The Canadian ELD mandate explained so you can understand it

The Canadian ELD mandate explained so you can understand it


If you are a Canadian trucker or own a Canadian trucking company, you must prepare for the upcoming Canadian Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate. Canada will roll out the ELD mandate in June of this year, with full implementation set for 2020.

Editorial update

It’s official: Canada will require the use of electronic logging devices (ELDs) starting June 2021. The announcement, which came from Federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau, was made on June 13, 2019.

“This is a significant step toward safer roads, and I am proud of the work that was accomplished with the industry. We have consulted extensively with them and listened to their concerns,” Garneau said.

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.

If you are a Canadian trucker or own a Canadian trucking company, you must prepare for the upcoming Canadian Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate. Canada will roll out the ELD mandate in June of this year, with full implementation set for 2020 (according to the Canadian Trucking Association, or the CTA).

Although the Canadian version is like the U.S. mandate, it’s still a complicated proceeding which 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 an ELD?

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

An ELD is a piece of hardware which connects to the truck’s engine control module (ECM). It tracks HOS compliance, mandating both drivers and trucking companies to adhere to the strict rules put in place for the safety and health of those who use the roads. 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 will be able to use the information for investigating an accident as it stores the information in a standardized format no one can alter.

Regulations require CDL to keep a record of duty status (RODS) and must use an ELD to show they follow the HOS rules.

What is the Canadian ELD mandate and why is it required?

The mandate requires that most fleets in Canada and the U.S. transition from using outdated paper logs to computerized logs to track the driver’s hours. A third party will certify ELD devices to add an extra layer of security.

Canada and the USA share similar rules and regulations related to transportation. Both countries are striving towards:

  • Safer roads
  • Fewer injuries for drivers and everyday vehicles sharing the roads

Developing better working conditions for drivers

In the U.S., the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates the transportation industry. In Canada, the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators (CCMTA) is developing its own set of regulations.

When you compare the two, you find roughly a 75 percent overlap between the rules, which may change once the final draft is released. The Canadian government is committed to working with the U.S. in developing a set of rules which both countries approve.

Other benefits outlined in this document include:

  • Developing clearer cross-border relations
  • Gaining a better understanding of the regulatory requirements between the two countries
  • Outline a plan for fair competition between fleet operators
  • Ensuring HOS rules compliance
  • The goals of the ELD mandate

In both Canada and the U.S., the ELD mandate will not change the HOS already in place; it will monitor and force drivers and companies to comply with the rules by using a certified electronic device.

ELDs make enforcing compliance easier and level the playing field for all industries which rely on safe and efficient transportation of goods.

Safety is not the only thing ELDs increase. Transport Canada has conducted research showing the benefits of an ELD outweigh the costs 2:1.

This cost savings include:

  • Driver downtime
  • Quicker roadside inspections by MTO officers
  • More efficient deliveries which will reduce customer costs

The Canadian Trucking Association, knowing the benefits these devices bring, has been lobbying for these devices for over 10 years.

How does the ELD mandate affect Canadian trucking companies?

Carriers in Canada that do not cross the border are using computerized logging devices or the old fashioned, paper logs. Carriers who cross international borders, already have ELDs installed as required by U.S. regulations and are using them. So, if your fleet is not using an ELD, you need to quickly catch up before the end of this year when Canada begins enforcement.

Avoid undue stress on your staff and drivers by using a device like the KeepTruckin fleet management solution which allows drivers to transition from Canadian-based regulations to the U.S. based without worry.

Canadian ELD exemptions

There are four main exemptions from ELDs listed in Canada Gazette Part 1 Volume 151, No. 50. As of this writing, the exemptions are not law.

Commercial motor vehicles will be exempt if:

  • Operating under a permit from a provincial or territorial HOS director
  • Have a statutory exemption
  • Subject to a rental agreement with terms being under 30 days
  • The vehicle was manufactured before 2000

How to find a Canadian compliant device

Since Canada has not fully implemented its mandate, there are no certified Canadian ELDs on the market yet. Since we expect the Canadian rules to be similar to the U.S. rules, Canadian ELDs may require a simple software update.

ELDs sold 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 are tamper-proof.

Any U.S. operator coming into Canada would require their ELD provider to get government-approved certification to be legal in Canada. They do not expect this to be a difficult process since both mandates will most likely be similar.
The ELD learning curve

The old way of keeping logs has been in place for decades and learning a new method may be difficult for some. Success requires the full participation of drivers, dispatchers, and all support staff.

The earlier you train your staff and drivers, the easier it will be when full compliance becomes mandatory. Easing everyone into this new experience will lighten the stress of learning and aid with adoption.

By starting early, you can try different devices to ensure you have one that will work for your company. If you leave things to the last minute, you may struggle with a technology that does not meet your needs.

Research proves that fleets who have adopted the ELDs early, have learned to use them in ways that allow the company to reduce costs, increase driver retention, improve road safety, and decrease violations.

Here are a few resources that explain how ELDs and fleet management solutions can help you unlock the full potential of your fleet:

Driver retention: How technology can help fleets

How to increase profits with ELD data

Webinar: How to improve your fleet’s safety

Next steps for preparation

With the Canadian ELD mandate quickly approaching, you are going to have to get your fleet ready. Maybe you are an international carrier and have already implemented a US-compliant device. If so, you are well ahead of others. If not, now is the time to investigate what device will work best for your fleet.

Pay close attention to the US discussion regarding the mandate as the Canadian version will be very similar. Also, start with a trial of an ELD device so you can get a feel for what is required.

Don’t be afraid to involve your drivers in making the best decision. You may learn that your drivers are already using KeepTruckin’s free app.

Why use KeepTruckin? Just look at these numbers

There are numerous apps and ELD devices on the market in the US. When the Canadian mandate comes into effect, you are going to need a device that is not only compliant but certified for use in Canada.

KeepTruckin is fully compliant and is software-driven to make complying with the new Canadian ELD mandate a quick and painless operation. With over 1,000,000 registered drivers and 60,000 carriers using the KeepTruckin fleet management solution, why trust anyone else with your compliance needs.

Take a look at why customers choose KeepTruckin and make your own decision.

If you are interested in learning more about the KeepTruckin ELD and fleet management platform, call (844) 257-6396 or email Our 24/7 customer support team is always available to help you.

Disclaimer: All content and information on this website is for informational and educational purposes only, does not constitute financial, business, or legal advice. Although KeepTruckin strives to provide accurate general information, the information presented here is not a substitute for any kind of professional advice, and you should not rely solely on this information. Always consult a professional in the area for your particular needs and circumstances prior to making any professional, legal, business and financial or tax-related decisions.

Some of the links contained within this site will let you leave the KeepTruckin website. The linked sites are not under the control of KeepTruckin, nor is KeepTruckin responsible for the contents of any linked site or any link contained in a linked site. These links are provided to you only as a convenience, and the inclusion of any link does not imply endorsement of the site or affiliation.



Brad Boyes

Brad Boyes worked in the transportation industry for over 15 years and specializes in cross-border compliance, logistics, and compliance. Brad resides in Canada.

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