Written by BSM, a Geotab Company
on December 15, 2017

Electronic Logging Device Regulations in Canada

The era of electronic logging devices (ELDs) is dawning and Canadians are watching as the ELD regulations in the United States go into effect. The American legislation, established by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), requires that affected motor carriers and drivers have either ELDs or Automatic On Board Recording Devices (AOBRD) in place by December 18, 2017. The Canadian ELD mandate will look to enforce similar legislations; in the near future, paper logs will need to be replaced by ELDs in all federally regulated commercial vehicles.

Proposed Regulations for Electronic Logging Devices

The ELD mandate in Canada is anticipated to closely reflect the regulations that are being implemented in the United States. As a result, initial development of the proposed legislation for Canada was delayed until after the publication of the FMCSA’s Final Rule for ELDs, on Dec 15, 2015.

According to Transport Canada, the federal Commercial Drivers Hours of Service Regulations will be updated to require motor carriers, as well as commercial vehicle drivers, to automatically track their hours of service using electronic logging devices. The new mandate won’t change the Hours of Service regulations—just how drive time is recorded and reported. It will set standards for how data should be recorded and utilized, and will describe the capabilities ELD devices should have. For example, one standard from the US mandate is that devices be synched to a vehicle’s engine and they automatically track drive time. Similar requirements and standards are also anticipated from the Canadian side.

Proposed regulations in Canada will likely affect most commercial motor drivers and carriers who currently maintain paper records of driving, with possible exemptions for short-haul operations and drivers of older model vehicles. Like the U.S. regulations, Canada’s ELD mandate may include clauses for supporting documentation requirements, and prevention of driver harassment.

Current Timeline for the Canadian ELD Mandate

Multiple organizations in Canada, including the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators (CCMTA), the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA), and Transport Canada have been working to establish ELD technical standard for Canadian drivers and fleets. The new ELD mandate is not a separate rule in itself, but rather an amendment to the current Hours of Service (HOS) rules and regulations

On December 16, 2017, the CCMTA’s ELD Technical Working Group published the first draft of the proposed rule in the Canada Gazette. Fleet companies under federal jurisdiction must now start implementing ELDs. The final rules of the ELD mandate is expected to be published in mid-2018, in the Canada Gazette Part II; it will include details around enforcement timelines. Finally, sometime in early 2020, the government should begin enforcing the ELD mandate. The only exception to the rule will be companies currently using automatic onboard recording devices (AOBRDs); who will have until 2022 to switch to the compliant ELD device.

What You Need to be Aware Of

  • Provincial governments may soon set up their own ELD rules. The Canadian Trucking Alliance, a trade association, is currently helping some of the provinces formulate such mandates.
  • In addition to installing ELDs, managers of fleets under federal control will have to teach drivers and operators how to use their devices.
  • Transport companies will need to reconfigure their drivers' schedules. The mandate states that a driver's workday can't exceed 14 hours, can't be on the road for more than 11 of those 14 hours, and, and must not work again for at least 10 hours.
  • Though very similar, the Canadian mandate will differ from its American equivalent. It is therefore important to review the mandate(s) that is applicable to your company. For example, unlike in the U.S., Canadian fleet employees will be permitted, under certain circumstances, to drive short distances without their ELDs on.

Key Benefits of the Canadian Mandate

  1. Cost Savings

In August 2016, Transport Canada, a division of the government, estimated that the amount of money a company will save due to the mandate will be twice as large as the cost of complying with it. It is estimated that cost saving will come through in decreased labor costs to decrease accident related costs.

  1. Safety Benefits

The ELD mandate is intended to improve driver safety and reduce driver fatigue. By setting restrictions on driver hours, and ensuring the data input is recorded automatically, driver fatigue can be curbed. Similarly, by simplifying the driver’s logging process, drivers are less distracted on the roads.

  1. Increased Operational Efficiency

The process of updating and filing paper logs takes many hours annually. Those hours can now be spent on other tasks. Those who have already starting using electronic logging devices have seen benefits from the increased accuracy of their records; the real-time information provided allows for companies to optimize their driver schedules. Also, since the American ELD regulations are currently in effect, the Canadian mandate will facilitate cross-border operations.

There exists a tremendous opportunity for companies to use the ELD as a jumping off point to enhance and optimize processes and organizational goals, leading to even greater financial and safety gains. The mandate also provides an opportunity to work with an experienced fleet and asset tracking solution partner, one who can help you implement the right solution for your overall organizational needs – supporting your business goal of becoming best in class.

How To Prepare

The best way to get prepared for this mandate is to carefully read its first and second versions along with its American counterpart, and seek professional guidance to explain anything that's unclear. Fleet managers shouldn't be shy about sending their comments to the CCMTA, either. Due diligence will need to be conducted to ensure that your ELDs comply with the regulations. The transition requires careful planning to ensure proper implementation; ensure adequate time has been allocated to the transition from your current system to ELDs.

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