One major difference between the Canada ELD mandate and the U.S. mandate is how personal conveyance hours will be accounted for.
Personal conveyance refers to a special driving time status that a driver can claim when they’re operating a company vehicle for non-work purposes. A common example of this is the mileage a driver clocks when he drives from his motel or another place of lodging to a restaurant for dinner. Although the United States has personal conveyance or personal commands, there are no limitations on distance or time. Canada, on the other hand, has strict limits on distance—75 kilometers or approximately 50 miles. Though this is also included in Canadian Hours of Service and shouldn’t come as anything new, Canadian fleets should be aware that the Canadian ELD will enforce it through automation. That means that once a driver hits his personal conveyance limit, an ELD will force the driver into ‘driving’ status which will be captured as on-duty driving time.
Another major difference between the Canadian ELD and the U.S. rule is rooted in the country's varying approaches to Hours of Service rules, specifically off-duty time.
In the United States, a driver is required to take a 30-minute rest break after continuously driving for eight hours. Rest breaks can be logged as either off-duty time or can be taken as time in the sleeper berth at a truck stop or other rest area. Canadian Hours of Service regulations, however, allow for a little more flexibility. Truckers in Canada have a 16-hour window to complete work and are required to dedicate two of those hours to off-duty time. That time can be loosely broken up—drivers can either take the complete two hours at one time or can divide it into two single hours or four 30-minute periods.
But the biggest difference between the way the two country’s approach off-duty statuses is that Canada allows drivers to defer unused off-duty time to the next day while the United States strictly requires operators to take the 30-minutes when they reach eight hours. Although Canadian drivers can only defer that time a single day, the ability to defer unused time remains a major difference between the two HOS rulings.
Although Canadian fleets will certainly be familiar with the off-duty time, it’s important to know that this feature will remain intact under the Canadian ELD mandate.
Transferring HOS at roadside
In the United States, Hours of Service are transferred to a data-repository called ERODS (electronic records of duty status) via four different transfer methods like email and wireless web services. ELD providers are required to support a minimum of two of these methods. From this repository, DOT officers can access the information they need for inspections.
In Canada, however, HOS are electronically transferred directly to the officer. Though originally implemented to reduce the pain points of overseeing such a large database like ERODS, this process will extend into the Canadian ELD mandate to further smooth the transition. And because there will be minimal changes, Canada can expect reduced ramp-up time and more streamlined inspections from the get-go.
How exactly the Canada ELD mandate will impact cross-border truckers—particularly truckers clocking half a day in the United States before finishing a shift in Canada or vice versa—is yet to be determined but will certainly be accounted for in the mandate.
Unlike the U.S. ELD mandate's self-certification ELD process, Canada will require third-party certification for all electronic logging devices before they can hit the market. The purpose of this is to streamline certification criteria to limit the number of ELD providers, with the hope of eliminating the circulation of non-compliant ELD devices. It’s possible this additional layer of approval may cause an initial slow down, but the good news is Canadian fleets will be able to rest assured that the ELD they end up using is certified and compliant.
So, electronic logging devices (ELDs) are finally coming to Canada in 2021. A little bit behind our neighbors to the south, but perhaps a blessing in disguise.
One area in particular that has not been ideal is how ELDs are certified and approved in the U.S.
Canada has smartly gone a different direction on this by adding to the mandate third-party certification, which means any ELD that could potentially hit the market will have to be tested and approved by someone other than the manufacturer of the device to ensure it is in full compliance.
Canada’s due diligence has, however, created a bit of a hiccup in how its ELD mandate will mesh with the U.S.’s. Because devices in Canada will require third-party certification, any U.S. carrier operating in Canada will need to make sure the device they are using meets those requirements when on our soil.
So, what will this mean?
Well, it could mean Canadian commercial vehicle enforcement officers might be pretty busy during the initial months after Canada’s mandate comes into effect.
Another side-effect of Canada’s third-party certification rule – and not necessarily a bad one – is that there will be much fewer ELD manufacturers in Canada, and possibly in the U.S. once the Canadian law in implemented.
Some in the industry believe there will be around a dozen ELD providers in Canada, while in the U.S. with self-certification there are countless options, not all good ones.
This could turn out to be a negative, as there will be less competition and prices could be higher in Canada – just like every other product we buy here compared to the U.S. But it could also mean the ELD you are purchasing is a higher quality product because it is provided by a larger, more reputable company.