On June 13, 2019, Transport Minister Marc Garneau officially announced that the use of electronic logging devices (ELDs) will be mandatory for federally regulated commercial vehicle operators in Canada. Similar regulations have already been in place in the United States since December 18, 2017. Here is a brief overview of what you need to know about the Canadian regulations in order to be well prepared.

What is an ELD?

An ELD is a tamper-resistant device synced with a vehicle’s engine that electronically records the operation dates and times of a commercial vehicle. It allows you to know when and for how long a vehicle is travelling to ensure that drivers respect their daily limit and accurately log their working hours.

Why make the use of ELDs mandatory?

According to Transport Canada, the regulation will improve road safety for all road users. Knowing that driver fatigue is still an issue, the mandatory use of ELDs could reduce the risk of fatigue-related collisions by approximately 10%. The Saskatchewan Coroners Service had also recommended the use of ELDs following the collision involving the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team in April 2018.

In addition to improving security, ELDs will save carriers time and money due to the administrative burden of paper logs. They will help carriers comply with the Hours of Service Regulations and reduce the impacts of non-compliance.

The objective of using ELDs is also to promote and ensure fair competition for Canadian carriers. Tamper-proof devices, will require everyone to follow regulations in the same way.

Who must comply?

The new rules apply to federally regulated carriers, which means nearly 157,500 commercial vehicle drivers. In Canada, a company that provides extra-provincial transportation, including its local activities, falls under federal jurisdiction, while a company operating within a province falls under provincial jurisdiction.

For the time being, no changes apply to provincially regulated carriers. Each province will need to adopt the rules based on its specific provincial reality.

Main exemptions

  • short-term rentals, i.e. less than 30 days

  • commercial vehicle or engine models built before year 2000

  • vehicles operated within a 160 km radius from their home terminal, which are not currently required to keep logbooks

What is the effective date?

As of June 12, 2021, the use of electronic logging devices will be mandatory. In the meantime, providers must have their ELD tested and certified by an accredited certification body. A list of certified devices will be available and updated on the Transport Canada website. The list can be used by motor carriers to identify certified ELDs and by roadside inspection authorities for verification purposes.

ELD Canada Timeline

Similarities: United States and Canada

Canadian requirements have been aligned with those of the United States to facilitate operations. This will allow carriers to use a single ELD solution in both countries, ensuring that the chosen ELD is approved on both sides of the border.

Among the similarities, here are the main elements that must be well understood by users:

  • Automatic detection of driving status from 8 km/h. When the vehicle is travelling at a speed of 8 km/h or more, the log should automatically display the “driving” status.

  • Automatic return to “on duty” status after a 5-minute stop. After a 5-minute stop, a message must appear on the ELD screen asking the driver if he/she wishes to change to the “on duty” status.

  • “Yard move” feature. Since the ELD indicates the driving status as soon as the vehicle reaches a speed of 8 km/h, a driver travelling in a customer’s yard must activate the “yard move” mode in order to remain in the “on duty” status.

  • Diagnostics and defect management. A diagnostic is a minor problem while a defect signals a major problem. The ELD must, for example, automatically detect an odometer jump, disconnection from the device, etc.

  • Unassigned driving management. When a driver registers in a vehicle, the ELD shows the unassigned driving times that need attention. He must accept or reject them.

  • Change approval by drivers. Drivers will need to approve any changes before they are applied to their logbook.

  • Driving status cannot be modified. The “driving” status cannot be modified under any circumstances. The driver may however change the other statuses, In the event of an error or omission.

Differences: United States and Canada

The two ELD regulations differ. For carriers operating in both countries, it is important to be aware of these distinctions in order to properly train users and avoid errors.

Data transfer

In Canada, there is a defined format for the report. The roadside inspector will be able to retrieve this report on Transport Canada servers once the transfer is completed. Also, although local transfer by USB 2.0 or Bluetooth is an option, it is not a mandatory function for the ELD.

ELD Data transfer

Certification process

In the United States, ELD providers perform self-certification in order to be registered on the FMCSA list (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration). To date, there are nearly 500 devices on this list. To find a supplier, carriers must conduct their search, keeping in mind that their compliance depends on their choice of ELD supplier.

