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Transport Canada ELD mandate: What fleets should know

Transport Canada ELD mandate: What fleets should know
Author: Kyle Dodsworth, ELD Regulations Specialist

Now is the time for Canadian fleets to start transitioning to electronic logging devices (ELDs) as the Canadian transport ministry has announced the official new regulations. The Transport Canada ELD mandate for commercial drivers is aimed at improving road safety and comes into effect in June 2021. 

Although similar in many ways to the U.S. rule, one significant difference of the Canadian ELD rule is third-party certification. The certification process is not currently set up yet. 

Transport Canada anticipates it will be at least 12 months before any accredited certification body is available to certify any ELD manufacturers.

Are e-logs mandatory in Canada?

Currently, drivers of commercial buses and trucks in Canada are required to self-report their on-duty, off-duty and daily driving time, according to the Commercial Vehicle Drivers Hours of Service Regulations. Drivers must keep a daily log of driving records. Use of paper logs or electronic recording devices (ERD) to record hours of service (HOS) is permitted.

Official Canadian ELD regulations have been in the works for several years. In 2017, Transport Canada announced that it would be making electronic logging mandatory. 

Like in the U.S., Canada has provided a two-year phase-in period for ELD use. Canada is asking motor carriers to be in full compliance by June 2021.

Definition of an ELD

Transport Canada defines an ELD as a certified device or technology that automatically logs the driver’s driving time and record of duty status. We outlined the most frequently asked questions about ELDs in this post.

Benefits of using ELDs, as cited in the announcement, include: 

  • Improving road safety
  • Minimizing driver fatigue
  • Simplifying administration and making the enforcement checks faster 
  • Supporting economic growth by harmonizing with U.S. regulations

Canadian ELD mandate date

Here is a quick overview of the key dates to be aware of with regard to the Canadian ELD mandate.

Transport Canada ELD timeline

December 16, 2017

The Government of Canada published the proposed Regulations Amending the Commercial Vehicle Drivers Hours of Service Regulations (Electronic Logging Devices and Other Amendments), in Canada Gazette Part I: Vol. 151, No. 50.

June 13, 2019 

Transport Canada announced that it is mandating the use of ELDs for commercial trucks and bus operators. 

June 12, 2021 

Enforcement deadline. Carriers must switch from paper daily logs to ELDs before this date. 

The highly anticipated announcement comes after a substantial consultation period, which included industry stakeholders, ELD vendors and the provincial and territorial governments. 

Will there be a grandfather period?

The published regulations state that Transport Canada has eliminated the two-year grandfather period for ERDs. As of now, there will not be a grandfather period for the Canadian ELD mandate. This means that fleets already using e-logs will not have extra time allotted and will need to ensure their devices are compliant by 2021 like everyone else. 

The reason given is that the process for updating is not as burdensome as initially assumed. The regulations mention that carriers may be able to upgrade their existing devices via over-the-air software updates, instead of needing to replace the whole unit. To confirm upgrade requirements, carriers with ERDs should check with their current providers. 

Similarities to the U.S. ELD mandate

The Canadian ELD regulations are similar in many respects to the current U.S. regulations on electronic logging, which went into effect in December 2017. In the U.S., ELD compliance was phased in with full compliance mandated by December 16, 2019. 

The Canadian ELD regulations will mimic U.S. regulations in that the ELD will be required to:

  • Synchronize with the engine 
  • Provide GPS tracking
  • Capture drive time automatically
  • Use an on-screen display to show inspectors at roadside
  • The ELD lets drivers use special driving statuses; Yard Move (YM) and Personal Conveyance (PC).
  • The ELD has a mechanism to verify logs and agree to edits.
  • Pre-2000 vehicles are exempt from the mandates.

Note: This is not a complete list.

Differences from the U.S. ELD mandate

There are some slight differences between the Canadian and U.S. regulations on ELDs. 

One key difference is that Canadian ELDs must be third-party certified, not self-certified. In the U.S., ELD devices are self-certified by the manufacturer that they meet requirements, and then registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The Canadian Trucking Alliance has strongly supported this measure, stating that it will help strengthen overall compliance and discourage device tampering. 

It may take at least 12 months before Transport Canada establishes an accredited certification body to certify ELD manufacturers.

Also, Canadian drivers will not transfer logs electronically to a federal system like eRODS in the U.S. Drivers will be required to email a specially created transfer file to officers, and officers may have software to convert the file into a readable format. The industry awaits more details on this process.

Canadian ELDs must also meet the Technical Standard for Electronic Logging Devices published by the The Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators (CCMTA) which outlines the minimum requirements.

Canadian ELD exemptions

The U.S. ELD mandate offers exemptions to the rule in some cases. Canada also has four main exemptions as listed in Canada Gazette Part 2 Volume 153, Number 12.

Commercial motor vehicles will be exempt if they: 

  • Operate under a specific permit issued
  • Have a statutory exemption
  • Are subject to a rental agreement with terms under 30 days
  • Operate a vehicle that was manufactured before 2000 

Acknowledging incompatibility issues, the regulations allow drivers of commercial motor vehicles manufactured before model year 2000 to continue to keep a paper log to track driving time and on-duty hours.

Next steps

The Canadian ELD regulations will not change existing hours of service (HOS) regulations, but reinforce compliance. Additional benefits of the rule include reducing fatigued driving and simplifying compliance for long-haul truck drivers who drive in both countries.

Finding the right ELD solution

The Canadian ELD mandate will require the ELD system to actively warn drivers when they are running close to the hours of service limits. The Canadian hours of service rules are quite different than those in the U.S. so carriers should look at choosing an ELD vendor that 1) supports the Canadian hours of service rules completely, including deferral of OFF duty, and 2) is committed to achieving third-party certification when it becomes available. 

Geotab already has a Canadian ruleset available for the Geotab ELD solution and is committed to working towards fulfilling compliance requirements according to the new Canadian ELD regulations. 

For more information on Geotab’s solution for electronic logging, visit geotab.com/eld

About the author: Kyle Dodsworth is an ELD Regulations Specialist at Geotab, specializing in North American hours of service rules and regulations.

While Geotab recognizes our place as a self-registered ELD manufacturer and provider and we will answer questions regarding those Hours of Service (HOS) ruleset options we provide, neither Geotab nor any of its employees, officers or agents can offer legal advice to any resellers or customers concerning which HOS ruleset(s) or exemption(s) may apply to any particular situation. Please contact your local DOT department or refer to the FMCSA website at https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/ for questions Geotab is unable to answer.

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