There has been a lot of action behind the scenes to get the ELD regime ready for primetime since Federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau’s announcement this past June that Canada is on pace toward introducing third-party certified electronic logging devices (ELD).
The industry caught a glimpse of the progress in late February when Transport Canada issued a note to ELD suppliers signaling the logistics of the certification regime is close to being completed and a final review of the ELD test plan will wrap up in a few weeks. This morning, additional information was posted by Transport Canada to its website with respect to general ELD information, the accreditation process for certification bodies and what ELD manufacturers / suppliers need to know at this stage.
The Gazette II notice issued by Transport Canada laid out a 12 month-time frame for addressing the complex certification process and then another 12-months for the rollout of the certified ELD software.
A preliminary draft of the test procedures was circulated immediately following the June announcement to a number of ELD suppliers who have been involved in the Canadian regulatory development since day-one and the most recent document sent to a wider group outlines detailed step-by-step testing requirements by which certification bodies will test devices and verify compliance with the ELD technical standard. The consultation package will also include suggested testing protocols (simulation, benchtop, in-vehicle, etc).
“The Canadian Trucking Alliance welcomes the news that Transport Canada is getting closer to opening up the certification process and sending a message to the industry that we are making progress and moving forward,” said CTA’s Senior VP, Policy Geoff Wood.
While governments have been hard at work on the technical standard, CTA has been working with the ELD supplier community on a communication strategy to promote early preparedness of the ELD mandate so ELD vendors can reassure carriers they will be ready with approved equipment and technical support. The focus of this strategy is that carriers work with their ELD vendors to secure a commitment stating the suppliers fully intend to have their ELD product offerings in Canada third-party certified to the Canadian regime. The commitment is key for carriers to understand their ELD suppliers will support them as the industry transitions to this important technology.
“By working with ELD suppliers that are committed to the Canadian process, carriers don’t need to wait until the last minute to address electronic HOS compliance,” said Wood. “They can begin working with suppliers now to install equipment, which can be updated when the hours-of-service software is certified, and begin training their staff to raise awareness with their shipping customers on the impact ELDs will have on the supply chain.”
Once the ELD rule goes into effect across Canada in June of 2021, only devices certified and subsequently listed on TC’s website will be deemed compliant for use by federally-regulated motor carriers and their drivers in Canada.
The government also delivered on another CTA request by establishing a Certification Stakeholder Advisory Committee to ensure the technical standard can be reviewed on an evergreen basis to keep pace with the ever-changing world of electronics and to ensure any future non-compliant ELD designs are addressed. This group will provide an open and transparent venue for stakeholders to provide input to the certification regime.
An article published in the Commercial Carrier Journal (CCJ) over the summer highlighted the impact the third-party mandate in Canada will have on ELD suppliers and potential issues that could test the credibility of some self-certified ELDs in the U.S.
“The FMCSA registry currently has 430 devices listed. Each is “self-certified” by the developer to be in compliance with the specifications of the ELD rule. Some ELD providers have registered multiple devices to meet the different needs in segments of the trucking industry, from fleets to owner-operators. At present, the market share of ELD providers in the United States is primarily concentrated among 14 companies,” the article stated.
Meanwhile, a lawsuit in the U.S. is shining a light on ELDs that can be manipulated to sidestep hours-of service rules – a development which could further magnify the self-certifying regime in the U.S. as well as the importance of third–party certification in Canada. The lawsuit filed by a Tennessee trucker accuses shipping giant Amazon and one of its freight partners of ‘coercing’ him into exceeding hours of service rules. The driver claims the company would by “routinely edit” his ELD to make it look like he was operating within hours of service regulations.
With TC’s ELD weblink now live there will be a single source location for all developments on the transition to ELDs in Canada. The next phase of the website will include information for motor carriers, drivers, enforcement and generally people involved in cross-border transportation. The tables with the registry of accredited certification bodies and listing of certified ELDs are there as place markers for now and will be populated as information becomes available.