A lot of uncertainty remains about Canada’s new requirement for truck drivers to use an electronic logging device (ELD). Here are answers to the questions you might have about the impact of the Canada ELD mandate, how to prepare, and the benefits of capturing more electronic data about your freight.

What is the Canada ELD mandate?

All truck drivers who are required to maintain a logbook will need to use an ELD certified by an independent third party. Paper logs will no longer be allowed. This is similar to the rule that went into effect in the United States in December 2017, except that ELDs in the United States were allowed to be self-certified by the vendor. To be used in Canada, a device must be approved by a specific certifying body chosen by the Canadian government.

The goal of the ELD mandate is to improve road safety by preventing driver fatigue. Driving in Canada is limited to 13 hours a day within a 16-hour workday, and drivers must then be off duty for eight consecutive hours.

When does the Canada ELD mandate go into effect?

June 12, 2021, is the day it begins. The Canadian government has made it clear the deadline will not be delayed.

What will enforcement be like?

Though the mandate was announced two years ago, the COVID-19 pandemic has hampered ELD providers in getting their devices certified in time. As of May 27, 2021, no devices have been certified.

Canada’s Transport Minister has announced that enforcement will be “progressive,” initially focusing on awareness and education. While little is known about how enforcement might progress beyond the education phase, no financial penalties will be imposed for the first year—until June 12, 2022.

How will the Canada ELD mandate affect capacity?

When the United States implemented its ELD mandate, there was no flexibility. It was go time, and there were concerns about capacity then. The nice thing about the progressive enforcement approach in Canada is that it gives carriers time. The mandate will be there and June 12 is concrete. But with no financial penalty to start, we expect little to no impact on capacity.

What should carriers be doing to prepare?

If you’re already using an ELD, you should be asking your provider where they are in the certification process. If they haven’t submitted the specific model of ELD you’re using now, ask when they intend to submit it and where that model stands in their priorities.

ELD providers can submit only three models at a time, the certification fee is nearly $50,000 per device, and the process takes up to six weeks. So you should be wary of thinking you can keep your current model unless your vendor is committed to certification.

Also keep in mind:

  • Certification in the United States doesn’t count. For Canada, a device must be independently certified by FPInnovations of Pointe Claire, Quebec, to be deemed compliant.
  • Of the more than 600 ELDs on the market, many are unlikely to meet Canada’s standards.
  • By some estimates, only 10% to 20% of U.S.-based ELD vendors are even expected to pursue Canadian certification. Since 9/11, when border crossings became more regulated, the amount of freight coming across the U.S.-Canada border has shifted to about 90% of it being hauled by Canadian truckers. Considering there’s not only an initial fee for certification but also a required yearly fee and retesting, it may not make sense for a U.S. ELD provider to go through the rigor and expense of Canada’s process if most of their current customers are in the United States. If you’re a U.S. or Canadian carrier doing cross-border hauling and are using a U.S.-based ELD vendor, you may have to switch to a Canadian vendor.

 

If you’ve been using paper logs, you should first understand whether the mandate applies to you. It applies to most carriers operating in Canada, but exemptions include vehicles that:

  • Do short hauls within a 160-kilometer radius and return to a home base daily
  • Have a VIN before the year 2000
  • Are rented for less than 30 days
  • Have a specific permit for a specific job such as operating in the Canadian oil sands

Otherwise, carriers using paper logs should be educating themselves about shopping for an ELD, learning what it takes to install and use them, and narrowing in on an ELD vendor that is getting their devices certified.

What should carriers do once the mandate goes into effect?

Whether or not you’ve been able to obtain and install a certified ELD by June 12, you should still be prepared to show your logs—electronic or paper—at a weigh station, at a checkpoint, or if pulled over for a traffic violation.

You should also be making plans for implementation and training when you get your new ELD. It’s not as easy as flipping a switch. Drivers and office personnel will need to understand both the in-cab and back-office components of the system, including when and how logs can be edited and by whom.

What do shippers need to know about the ELD mandate?

Though the onus is on the carrier to meet the mandate and no fines will be levied for a year, shippers should strive to do business with compliant carriers. Electronic logging maximizes driver safety, increases the chances your freight will arrive as expected, and provides a source of data that benefits them and you.

Most of C.H. Robinson’s carriers that operate in Canada already use ELDs. That’s a good start. But we’re urging them not to delay those conversations with their ELD providers, so they can get on a path to compliance as soon as possible.

For those carriers still using paper logs, we’re especially excited to help them turn their driving data into insights. For example, if they’re consistently hitting their maximum hours of service in Windsor and have to shut down just six kilometers short of Detroit, maybe there’s an opportunity to build a satellite yard there where others can pick up that freight and continue. Or maybe it’s not a good lane for them, because the cost to serve is higher than other lanes they could be in. The more efficient your carrier, the less time in transit and better on-time delivery for you as a shipper.

That’s where C.H. Robinson’s information advantage kicks in. Because we have visibility into 19 million shipments a year, we can use that data to drive efficiencies that benefit both carriers and shippers alike.

C.H. Robinson has a strong carrier network and local expertise to serve your needs in Canada and in cross-border shipping. If you have questions about the ELD mandate, connect with one of our experts. For additional timely market information, visit our North American Freight Market Insights hub.