On June 13, 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 devices should be available on Transport Canada’s website by June 2020.

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.

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. A list of accredited organizations has not yet been issued.

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 ends 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 webinar

For more details and examples of the points covered in this blog, watch the webinar “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.