Edmonton Public School Board
- Elk Island Public School Board
- Greater Essex County District School Board
- Halton Catholic District School Board
- Halton District School Board
- Hamilton Wentworth Catholic District School Board
- Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board
- Huron-Superior Catholic District School Board
- Keewatin-Patricia District School Board
- Kenora Catholic District School Board
- Lambton Kent District School Board
- Lakehead District School Board
- Niagara Catholic District School Board
- Ottawa Catholic School Board
- Ottawa-Carleton District School Board
- Peel District School Board
- Rocky View Schools Division
- St. Clair Catholic District School Board
- Thames Valley District School Board
- Thunder Bay Catholic District School Board
- Toronto Catholic District School Board
- Toronto District School Board
- Upper Canada District School Board
- Waterloo Region District School Board
- Winnipeg School Division
- Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board
- York Region District School Board
First Student Canada is contracted to provide public transit services for many small communities across the country.
- Airdrie Transit, AB
- Kelowna Regional Transit System, BC
- Orangeville Transit, ON
- Orillia Transit, ON
- Prince Albert Transit, SK
- Tecumseh Transit, ON
- York Region Transit, ON (Division 2, serving Northern York Region). - terminated January 16, 2012
- Barrie Transit, ON
- FirstGroup Annual Report and Accounts 2008
- Investment Canada Act, March 2004 Decision
- "Transit Management Company Approved". BC Transit. February 6, 2008.
- Investment Canada Act, March 2005 Decisions
- Winnipeg School Division, Student Transportation
- http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/ica-lic.nsf/eng/lk-30801.html Investment Canada Act, Notifications - Acquisitions
- Calgary bus driver Kendra Lindon was fired for using her SUV to pick up children rather than let them freeze by Michael Platt, Calgary Sun, March 03, 2014.
- ‘It’s disgusting’: Outrage in Calgary after bus driver gets fired for picking up stranded kids in SUV by Licia Corbella, Postmedia News (reprinted in the National Post), March 5, 2014.
- Corbella: Driver thrown under the bus for protecting kids by Licia Corbella, Calgary Herald, March 5, 2014.
- Public support floods in for fired school bus driver by Amy Glass, Calgary Herald, March 4, 2014.
- Calgary bus driver fired after picking up stranded teens in her SUV, CBC News, March 04, 2014.
- Kendra Lindon, Calgary School Bus Driver, Fired For Picking Up Kids In Her Car, Huffington Post, March 5, 2014.
- Driver dismissed for good deed, Colleen Schmidt, CTV Calgary, March 4, 2014.
- First Student Canada - Calgary and Area, Commuter Schedule
- City of Kelowna - Transit
- Town of Orangeville, Transit
- City of Orillia, Public Transit
- City of Prince Albert, Transit Service and Transportation
- Town of Tecumseh, Transit Service Information
- York Region Transit, 2008 Draft Service Plan