MTO survey on adoption of mandatory electronic logging devices for Ontario carriers

December 8, 2020 | Jaclyne Reive

Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation (MTO) is conducting a survey to obtain opinions on the implementation of a mandatory requirement  for motor carriers who only operate in Ontario to start using electronic logging devices (ELD). The survey is open until December 21, 2020. If adopted, Ontario’s Hours of Service Regulation 555/06 under the Highway Traffic Act (ON) would be amended by similar changes to those made by Transport Canada to federal hours of service legislation for federally-regulated motor carriers. The changes would bring Ontario more in line with federal and American requirements. The information received from the survey will help the MTO determine how it will move forward with the use of ELDs for motor carriers who do not travel outside of Ontario.

Electronic Logging Devices

ELDs are devices installed into commercial motor vehicles that use a computer-based software to monitor the activities of the vehicle’s driver to ensure compliance with hours of service legislation. ELDs are not mandatory for Ontario carriers who do not travel outside of the province. The use of ELDs has been mandatory in the United States since December 18, 2017 and will be required for federally-regulated motor carriers in Canada as of June 12, 2021.

The MTO indicated that one of the main reasons behind the push for making ELDs mandatory is that non-compliance with hours of service requirements can result in driver fatigue, and studies have indicated that such fatigue is responsible for at least 20% of large truck collisions in Ontario. In the U.S., the number of collisions has reduced since the ELD requirement came into effect. Additionally, drivers that exceed the hours of service limits can provide a non-compliant carrier with an unsafe and unfair competitive advantage over those that comply with hours of service legislation. ELDs are also intended to significantly reduce the administrative burden for drivers and carriers associated with recording and monitoring hours of service compliance.

Changes at the Federal Level

Federally-regulated motor carriers must install an ELD in their commercial motor vehicles and require their drivers to use them beginning on June 12, 2021. There are some exceptions to this rule.[1] Generally, federally-regulated carriers should already be working to transition their fleets to ensure compliance with the new ELD requirements by that date.

Under the new federal ELD regime, which amended the Commercial Vehicle Drivers Hours of Service Regulations (Canada), a “daily log” is now referred to as  a “record of duty status”,[2] the electronic recording device provisions will be repealed,[3] and use of Transport Canada certified ELDs will be required.[4] This departs from the U.S. regime which allows manufacturers to self-certify their devices. Under the federal rules in Canada, third-party certification bodies must first be accredited by the Standards Council of Canada, and then ELD providers will need to apply to have their devices and software tested and certified. Once certified, Transport Canada will post the ELD provider, model, software version and certification number on its website to assist carriers with selecting compliant devices. Devices already approved in the United States will still need to undergo the certification process in Canada.

The federal ELD regime will also require devices to warn drivers 30 minutes before hours of service limits are reached, will record “yard moves” as “on-duty, not driving time”, will pull locations from a set database, will not record locations during personal use time, and will automatically revert to “driving time” if the 75km personal use limit is exceeded, among other things.[5] There are also requirements for what to do in the event of a malfunction.[6] The device will need to be able to email a PDF file, with an additional option for local communication, such as USB or Bluetooth®, to enable efficient and easy access to data.

Ontario’s Proposal

The MTO has advised that its recommendation for the Ontario ELD regime will be to match the federal requirements to ensure harmonization across Canada and to ensure provincial law does not conflict with federal law. It also proposes to match the ELD exemptions in the federal legislation, but will potentially add other exemptions as well.

The MTO also proposes to adopt the federal Technical Standard in terms of device requirements, and would adopt Transport Canada’s list of certified ELDs. The current hours of service rules that apply in Ontario would otherwise continue to apply without changes, including which drivers are required to follow those rules. The limits on hours of service would remain the same.

If you have any questions regarding ELD requirements in Canada or the MTO’s survey, please feel free to reach out to any member of Miller Thomson’s Transportation & Logistics Group.


[1] Commercial Vehicle Drivers Hours of Service Regulations, SOR/2005-313, Amendments not in Force, s. 77.

[2] Ibid., ss. 1(1) and 1(11).

[3] Ibid., s. 29.

[4] Ibid., s. 77.

[5] Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators – Technical Standard for Electronic Logging Devices.

[6] Supra, Note 1, s. 78.

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