To ensure a higher level of compliance, the Government of Canada has opted for a third-party certification process. This way, ELD providers must pay to have their solution tested and certified by an accredited body. The objective of this approach is to protect carriers by ensuring that an independent authority has validated that ELDs comply with technical requirements and cannot be falsified.

Use during malfunction

In the event of device failure, the driver’s hours of service can be recorded on a paper log for a maximum of 8 days in the U.S. In Canada, the driver may use paper daily logs for a maximum of 14 days or until his return to the home terminal from the current trip, if the trip lasts longer than 14 days. After this period, the ELD must be repaired or replaced and fully functional.

Summary of driver hours and special cases

Unlike the U.S. regulations, the Canadian Rule requires the ELD to show the driver the remaining number of driving hours (or minutes) before the next break.

In Canada, the ELD must also be able to support special cases concerning the Hours of Service Regulations. Here are the main ones:

  • Off-duty deferral (day 1/day 2)

  • Adverse driving conditions

  • Personal conveyance (maximum driving distance of 75 km)

  • Split sleeper berth rule

  • Driving north of the 60th parallel

No Grandfather clause in Canada

In the United States, the FMCSA granted a two-year period to carriers who were already using electronic recording devices (ERDs) to transition to electronic logging devices (ELDs). This transition phase ended on 16 December 2019. After this date, all carriers subject to the rule must use self-certified ELDs that are registered with FMCSA.

Transport Canada eliminated the proposed two-year grandfathering period for ERDs, originally announced in Gazette I published in December 2017. This transitional period is not needed given the upgrades can be done quickly.

On-demand webinars

For more details, watch these webinars:
– Preparing your fleet for the Canadian ELD Mandate
Canadian ELDs: What Drivers Need To Know
– Canadian ELDs: What Managers and Dispatchers Need to Know
Canadian ELD Rule: what you need to know about the law

If you are subject to the Canadian regulations, consider choosing an ELD provider who will also act as a partner. A solution like ISAAC’s will not only enable your fleet to be compliant in both Canada and the United States but will also optimize your overall operations. Your assigned project manager can help and guide you through the implementation process.

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  1. Wilf July 15, 2019 at 3:06 pm - Reply

    Are Livestock haulers excempt in Canada the same as in the USA

  2. ISAAC Instruments July 15, 2019 at 3:41 pm - Reply

    Hi! No, there are no exemptions for livestock haulers at the present time.

  3. Gurinder mahal July 25, 2019 at 10:29 pm - Reply

    Canada government should improve the highways and make more proper rest areas make proper washrooms in rest areas the highways in Canada not safe most of the highways in Canada is single lane and Don’t have proper rest areas in winter time roads really bad peoples working for cleaning the highways they not doing their job and trucking companies they don’t paying proper money brokers they take to much commission no one control those people please pay attention those things if truckers make enough money they don’t need to drive the trucks over hours these big companies they don’t like companies those companies working with government to kill the small companies that’s why they want ELD logs and then they want people to treat like slabs

  4. D Troy Smith January 27, 2020 at 10:24 am - Reply

    hi my name is Troy, I have a question, I run a tractor and float I am 95 percent of the time within the 160 km radius, but once in a while ill go out of that will I need an e-log system put in the truck I drive ??? thank you

    • ISAAC Instruments January 27, 2020 at 11:05 am - Reply

      Hi Troy!

      Yes. As soon as you exit the 160 km radius, an ELD will be required.

  5. Wesley Brown July 10, 2020 at 1:16 pm - Reply

    Will a greenhouse operation be exempt if the trucks run farm plates? The flower are sold all over Ontario and moved via rented trucks and owned trucks.

    • ISAAC Instruments July 21, 2020 at 1:05 pm - Reply

      Hi Wesley, ELDs offer a new way of tracking hours of service. If your trucks are currently exempt from having to track HOS, they will likely continue to be exempt when ELDs are enforced in 2021. Of course, there are various factors to take into account. You can find more information here: https://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/regulations/SOR-2005-313/

  6. LeeC July 15, 2020 at 7:20 pm - Reply

    Does changing from a Federal (either North or South) to a Provincial ruleset (and vice versa) require a full cycle reset?

