September 6, 2016

Canada’s ELD Mandate: What It Means For Your Fleet

Canada's ELD Mandate

Each year, the United States and Canada trade $662 billion worth of goods and services with one another. In 2009, 70 percent of these goods crossed the border by truck.

If Canadian fleets needed even more of an incentive to implement the electronic logging devices (ELDs) required to operate in the U.S., they got it. In February, the Canadian government announced its intention to require drivers to implement ELDs through new regulations based on the United States’ ELD mandate.

Following an enthusiastic response from the country’s trucking associations, the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators (CCMTA) released a second draft of an ELD standard in July. The CCMTA will consult with stakeholders across the industry to amend the proposal with a final rule expected in early 2017. The Canadian compliance date will likely be set for early 2018.

Though safety and consistency with U.S. guidelines were primary factors behind the change, Canada’s ELD mandate was also motivated by financial considerations as its trucking industry hopes to compete with U.S. carriers who have seen the economic benefit of using electronic logging devices.

So what does Canada’s ELD mandate mean for the thousands of American truck drivers traveling through Canada? What does it mean for Canadian fleets who have already implemented ELDs manufactured according to U.S. regulations?

Read below to find out.

What Canada’s ELD Mandate Means For U.S. Drivers

What Canada's ELD Mandate Means For U.S. Drivers

Though Canada’s ELD mandate and its final standards have not yet been released, U.S. fleets following a timeline for adoption in 2017 can expect to be fully compliant with their northern neighbor.

According to CCMTA, the country’s mandate will “ensure consistency and interoperability by adapting the U.S. ELD final rule to Canada’s own unique operational and regulatory requirements.” Though HOS regulations in Canada and the U.S. differ slightly, Transport Canada (Canada’s Department of Transportation) has announced its intention to amend HOS regulations in order to mandate ELDs more seamlessly across American and Canadian fleets.

To the extent HOS regulations differ, ELD manufacturers will provide solutions that allow drivers to operate ELDs in accordance with their country’s guidelines.

Regulation similar to the FMCSA’s “coercion rule” is expected to accompany final ELD legislation in Canada, but the thousands U.S. drivers operating across the border are already protected by the U.S. regulation prohibiting employers from pressuring drivers to commit safety violations, including hours-of-services limits.

What Canada’s ELD Mandate Means For Canadian Drivers

What The Canada's ELD Mandate Means for Canadian Drivers

Canadian fleets should research and implement ELDs as soon as possible. Not only will ELD adoption prepare Canadian fleets to operate throughout North America when the U.S. ELD mandate takes effect next year, but it also will provide an edge against those who wait until the last minute.

Switching fleets over to electronic logs is a great way to ease into ELDs and build a relationship with the manufacturer. Precision Welling, which is based in Calgary, Canada, began using KeepTruckin’ electronic logs in 2014. In a fleet of 600 drivers, only a handful still use paper logs, making them well prepared to operate under the ELD mandate.

“The audit process takes longer on the paper logs than it does for the rest of the fleet who use KeepTruckin. Not to mention the amount of paperwork we reduced,” Precision Welling’s Chris Frank and Allen Green told KeepTruckin.

The oil and gas Canadian carrier has also noticed reduced form and manner violations. “Our employees are rig workers on location for up to a month, and they then drive a short distance to the next job. If a guy forgets something in his log, KeepTruckin flags the issue, and he can fix it.”

Short trips between rigs are among several unique challenges facing truck drivers in Canada for which ELDs can offer some relief. The sprawling landscape can mean longer rides with fewer rest stops along the way. ELDs can notify drivers sooner rather than later whether they are running out of hours, so they can contact dispatchers and make a plan before risking HOS violations.

Canadian fleets who implement and train drivers on ELDs well before the 2018 deadline will be more competitive with U.S. fleets already reaping the benefits, including fewer hours-of-service and form and manner violations and improved CSA scores. As the positive outcomes of ELDs make American fleets more attractive, Canadian fleets with operations throughout North America would be wise to implement an ELD strategy long before the 2018 deadline.

What This Means For Everyone

What The Canada's ELD Mandate Means For Everyone

The Canadian government expects the majority of ELDs sold to Canadian fleets will be made by U.S. vendors and manufactured according to U.S. requirements. As such, technical specifications for Canada’s ELD standard “may differ slightly” from but are “not necessarily inconsistent” with U.S. regulations, a spokesperson for Transport Canada told CTV news in February.

This means that if you’re a U.S. carrier and you’ve already switched to an ELD compliant with U.S. regulations, you can feel confident your fleet is prepared for trips through Canada as well. If you’re a Canadian fleet and you switch to a U.S.-made ELD tomorrow, manufacturers like KeepTruckin will provide updates to existing devices to accommodate any additional regulatory or operational requirements unique to Canada’s ELD standard.

The United States and Canada have similar — but still different — sets of hours of service regulations. A draft of Canada’s ELD mandate released in July notes a number of slight variations from U.S. regulations. One type of variation, for instance, relies on an ELD’s capability to disable a driver from doing something he or she may be allowed to do according to the U.S. ELD mandate, but are more limited within Canada’s proposed regulation.

Similarly, Canada’s guidelines may be more lenient in some areas and require that ELDs provide more options for drivers to edit their status. From a tech standpoint, these are relatively easy adjustments that require standard updates to the devices fleets already have.

ELD providers, including KeepTruckin’, are watching proposed requirements closely and are prepared to incorporate changes. Ultimately, carriers should be able to operate seamlessly across borders with minimal adjustments required by the driver once Canada’s ELD mandate goes into effect.

Final Words

For American and Canadian carriers alike, implementing ELDs across their fleets now ensures drivers are prepared for all circumstances come early 2018. The gradual implementation of ELDs across the U.S. and Canada is expected to expedite roadside inspections and waiting times throughout both countries.

ELDs are also important if you want to expand your business.

If your trucks are regularly crossing borders, you may find it difficult to remain fully compliant. KeepTruckin support cycles in both countries — U.S. and Canada — so your fleet can freely cross borders and remain 100% compliant.

Learn more about the KeepTruckin ELD here or to reach a product specialist to guide you, click request a demo.

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