Editorial update

It’s official: Canada will require the use of electronic logging devices (ELDs) starting January 1, 2023. This latest and final extension will ensure that affected carriers have enough time to purchase and install ELDs.

“Based on updates from our government partners at CCMTA and provincial associations, it is our clear understanding all jurisdictions will be ready to start enforcement on January 1,” said Geoff Wood, senior vice president of policy for the Canadian Trucking Alliance. “But, if there’s unforeseen circumstances that lead to a jurisdiction not being ready to enforce, other jurisdictions that are ready and prepared will not be held back and will go forward. The industry has been well prepared for this rule for a long time and has waited long enough for enforcement. It’s time enforcement begins.”

The mandate, which will make the trucking industry more regulated in Canada, also applies to commercial buses and will require third-party certification of all ELDs.

The Canadian ELD mandate is just around the corner. Like the U.S. ELD mandate, the Canada ELD mandate will require most commercial drivers to install compliant electronic logging devices.

It’s important to fully understand the Canada ELD mandate and prepare for it ahead of January 1, 2023, which is the expected commencement of enforcement efforts.

In this detailed blog post, we’ll discuss the following aspects of the upcoming ELD mandate in Canada.

Canada ELD mandate explained

Although the Canadian version is like the U.S. ELD mandate, it’s still a complicated proceeding that you must understand. Non-compliance will cause hefty fines and out of service orders. Both costly to the company and the driver.

To avoid delays and costly errors, let’s streamline it into easy-to-understand terms based on what we know today.

What is the purpose of ELDs?

If you listen to truck drivers discussing ELDs, you may assume they only track a driver’s hours of service (HOS) and nothing more. But they also provide technology to help streamline workflow and communication.

A vehicle gateway connects to the commercial vehicle’s engine control module (ECM). It tracks HOS compliance and mandates both drivers and trucking companies to adhere to strict rules to ensure road safety. The days of recording hours on paper using a pen and ruler are gone. ELDs remove recording errors and illegal manipulation of driving hours.

An ELD can transfer its stored information to dispatch or DOT/MTO officers during an inspection. Police can use the information to investigate an accident, as the information is stored in a standardized format that no one can alter.

ELD mandate Canada, ELDs, and hours of service

Most commercial drivers in Canada are required to keep a record of duty status (RODS) and comply with the Hours of Service rules. The Canada ELD mandate requires non-exempt commercial drivers to use a certified ELD solution.

The ELD mandate would help enforce hours-of-service rules. ELDs make compliance easier and level the playing field for all industries that rely on safe and efficient operations.

Benefits of the ELD mandate in Canada

The Canada Gazette states that non-compliance with the hours-of-service regulations can cause driver fatigue. This leads to collisions, injuries, and fatalities. Driver fatigue is among the recognized causes of road accidents. With large commercial vehicles, the risk of sustaining more severe injuries is higher.

The ELD mandate in Canada can improve road safety through the enforcement of hours-of-service rules and minimizing driver fatigue. According to Transport Canada, the ELD requirement can lessen the risk of fatigue-connected crashes by around 10%.

Aside from reduced driver fatigue, here are some other benefits of the Canada ELD mandate:

Enhanced driver safety by automating driver management

Automating the recording of daily on-duty and off-duty hours enables drivers, motor carriers, and law enforcers to easily and closely monitor whether drivers are exceeding or nearing the HOS limits.

This gives drivers enough rest to recharge them for safe operations on the road and empowers carriers to hold their drivers accountable.

Quicker completion of roadside inspections and Driver Vehicle Inspection Forms (DVIRs), resulting in increased uptime and profitability

ELDs in Canada can help reduce the time it takes for commercial drivers to fulfill their daily HOS records. By reducing the time spent to only four and a half minutes, they can save a total of 29.25 hours annually. Law enforcers and safety officers can also cut their verification time for possible violations from 17 to 14 minutes.

Fewer errors and logbook tampering incidents through automated HOS recording

Drivers can falsify, fail to complete, duplicate, and misfile their daily paper logs. All to avoid the consequences of exceeding their permitted number of driving hours. Automatic recording by ELDs in Canada can help prevent these instances and increase data accuracy.

How does the ELD mandate affect Canadian trucking companies?

Carriers in Canada that don’t cross the border have been using electronic recording devices under Section 83. Or, good old-fashioned paper logs. Carriers who cross the border likely already have ELDs installed as required by U.S. regulations and are using them.

However, if your drivers don’t cross the border and don’t have a compliant ELD solution, they should install one as soon as possible. The Canada ELD mandate has already started rolling out.

Avoid undue stress on your staff and drivers by using a device like the Motive ELD solution. It allows drivers to easily transition from Canadian-based regulations to U.S.-based regulations.

