Transport Canada first announced their ruling on the mandatory usage of 3rd party certified electronic logging devices (ELDs) for logging drivers’ hours of service nearly 4 years ago. Also known as the Canadian ELD mandate. This forcibly replaces the previously held practice of maintaining daily logs manually, and went into effect June 12th, 2021.
Given that a certifying body was only selected at the end of October 2020, alongside the pandemic, the mandate is going into full enforcement on January 1, 2023.
It’s important that you stay up to date with any changes to the mandate, and take the steps to get ahead of enforcement so you will stay in compliance under the Canadian mandate.
In this article, we’ll go over what you need to know and watch out for when preparing your fleet (or yourself) for a compliant Canadian ELD mandate transition.
Table of Contents
- Do your vehicles need ELDs or are you exempt?
- What's the point of the Canadian Mandate?
- Pros and cons of using ELDs
- 3rd Party Certification: What does it mean?
- How to tell if an ELD is 3rd party certified?
- What are the differences & similarities between USA ELDs and Canadian ELDs?
- How this will impact your operations.
Do my vehicles need ELDs?
Any commercial vehicle that is currently required to keep a daily hours-of-service log will be required to have an ELD installed.
A commercial vehicle, specifically, refers to a vehicle that:
- is operated by a motor carrier and propelled otherwise than by muscular power; and
- is a truck, tractor, trailer or any combination of them that has a registered gross vehicle weight in excess of 4 500 kg or a bus that is designed and constructed to have a designated seating capacity of more than 10 persons, including the driver
Are there exemptions?
Most commercial vehicles will have to comply with the ELD mandate, unless its circumstances fall under one of these criteria, in which case it will be exempt:
- The vehicle is operated by a motor carrier under a permit
- The operating motor carrier has been issued an exemption under the Act
- The vehicle is under a rental agreement that has terms lasting less than 30 days, with no extensions or renewals
- The vehicle model year is before the year 2000
When it comes to drivers, similar to the US, short haul truckers who operate within a 160km radius of their reporting base (home terminal) are exempt.
Why is the Canadian Mandate being enforced?
The goals of the Canadian ELD mandate are to:
- Improve safety and eliminate fatigue: 25% of violations are due to drivers running over the Hours of Service limit, she says.
- Curb unfair competition: Everyone will now be following the regulations
- Improve efficiency: ELDs should save time compared to electronic recording devices or paper logs.
- Lead to harmonization: The mandate will align provinces and federal rules as much as possible.
The good and the bad - common misconceptions.
- Many drivers dislike the idea of switching over to ELDs because they feel that it will restrict the number of hours they are allowed to work.
However, that’s only true if they are improperly logging or cheating their hours now, because the hours of service rules haven’t changed. To ensure your drivers know the Hours of Service rules like the back of their hand, show them this article.
- There are costs associated with getting an ELD. A lot of companies have entered the space because they see the mandate as an easy way to make money off of hard working drivers. Unfortunately, most offer terrible solutions and subpar user support that ends up creating more trouble and increased violations.
It’s very important for you to do your research into the different available ELDs out there, and consider a multitude of factors, including:
- How easy and intuitive it is to use - A complicated or glitchy solution will frustrate your drivers and cause more problems and violations down the line.
- The monthly costs and hardware costs - However, be wary that price does not indicate quality. ELDs that allow you to try them for free first are generally a good place to start.
- Customer support - Unexpected things happen on the road, and it’s important that the solution you pick has a team that can support you and/or your drivers at all times, 24/7.
- Enterprise/fleet management capabilities - If you manage a fleet, you’ll want to take advantage of all the data the ELDs are collecting.
3rd Party Certification: What does that mean?
To be compliant with the mandate, carriers must use an ELD approved by an accredited 3rd party organization in Canada.
Although it will limit the number of ELD providers that are eligible for the mandate, 3rd party certification will ensure that the ELDs are reliable, safe, compliant with the Canadian hours of service rules. You can read more about the update on 3rd party certification from the Ministry of Transportation on October 26th, 2020 here.
ELDs in Canada must be certified by a 3rd party, unlike in the US where companies can self certify.
How do I know if an ELD is 3rd party certified?
Transport Canada has partnered with the Standards Council of Canada (SCC) to develop the accreditation scheme and critieria for the Canadian ELD mandate. The criteria that must be followed and is used to evaluate companies by the certifying bodies is outlined in the Technical Standard for ELDs found here.
This covers a wide range of aspects from the duty changing functionality, properly tracking hours of service, log data accuracy, driver manual editing capabilities, engine readings, motion sensors, and more.
We can go on for hours on the specifications required because our team built Switchboard with the rigor to get certified as soon as the process becomes available, as all the hours of service rules are built right in. Learn more about our free plan.
ELDs certified under the FMCSA are not automatically certified in Canada.
If you operate in both the US and Canada, note that ELDs certified under the FMCSA are not automatically certified for the Canadian ELD mandate. Additionally, the ELD you end up choosing must accommodate both sets of hours of service and cycle rules and switch seamlessly between the two. Otherwise, your drivers may fall into the trap of getting violations and tickets when they cross the border.
We check the certification guidance for updates daily, so if you want to be the first to know when the ELD providers can begin applying for certifications, sign up for our newsletter below. We promise there will be 0 spam.
Stay up to date with industry news and the Canadian Mandate - 3rd party certification is coming soon for Switchboard!
What are the differences & similarities between USA ELDs and Canadian ELDs?
Although the Canadian ELD requirements have been designed to be similar to the US ELD Mandate, there are some differences.
Similarities between the US and Canadian ELD Mandate
- 8 km/hour switching to Driving: 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.
- Yard Move duty status feature: “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 & Defects Recording: 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 time recording: 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.
- Driver approval of ELD edits: Change approval by drivers. Drivers will need to approve any changes before they are applied to their logbook.
- Cannot edit Driving time: 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 between the US and Canadian ELD Mandate
- 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.
3rd party 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. (Learn more about it here) 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 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 published in December 2017. This transitional period is not needed given the upgrades can be done quickly.
What does this mean for my operations? Are there any benefits?
By the numbers, Transport Canada estimates that the use of ELDs will reduce the risk of collisions caused by fatigue by 10%*. Now how does this affect you?
In practice, late adopters of ELDs may find themselves in a difficult position. Switching to ELDs for the first time right when the mandate takes effect can result in insufficient training and confused drivers, which inevitably leads to violations and fines.
Getting ahead of the deadline, on the other hand, can bring on a lot of benefits for your fleet.
Features such as driver analytics will allow you to monitor your drivers' performance and driving behavior, so you can enforce good practices and reduce your drivers' chances of accidents and collisions.
Getting ahead of the mandate will give you time to potentially test out a few ELDs until you find the one that works best. This will also provide ample time for you and/or your drivers to adjust to the new reality and get comfortable around using ELDs.