Enforcement of mandatory electronic logging devices for Canadian carriers

May 13, 2021 | Jaclyne Reive, Genesa Olivieri

Transport Canada has reaffirmed the June 12, 2021 rollout of Canada’s electronic logging device (“ELD”) mandate, but with a “progressive enforcement period” lasting up to 1 year. On June 12, 2019, Transport Canada published amendments to the Commercial Vehicle Drivers Hours of Service Regulations (the “Regulations”)[i]. Pursuant to the new regime, beginning on June 12, 2021, federally-regulated motor carriers must install an ELD in their commercial motor vehicles and require their drivers to use them, although there are some exceptions.[ii] Federally-regulated carriers include any truck or bus undertakings that operate on a continuous and regular basis across provincial, territorial, or international boundaries, including all motor carriers that operate on a cross-border basis between Canada and the U.S.

The new requirements came after a substantial consultation period, which included industry stakeholders, ELD vendors and the provincial and territorial governments. A 24-month implementation period followed to allow for testing and certification of ELDs in Canada. However, with the rollout date quickly approaching, there has been growing concern among industry members regarding enforcement of the mandatory EDL rule and many stakeholders have advocated for a transitional approach, rather than a hard deadline for compliance.

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. The use of ELDs has been mandatory in the U.S. since December 18, 2017 and, as of June 12, 2021, will be required for federally-regulated motor carriers in Canada.

One of the main reasons the federal government made ELDs mandatory is that non-compliance with hours of service requirements can result in driver fatigue, and increased risk of truck collisions. 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 to the Regulations

Under the new federal ELD regime, a “daily log” is now referred to as a “record of duty status”,[iii] the electronic recording device provisions will be repealed,[iv] and use of Transport Canada certified ELDs will be required.[v] 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 posts 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 are still required 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 exceeded, 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.[vi] There are also requirements for what to do in the event of a malfunction.[vii] 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.

Federal ELD Enforcement

On May 5, 2021, in response to growing concerns among the industry as the rollout date approaches, the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators (“CCMTA”) announced that it has developed an approach for enforcement of the ELD mandate further to the Minister of Transport’s prior announcement regarding the implementation of a progressive enforcement period for federally regulated motor carriers.[viii]

The CCMTA advised that the provinces and territories plan to support the ELD mandate by adopting an enforcement strategy that involves a period of progressive enforcement without penalties, including elevated education and awareness, until June 12, 2022. Generally, federally-regulated carriers should already be working to transition their fleets to ensure compliance with the new ELD requirements, but this interim period will ensure industry members are able to properly adapt to the new requirements without facing harsh penalties immediately following the June 12, 2021 rollout.

Nevertheless, CCMTA continues to advise industry members to research ELD device options and ensure any procured ELD is a certified device as approved by Transport Canada. Approved devices can be found on the Transport Canada website.


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

[ii] Ibid., s. 77.

[iii] Supra, Note 1, ss. 1(1) and 1(11).

[iv] Ibid., s. 29.

[v] Ibid., s. 77.

[vi] Canadian Council of motor Transport Administrators – Technical Standard for Electronic Logging Devices.

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

[viii] https://www.ccmta.ca/images/pdf-documents-english/cra/eld/ELDs_-_Messages_for_Industry_-_May_5_2021.pdf

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