The electronic logging device (ELD) file is one I have discussed on behalf of the Private Motor Truck Council of Canada (PMTC) membership many times over the past six years.
While some of you may be rolling your eyes and saying, ‘This again? Come on, Millian!’ the sad truth is it needs to be continually brought up until regulators take their head out of the sand and take a serious look at the dire state the industry is being put in because of their unrealistic timelines. Their lack of meaningful dialogue or public acknowledgement of the issue with industry in addressing these concerns indicates the message has yet to sink in.
A quick recap
The Canadian ELD regulation was posted in Canada Gazette Part 2 on June 12 2019, with a compliance date of June 12 2021 for all federally regulated carriers who are required to keep a logbook. In essence, this means any driver who operates a commercial motor vehicle under the NSC definition (any commercial vehicle over 4,500 kg), is federally regulated, and travels beyond a 160-km radius, with few exceptions, will be required to have an ELD installed, active, and staff trained on its use, prior to June 12.
The ELD used by the fleet, to be considered legal, is required to be certified by an independent third party and placed on Transport Canada’s certified device list. This means if your device is not populated on that list on June 12, you will be considered in violation of the federal ELD regulation, and will be subjected to possible fines, points being placed on your provincial safety rating profile, and possibly placed out of service.
The list of approved devices can be accessed here. Currently, it has a grand total of zero devices listed, which is the crux of the problem, and one that Transport Canada has placed the industry and ELD suppliers in.
The PMTC has been involved with ELD consultations from the beginning and has always been in favor of ELDs.
We believe they are a good tool to help improve safety compliance on our highways. We have also been a proponent of independent third-party certification from the very beginning, as this is needed to help ensure the devices are compliant and to provide assurance to carriers the device they are purchasing is capable of doing what it is intended and legally required to do.
In other words, the PMTC is fully in favor of everything in this regulation, with one glaring exception – that being the timelines. We are a bit over four months away from the implementation date of this regulation, and carriers have zero assurance provided by government that the device they are currently using, or the devices that they may be researching for use, will be legal.
When the feds announced this regulation, they assured industry that devices would begin showing up on the list by June 2020. That deadline has been missed terribly. In fact, it was missed so badly, that not only did we not have any devices populating the list by June, we did not even have a certification body in place for manufacturers of ELDs to submit their devices to until Oct. 26, 2020.
Transport Canada also made changes to the testing procedures on the same date. To make things worse, the first device was not submitted for certification until the second last week of January. Testing and certification is a four- to six-week process, which means carriers may finally have at least one device listed to pick from in March, three months before they need to comply with the deadline.
Many devices will not even be submitted until March and they will not show up on a list until April or May. There is a very real chance that some of the devices you are using may not be approved, and will need to be replaced. Or if they are approved, it may be after the June 12 deadline, leaving fleets in a precarious situation.
Many other associations have joined forces with the PMTC and have written Transport Canada asking for an enforcement deferral as a result of the lack of readiness, born out of its own failures to meet appropriate deadlines. Transport Canada’s response to date, to be blunt, has been inadequate. Claims they are on schedule are nowhere close to reality, and quite simply, cannot be achieved based on our current situation, without causing severe chaos and damage to the industry.
The PMTC, and a large section of the industry, need your help to bring more attention to the issue and raise awareness at the federal level. If you want your concern heard, please click here to access a form letter to send to the federal Transport Minister, and insert your company details, your name, and your contact info. The more voices that are heard, the harder it will become to ignore.
Please feel free to reach back to me as well at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 877-501-7682, ext. 102, if you would like to discuss further.
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