Canada’s transportation regulators have agreed to delay enforcement of the federal ELD mandate by an additional six months, until Jan. 1, 2023.
The Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators (CCMTA) announced the delay on Monday, saying regulators and the trucking industry need more time.
“Jurisdictions have been monitoring progress and determined that an extension of the transition period is required,” said the CCMTA, which coordinates transportation policy and enforcement among Canada’s provinces, territories and the federal government.
Enforcement of the mandate had been slated to begin in June, a year after it took effect. But there have been long-standing doubts that the timetable would hold.
Four provinces — Quebec, British Columbia, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland — and the Northwest Territories don’t have the legislation in place for ELDs. Meanwhile, only 22 devices have been certified for use in Canada.
The Canadian Trucking Alliance, one of the biggest champions of the mandate, criticized the delay, saying that jurisdictions should have stuck to the June enforcement.
“We are frustrated,” CTA President Steve Laskowski told FreightWaves. “If there are jurisdictions that are ready to go, they should go ahead and enforce the mandate.”
The CTA, which represents about 4,500 carriers in Canada, also has concerns that the enforcement of the mandate could be pushed back even further.
“We have serious doubts about what will happen in January,” he said.
‘There simply aren’t enough devices’
Private Motor Truck Council of Canada, another major supporter of the mandate, however, said the delay was necessary for carriers to secure certified devices and for regulators to iron out persisting issues.
“There simply aren’t enough devices,” said Mike Millian, president of the Private Motor Truck Council of Canada. “But I think we’re getting close.”
The lack of ELDs certified for use in Canada has been one of the biggest problems. The mandate took effect without a single device that had completed the country’s third-party certification process.
Third-party certification is one of the most significant differences between the ELD mandates in Canada and the U.S., where manufacturers certify their own devices.
The pace of certifications has increased significantly in recent months. Fourteen devices have been certified since December.
Millian welcomed the increased number of certified ELDs, but said carriers need time to select and install them.
Concerns over road safety, ‘level-playing field for all fleets’
ELDs are already in widespread use since Canadian cross-border carriers and owner-operators must use them while operating in the U.S. But they’ve been able to choose among the over 700 self-certified devices registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
Far fewer devices are expected to be approved for use in Canada owing to the costly and time-consuming process of third-party certification. But it’s an open question how many ELDs are needed.
Jacques DeLarochelliere, CEO of Isaac Instruments, one of Canada’s leading ELD providers, disagreed that a lack of certified devices is an issue. He noted that in addition to Isaac, devices from major providers including Omnitracs and Trimble have been approved.
“We’re confident that three-quarters of the market will be covered by June,” DeLarochelliere said.
He said he wasn’t worried that the delay in enforcement will hurt business by giving fleets more time to purchase certified ELDs. The bigger issue, he said, is that carriers that don’t comply with hours-of-service rules are getting a six-month reprieve.
“I’m much more concerned about the safety on roads and the viability of fleets and making it a level playing field for all fleets,” he said.