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Canada Unveils its Plan to Implement ELDs

It’s been a long-time coming – commercial motor vehicle operators and bus drivers will soon be required to use electronic logging devices (ELDs) in Canada. On June 13, 2019, Canadian Minister of Transport Marc Garneau made the mandate official, unveiling the details of the plan.

The transition from maintaining a paper logbook in Canada to using an ELD is not something that is going into effect right away. In fact, you essentially have two years to get ‘squared away’ so that you’re compliant with the federal mandate. On June 12, 2021 federally regulated commercial drivers and carriers that operate outside of a 160 km radius of their home terminal will be required to be compliant with the new mandate.

The two-year grace period should give carriers and drivers plenty of time to adjust to the logging system, although, Transport Canada does expect it’ll take carriers 12 months to go through the certification process, so getting a head start on implementing ELDs into the cab is not a bad idea.

So how does this ELD mandate compare to the one currently in effect in the U.S.?

The Canadian ELD mandate is actually quite similar – the intent is to make trade across borders run as smoothly as possible. That being said, the biggest difference is that Transport Canada’s ELD rule will require third-party certification of ELDs, a provision added to eliminate tampering of the devices and deter noncompliance.

According to Today’s Trucking, some ELDs that were introduced under the U.S. rules have been prone to tampering, allowing for drivers to change the hours they spent behind the wheel, among other things. Canada wants no part in that.

So, what’ll happen to all the carriers based in Canada that operate in the U.S. and have already installed ELDs? In most cases, carriers will be able to keep their current ELDs, as long as they are updated with new software (to add Canadian rules included in the mandate) and undergo a third-party certification process. Transport Canada is still in the process of establishing the certification process

U.S. carriers operating on Canadian soil will also have to be compliant with Canadian ELD mandate.

Equipment that is rented for 30 days or less, as well as trucks manufactured before model year 2000 are exempt from the ruling. In the event a driver has their ELD malfunction, paper entries can be used for up to 14 days or until the driver returns to the home terminal – as long as the trip exceeding 14 days was already planned. The ELD will either have to be replaced or fixed before the vehicle is allowed to go back on the road.

Transport Canada estimates that the ELD mandate will save the trucking industry $81 million due to a reduction in fatigue-related crashes, administration time, and reduced detention time for hours of service violations. According to Transport Canada, 9,400 hours of service violations occurred between 2010 and 2015. One-quarter of those violations were for exceeding allowable hours.