Canada Joins the ELD Party – A Summary of Transport Canada’s ELD Proposal

By Dave Osiecki, President of Scopelitis Transportation Consulting & ELD Consultant to PeopleNet

While the focus in the U.S. has been on the Dec. 18, 2017, ELD compliance date for carriers and drivers, our neighbors to the north recently moved forward with their own ELD plan.  On Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017, the Government of Canada officially published a long-awaited proposal to require use of ELD technology in Canada.  The Canadian Department of Transport’s proposed regulation was published in the Canada Gazette 1, Volume 151, No. 50, under the title, “Regulations Amending the Commercial Vehicle Drivers Hours of Service Regulations (Electronic Logging Devices and Other Amendments).**  For clarity, this Canadian ELD regulatory action is a proposed rule, and the Department of Transport is accepting comments for the next 60 days (through mid-February 2018).

First, an editorial comment. The Canadian ELD proposal is written in a remarkably clear and concise manner, and in a user-friendly format.  It contains a short Executive Summary, followed by succinct explanations of the issues, the regulatory objectives, the costs and benefits, and the “consultation” process used with industry and provincial stakeholders, among other things.  Compliments to Transport Canada and the key government staff responsible for working this issue and drafting the document.  Now to the substance of the proposed Canadian rule.

If you’re familiar with the U.S. ELD rules, the Canadian proposal will sound very familiar since it is intended to be “in alignment with U.S. requirements.”  The proposal would:

  1. mandate the use of ELD by drivers who are currently maintaining a daily paper log,
  2. establish specific requirements for “supporting documents” that must be kept by the driver and the carrier, and,
  3. incorporate by reference a technical standard to establish performance and design specifications for the ELD devices.

Consistent with U.S. rules, the Canadian proposal also includes exemptions for drivers not required to complete a paper log (i.e., operating under a statutory exemption, or operating under a special permit), and for drivers operating CMVs manufactured before the year 2000.  However, the Canadian proposal expressly recognizes the challenges of requiring ELDs in rental trucks, and it includes an exemption for trucks rented for a term of 30 days or less—an issue the U.S. government has wrestled with, but has not firmly addressed in its rules.

It’s also important to point out that the Canadian technical ELD performance and design specifications are intended to align with the U.S. technical requirements in order to keep the hardware and software challenges to a minimum for North American ELD suppliers.  By the end of 2017, all Canadian and U.S. motor carriers engaged in cross-border trade will be using U.S.-compliant ELDs, and Transport Canada comments in its proposal that “it is expected that the vast majority of ELDs would also be compliant, or be close to being compliant, with the proposed amendments at the time when the amendments would come into effect.”

Speaking of becoming effective, the Canadian implementation timeline is also very similar to the U.S. implementation approach. Once the Canadian rule is finalized—likely sometime in 2018—Canadian drivers and motor carriers subject to the rule will have two years to implement the required ELD technology.  And, similar to the U.S. approach, early adopters of electronic recording technologies in Canada will have an additional 2-year grandfather period to bring their technology up to Transport Canada’s ELD technical standards.

As you may be able to tell, Transport Canada officials have paid attention to the ELD regulatory and implementation process in the U.S., and strived to closely align the Canadian requirements and approach.  In fact, the Executive Summary of Transport Canada’s proposed ELD rule concludes with this statement:  “The proposed amendments would be aligned with similar requirements in the United States (U.S.), delivering administrative cost savings, as well as safety and competitive benefits, without introducing any impediments to trade.”

** Transport Canada’s ELD proposal, published on December 16, 2017, can be found at the following link:

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