    Does changing from a Federal South to a Provincial ruleset (and vice versa) require an operating zone change?

    • Gust October 21, 2020 at 8:37 pm - Reply

      I am a US driver that drives to Canada daily. I am not required to use an eld in the US because of the new 150 mile rule, am I required to use an eld in Canada because of the 160km(100 mile) rule?

      • ISAAC Instruments October 23, 2020 at 1:52 pm - Reply


        Essentially, you would be exempt from using an ELD if you:
        – drive a commercial vehicle within a radius of 160 km (100 miles) of the home terminal
        – return to the home terminal each day to begin a minimum of 8 consecutive hours of off-duty time;
        – the motor carrier maintains accurate and legible records showing, for each day, the cycle the driver followed and on-duty times and keeps those records and the supporting documents relating to those records for a minimum period of 6 months after the day on which each record was recorded.

        If you go beyond the 100-mile radius, then you would be required to use an ELD to comply with the Canadian HOS rule.

  7. Randi August 26, 2020 at 3:56 pm - Reply

    Is agriculture exempt from the ELD’s?

  8. ISAAC Instruments September 1, 2020 at 9:19 am - Reply

    Hi Randi! ELDs offer a new way of tracking hours of service; they don’t change current HOS rules. If your trucks are currently exempt from having to track HOS, they will likely continue to be exempt when ELDs are enforced in 2021.

  9. Tim September 29, 2020 at 2:20 pm - Reply

    I see comments that highways, rest stops and rest areas/ truck stops need to improve. Very few steering wheel holders actually eat in a truck stop and most all of today’s “Drivers” make a mess of the parking facilities anyway. Why would anybody invest millions for someone to throw their garbage all over the place and piss on the seat and wall?

  10. Tinasha September 29, 2020 at 4:05 pm - Reply

    I have yet to see the list of devices certified by an accredited body. It was suppose to be released in June and its now almost October.
    What companies have Transport Canada approved devices?

    • ISAAC Instruments September 30, 2020 at 8:47 am - Reply

      Hello Tinasha,
      Transport Canada has not yet revealed the accredited certifying body. Then, ELD suppliers will be able to submit their devices for certification.

  11. Bruce October 2, 2020 at 12:40 pm - Reply

    I drive a 1 ton hauling RV’s. I’m exempt with the ELD in the US. Will this be the same in Canada?

    • ISAAC Instruments October 8, 2020 at 12:20 pm - Reply

      Hi Bruce,
      If your truck is currently exempt from having to track HOS with paper logs, they will likely continue to be exempt when ELDs are enforced in 2021.

  12. Sue November 6, 2020 at 9:16 am - Reply

    We are in the Oil & Gas Industry with a Federal Operating Status and have a Special Permit – known as “Federal Oil Well Service Vehicle Cycle Exemption permit for HOS. Does Issac have the software in their program to input this into the Cycle Status area as we don’t fall under the 70/7 Day or 120/14 day rules?

    • ISAAC Instruments November 9, 2020 at 7:59 am - Reply

      We will contact you shortly to discuss your specific situation!
      Thank you

  13. Natasha November 30, 2020 at 5:53 pm - Reply

    I have a question about what 160 km from your home terminal. What defines your home terminal? where the vehicle is started and parked each day or the address on the registration

    For excample:
    We are an Alberta company that has a jobsite in BC. Our trucks can be floated to the job and then stay within the 160km of the job site. Would that prevent the need of installing an ELD?

    • ISAAC Instruments December 1, 2020 at 9:52 am - Reply

      Hi Natasha,
      According to the Canadian Rule, here’s the definition of home terminal:
      home terminal means the place of business of a motor carrier at which a driver ordinarily reports for work and, for the purposes of sections 80 to 82 and Schedule 2, includes a temporary work site designated by the motor carrier.

