TORONTO, Ont. – Private Motor Truck Council of Canada (PMTC) president Mike Millian made an impassioned plea for the federal government to delay its electronic logging device (ELD) rule implementation date for six months.
Speaking to PMTC members at the organization’s annual conference – held virtually this year – he said the industry needs more time to certify compliant ELDs, and that some fleets will also need more time to roll out a compliant system before it takes effect in June 2021.
Unlike in the U.S., the Canadian mandate requires devices to be certified by a third party. However, warned Millian, no certifying bodies have yet been approved. The latest word PMTC has received is that the first certifying body will be announced in October, but he said it will take four to six weeks from then for ELD manufacturers to have their devices certified.
“So, the first devices we’re going to see in the marketplace will be at the end of November,” he said. “That leaves carriers six-and-a-half months to comply with the regulation.”
Millian himself deployed ELDs in the fleet he managed before taking the reins of the PMTC, and said it’s a year-long process for full implementation. He urged carriers to begin researching providers now, or asking their existing suppliers about their plans to become certified.
There are about 600 ‘self-certified’ ELDs approved in the U.S., but Millian estimates only 15 to 30 will go through Canada’s self-certification process. Some of those systems in the U.S. are designed to allow non-compliance with hours-of-service regulations, he noted.
Millian said the PMTC supports a six-month delay to the implementation date to allow more devices to become certified and for fleets to deploy a compliant system. In doing so, PMTC has broken rank with the Canadian Trucking Alliance and Teamsters Canada, also big supporters of the ELD mandate, who are both calling for the original timeline to be kept in place.
“Even if it’s only 5-10% of the industry (that isn’t ready) are we saying that 5-10% doesn’t matter?” asked Millian. “I sure as hell hope not. They’re trying to do the right thing. I don’t understand the stubbornness about a six-month delay. We are not asking for two years. It gives the industry more time to prepare. I don’t think a six-month delay is going to unleash Armageddon on our industry.”
Millian also updated members on other industry issues, including mandatory entry-level training (MELT) standards that are being pushed for in various provinces which haven’t already implemented them. He expressed optimism that B.C. will soon announce the most rigorous training standards to date.
In Ontario, work is underway to put restrictions on A/Z licences obtained using an automated transmission. Millian said Ontario is the only jurisdiction in North America that awards an unrestricted A/Z licence when the road test was done using an automatic.
When Covid-19 struck in March, Millian said the PMTC quickly responded by helping member fleets procure personal protective equipment, and worked with government to ensure truckers were deemed essential workers and able to cross the border without quarantining.
The association helped convince the Ontario and Quebec governments to lift some restrictions on long combination vehicle movements, and remove bans on late night deliveries so grocery stores and pharmacies could remain stocked.
It is still working with the federal government to find a way to get new drivers FAST-approved. In-person interviews have been suspended and some FAST drivers stopped going cross-border, resulting in a shortage of FAST-approved drivers, Millian explained.
“We are working with the feds to get something in place so we can get new drivers FAST-approved,” he said.
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