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Canadian Electric School Bus Alliance

Accelerating the adoption of electric school buses in Canada

Pathways for Canadian Electric School Bus Adoption

The Canadian Electric School Bus Alliance (CESBA) (co-led by Équiterre and Green Communities Canada) reveals its first study Pathways for Canadian Electric School Bus Adoption (produced by Dunsky Energy + Climat).

The Government of Canada has not yet set a target specifically for zero-emission school buses or electric school buses (ESBs). While EBSs fall under the current target to achieve 35% of total medium- and heavy-duty vehicle (MHDV) sales being ZEV) by 2030 and 100% by 2040, this only relates to the percentage of new sales and not the percentage of conversion.

So CESBA set out to better understand the feasibility of a fully electric Canadian school bus fleet by 2040 and whether a more ambitious target is feasible by requesting this study produced by Dunsky Energy+Climate.

In a climate emergency context, school buses, in particular, represent a low-hanging fruit in the transition to zero-emission MHDVs: their routes are predictable and often relatively short and they typically return to a central location between shifts where they can charge, making them ideal candidates for electrification. In addition to reducing GHG emissions, electric school buses (ESBs) present notable health benefits and can significantly reduce operating costs.

CESBA wishes to see all school buses to be electric by 2040.

CESBA conference

The Canadian Electric School Bus Alliance proudly held its conference Electrifying Canada’s School Bus Fleet: Challenges, Lessons Learned and Solutions from May 30 to June 8.

The conference brought together researchers, government stakeholders and fleet operators from across the country to discuss the electrification of Canada’s school bus fleets.

It included 4 events broken down in 3 panels and 1 webinar aiming to :

  • Exchange on best-practices from provincial leaders and fleet operators who are enabling and operationalizing the transition to ESBs in Canada;

  • Contribute to the development of ESB Acceleration Recommendation Reports, being developed by the Alliance for publication in late 2023;

  • Establish stronger networks across provinces to build a pan-Canadian movement.

#1 - Panel - Exploring Pathways to 100% Electric School Bus Adoption

#2 - Panel - Leading Electric School Bus Adoption at the Provincial Level

#3 - Webinar - Advocating for Electric School Bus Adoption in Key Provinces

#4 - Panel - Operating Electric School Buses from Coast to Coast

The challenge


In its Plan for a Green Economy 2030, Quebec has set a goal of replacing 65% of diesel school buses on the road with electric models by 2030.

Quebec Ministry of Transportation, School Transportation Electrification Program, 2021

With road transportation responsible for 25% of Canada's greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, the electrification of school transportation has the potential to make a significant contribution to improving Canada's climate record. It could also improve air quality and reduce noise pollution for youth using the school transportation system.

By comparison, the United States is already well on its way to electrifying school transportation with a goal of converting all 500,000 school buses to zero-emission vehicles by 2030. With a fleet of just over 40,000 school buses, the time has come for the rest of Canada to emulate the ambitious targets set by Quebec and the United States and to move quickly from diesel to electric vehicles.

 The famous yellow North American school bus has been transporting children to school since the 1930s, fuelled almost exclusively by fossil fuels. Now, more than 80 years later and faced with a global climate crisis, the time has come for Canada to transition its fleet of 51,000 school buses from diesel to electricity. 

Our work

Building on its expertise in transportation electrification and public policy, notably through its My Electric Bus campaign, Équiterre will work in collaboration with Green Communities Canada to rally stakeholders in the school and electrification sectors across the country to pool their knowledge, develop mobilization strategies and formulate recommendations for government bodies in order to accelerate the implementation of practical measures that will advance the electrification of school buses in Canada.

Équiterre will also ensure, with the support of Propulsion Québec, the successful implementation of the School Bus Electrification Program in Québec through the sharing of experience and recommendations which will then guide the introduction of similar programs in other Canadian provinces

Accelerating adoption of electric school buses in Canada

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Project managers


Made possible by the support of the Trottier Family Foundation and its partners the Consecon Foundation and the Echo Foundation, this project is coordinated and implemented by Équiterre in collaboration with Green Communities Canada.

  • Consecon Fondation
  • Fondation Echo
  • Fondation Familiale Trottier