Answering your top 15 questions on the Canadian ELD Mandate

by Omnitracs

The Canadian Electronic Logging Device (ELD) Mandate is drawing nearer every day. To continue preparing our customers and prospects, I hosted an online event — or webinar — on Wednesday, February 3. The online event, which was a roundtable discussion with leading industry experts, included me — as the event host — and the following panelists:

  • Tim O’Brien, Director of Safety, Compliance, and Recruiting, Pride Group Logistics
  • Mike Ahart, Vice President of Regulatory Affairs, Omnitracs
  • Florence Dougherty, Director of Product Management, Omnitracs

Many attendees had a variety of great questions after our Insights Into the Canadian ELD Mandate online event, so the panelists and I wanted to use this new online event as an opportunity to answer some of your top ones. In addition to those questions, we reached out to our Canadian ELD sales team to ensure we included answers to the most frequently asked questions they’ve received.

Here are your top 15 questions, answered.

Q1: If I already have an ELD that’s self-certified in the U.S., do I need to certify it in Canada? If so, what can I do to make that happen?

In the U.S., regulations allow ELD providers to self-certify their ELDs. However, in Canada, devices must receive certification from an independent, third-party accredited body. At this point, there is only one accrediting body, as announced just last year.

If providers have self-certified ELDs in the U.S., they need to determine if their devices will be certified by an accredited body. Certification dates for each ELD provider are still tentative.  As devices are certified, they will be posted on Transport Canada’s website.

Q2: Will the Canadian ELD Mandate get pushed back?

Omnitracs fully supports the Canadian ELD Mandate and will have certified products available for our customers prior to the effective date of the mandate. So far, Transport Canada has communicated they have every intention of moving forward with the scheduled mandate date of June 12, 2021. Changing the mandate date requires a whole legislative process; however, whether they decide to make modifications to how they enforce the mandate is still up in the air.

Q3: What are the differences between the mandate regulations in the U.S. and Canada?

Below, you can find several of the main differences.

Transport Canada and the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators (CCMTA) have attempted to maintain harmony between the ELD technical specifications. However, there are apparent differences. The most notable difference is the independent third-party certification requirement in Canada, which, as discussed already, differs from the U.S.

Additionally, in Canada, enforcement officers will not have a system like the FMCSA’s eRODS (electronic Record of Duty Status). Drivers will have to transfer, via email, an encrypted ELD electronic output file at roadside. This file will contain a PDF of the driver’s Record of Duty Status (RODS) and a CSV file.

Additionally, in Canada, an ELD is required to give at least a 30-minute warning before a driver reaches a duty-/driving-hour limitation found in the current Hours of Service (HOS) regulations. Although U.S. ELDs give drivers HOS clocks, there’s no requirement in the U.S. for them to do that.

In Canada, ELDs must allow drivers to change their operating zones, jurisdictions, cycles, and off-duty deferrals — motor carriers cannot restrict this. A motor carrier may propose an edit to a driver regarding an operating zone change, but the driver will have to decide.

Q4: How will my Omnitracs ELD handle RODS in the U.S. and Canada if I work in both countries?

If you’re a driver working in the U.S., you will see the same dialogue box you see now to transfer an eRODS file to the FMCSA. If you’re a driver working in Canada, the ELD will pop-up a new dialogue box for Canada. The system will determine where you are located and present you with the correct dialogue based on your location.

Q5: Will Omnitracs be obtaining third-party certification in Canada?

The short answer is yes. Each device we’re going to be supporting for certification in Canada, from Omnitracs IVG to Relay to XRS, will be certified before the June 12, 2021 deadline.

Q6: What will the upgrade process look like for Omnitracs customers?

We can proactively upgrade most of your ELD devices and get the upgrades, which will be over the air, in the hands of your drivers — even while we’re going through the certification process. We will also be getting the software and firmware out as we’re going through the certification process.

