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ELD Exemptions in Canada: What You Need to Know

By Verizon Connect March 11, 2021

The new Canada electronic logging device (ELD) mandate goes into effect June 12, 2021—meaning all commercial motor vehicle (CMV) fleets in Canada must implement certified ELD devices by this date. Prior to this mandate, the Government of Canada had no specific requirements governing the use of ELDs for monitoring drivers' hours of service (HOS) in the trucking industry. Given this, there may be some ambiguity as to who is exempt from this mandate and what changes or requirements are related to it.

The following FAQs help clarify important considerations both Canadian motor carriers and U.S. commercial vehicle drivers that travel cross border must keep in mind:

Q1. Are there any Canada-ELD mandate exemptions?

A: At this time, there are four commercial vehicle exemptions that pertain to the ELD mandate in Canada. According to the Canada Gazette, trucking companies will be exempt from needing ELDs if they:

  1. Operate under a specific permit issued
  2. Have a statutory exemption
  3. Are subject to a rental agreement with terms under 30 days
  4. Operate a vehicle that was manufactured before 2000

In addition, there are exemptions that apply to truckers themselves. Truckers will be exempt from using ELDs in Canada if they fall under the short haul exemption and don’t drive outside of a 160-kilometer radius of their home terminal.

Q2. Have any additional Canada ELD mandate exemptions been granted?

To date, three exemptions have been granted exemptions around certain provisions of the Commercial Vehicle Drivers Hours of Service regulations. These are:

  1. Canadian Pacific Railway: “To allow maintenance of way workers who drive commercial vehicles as part of their duties to take larger periods of daily consecutive off-duty.”
  2. Essential Freight Transportation: “To support efforts by extra-provincial truck undertakings and their drivers to transport essential supplies and equipment, in direct assistance to emergency relief efforts during the response to COVID-19.”
  3. Fertilizer Canada: “To allow motor carriers and their drivers engaged in the transportation of liquid and anhydrous ammonia fertilizer products to operate under a more flexible work/rest schedule.”

In addition, drivers and operators are exempt “while the driver is driving a commercial motor vehicle of a type and in the circumstances described” here.

Q3. Since Canadian operators can also drive in the U.S., what are the U.S. ELD mandate exemptions?

In the U.S., the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) currently allows the following ELD mandate exemptions:

  • Short haul drivers
  • Drive away/tow away operations where the commercial motor vehicle being driven is the commodity
  • Drivers operating vehicles that are older than model year 2000
  • Drivers that only keep logs for 8 days out of a 30-day period
  • Agricultural, farm and livestock vehicles

The short-haul exemption is for truck drivers who use the 150 air-mile radius (non-CDL short haul)–see Sections 395.1(e)(1) and 395.1(e)(2). For some short haul drivers who go outside of this exemption, there is another exemption to help them out: drivers with 8 days or fewer of RODS.

In addition, if the commercial motor vehicle being driven is part of a shipment, an ELD solution is not required. If the vehicle being driven is going to be sold as a commodity, the vehicle and driver are exempt from the ELD mandate. Vehicle models dated 1999 or earlier are exempt from the ELD mandate. This exemption applies specifically to the age of an engine in a vehicle or the VIN.

Find out how the right ELD solution can help your fleet with compliance and productivity.

Q4. Will Canadian Hours of Service rules change because of the ELD mandate?

The ELD mandate in Canada will require truck drivers who follow HOS regulations to switch from paper logbooks to ELDs. Currently, the Hours of Service Regulations in Canada limit drivers to 13-hours of consecutive driving in a 16-hour driving day and then a minimum of 8 consecutive hours off duty status. The ELD mandate will not change the HOS regulations already in place, but will help monitor and bolster driver compliance with the HOS rules.

Q5. Is there a difference between the ELD mandate rules in the U.S. and Canada?

A: While Canada worked hard to harmonize its ELD regulations with those in the U.S., one major difference that will likely have the biggest impact on carriers as they work to comply with the Canadian ELD mandate is the requirement for third-party certification of all ELDs.

In the U.S., ELD manufacturers can self-certify that their devices meet the technical designations made by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). In Canada, however, fleet managers will be 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.

Q6. Who created the final ELD mandate rule for Canada, and who is responsible for certifying ELDs?

A: The final ELD mandate rule was handed down by Transport Canada, a federal institution responsible for transport policies and programs.

As part of that rule, Transport Canada requires that ELDs be approved by a third party before they can be sold or installed. FPInnovations is the first third-party body to certify ELDs in Canada.

Q7. Are there special ELD malfunction reporting requirements for motor carriers?

A: According to the FMCSA, if an ELD malfunctions, a motor carrier must:

  1. Correct, repair, replace, or service the malfunctioning ELD within eight days of discovering the condition or a driver’s notification to the motor carrier, whichever occurs first; and
  2. Require the driver to maintain a paper record of duty status (RODS) until the ELD is back in service.

Q8. Where can I learn more about the technical specifications behind the Canadian ELD mandate?

A: You can learn more about the Canadian ELD technical standards from the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators (CCMTA). This outlines the technical Standard for Electronic Logging Devices v.1.2, October 27, 2020, which replaces the previously posted version 1.1 dated December 9, 2019.

Q9. What additional sources can I go to for the latest Canada ELD mandate information?

A: These are some of the additional sources you can turn to for further information on the Canada ELD mandate:


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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