HomeResourcesBlogCanada Hours of service (HOS) regulations: What's different from US HOS rules
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Canada Hours of service (HOS) regulations: What's different from US HOS rules

By Verizon Connect October 19, 2022

Full enforcement for the upcoming final rule for electronic logging devices (ELDs) for commercial trucking fleets operating in Canada will begin on January 1, 2023. For any companies operating Canadian trucking fleets, or U.S. fleets that may travel to and from Canada, it’s important to understand how hours of service (HOS) regulations differ in the U.S. and Canada as the industry transitions to the final rule.

Below, you'll find some Canadian hours of service examples, as well as a number of the core similarities and differences between ELDs and relevant HOS rules in the U.S. and Canada.

What are hours of service (HOS)?

Hours of service are the maximum allowable working hours for commercial drivers within a given period of time. Hours of service regulations define the number of hours a driver must rest between shifts, as well as when breaks and cycles occur. Limits pertaining to HOS differ for property and passenger-carrying drivers, and also differ slightly between the U.S. and Canada.

Canadian ELD and hours of service details

The ELD mandate in Canada will require truck drivers who follow HOS regulations to switch from paper logbooks to ELDs. Previously, Canada had no specific requirements governing the use of electronic recording devices for monitoring drivers' HOS. Drivers were able to use electronic recording devices (ERDs), e-logs, or automatic onboard recording devices (AOBRDs), as alternatives to daily logs on paper. The ELD mandate will not change the HOS regulations already in place, but will help monitor and bolster driver compliance with the HOS rules.

Find out how your fleet can address compliance and efficiency with an ELD solution.

Notable considerations for ELDs in Canada

Here are some things to consider for ELDs in Canada that are different than in the U.S.:[1]

  • Rental trucks used for 30 days or less are exempt
  • Drivers who "pick up" incorrect unassigned driving time can “put it back”
  • Drivers who have used 75 kilometers a day must disable the personal use option
  • The ELD must warn drivers when they are running out of HOS
  • Roadside transfer will send a data package to an email address that is typed in by the driver and will include a PDF file of the logs and a .csv file that can be deciphered
  • ELDs will need to be accredited by a third-party certification body

In Canada, fleet managers are required to choose ELDs that have been certified by third-party organizations who inspect and certify ELD providers to ensure they meet the proper restrictions required by the Canadian government.

Canadian HOS: How long can drivers be on duty?

Currently, commercial vehicle drivers hours of service regulations in Canada limit drivers to 13-hours of consecutive driving time in a 16-hour work shift and then a minimum of 8 consecutive hours of off duty status. In Canada, a commercial truck driver must stop driving after:

  • 13 hours of driving time from the end of the most recent period of 8 consecutive off-duty hours
  • 14 hours of on-duty time from the end of the most recent 8 consecutive off-duty hours
  • 70 hours over 7 consecutive days, or 120 hours over 14 consecutive days[2]

In addition, there are a few HOS daily requirements specific to Canada to be aware of:

  • Under Cycle 1, no driving may be done after 70 on-duty hours in a 7 day cycle
  • Under Cycle 2, no driving may be done after accumulating 120 on-duty hours in a 14 day cycle, and drivers cannot drive after accumulating 70 on-duty hours without taking 24 consecutive off-duty hours
  • All drivers must take at least 24-consecutive hours of off-duty time in any 14-day period[3]

United States HOS: How long can drivers be on duty?

This is a summary of the HOS regulations set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) for commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) transporting property or goods in the U.S.: 

  • 11-hour driving rule: A driver can only drive up to 11 consecutive hours before he or she is required to take 10 consecutive hours off.
  • 14-hour driving limit: A driver cannot drive beyond the 14th consecutive hour after coming on duty, following 10 consecutive hours off duty.
  • 15-hour driving limit:A driver cannot drive after having been on duty for 15 hours, following 8 consecutive hours off duty. 

What are the differences between hours-of-service rules in the U.S. and Canada? 

While the HOS rules in Canada and the U.S. are similar, Canadian HOS regulations are slightly more flexible than in the U.S. The FMCSA has outlined a number of helpful differences for companies and truck drivers to understand when driving between the United States and Canada. 

  • In the U.S., no driving may be done after 15 on-duty hours and in Canada no driving may be done after 14 on-duty hours
  • When operating in the U.S., a Canadian driver must comply with the U.S. HOS regulations, and vice versa
  • A Canadian commercial driver is subject to record of duty (RODs) status requirements when operating in the U.S., and vice versa
  • A driver operating in the U.S. must have their daily records of duty (RODs) status for the current and past seven consecutive days in their possession and available for inspection. Canadian HOS rules require the past 14 consecutive days of RODs, as well as supporting documents for the current trip
  • In the U.S., the maximum driving time a CMV driver of passengers is 10 hours after having 8 hours consecutively off duty. In Canada, there is no differentiation between those driving goods/property and those driving passengers. 3

The guidelines regarding 30-minute breaks also differ slightly for truckers in Canada. In the U.S., driving isn’t permitted if more than 8 hours have passed “the end of the driver’s last off-duty or sleeper-berth period or 30-minute break after 8 cumulative—not consecutive—hours of CMV driving.” The 30-minute break can be satisfied by using 30 minutes of a combination of consecutive on-duty/off-duty/sleeper berth time. In Canada, drivers must use off-duty time (other than the mandatory 8 consecutive hours) in blocks no shorter than 30 minutes.3

You can find a full rundown of the differences between Canadian and U.S. HOS rules here.

Make sure you have the right ELD solution in place

The use of ELDs automates record keeping and reporting, any audits and roadside inspections can be managed quickly and efficiently. For trucking companies in the U.S. and Canada alike, a commercial vehicle ELD can help give drivers peace of mind during inspections, reducing downtime and the chance of fines, which can cost your business thousands of dollars and even require you to cease operations.

[1] https://www.fleetowner.com/industry-perspectives/ideaxchange/article/21127415/comparing-canadas-eld-mandate-to-the-us-rules

[2] https://ccmta.ca/images/publications/pdf//HoS_Application_Guide.pdf

[3] https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/international-programs/hours-service-requirements-cross-border-drivers

Verizon Connect

Verizon Connect Staff represents a team of professionals passionate about everything telematics. Get to hear about the latest trends, product features and industry best practices from the desk of Verizon Connect Staff.

Tags: ELD & Compliance

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