Staff Report #3 – Re: Operator Recruitment Review

Staff Report #3

May 29, 2019

To All Commissioners

Re: Operator Recruitment Review


The report be NOTED and FILED.


Over the last several years, London Transit has experienced increased hiring demands for the position of bus Operator. The increases are attributable to several factors, namely the general growth in service over the past five years and a change in complement (due to increased attrition and turnover rates.). As a result, London Transit has faced challenges in maintaining a healthy pool of available Operator candidates for consideration.

To effectively address the demands on a go-forward basis, a review of the Operator recruitment program was undertaken. A working group (comprised of the Director of Human Resources, Director of Operations, Manager of Human Resources, Training Supervisor and Manager of Operations Administration) was formed to review the current process, investigate best practices, conduct industry comparisons, and make recommendations to meet both current and future hiring needs.

Historically, London Transit experienced a minimal change in the Operator complement, and the majority of changes were a direct result of natural attrition. However, as previously noted recent years of service growth have increased the demand for hiring Operators, and in response to this, recruitment outreach was expanded beyond London and the surrounding area. At the same time, turnover rates experienced at London Transit increased and are now consistent with that of the industry, specifically in Ontario. The increase in turnover, aside from normal retirement trends, is found to be primarily due to:

  • Increased hiring outside the London geographic area (hires from outside of London electing to commute but not relocating to the area and subsequently finding employment closer to their residence);
  • Significant competition from other transit properties in Ontario;
  • Increased recognition that the Operator positions may not be a good fit (e.g. truck driver who has worked independently for years, suddenly driving and dealing with customers, and decides this is not for them); and
  • Family issues, etc. requiring extended leaves to visit home countries

The working group examined Operator recruitment practices and criteria at other transit properties, and it was evident that transit properties in Ontario are also challenged with both hiring Operators and retaining same. Affecting change with the trend is difficult, London Transit is now in line with other transit properties in terms of turnover, and the general workforce and job availability and market in Canada are such that there are more opportunities for professional drivers to be able to choose job opportunities.

While the review identified a number of potential changes going forward, the implementation of any changes will be undertaken in a phased approach allowing for the monitoring and assessment of changes as they are implemented. Given the critical need for candidates for the bus Operator position, the first change will be to modify London Transit’s minimum qualifications required for the Operator position. The objective of the change is to expand the potential pool of applicants. Currently, London Transit requires a candidate to have an “A, B, C or D license with Z endorsement, combined with 2,000 hours driving with said license.” Effective June 1, 2019, London Transit will be removing the 2,000 hours of driving-related experience from the criteria. The requirements to have an “A, B, C or D license with Z endorsement” will remain in effect. This modification ensures candidates can successfully obtain the required license and have some experience operating large vehicles.

The review of the program was undertaken in an effort to ensure that demands for the Operator position could be effectively addressed going forward. A key component of the review included the assessment of impacts on budget and resources associated with any recommended changes. With respect to the elimination of the 2,000 hours of driving related experience, while this is anticipated to significantly increase the pool of available candidates, it is also anticipated to have a number of financial and resource related impacts, including:

  • increased contract costs for the third party that assists London Transit with Operator recruitment relating to the anticipated increase in applications and required screening activities;
  • increased candidate interviews resulting in increased staff resources to conduct same; and
  • enhanced training and management resources dedicated to new trainees in order to ensure new hires can meet the requirements of their position safely and effectively.

Actual financial and staff resource impacts will be monitored over the next two classes in an effort to determine the longer term impacts of the changes, noting any financial impacts going forward will be included in the multi-year budget projections.

A communication campaign specific to the changes in criteria will be launched June 1, 2019 including radio advertising, social media campaigns, advertising in cultural newspapers and updates to the corporate website. New materials will also be created for distribution at future job fairs and other events where LTC is present.

The working group will monitor the impact of the change, in terms of expanded outreach in advertising, the hiring process and training required to ensure it is meeting the needs of the organization, noting should this change not result in an expanded pool of candidates as anticipated, further changes to the recruitment program and process may be required.

Recommended by:

Joanne Galloway, Director of Human Resources

Concurred in by:

Kelly S. Paleczny, General Manager