TTAWA, Ont. – Don’t expect a reprieve from the Canadian electronic logging device (ELD) mandate, set to go into effect in June 2021.
That was the message from Geoff Wood, senior vice-president of policy for the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA), while speaking at Trimble’s virtual in.sight user conference Aug. 25.
“Transport Canada is committed to this,” Wood said, despite some calls from within industry for a delay in implementation. “It is full steam ahead.”
But that doesn’t mean dialogue with industry will end when the mandate is implemented next June, Wood added.
“There will be a lot of support and communication between Transport Canada and the ELD vendors,” he said.
In fact, a committee is being formed consisting of the Standards Council of Canada (the body charged with developing the certification standards), Transport Canada, and ELD vendors. The committee will discuss any issues that come up after implementation.
“In laymen’s terms, this will allow us to monitor what is going on going forward and if any changes need to be made, they can be discussed here and a process can be put forward,” said Wood. “If there are situations or concerns about back doors, workarounds that some vendors are trying to put into the market, this committee can deal with that.”
Unlike in the U.S., ELDs approved in Canada will need to be verified for compliance by a third party. The delay in selecting third-party certifying bodies is what has caused some calls from within industry for a delay in the implementation timeline. Wood dismissed those concerns.
“We believe one certifying body will be available for ELD vendors as early as September,” he said. “In terms of, when we get a certification body, how quickly can they get things done, our understanding is once certifying bodies are up and running, they’ll be able to manage multiple ELD product offerings simultaneously.”
Wood is confident ELD vendors will have time to become certified before the mandate is implemented.
Because third-party certification is required, it’s expected there will be fewer offerings approved in the Canadian marketplace than in the U.S., where about 400 devices have been self-certified.
“We expect the ELD space to be a lot smaller in the Canadian marketplace,” Wood said, noting about six to eight suppliers were active in shaping the Canadian rules and that there will likely only be 15-20 that go through the process of third-party certification.
While Canada will transition from paper to electronic logs, Wood noted the hours-of-service rules are not changing at all, and that the goal all along was to align the ELD technical standards as closely as possible to those in the U.S. The Canadian updates will likely be pushed to existing ELDs via an over-the-air update, he added.
Trimble says it will be ready
For its part, Trimble said it is preparing to comply with the Canadian standard, and is planning to release its first set of product features required by the Canadian ELD mandate starting in the fourth quarter.
“What we discovered is more Trimble Transportation mobility customers than not have at least some level of operation in Canada, whether it is your entire fleet or just occasionally a truck or two,” said product manager Denise Grove said.
She added more than 1,000 Trimble fleets have some level of operations in both Canada and the U.S.
Grove assured fleets that the transition to the Canadian ELD will not be complicated.
“Instead of doing a large migration like you experienced from (automatic on-board recording devices) AOBRDs to ELDs, all you will have to do is accept a Canadian-compliant version,” Grove said, referring to the messy transition from AOBRDs to ELDs American fleets experienced last December.
Trimble devices will also be compliant with new U.S. hours-of-service regulations coming into effect at the end of September, said product manager Frank Stowers.
In July, the company made the updates available to fleets for field validation, he said. Trimble is now commercializing the version which supports the HoS changes, making the company ready for Sept. 29.
“On that date, technical teams on the Trimble side will flip a switch, making the updates standardized throughout our certified platforms,” Stowers said.
U.S. regulators announced changes to the HoS rules in May, saying they will offer more flexibility to America’s truckers.
James Menzies is editor of Today’s Trucking. He has been covering the Canadian trucking industry for more than 18 years and holds a CDL. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @JamesMenzies.