No Canadian ELD mandate penalties until June 2022

Authorities throughout Canada’s provinces and territories agreed that penalties for non-compliance will be enforced on June 12, 2022. This comes a year after the soft rollout of the Canada ELD mandate — according to the statement released in May 2021 by the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators (CCMTA), a multijurisdictional body that helps harmonize transportation regulations.

This is due to various reasons. One being a list of certified ELDs in Canada that has only recently been released and published on the Transport Canada website. Challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic also contributed to this decision.

The CCMTA said in its statement:

“Recognizing the unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Minister of Transport announced the implementation of a progressive enforcement period for federally regulated motor carriers that will be developed with the support of the provinces and territories and in consultation with industry, following June 12, 2021.”

This gives Canadian carriers more time to transition to buying and installing ELDs into their commercial vehicles. During the soft ELD rule rollout, the extended period will also include education and awareness-raising efforts about the regulation.

Additionally, the no-penalty provision permits Canadian provinces not to implement the federal mandate if there isn’t a fair volume of certified ELDs available on the market.

For instance, the Ontario Ministry of Transportation has determined its timelines for implementing the one-year, penalty-free, or progressive enforcement period based on these factors:

  • The availability of certified ELDs
  • The process to apply necessary regulatory modifications
  • The end of the current public health emergency, and
  • Conversations with jurisdictional partners on the progressive enforcement period

Does the Canadian ELD mandate apply to you?

If you’re a Canadian trucker or own a Canadian trucking company, you must prepare for the upcoming Canadian electronic logging device mandate. Full implementation is set for June 12, 2021. And enforcement will begin on June 12, 2022.

The mandate requires that most fleets and commercial drivers in Canada transition from using outdated paper logs to computerized logs to track the driver’s hours. A third party will certify ELD devices to ensure technical standards are met.

Do U.S. trucks going to Canada need a certified ELD?

Since June 12, 2021, commercial motor vehicles going from the U.S. to Canada need compliant ELDs.

Under the new Canada ELD mandate, all motor carriers and drivers should use ELD models that received third-party certification. This implies that fleets based in the U.S. traveling into Canada should comply with the requirement.

If the ELD manufacturer in the U.S. doesn’t want to undergo the said certification process, the motor carrier using its device should switch to a certified vendor.

Are there Canadian ELD mandate exemptions?

Currently, there are four Canadian ELD mandate exemptions. The Canada Gazette specifies that commercial motor vehicles don’t need ELDs if they’re:

  • Operating under a specific permit issued to them by the provincial or territorial director
  • Operating under statutory exemptions
  • Subject to a rental agreement with terms lasting less than 30 days
  • Driving vehicles manufactured before the year 2000

The Canada ELD mandate also has exemptions applicable to commercial motor vehicle drivers. Commercial drivers can be exempt from the ELD mandate if they’re covered by the short-haul exemption. Also, if they don’t drive beyond the 160-kilometer radius of their home terminal.

Differences and similarities with the U.S. ELD mandate

Canada used the U.S. mandate as a model. Then customized it to fit its unique environment. The idea is to make the rules consistent with the U.S. mandate for fleets that operate in both Canada and the U.S.

Similarities between the U.S. and Canadian ELD mandate include:

  • Hours-of-service (HOS) regulations aren’t changing.
  • Data retention: ELDs will have to put together and transfer an output file. Motor carriers will be required to keep drivers’ Records of Duty Status for six months.

Differences between the U.S. and Canadian ELD mandate include:

  • Unlike the U.S. ELD mandate, the Canadian version doesn’t have a grandfather provision for ERDs (like AOBRDs).
  • There’s no driveaway-towaway exemption in the Canadian ELD mandate.
  • Unlike the U.S. ELD mandate, all Canadian ELDs will need to be certified by an accredited third party that will test them against the Canadian standard.
  • Personal conveyance rules are different. Canadian regulations don’t allow driving in personal conveyance beyond 75 kilometers in a day.

Travis Baskin, Head of Motive’s Regulatory Affairs, talked about the exemption rules.

“For the Canadian regulation, drivers would use paper records of duty status if their vehicle was manufactured before the year 2000 or if they’re operating rental trucks for 30 days or less. But if those don’t apply, and you’re not running under a permit or exemption, you have to keep all of your RODS with an ELD.”

On the personal conveyance rules between the two countries, Baskin said, “While there are no time or distance restrictions for personal conveyance in the U.S., Canadian regulations don’t allow folks to drive in personal conveyance beyond 75 kilometers, or about 46.6 miles, in a given day.”

