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Canada ELD Mandate is Fast Approaching

| February 23, 2021

Here’s what drivers and carriers need to know to satisfy  requirements on both sides of the border

Both the United States and Canada are heavily dependent on trucking, with roughly two-thirds of its mutual trade reliant on an industry that not only serves as a vital link between producers and consumers but also contributes significantly to their respective economies. In America, for example, 72.5% of all freight is transported by truck. At $791 billion strong, it is a formidable industry supplying 6% of the nation’s full-time jobs. Meanwhile, the Canadian Trucking Alliance values its trucking industry, which transports approximately 90% of consumer products and foodstuff, at $65 billion overall.

Among the world’s three largest by land areas, these neighboring countries each have extensive road systems that stretch their breadth and width, requiring truck drivers to travel hundreds of billions of miles annually. Thanks to the advancements of GPS technology that has been available since the 1980s, the arduous process of recording a driver’s duty status and vehicle performance has been simplified and streamlined through Automatic On-Board Recording Devices (AOBRDs). However, with a sharper focus on improving driver safety and efficiency, as well as a commitment to reducing fatalities and serious injuries involving trucks, more accurate information is needed. Hence, the U.S. and Canada have adopted Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandates, albeit not simultaneously.

Taking the lead in the U.S., the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DoT) published the final ELD mandate on December 16, 2015, with an implementation deadline set for December 18, 2017. For vehicles already equipped with AOBRDs, a grandfather clause was included to grant an extension to December 16, 2019.  

In 2019, Transport Canada published its ELD mandate, which gave federally regulated commercial trucks and buses until June 12, 2021 to comply.

While each ELD must be certified in both the U.S. and Canada, because the two ELD mandates differ in many ways, it’s important to note that  ELDs certified in the U.S. are not fast-tracked for Canadian certification. With that said, motor carriers operating across borders should be aware of the following differences in the mandates so that drivers and operators are prepared and able to comply by the June deadline:

Certification – Canada uses a third-party certification process to validate that the ELD complies with the technical specifications, with ELD providers required to pay for the testing and certification of their solution.In contrast, the U.S. allows self-certification, which means motor carriers must conduct due diligence in choosing among almost 500 ELDs listed by the FMCSA.

Exemptions – Canada exempts rental trucks if used for 30 days or less, whereas in the U.S. this timeframe is limited to eight days or less. In the U.S., exemptions are allowed for drivers of vehicles manufactured before the year 2000 and those transporting empty vehicles intended for sale, lease or repair, as long as the vehicle they are driving is part of the shipment.

Personal conveyance restrictions – Within 24 hours,suppliers in Canada are required to measure 75 km of personal conveyance, while the U.S. has no such requirements.

Logs and reports during malfunction – In the event of an ELD malfunction,the U.S. allows the recording of a driver’s hours of service (HOS) on a paper log for a maximum of eight days. Drivers in Canada are allowed to record daily logs on paper up to 14 days or until they return to the home terminal from the current trip. At that time, the device must be repaired or replaced to ensure full functionality.

Acquiring location data – In the U.S., ELD providers must enable devices to use Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) files to obtain locations on yard moves, personal conveyance, duty status and unassigned vehicle moves. In Canada, the government supplies these files to ELD providers for distance and direction.

Summary of driver hours – Only Canada requires ELDs to indicate to the driver the number of driving hours or minutes remaining before the next break.

Despite the differences, it is equally important to note thatthe Canadian and U.S. mandates have proven to be similar in many respects, such as ELD feature requirements. For instance, both require ELDs to automatically detect and create drive status at speeds of 5 mph (8 km/h) or below, and automate to  on-duty status after five minutes of being stopped. Both country mandates also require functions that automatically detect malfunctions and diagnostics when issues arise. Additionally, ELDs must show unassigned driving times that the driver is required to accept or reject, with driving status unable to be modified under any circumstances.

With over 5 million commercial trucks crossing the United States-Canada border each year, it is important for motor carriers to choose an ELD provider that supports all the elements of both mandates, including those unique to Canada, such as the deferral of off-duty rules requiring 24 hours off for every seven days of work. It is also recommended that motor carriers consider future-proof features, as changes to mandates are likely as the industry evolves. Additionally, motor carriers should look for an ELD that can seamlessly switch from displaying one country’s details to the other as the vehicle crosses the border. Lastly, it is recommended to adopt an ELD with the ability to provide custom capabilities such as identifying zones around a fleet’s home base where fueling, maintenance and loading may take place independent of the actual driver to help easily identify and filter unassigned from assigned logs.

With the June 12, 2021 deadline for Canada fast approaching, there is no better time than the present to prepare for the future. With a strong commitment to meeting the impending deadline, Geotab has already submitted for third-party certification. For those unsure of the rules and how they may impact drivers and operators, visit Transport Canada or contact an ELD provider to ensure not only compliance but a solution that will offer a competitive advantage on both sides of the border.

By: Scott Sutarik, Vice President of Commercial Vehicle Solutions, Geotab

Category: Connected Fleet News, Driver Stuff, Featured, Fleet Tracking, General Update, News, Safety, Tech Talk

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