By Michael Ahart, Vice President of Regulatory Affairs, Omnitracs
The Canadian ELD Mandate goes into effect June 12, 2021. What does that really mean?
All federally regulated motor carriers in Canada must equip commercial motor vehicles with a third party certified ELD device by June 12, 2021… or do they? Law enforcement will begin enforcing the mandate and issuing ELD related citations beginning June 12, 2021...
or will they?
There is a lot of confusion surrounding the Canadian ELD Mandate so I join you in trying to understand what’s myth, what’s reality, and what will happen when. Here is where we are.
As indicated by the Minister of Transportation, the Mandate will go into effect June 12, 2021. However, on March 2, 2021, he stated that the government will begin a phased enforcement rollout after June 12 that focuses on ELD education and awareness at first. Does this mean that drivers can continue to use paper logs? How long will this period of education and awareness last? Why have they decided to take this approach?
I’ve heard the terms ‘deferred enforcement,’ ‘progressive enforcement,’ and ‘graduated enforcement’ used in various industry-related circles to describe expectations; however, as of this writing, no related enforcement program has been shared – although we can expect that the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators will provide a proposal within the next few weeks. There is no doubt we will be knocking up against the deadline before we have clarification.
I know there is a limited number of motor carriers happy to see a delayed enforcement program, as they’d rather continue using paper logs. Many others are unhappy as they have already made the investment in electronic logging devices and are simply waiting on an over-the-air update with the third- party certified ELD software.
The lack of clarity on the topic has a significant impact on those who are concerned if their financial investment has/will result(ed) in the acquisition of an ELD that will receive third-party certification. There are currently no certified ELD devices listed on the Transport Canada website, although many devices have been submitted for certification. With multiple ELD providers submitting multiple ELD devices to the one accredited certifying body, motor carriers must obtain assurance from their ELD provider that it is actively participating in the third-party certification process developed by Transport Canada. At a cost of nearly $50,000 USD per ELD submitted to obtain certification, the financial investment made by the ELD provider is a significant commitment and will be undertaken by a limited number of ELD providers.
It’s understandable that motor carriers may want to defer the ELD investment without knowing which devices will be certified. But when do you make the decision? I highly recommend starting now by educating yourself on which ELD providers are communicating their activities in the certification process by determining if the ELD provider is engaged with Canadian transportation associations, providing educational tools on this topic, and openly communicating its commitment to obtain certification.
The primary purpose of the enforcement deferral provides additional time for ELD providers to obtain the required certification and relieve the concern of motor carriers to have those devices installed by 6/12. Making your educated ELD decision now will allow you to use the deferral period wisely to acquire/install (if required) hardware and provide essential user training throughout your organization before enforcement begins. This means you will be best prepared for whatever deferred enforcement, progressive enforcement, or graduated enforcement looks like.
Michael Ahart is Vice President for Regulatory Affairs at Omnitracs. He has spent more than 20 years in the trucking industry; 18 of those years spent running transportation for a large motor carrier where he had responsibility for all aspects of trucking, including safety, licensing, taxation, hiring, and regulations.
He currently works with the Omnitracs product development team to develop and manage products to be compliance with regulations that impact driver safety, particularly as it relates to hours of service. In addition, he assists customers to develop understandings of compliance regulations and assists governments to understand the impact of their rulemaking on motor carriers and drivers.