As the ELD Mandate came into effect in the United States on December 18th, 2017, the Canadian government published its proposal to make the use of electronic logging devices (ELDs) mandatory. ELDs help carriers and drivers comply with Commercial Vehicle Driver Hours of Service Regulations thereby lessening the negative impacts of non-compliance. According to Transport Canada, in addition to improving road safety, regulations will save carriers time and money associated with the administrative burden of paper logs.
Impacts on operations
Using ELDs offer many advantages. However, implementing such technology will require a transition period. “Beyond choosing a compliant solution, carriers will have to revise their operational processes. Whether for administrative personnel, dispatchers, or compliance officers, day-to-day work methods will be revised to adapt to this new reality,” stated engineer Benoit Vincent, who worked as a consultant on the development of the Canadian standard.
Training will be crucial during the transition to ensure that everyone uses the technology to its full potential, and to optimize productivity and performance. Guidance and support during the deployment of a solution will be key considerations when choosing an ELD provider. Day-to-day technical support for solution users will also be part of the equation.
Differences between Canada and the United States
In developing its regulations, Transport Canada took American regulations into account. To minimize repercussions for Canadian cross-border operators, ELD requirements were for the most part aligned with those of the United States. Such alignment will ease operations and avoid posing a hindrance to trade. Carriers will be able to use a single solution in both countries and remain compliant.
Nonetheless, there are some distinctions between Canadian and American regulations. According to Vincent, the main differences are as follows:
In accordance with hours of service regulations, ELDs must enable carriers operating in Canada to keep information logged for the current day and the preceding 14 days, while the American requirement calls for 7 days.
Based on the technical specifications of Canadian regulations, ELDs must enable calculations for driving timetable scheduling both north and south of the 60th parallel north.
To meet Canadian hours of service regulation requirements, ELDs must also allow for cycle management, changes in jurisdiction, and off-duty time deferral.
During roadside inspections, ELDs must make it possible for drivers to provide reports in PDF format, either by email, fax, or with a USB drive. Data files will not be validated, like is the case in the United States by the FMCSA.
Industry members have 60 days starting on the proposal’s publication date in the Canada Gazette, on December 16th, 2017, to submit comments in writing directly to Andrew Spoerri, Senior Research Analyst for Transport Canada.
Suggestions and concerns will then be studied and regulations amended if necessary. New regulations on the mandatory use of ELDs will come into effect one or two years after the date of publication in Part II of the Canada Gazette. The enforcement date will depend on the duration of the transition period of either one or two years. One thing is certain: Canada is on track to make ELD use mandatory in the coming years.