Striking OC Transpo workers will vote Thursday on the city's latest contract offer after being ordered to by federal Labour Minister Rona Ambrose.

Results are expected sometime Thursday night after the voting, which will take place between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m. at Lansdowne Park under the supervision of the Canadian Industrial Relations Board.

The City of Ottawa will republish its last offer for distribution at Monday's information session being hosted by leaders of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 279.

City council is also scheduled to hold a special meeting on Monday.

Ambrose told the union to vote by Friday after city officials asked her to intervene in the dispute last week.

If members vote to approve the contract, a transit strike that has crippled the nation's capital for more than three weeks could come to an end. About 2,300 OC Transpo drivers, dispatchers and mechanics walked off the job Dec. 10. They had been working without a contract since April.

Even if the strike is settled soon, all buses will stay parked for five to six days while mechanics service the vehicles.

The main sticking point of the dispute remains control over bus driver scheduling, which OC Transpo management wants to take back from drivers.

Special school bus service begins Wednesday

Thousands of Ottawa students will be getting bus transportation to school beginning Wednesday after the public and Catholic boards reached an agreement with the ATU to run a limited number of school buses.

The buses will serve about 13 schools that normally rely on OC Transpo's 600 series of routes.

The Ottawa Catholic School Board has already announced transportation for students with OC Transpo passes who attend the following high schools: St. Patrick's, Lester B. Pearson, St. Pius X, Immaculata, and Notre Dame.

The Ottawa-Carleton District School Board is expected to release more information on Monday

More than 12,000 students from Grades 7 to 12 use OC Transpo to get to and from school.