ELD mandate outcomes that Canada can anticipate

As you might expect with a new mandate, the law of unintended consequences kicked in. Here are a few things the U.S. experienced that Canada may have to look forward to:

  • Detention times are unchanged. There was some expectation that ELDs might improve detention times. Those hopes have been mostly dashed as detention times either haven’t changed or have gotten worse.
  • Parking shortages. Parking is again on the ATRI’s list of pressing concerns for truck drivers. Truckers have to stop, highlighting the lack of facilities for trucks to safely park. Truckers are reporting more stress over parking as they spend more time searching for space. This lack of space has forced many to park in unauthorized areas.
  • Better hours-of-service compliance. While the ELD mandate has had some unintended consequences in the U.S., it has at least achieved one of its main objectives — improving hours-of-service compliance. Hours-of-service violations were down from 1.31% in May 2017 to 0.64% in May 2018.
  • Roadside issues. There will be a learning period for enforcement personnel and drivers. Truckers may run into investigators who aren’t up to speed on what they should ask truckers to produce. So it’s important to prepare your drivers for that. Despite the unique challenges, Canada can take advantage of the lessons learned in the U.S. when implementing its own ELD mandate.

Implementing the ELD mandate Canada

Here’s an ELD mandate implementation checklist to help you stay compliant.

How to find a Canadian compliant ELD

ELDs in the U.S. are self-certified by the manufacturer. In Canada, the requirement for certification is through a third party, which ensures the devices comply with the technical standard.

To be legal in Canada, U.S. operators coming into the country would require their ELD provider to get government-approved certification.

How to pick the best ELD solution for your business

Choosing an ELD or fleet management solution is a big decision that will impact your business for years to come. The right solution can simplify operations, reduce costs, and accelerate growth. The wrong solution can cause unnecessary headaches. Potentially leave your business at risk. And even restrict growth.

Let’s walk through the main factors to consider when choosing a fleet management solution. Factors can be everything from installation to user experience to customer support.

Key fleet management features to look for

Let’s start by breaking down the key fleet management features you should be aware of:

1. Compliance

The right place to start is determining your compliance needs. When evaluating fleet management software, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Is your shortlisted ELD solution compliant with the Canadian ELD mandate?

Choose a solution that’s certified by an accredited third party. It should be reliable. Easy for drivers to use. And offer Bluetooth and USB connectivity (to avoid the risk of cellular no coverage areas).

  1. Do you need to complete pre- and post-trip inspection reports?

Choose a solution with easy-to-use and customizable vehicle inspection forms.

  1. Do you need to file International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) reports?

Choose a solution that tracks miles by jurisdiction. It should allow your drivers to upload fuel receipts, and integrate with your fuel card provider.

2. GPS tracking

While it sounds rather straightforward, GPS tracking functionality can vary. Here are a few questions to ask yourself what you should be looking for:

  1. Do you have trailers, equipment, or other high-value assets that would benefit from real-time tracking?

Opt for a solution that offers real-time visibility into your operations and vehicles. Tracking everything from a single fleet management dashboard can save you and your team a lot of time. So you can spend that time on more important things.

  1. Do you frequently call drivers to get status updates?

Find a solution that offers real-time visibility, coupled with geofenced alerts and instant notifications. You can use that to calculate delivery times/ETAs and keep customers informed.

  1. Do you need to know how long drivers or assets spend at a job site? Or when they arrive and leave a facility?

Choose a solution that includes geofence reporting and alerts. Beyond features, there are a few important details that determine how fleet management providers deliver on GPS tracking. You should look for a solution that:

  • Transmits GPS locations frequently
  • Includes high-speed WiFi at no additional cost to save on data expenses
  • Provides location history. This can be very useful for preventing after-hour vehicle misuse.

3. Safety

If you run a commercial fleet business, safety should be one of your big priorities. Here are the key safety features a fleet management solution should offer to reduce risk and make your fleet safer for everyone:

  • Real-time alerts for critical events such as harsh braking, hard corners, and speeding
  • Automatic categorization of critical events, such as closely following other vehicles or improper lane changes
  • Driver scorecards to easily identify at-risk drivers
  • A “coaching workflow” that allows you to track and document coaching efforts
  • An integrated dashcam solution that can capture video footage of critical safety events
  • The ability to recall and view dashcam footage

4. Efficiency and performance

A fleet management solution should also help you reduce costs and improve efficiency by providing:

  • Vehicle idle time reports to identify excessive vehicle idling and reduce fuel wastage
  • Asset utilization reports to identify assets that aren’t being used to their full potential
  • Vehicle diagnostic and fault code reports to prevent breakdowns and proactively plan vehicle maintenance

5. Driver communication and dispatch

A fleet management solution should also help your team streamline and centralize communication with:

  • Instant messaging to drivers with read receipts
  • Broadcast messages to all drivers or specific groups
  • The ability to send and store documents such as proof of delivery and receipts
  • Driver workflow/dispatch integration with customizable forms

6. Installation

While there are several installation methods, here are the two main ones:

  • Hardwired. The device is wired directly to the vehicle’s onboard computer. This often requires drilling holes in your vehicle and a few mechanic hours.
  • Plug-and-play. The device plugs into the vehicle’s diagnostic port. This generally takes a few minutes and doesn’t require a mechanic.

