TORONTO, Ont. – After a roundtable meeting with the Canadian Trucking Alliance carrier members earlier today, Federal Transport Minister, Lisa Raitt announced she was personally supporting both electronic logging devices (ELDs) and electronic stability control systems (ESC) in order to improve safety for everyone on the road.
“What I told everyone (in the roundtable) is that you have my personal support to ensure that we have something like this in the legislation in Canada and we want to mimic what’s going on in the US but we also want to be mindful of the fact that sometimes we can move the United States in a direction and I think when it comes to safety, this is incredibly important,” she said.
The Minister said she believes the US will be coming out with the rule on mandatory ELDs and ESC in the fall, and that she has Transport Canada geared up as a result, to get Canada in a position where ELDs and ESC can be mandated in the country.
“We believe that for safety reasons electronic logs is the way to go and we are going to be discussing this again,” she added. “I’ve already talked to Minister Del Duca on this topic as well…and now that means we just need that one last push to make sure it’s mandatory in Canada. I’m taking it seriously and I’m going to keep working to get it done.”
She claimed that accidents on Canadian highways are sometimes the result of human factors, like fatigue.
“If you can eliminate or mitigate the human factors associated with fatigue as much as possible…then it makes good sense and it blends in with everything we’ve trying to do in our government,” she said. “So I’m going to continue to ensure that (mandating ELDs and ESC) is top in mind and top priority in Transport Canada and bring it to a close in the coming months.”
As far as stability control goes, the Minister said implementing that is not just about safety, but about the traffic rollovers cause in busy areas like downtown Toronto.
“There’s lots of work between ourselves and the United States on it (stability),” she said. “We also have to work provincially on those matters so that’s another which just makes a lot of sense with safety and preventing accidents that can really jam up a place like downtown Toronto.”
The Minister agreed that working with the US to harmonize the coming regulation is best, though she believes Canada took a big leap forward in saying that they believe mandating these technologies is the way to go.
The Minister couldn’t say for sure when Canada would be mandating both technologies though she said today that her announcement was to reassasure the industry that “This will be mandatory in Canada in some point in time. The timing it takes to get to that point is a function of Ottawa and I can’t put a time on it.”
The provincial associations, as well as Ontario’s transportation minister, were pleased with the roundtable discussion today, as well as the Minister’s support.
“We’re very pleased with Transport Canada’s support for ELDs,” said Louise Yako, BCTA’s president and CEO in a press release. “BCTA also supports an ELD mandate as the single most important opportunity to transform the trucking industry to ensure companies and drivers are paid for all their work, including waiting time. ELDs replace paper logbooks, so truck drivers using the technology will no longer need to fill these in manually. ELDs also provide convenient, reliable records to support compliance with rest breaks and on-duty driving time. And that means enhanced road safety – always a top priority for BCTA.”
Steven Del Duca, Ontario’s minister of transportation said: “I am pleased that federal Transport Minister Lisa Raitt will be supporting the use of Electronic Logging Devices and electronic stability systems for Canada’s trucking industry. Ontario supports using Electronic Logging Devices as an effective tool for monitoring hours of service compliance by commercial motor vehicle drivers. Thank you to the Canadian Trucking Alliance and their partners for helping draft a proposed ELD standard for Canada. We will continue working with Transport Canada to support increased safety for road users and the trucking industry through the use of these devices.”
Minister Raitt concluded her announcement stating the Canadian trucking industry is one that truly cares about road safety.
“Canadians care about safety – if it’s in air, if it’ s in road, if it’s in rail. That’s what they care about and I know that’s what they care about. And this is the only time I’ve ever seen an industry asking government for regulation so we know that the industry cares about safety very much too.”
Sonia Straface is the associate editor of Truck News and Truck West magazines. She graduated from Ryerson University's journalism program in 2013 and enjoys writing about health and wellness and HR issues surrounding the transportation industry. Follow her on Twitter: @SoniaStraface. All posts by Sonia Straface