Federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau takes a moment to review an Electronic Logging Device with a Kriska Transport driver.
BRAMPTON, ON — It ultimately proved to be just a matter of time. On
December 18, the same day that the U.S. mandated Electronic Logging
Devices (ELDs) to track Hours of Service, Canada’s Transport Minister
Marc Garneau took to the podium to unveil plans to introduce similar
rules on this side of the border.
Draft versions of the rules have been published in Canada Gazette Part 1, and once finalized are to roll out within two years.
“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,” he told a crowd
of fleet executives and media assembled in a Trailcon Leasing service
“These Electronic Logging Devices can help commercial drivers and
employers comply with existing Hours of Service regulations and help
reduce the potential of driver fatigue. They also help drivers and
employers on the administrative side of their work, and the devices’
electronic records virtually eliminate the need for time-consuming paper
A two-year rollout will allow enough time to deploy the devices,
Garneau added. “If we can do it quicker than that, that would be even
The rules are essentially expected to mirror those that are now in place in the U.S.
“There are almost 30,000 trucks a day that travel between Canada and
the United States,” Garneau said, responding to Today’s Trucking
question about any proposed differences in the mandates. “It helps if we
have the same rules on both sides of the border.”
The new federal rules would only apply to federally regulated
carriers, but Garneau will be encouraging his provincial and territorial
counterparts to enact ELDs in their own jurisdictions.
Ontario Transport Minister Steven Del Duca said his province is
“extraordinarily supportive” of the rule. “Anything that we can do
collectively to make sure that we are supporting and enabling road
safety is something we need to embrace.”
“The time to debate the safety benefit of ELDs is over,” added Scott
Smith of JD Smith and Sons, speaking for the Canadian Trucking Alliance.
“By supporting the adoption of proven technology that will help to
address and reduce fatigue in truck drivers, and help to reduce one of
the main factors that lead to distracted driving. This is a good day for
Mike Millian, president of the Private Motor Truck Council of Canada, echoed the sentiment.
“Our current system of tracking hours by means of pen and paper is an
outdated one, and one that has too many opportunities for unscrupulous
operators to pressure their drivers to fudge their records. While the
majority of carriers in our industry are safe operators and have
policies and procedures in place to ensure compliance with hours of
service regulations, there are always outliers in every industry,” he
said. “Some operators will low-ball freight rates, and do so on the back
of their drivers fudging their books to make the run possible. We all
pay a price for this. Safe carriers who operate legally end up competing
against rates that can’t be met in a proper operation. The public pays a
price as a result of sharing the road with some of these operators who
may be forcing tired and unsafe drivers out onto our roads.”
Millian rolled out Electronic Logging Devices as early as 2013 when
he was overseeing safety and compliance at a fleet in southwestern
Ontario. Within six months, more than 90% of its drivers were happy with
the shift away from paper logs, he said.
Louis Carette, a driver with Kriska Transport, has used an ELD since
2011 and wouldn’t go back. But acceptance by some of his peers did take
“It was mixed reviews at first because everyone’s scared of change.
They think, ‘Oh, you know I’m going to run out of time to park,’” the
Ontario Trucking Association Road Knight recalls. “If you’re on paper
and running a legal logbook, you should have no kickback or worry on
electronic logs because it’s the same thing. Just electronic. More
He has cut it close on a few occasions, pulling into truck stops with
just 10 minutes left to go, but has yet to see it change the way he
“The Hours of Service rules are not going to change,” Carette
stressed. “If you’re obeying the rules, it really shouldn’t matter.”
Exemptions for the oil and forestry sector remain, adds Stephen
Laskowski, president of the Ontario Trucking Association and head of the
Canadian Trucking Alliance.
Admittedly, the change is first and foremost a compliance issue, he
said. “If we didn’t have compliance issues with paper, we wouldn’t be
doing this.” But Laskowski also says the focus of Electronic Logging
Devices will help to reduce fatigue.
He says the “underbelly” of the trucking industry will fight the
proposed rules, but hopes the government will consider the source of
such arguments. “I have yet to see one logical reason why we shouldn’t
be bringing in ELDs.”
“You’re always going to get some pushback for just any kind of
mandate. People just don’t like being forced,” said Terry Shaw,
executive director of the Manitoba Trucking Association. “This is about
Hours of Service compliance management – not about the Hours of Service.
If you need a logbook today, you’ll need an ELD tomorrow.”
But the rollout of ELDs can make a difference in operating procedures.
“It’s as much training and learning for the operations group as it is
for the drivers themselves, as to how you can do it, what you can do,
and what you can’t do,” said Gary Arnold, president of Manitoba-based
Windsor, Ontario-based Onfreight Logistics has had to recover trucks
and drivers who have run out of hours, and customers had to be educated
about the impact of tightly controlled electronic logs, said Steve
Ondejko, fleet president and chairman of the Ontario Trucking
Association. Rack loads and other low-priority loads sometimes have to
be parked in favor of those critical to a company’s production, and the
fleet has also opened additional terminals in Kentucky and Pennsylvania
to support the shift.
“It’s not only putting ELDs in. It’s actually educating the customer.
Educating our operations people to understand the good way of doing
business,” Ondejko said. “It’s really a change in the way you do
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