Our MCP devices will not be ELD-certified for Canada, and any customer traveling in Canada who requires an ELD will need to request a hardware change as well as an over-the-air upgrade. Customers who do not travel to Canada and/or do not require an ELD certified for use in Canada may continue to use the MCP in the United States, as the MCP will remain certified with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

Reach out to your Account Manager to learn more, or speak to a specialist today!

Q7: If my truck operates short-haul one day and long-haul the next, does that mean I need an ELD?

In Canada, if you run short-haul one day and run outside of the short-haul regulation the next, you’re going to have to use an ELD when not running short-haul. You also must have, at a minimum, a paper log for the previous day to show which hours you were on and off duty.

Q8: Is there a simple training guide Omnitracs can give its customers preparing for the mandate?

Just as we provided training materials and documents to customers needing to comply with the U.S. ELD Mandate, we are planning and happy to provide that same level of support for our Canadian ELD customers. We are currently in the process of getting those materials together.

Q9: How should drivers in Canada proceed when dealing with an ELD malfunction?

Among other requirements, if your ELD malfunctions, you must have the ELD repaired or replaced within 14 days. If you have not been able to get it replaced or repaired within 14 days, that ELD is essentially out of service. There’s no extension process in Canada, so that ELD would be considered non-compliant.

Q10: How should I prepare my business for the deadline?

Our guest panelist, Tim O’Brien, said it best: “Working with an ELD is like a game of dominoes. You need to be one step ahead. You need a plan, and you need to involve as many people in the plan. You need to engage everybody in the entire fleet and get everyone involved in it. It is the way of the future for trucking, and it’s here.”

Q11: How will this mandate impact non-federally regulated carriers?

At this time, these rules only impact federally regulated motor carriers. Canadian provinces and territories have not adopted these regulations at this point.

Q12: Can drivers edit drive time?

Automatically recorded drive time cannot be edited. Once it’s recorded, it cannot be removed or shortened. When you’re training drivers on the use of ELDS, you should emphasize the importance of slowing down, so they can carefully think about what they intend to do through each of their Duty statuses.

Q13: If we’re coming from using paper logs, what do we need to understand about electronic logs?

The mandate is about the ability to support RODS electronically. The mandate itself, just like in the U.S., did not change the underlying HOS regulations. They’re the same rules and regulations — they’re only being recorded electronically. Going electronic also ensures drivers have all the information they need at their fingertips to remain compliant easily.

Q14: Can you tell us more about the Canadian Yard Move and Personal Conveyance rules?

In Canada, if a driver selects Yard Move and then goes through a complete power cycle, they will be prompted with a question as to whether or not they wish to continue in Yard Move, which is very similar to how Personal Conveyance in the U.S. works.

Along with other requirements that limit when Personal Conveyance can be used, the ELD will limit the distance to 75km in a 24-hour period, and a driver will be switched to a Drive status if they exceed that limit.

Q15: What will restrictions be with Yard Move statuses in Canada?

In the Canadian regulations, there is a definition for a Yard Move.

A Yard Move is defined as the ability for the driver to move within a terminal, depot, or port that does not include a public road. If that’s the case, the driver can select what is referred to as a special condition of an On-Duty, Not Driving status. Yard Move is not a Duty status. If selected before the vehicle is put in motion and speed is maintained below 32 km/h, that time will not affect the available driving time.

Tune in to the full online event here for more questions and answers. You can also visit our Everything ELD webpage for helpful resources, FAQs, and relevant information on the Canadian ELD Mandate. We will be here every step of the way to ensure your Canadian compliance transition process is as seamless as possible. Happy driving!

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  • We are grain haulers with 2 trucks. Approximately 10-15% of our normal runs take us out of the 160 km radius of our home terminal. IS it necessary that we move to ELDs?

  • Interesting that here we are at the end of Feb 2021 and not one company has yet to be certified by FpInnovations. And yet everyone needs to be compliant by June 2021. Interesting to say the least!

  • if you only operate within the 160km short haul area with only a couple exceptions a year do you still need to have ELD in your truck?