Following the U.S. requiring most commercial trucks to be equipped with electronic logging devices (ELDs) by the end of this year, Canada’s trucking regulator is following a similar path. Beginning June 21, 2021, Transport Canada will require the devices when trucking north of the border, replacing paper logs.

The Canadian action builds on lessons learned in the U.S. implementation by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). For example, Canada is limiting exceptions to its ELD mandate to commercial motor vehicles:

  • when operated under a permit
  • operated by a carrier already exempted by the Motor Vehicle Transport Act
  • subject to a rental agreement of no longer than 30 days (but not rental agreements that have been extended or renewed for the same vehicle)
  • manufactured before model year 2000

Canada also differs from the U.S. in requiring third-party certification of ELDs, rather than the self-certification process allowed in the U.S. As a result, many experts believe there will be fewer varieties of ELDs available in Canada.

However, apart from third-party certification, the Canadian ELD technical standards are largely the same as in the U.S. – and that is deliberate. Canada seeks to allow interoperability of commercial motor vehicles in both countries. After all, U.S.-Canada trade amounts to $650 billion a year. A commercial motor vehicle compliant with the U.S. ELD rule will be able to operate in Canada once its ELD software is updated for the Canadian hours-of-service (HOS) rules and the ELD is certified by a third party.

There has been no indication, unlike the pending HOS proposal from the FMCSA in the U.S., that Canada will review its own HOS rules once ELDs are in place there. So, carriers operating in Canada should acquaint themselves with the differences in hours of service.

As an example, the Canadian ELD regulations, like those in the U.S., require the ability for drivers to enter into a “personal conveyance” mode for off-duty movement of the vehicle, but the HOS rules in Canada place limits on the use of “personal conveyance.” (For more on operating in Canada, listen to the PrePass “Eyes on the Road” podcast episode “What Truckers Need to Know About Safety Regulations Before Entering Canada.”)

If you are looking for more information about the coming Canadian ELD requirement, the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators (CCMTA) has prepared a helpful summary of the Canadian ELD standards.

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