ELD certification process coming in March, Transport Canada says

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All ELDs used in Canada will need to comply with a new third-party certification process. (Photo: Isaac Instruments)

OTTAWA, Ont. – The application process to certify electronic logging devices (ELDs) for use in Canada is scheduled to open this month as test procedures are finalized, Transport Canada has announced.

Hardware, software, and apps alike will need to be tested by a certification body accredited by Canada’s Transport Minister – unlike the U.S., where suppliers can self-certify their devices.

It all comes as Canada prepares to mandate ELDs for federally regulated carriers beginning in June 2021. Provinces and territories are expected to follow suit.

Transport Canada will leave the actual certification to the Standards Council of Canada, which will have its actions guided by a new ELD Certification Stakeholder Advisory Committee. (Those who want to join it have been invited to email MVS-SA@tc.gc.ca.)

“We will try to make a decision within a month of receiving your application package. Once a decision is made, we will send you a notification,” Transport Canada says on a related website. “Accreditation is valid for five years, unless it’s suspended or cancelled.”

The step-by-step certification process has been developed by Transport Canada and the National Research Council, requiring simulations and bench-top and in-vehicle tests. Each device will need to have at least 25% of the test procedures completed per year, with none of the tests repeated over a four-year cycle.

“These test procedures will help to make sure tests are comprehensive and consistent, regardless of who is doing them. We will make the test procedures available once the application phase starts,” Transport Canada adds.

Certified software will be identified with a unique certification number. Transport Canada is to be informed of any changes to certification status within seven days.

Prepare for ELDs

Technical standards that apply to ELDs were published in December, replacing an initial version published in April 2019.

“The Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) welcomes the news that Transport Canada is getting closer to opening up the certification process and sending a message to the industry that we are making progress and moving forward,” said Geoff Wood, CTA’s senior vice-president – policy.

The alliance says it has been working alongside ELD suppliers to develop a communication strategy to promote “early preparedness” for the mandate. Through that, carriers will be encouraged to ask ELD suppliers to commit to having the devices certified to the Canadian rules.

“By working with ELD suppliers that are committed to the Canadian process, carriers don’t need to wait until the last minute to address electronic [hours of service] compliance,” he said. “They can begin working with suppliers now to install equipment, which can be updated when the hours-of-service software is certified, and begin training their staff to raise awareness with their shipping customers on the impact ELDs will have on the supply chain.” 

The CTA has been among groups raising concerns about U.S. devices that can be manipulated to circumvent hours of service rules. An ongoing lawsuit in the U.S., for example, involves a Tennessee trucker that is accusing Amazon and one of its freight partners of “coercing” him to exceed allowable hours of service. The driver said he would “routinely edit” his ELD.

Demonstrations for members of the CTA board illustrated similar weaknesses in some available technologies.

Questioning ELD abuse

During a recent meeting of the Truckload Carriers Association in the U.S., Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) acting administrator Jim Mullen said he doesn’t think abuse is widespread.

“We have a process in which we can de-certify ELD vendors,” he added. “We look at that process very closely.”

He called on the trucking industry and manufacturers of compliant devices to help the FMCSA identify ELDs that can be manipulated.

“Help us detect how you can circumvent the rules to allow fraud and abuse and what the industry can do on a voluntary basis to assist FCMSA identify these issues,” he said.

For more information on Canada’s certification requirement for ELDs, click here.

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John G. Smith is the editorial director of Newcom Media's trucking and supply chain publications -- including Today's Trucking, trucknews.com, TruckTech, Transport Routier, and Road Today. The award-winning journalist has covered the trucking industry since 1995.

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  • Just another kick in the nuts to owner /operator & small fleets
    Sad so sad where the industry has gone.

  • How do you expect the small companies to go out and purchase an ELD now and have them installed and then to find out they didn’t accepted!!!
    Maybe you shoemaker sure the products are the right ones then put them into service and stop wasting time and money that isn’t in the industry!!
    You wonder why companies are closing and there is a driver shortage when things are being pushed out first before tested and certified.

  • Exactly why I gave up longhaul. The province of Ontario should be mandated by the federal government to open safe, legal 24 hour rest areas and restaurants throughout Northern Ontario before the federal government mandates elogs.

    • Rest areas are a good idea but they need to make them expecally for truck other wise we will have nothing but four wheelers and motor homes in them and we will stick be screwed

  • First make proper REST AREAS then go for ELD. Where do the drivers go if they need to use the Toilet. Can they use the Roadside Turn out??

  • Not only Northern Ontario. But the Entire Country needs it. If anyone driving in Alberta or Saskatchewan when they need to use bathroom do they have to come to Northern Ontario????????

  • Well the government like everything else doesn’t ask the drivers. They assume. Every trucking association in Canada know squat about trucking most have no experience in this industry. Except for one writer that would be Jim park. Other than that the true mobility of a truck hinges on the driver.
    If once again Canada has not learned from other countries. Accident rate up in USA 5.7% from years before elds. Europe is loosing jobs to Canada because no elds a country that you make living in trucking. USA trucking prices now falling and companies going broke.
    Stop aiding an betting that is what lobbiest do. They don’t make things safer they make life more dangerous.

  • There is not enough rest areas or truck stops to hold 5% of the trucks on hiway today where will they park usa has same problem on busy routes you have to park by 3 pm to get a spot though you have 4 hrs or more left

  • I thought it was the governmen that was pushing for these things ,turns out it’s the Canadian trucking association, wondering why they are pushing for these,thinking cause not every one wants to drive for those big carriers that have a 100 km an hour rule,ie,Bison,big freight,manitoulin,,you get the ideal,there are some valid points as to NOT have these in Canada,gonna have to build and keep open alot more rest areas,
    The beginning of the end to a once no less trade,I my self am not driving under these bullshit rules ,

  • I agree with others that have posted that they need to have more rest areas everywhere that trucks drive across Canada. Not just the TransCanada.

    Right now I see trucks that park on the shoulders of highways because there is no place to park.

  • I guess I won’t be visiting Canada any longer. I have a glider kit truck which makes me exempt in the the States. From what I’ve been reading I won’t be exempt in Canada because my engine is still capable to use an ELD. And I for one will not wear a leash.