Ongoing Saga of the Canadian ELD Mandate

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June 12, 2021 marked the official deadline for Canadian federally regulated trucks to comply with the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate. The mandate requires the affected vehicles to be equipped with an ELD approved by an authorized third party certifier for use in Canada.

Unfortunately, on that date there was no certifier approved by Transport Canada able to certify an ELD, so an announcement came forth that stated there would be a soft enforcement of the mandate for up to 1 year. Since that announcement 2 certifying companies have now been approved by Transport Canada and 1 ELD has been certified for use in trucks operating in Canada.

For US Carriers

US carriers take note: any US trucks crossing into Canada must also comply with the Canadian ELD Mandate, meaning they must be equipped with an ELD certified for use in Canada. This obviously puts American truckers at a disadvantage.

US ELD providers self-certify their devices. Now, to operate in Canada they must have a device approved by a Canadian third party certifier. At time of this writing, no US devices are approved for use in Canada. This could result in fines or out of service violations for American truckers in Canada. However, penalties will not be assessed until June, 2022 for trucks still not in compliance. Urge your US ELD providers to submit their devices for certification in Canada before June, 2022.

The certification of devices was created to ensure Hours of Service (HOS) could not be tampered with like it is with paper logs. In the past HOS has been falsified to enable drivers to drive beyond the legal limit of hours, a simple process with dire consequences caused by driver fatigue and sleepiness. With certified ELDs made tamper-proof, it is believed that highways will be safer for all and truck drivers will be healthier. 

Approved Certifiers

At time of this writing there are 2 certification bodies approved to test ELDs for use in Canada, namely FPInnovations and CSA Group. And there is now 1 ELD certified for use in Canada: the Hutch Connect ELD, manufactured by Hutch Systems based in British Columbia. An up to date list of certified ELDs is available at the Transport Canada website.

Check it and see if your device is approved. And check with your provider to see if your device has been submitted to a certification board for testing. Testing is performed to ensure an ELD meets technical standards of the ELD mandate.

Some Don’t Welcome the ELD

We hear rumblings from some truck drivers who fear they will make less money under the Canadian ELD mandate. Most truck drivers across North America are paid by miles driven. Those without ELDs onboard were free to tamper with hours of service in order to cover more miles while their log books appeared to show legal status. More miles driven equals more income earned, albeit illegally.

But with tamper-proof ELDs drivers won’t be able to extend hours of service to increase income which is deemed a strike against the ELD. But really, is it actually going to make a big difference in pay? We truly don’t believe so. 

And actually drivers won’t be subject to coercion from dispatchers, shippers, and receivers to fudge log books in order to pick up or deliver freight faster. Once we all are using ELDs it levels the playing field. Driving time (HOS) is going to be limited to legal limits.

As far as earning less money because of limited HOS, it is likely the ELD will result in cost saving by eliminating HOS violations and out of service penalties for both drivers and carriers.

The ELD is Your Friend

Truck drivers, the ELD is not your enemy. It is your friend. It will result in less driver fatigue and sleepiness by limiting the number of hours you can work each day. That makes for safer highways for all. And that benefit trumps any disadvantage. You and the motoring public will experience less risk on the road.

Drivers will experience better health and less stress caused by fudging log books when HOS records are kept electronically. You will surely like your job again, like you did in the beginning. Keep on trucking, and start smiling for a change.