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December 18, 2017 5:00 PM, EST

Canada Announces ELD Proposal as US Mandate Takes Hold

ELD example PeopleNet Communications Corp.

With an electronic logging device mandate now in effect in the United States, Canada has published its own first draft of rules that would require the devices for truck drivers.

Of the 170,000 trucks operated by Canadian-based motor carriers and regulated by that country, about 80,000 operate in the United States and are already subject to the U.S. ELD mandate.

Once finalized, the Canadian mandate would be rolled out within two years, according to a notice in Part I of the Canada Gazette, an archive of proposed and official Canadian regulations that is similar to the U.S. Federal Register.

YOUR GUIDE TO THE MANDATE: Downloadable PDF. 

“This will make truck drivers less prone to fatigue,” Canadian Transport Minister Marc Garneau said of the ELD proposal. “It will make our roads safer. For a number of years, the Canadian Trucking Alliance has been pointing to research that shows a universal Electronic Logging Device mandate would have a direct and immediate impact on curbing behaviors strongly linked with higher crash rates such as driving over [their] prescribed limits of service, which leads to fatigue.”

According to the notice in the Gazette, there is an international consensus that fatigue is associated with 15-20% of crashes in transportation. The provincial and territorial governments of Canada recorded an average 9,400 convictions per year for hours-of-service violations between 2010-15.

Louise Yako, president of the British Columbia Trucking Association, explained that the proposed rule applies only to federally regulated carriers, which are defined as those that operate across provincial boundaries and into the United States. Provincial governments will have to adopt their own laws in order for the mandate to apply to carriers that operate only within individual provinces.

Yako

“We are encouraging all of the provinces to coordinate their timelines with the federal government,” said Yako, who also serves as regional vice president of the Canadian Trucking Alliance. “Our members certainly support this happening as soon as practical. The practical part is really recognizing the timeline for each of the other provinces to promulgate their own regulations and time to train their enforcement staff. We’ve learned a lot from the U.S. in terms of the kind of questions carriers have in implementing the rule.”

For his part, Garneau stressed that local governments should enact their own ELD mandates, an announcement applauded by the CTA, which has long been supportive of an ELD mandate. The group pledged to consult with provinces on how to roll out the devices as soon as possible.

The proposed rule is now open to a 60-day comment period. After that period, Canadian legislators finalize the rule, which is made law when published in Part II of the Gazette. Yako said she does not know how long legislators will deliberate over the proposed rule once the 60-day period ends, but she said that the CTA would like to see the rule in effect within two years.

“Regardless of how long it takes to publish a final rule in Canada Gazette II, CTA would like to see all provinces introducing mandatory enforcement of ELDs as soon as possible,” CTA President Stephen Laskowski said in a Dec. 18 press release issued by the organization.

CTA recommended that the Council of Ministers Responsible for Transportation and Road Safety, a group of federal officials that oversee transportation policy, support an intra-provincial ELD mandate and expand educational awareness for the rule.

The U.S. mandate, which states that commercial drivers who are required to record their hours of service do so with the devices, went into effect Dec. 18. Certain groups of truckers remained resistant to the mandate even as the date drew near.

“The U.S.’s experience in implementing ELDs has shown us that even with two years to prepare, there will be some in our sector that never choose to comply in time,” CTA Chairman Gene Orlick said. “While we need to be respectful of the transition time requirements of ELD implementation to businesses and governments, we also must not manage to the lowest common denominator and ensure everybody is fairly complying with the rules.”

American Trucking Associations expressed support in the wake of the Canadian government’s announcement.

“With the deadline for carriers operating in the United States to have an ELD behind us, we are pleased to see Canada following suit,” ATA spokesman Sean McNally said. “ELDs improve compliance with the hours-of-service rules and reduce crashes and we look forward to the Canadian mandate coming into effect.”