The Canadian ELD Mandate and Looming Perfect Storm

As of June 12, 2021 all federally regulated trucks in Canada are required to be using electronic logging devices (ELDs) that are third-party certified as listed on the Transport Canada website. That means no more paper logbooks and in place, government approved ELDs. The ELD connects directly to the truck engine to automatically record the driver’s records of duty status (RODS) and stores them digitally.

At the time of this writing we visited the Transport Canada website’s List of Certified Devices and found no listed devices as certified. Not even one. And with the deadline on the horizon there is little time to find a certified ELD, install it in a fleet’s vehicles, and train drivers on its use, a process fleets estimate to take 6 to 12 months to complete. 

The Private Motor Truck Council of Canada has lobbied the Trudeau Government to push back the deadline to give fleets time to comply, but to no avail so far. Transport Canada says it won’t budge on the date. How can this happen with only 4 months between now and fleets being in violation for not having valid logs? And how can it happen in the throes of a deadly pandemic?

Eliminating Paper Logbooks

Transport Canada’s position is based on the fact that ELDs are tamper proof, unlike paper logs which can easily be altered to reflect compliance with Hours of Service (HOS) regulations. Such alterations allow a driver’s log to appear accurate, while he or she may have actually driven longer than the log reflects. An ELD connected to the truck’s engine being tamper proof shows the actual miles and hours driven, and cannot be fudged. And ELDs are shown to reduce drowsy driving by 10%, resulting in fewer accidents and, by extension, a reduction in highway deaths.

Embracing Technology

The ELD can be coupled with telematics that permit the wireless transfer of data from the truck to the home office enabling managers to see in real time driving habits, fuel consumption and such things as harsh braking among other insights. These findings can be used to coach drivers on better and safer driving habits to improve and enhance fuel economy and wear and tear, saving money all around.

US Trucks Must Comply

Let’s not forget about our American friends. Many US based trucks bring freight into Canada daily and their ELDs have been mandated since 2018. But there are so many small ELD providers in the US and only a handful of large suppliers of the devices. Yet according to Canadian regulations the American ELDs must be certified for use in Canada or drivers will face violations subject to severe penalties. 

The large American suppliers of ELDs may well be accepted in Canada. But the small providers are in doubt of qualifying. That puts fleets in jeopardy of having to switch to a large, Transport Canada certified ELD provider or face fines and out of service violations or even staying out of Canada. Do we really want this to happen to our largest trading partner?

The perfect storm is within sight. We need ELDs. But do we need such unbending regulation? Truck owners and operators are not disputing that we need this technology. All that truckers are asking is a delay of the June 12, 2021 deadline to enable them time to comply.

No matter what we may think, ELDs and telematics are the future of trucking. They are the cutting edge of technology. And technology is not only necessary in your trucks, but also in your shops.


That’s why we at BrightOrder Inc. created EMDECS: to make the lives of your managers and technicians simpler and easier. It’s the right fleet management software system to keep your operation on the cutting edge of trucking. Contact us for a demo today.

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