      Source: https://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/regulations/SOR-2005-313/FullText.html

      Sections 80 to 82 being the sections dealing with local time, the obligation to keep a logbook and the content of the logbook.

      In addition, the section on the 160 km exemption in the Alberta Hours of Service Guide mentions the possibilities and terminal changes.

      Change to Home Terminal
      There are several situations where it is common for a carrier to change the home
      terminal for a driver:

      • In the school bus industry, bus drivers take their bus home and begin
      and end their workday at an “out park” location. An “out park” location
      can be at the driver’s home or a parking place near the home such as
      a farm, school or shopping centre. For these drivers, the “out park”
      location is their home terminal (normal work-reporting location).

      • In the gravel truck industry, city gravel haulers drive out to various rural
      locations and work for 2 – 3 weeks at a time and stay in a hotel. For
      these drivers, the hotel is their home terminal.

      • In the oil / gas service industry, drivers work from a motel for a week or
      so, then change motels to do a different job. For these drivers, the
      motel is their home terminal.

      A motor carrier can change the home terminal for a driver to a new location to
      qualify for the daily log exemption. In these situations, the driver and motor
      carrier must do the following:

      • On the day that the trip from the old location to the new location
      occurs, the driver must record the change in a daily log because the
      driver has not returned to the normal home terminal.
      For example, in the oil / gas service industry on the day(s) that the
      driver is moving to a new motel at a different location, the driver uses a
      daily log to record all duty status activities. Once the driver is
      operating from the new motel, the driver qualifies for the daily log
      exemption again.

      • For the days that the driver qualifies for the daily log exemption, the
      motor carrier must maintain a record of duty status for the driver

      Source: http://www.transportation.alberta.ca/Content/docType276/Production/Module_18.pdf

      We would recommend referring to this 20-page module on the 160 km exemption. It is very detailed and well explained. In addition, there are several useful examples.

  14. Kurt December 19, 2020 at 11:51 pm - Reply

    I drive for a company that operates in the US and Canada. The company operates 6 trucks that are post 2000 model year, but each truck has a pre 2000 model year engine. Do these trucks qualify for the exemption from ELD requirements in Canada?

    • ISAAC Instruments January 4, 2021 at 7:34 am - Reply

      Hello Kurt,
      The regulation as currently written only exempts commercial vehicles manufactured before model year 2000. There is no exception or guidance as in the U.S. to exempt vehicles manufactured after model year 2000 but with an engine manufactured before year 2000.

  15. Jim January 9, 2021 at 1:34 am - Reply

    How do the eld rules apply to winter road operations in Ontario and Manitoba? We already have special permits that modify hours of service. Will qualifying trucks be required to be equipped with an eld? My fleet only operates during winter road season but we are an irp registered carrier operating in Canada only.
    Can you shed some light on this situation? We haven’t been able to get any answers from the authorities on this.

    • ISAAC Instruments January 12, 2021 at 10:35 am - Reply

      Hello Jim,
      Here’s what the Canadian hours of service regulations say about ELDs:

      ELD Records of Duty Status
      Electronic Logging Device

      • 77 (1) A motor carrier shall ensure that each commercial vehicle that it operates is equipped with an ELD that meets the requirements of the Technical Standard, and shall ensure that it is mounted in a fixed position during the operation of the commercial vehicle and is visible to the driver when the driver is in the normal driving position, with the exception of commercial vehicles that are:

      o (a) operated by a motor carrier under a permit;
      o (b) operated by a motor carrier to which an exemption has been issued under the Act;
      o (c) the subject of a rental agreement of no longer than 30 days that is not an extended or renewed rental of the same vehicle; or
      o (d) manufactured before model year 2000.

      Source: Commercial Vehicle Drivers Hours of Service Regulation (https://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/regulations/SOR-2005-313/FullText.html)

      In your case, we would suggest that you contact your provincial ministry of transportation for more information. On the Ontario Northern Winter Roads web page, there is a contact for this topic. This person would probably be able to provide more details.

      Sherry Werner
      Tel: (905) 704-2974 | Fax: (905) 704-2039
      Email: sherry.werner@ontario.ca