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What are the Canada Elog Regulations?

A final rule that outlined the new Canada elog regulations was released by Transport Canada on June 13, 2019. The elog rules and regulations were modeled after the U.S. ELD mandate, which has been in place since Dec. 16, 2019. The deadline for the Canadian elog rules and regulations is June 12, 2021. It is by that date that commercial motor vehicle (CMV) operators will need to log their hours of service (HOS) using electronic logging devices (ELDs) instead of paper logs. 

The main reasons for the U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) creating the ELD mandate were to not only make it easier for carriers to manage and track their records of duty status (RODS), but also keep the roads safer. Since the U.S. elog regulations were in place, thousands of crashes have been avoided and countless dollars worth of paperwork expenses were eliminated. Total benefits realized overall have reached close to $400 million. 

Additionally, the Canadian elog regulations are expected to:

  • Standardize processes that will help drivers avoid errors, and prevent driver harassment and logbook tampering 
  • Require drivers to use regulation-compliant ELD devices that connect directly to the engine’s engine control unit (ECU) or engine control model (ECM)
  • Require ELDs to be certified by a third-party, unlike the U.S. mandate
  • Will not consist of a grandfather clause extending the compliance deadline for drivers using existing ELDs
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Canada ELD Mandate Compliance Timeline

After a consultation period involving ELD vendors, transportation industry stakeholders, and provincial governments, the federal government of Canada decided to follow in the footsteps of the United States by enforcing its own mandate. The timeline is as follows.

Dec. 16, 2017

The Canadian government published the Regulations Amending the Commercial Vehicle Drivers Hours of Service Regulations.

June 13, 2019

Transport Canada made the announcement that it will be requiring the use of ELDs for buses and CMVs.

June 12, 2021

CMV drivers and bus drivers must stop using paper logs and instead use ELDs by this date. 

HOS247 ELD logbook

Are the Canadian Elog Rules and Regulations Different From the U.S ELD Mandate?

Despite the fact that the Canadian government modeled its elog rules and regulations after those of the United States, there are differences. CMV drivers and bus drivers must become familiar with the differences if they operate in both countries. The main differences are in the areas outlined below.

Off-duty Time

One main difference between the Canadian ELD rules and the U.S. rules is in the way off-duty time is handled. Overall, the U.S. ELD rules are more strict. In the United States, it is mandatory that drivers take an off-duty rest break for 30 minutes after an eight-hour shift. In contrast, Canadian drivers have more flexibility. If they want to, they can drive up to 14 hours before taking a break. That’s because the Canadian HOS regulations state that drivers are allowed a window of 16 hours to complete a driving shift and need to devote two of those hours to off-duty time. Those two hours can be taken at once or they can be broken up into single-hour or half-hour periods. 

In addition, Canadian drivers can choose to defer any of their unused off-duty time to the next day. the United States strictly prohibits this, and instead requires drivers to take a 30-minute off-duty break after driving for eight consecutive hours.

Canadian drivers should already be familiar with these HOS rules, but they are worth mentioning since they will not be changed to more closely align with the U.S. ELD rules. 

classic big rig semi truck

Roadside Data Transfer

Another difference between the U.S. and Canadian ELD mandates is in how data is transferred. In the United States, there is an ERODS (electronic records of duty status) data repository that collects elog data. The ELD must be able to transfer data to safety officials on-demand via email or wireless web services. Alternatively, it could use either a USB or Bluetooth technology to do a local transfer. Basically, despite the data being transferred to the repository, it also needs to be either displayed on the ELD or printed on paper when a Department of Transportation officer requests the information during an inspection. 

Roadside transfer is different in Canada, however. In Canada, drivers transfer their HOS data directly to the inspection officer, thus eliminating the need for an agency to oversee a large database. The data will be transferred using Transport Canada servers and be made immediately available to the officer. USB and Bluetooth are also options, but it is not mandatory for Canadian ELDs to provide them, unlike in the United States. 

Accounting for Personal Conveyance Hours

Personal conveyance hours are also accounted for differently with the Canadian ELD mandate. This is the time that a driver can claim when driving a CMV for purposes unrelated to their job. An example of personal conveyance is when a driver uses the vehicle to drive from a lodging location to a restaurant for a meal when they’re off-duty. In the United States, there is no limit to the distance the driver can travel or the time it takes to get there. In contrast, Canada limits drivers to a 75-kilometer (50-mile) radius. 

This is another rule that Canadian CMV drivers should already be familiar with, however, it is worth pointing out, as this requirement will not be changed to match the U.S. ELD regulations. Canadian ELDs will strictly reinforce this rule, and they will force drivers into driving status after the driver reaches their personal conveyance limit.

Certification Process

One drawback to the U.S. ELD regulations is that ELD vendors are allowed to certify themselves. This creates headaches for carriers, since some ELD vendors claim to be compliant just to earn a profit. It isn’t until complaints are made to the FMCSA against the vendor that the vendor is taken off the self-certification list. 

In contrast to the United States, Canada will require a third party to certify all ELDs before they are sold. This should make it easier for Canadian fleets to find a compliant ELD. (In the United States, there are over 500 self-certified ELDs on the list, making choosing one difficult.)

Malfunction Procedures

The procedures for what to do if an ELD malfunctions are also different in Canada. If their ELD malfunctions, a Canadian driver will be permitted to use paper logs for no more than 14 days, or until they return to their home terminal if the trip lasts longer than 14 days. In the United States, the maximum amount of time is eight days. After this period, in both countries, the ELD must be made fully functional before the driver begins another shift.

Grandfather Clause

In the United States, there was a grandfather clause stating that drivers who were already using electronic recording devices (ERDs) had two extra years to upgrade their devices and comply with the ELD mandate. Canada will not be imposing a grandfathered period since it is expected that upgrades can be done quickly enough to comply with the mandate’s deadline. 

Special ELD Situations 

Canadian ELDs must be able to support special HOS situations, including:

  • Deferral of off-duty time from Day 1 to Day 2 
  • Adverse driving conditions
  • A maximum driving distance of 75 kilometers for personal conveyance
  • Ability to split sleeper berth time
  • Modified rules for driving north of the 60th parallel
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What Is an ELD?

An ELD stands for “electronic logging device.” Essentially, it is a device that collects input from the driver as well as the vehicle’s ECM (or ECU) data. The data collected is used to process drivers’ RODS and HOS in order to ensure the driver and vehicle are compliant with ELD rules and regulations.

The specific definition of an ELD, according Transport Canada is: a certified device or technology that automatically logs the driver’s driving time and record of duty status. 

HOS247 connection scheme

Who Is Affected by the Canadian ELD Mandate? 

Once officially implemented on June 12, 2021, the Canadian ELD mandate will affect federally regulated carriers, but not carriers that fall under provincial jurisdiction. It is expected that approximately 157,500 CMV drivers will fall under federal jurisdiction by this time and be required to comply with the ELD rules and regulations. This includes carriers that provide extra-provincial transportation, unless they meet the Canadian elog exemptions. 

Canadian Elogs Exemptions

Since Canadian HOS regulations will not change much at all, there will not be as many exemptions as there are in the United States. However, an ELD will not be required for the following:

  • CMVs that operate under a specific permit from an HOS director
  • CMVs that have a statutory exemption
  • CMVs that fall under a short-term rental agreement (under 30 days)
  • CMVs with engines that were manufactured before the year 2000

It is important for Canadian fleets to determine whether they fall under any of the aforementioned exemptions, or they risk fines and penalties for noncompliance.

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