Electronic logging devices mandatory next year in Canada

Photo: FPInnovations

A new federal mandate is expected to come into effect next year making electronic logging devices (ELDs) mandatory for federally-regulated motor carriers and their drivers. With few exceptions, anyone who currently uses paper logs to keep track of their hours behind the wheel will need to use ELDs beginning in June 2021.

Transport Canada included the mandate in the recently amended Commercial Vehicle Hours of Service Regulation. It comes into effect on June 21, 2021. All provinces and territories are expected to adopt the rules as well.

The move towards ELDs is to improve road safety. “It’s the key factor,” says Adime Bonsi, a senior transportation researcher with FPInnovations. “Transport Canada wants to ensure that drivers respect hours of service (HOS) regulations and accurately and efficiently account for driving hours, to reduce drowsiness that leads to accidents.”

FPInnovations’ transportation research group has extensive experience conducting third-party verifications of several ELD systems for the U.S. market. It is applying that know-how to advise fleet managers in their decision-making and implementation process.

Bonsi says transitioning from paper logs to ELDs is not a trivial matter. “It’s a learning curve for everyone. Fleet managers must select a certified ELD device that is registered with Transport Canada. They have to train drivers and technicians on how to use it, implement it within their fleet and ensure they fully understand the new ELD requirements, within the space of about a year.”

For forest-haul managers, the new regulation may also create challenges in fully optimizing the shift time of drivers and may require changes to how trips are scheduled.