For some fleets, a hardwired installation process might not be too much of an issue. But, if you frequently lease or rent vehicles or plan on adding or upgrading vehicles in the future, this could be an unexpected ongoing expense and unnecessary complication.

Another consideration is that technology may sometimes malfunction. Even if the device is covered with a warranty, you would still have to pay any vehicle downtime or mechanic costs.

A “plug-and-play” solution will likely save you a significant amount of money and operational headaches down the road.

7. User experience

Your team’s ability to use your fleet management solution will be one of the main factors that will determine your ROI. Choose an intuitive solution with a modern interface. Also, map out some common daily tasks your team will need to complete and walk through each task during your evaluation process.

You’ll likely find that solutions vary widely in this area. In fact, Motive was reported to be 50% easier to use than other leading solutions, according to an independent study.

But don’t just review the user experience from the back office perspective. The driver app experience is essential to the successful adoption of a fleet management solution. Be sure to check the app store reviews to hear what real drivers have to say.

8. Support and reliability

You don’t need a product. You need a partner. When evaluating fleet management solutions, you need to go beyond the promises of the sales rep. Verify that the company is following through on its promises to customers with a reliable product.

The easiest way to do this is to check online reviews. Some of the leading review sites for fleet management are Capterra, G2Crowd, and GetApp.

Additionally, customer support is an important factor to consider:

  • Do they offer 24/7 support? Your business doesn’t operate on bankers’ hours. And neither should the customer service of your fleet management company.
  • What resources are available to ensure your success? Fleet management is a big investment. Be sure to ask how they’ll help you successfully implement and utilize their software.

9. Data vs. insights

One of the big benefits of a fleet management solution is the data it provides your operations. This data has the potential to reduce costs, prevent collisions, and so much more. But there’s a catch.

It’s not the data itself that provides an ROI. It’s the insights that can be gathered from it. Many solutions simply present the data in a spreadsheet format. Unless you have an in-house team of data scientists, it could be challenging to find problems, trends, and opportunities.

The solution you choose should make it easy to identify what’s out of the ordinary and how you can optimize your processes.

10. Integrations

A fleet management solution should be a bridge — not an island. Connecting to other business systems can be a key driver of operational efficiency. And it can help unlock the full value of your data.

Look for a provider with prebuilt integrations. Additionally, look for a fleet management system with an open API. An open API means that if an integration doesn’t exist, you can create it with the help of a developer.

Even if you don’t have an immediate need to integrate, a solution with the right infrastructure in place will open up opportunities in the future.

Make the right decision for your business

A fleet management solution is a significant investment. There are many providers in the market, so choosing a solution can feel overwhelming. By evaluating each option based on the criteria in this article, you’ll be well on your way to making an intelligent choice for your business.

Get ready for the Canadian ELD mandate

Don’t procrastinate. The effective date is June 12, 2021, and enforcement will begin on June 21, 2022.

In the U.S., many owner-operators and motor carriers waited until the last minute to implement ELDs. Specifically, four months before the U.S. mandate kicked in, 67% of small fleets and 19% of large fleets hadn’t fully integrated ELDs into their fleet operations.

Install and test your ELD

This may seem obvious, but people who waited until the last minute in the U.S. found out the hard way that not all ELDs work with every truck.

Your vendor should help you through the onboarding process. Motive, for example, has onboarding specialists (in addition to customer service managers) to help you define your goals, set a timeline, and avoid any obstacles during the transition.

Try Motive, the all-in-one fleet management platform

If you’re looking for an all-in-one fleet management solution to comply with the Canadian ELD mandate and improve fleet efficiency and productivity, Motive is the perfect choice for you. The list of certified ELD solutions in Canada is being updated, and we expect to be on that list in the near future.

Here are some of the many fleet management features that Motive offers:

  • Vehicle Gateway. Plug the Motive ELD into your vehicles to track hours of service, driver locations, and record vehicle diagnostics.
  • Smart Dashcam. Receive alerts and video footage of critical safety events. Improve fleet safety and exonerate innocent drivers with the Motive Smart Dashcam.
  • Motive Driver App. Stay in touch with drivers through messaging. Easily log hours of service. Manage important documents. All at your fingertips.
  • Fleet management Dashboard. Our central online portal empowers fleet managers to get complete visibility into fleet operations.

Request a free demo today to experience firsthand how Motive helps fleets on both sides of the border stay compliant and boost productivity, safety, and efficiency.