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Trucking association raises concerns over Canada’s ELD mandate

Private Motor Truck Council of Canada supports ELD deadline but questions unanswered details

Canadian trucking officials question whether the ELD mandate’s public key technology system will be ready by Jan. 1, as well as how ferry exemption hours of service will be counted. (Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

A trucking association said the Canadian government still needs to iron out some details of its electronic logging device mandate before enforcement begins Jan. 1.

The Private Motor Truck Council of Canada (PMTC) continues to support the ELD enforcement deadline but questions whether the mandate’s public key technology (PKI) system will be ready, as well as how ferry exemption hours of service will be counted.

“We still want to see ELD enforcement going forward in January, but there’s issues that people are not talking about that are serious issues that still need to be addressed, and the biggest one is the PKI system,” Mike Millian, president of PMTC, told FreightWaves. 

PMTC is an association dedicated to the interests of private fleet operators across Canada.

Canada’s ELD mandate went into effect in June 2021, with a period of progressive enforcement set to begin June 12 of this year. In March, Canada’s transportation regulators agreed to delay enforcement of the mandate until January 2023.

The ELD mandate requires electronic data collection of truck drivers’ hours of service, similar to the regulation that went into effect in the United States in 2017.

Last week, the Canadian Trucking Alliance — which represents about 4,500 carriers across the country — said it supports enforcement of the ELD mandate starting in January without further delays.

PKI is a digital infrastructure that uses public key technology to allow different devices to interact securely using private encryption systems. The key is shared between the sender and receiver. 

“For the truck driver to be able to transfer data from the electronic logging device in their truck to the enforcement officer at the side of the road, the ELD regulation requires a secure method to transfer the data,” Millian said. “Right now, no secure method exists for the ELD mandate.”

Millian said the only way currently to transfer data from a trucker’s electronic device to an officer checking them is through Bluetooth or USB devices, which are not encrypted.

“There’s no security protection in there for your record, and the regulation requires there to be a secure way to transfer that data,” Millian said. “Transport Canada is the organization that is responsible for getting this system in place. They selected a vendor back in April, but the system has not yet been integrated into any ELD.”

Transport Canada is the Canadian federal department responsible for regulating road, rail, marine and air transportation across the country.

Transport Canada told FreightWaves the process for integrating a PKI system into ELDs will be “completed in advance of the January 2023 enforcement start.”

“We have successfully procured a solution for the PKI infrastructure and implementation is well underway,” Transport Canada said in an email.

Millian said successfully integrating the PKI system into ELDs will involve a lot of moving parts.

“Once the PKI is integrated into all these ELDs, then all the enforcement officers have to be registered to receive an encryption key, so when the logs are sent to them, they have a way of decrypting it so they can read it,” Millian said. “As to reading the PKI data, there’s going to have to be some training that comes in place for when the officers get their encryption codes as well. There’s going to be training just on how the file is going to look and how they are going to interpret it. Not a lot of training has been done yet.” 

Another question that remains unanswered is how ferry exemption hours of service will be counted when the ELD mandate is imposed. As the ELD regulation is currently written, there’s no mechanism to interpret the ferry exemption, Millian said. 

“There’s quite a few ferries that operate in Newfoundland,” he said. “The only way you can get onto the province is through a ferry. There’s no land access. There’s also ferries used in British Columbia and other areas.” 

Based on the current Canadian legislation under which a similar rule will be used for the ELD mandate, there is an exemption for truck drivers’ hours of service while on a ferry when the trip is longer than five hours. In Canada, a commercial trucker must stop driving after 13 hours from the end of the most recent period of eight consecutive off-duty hours.

“The issue we’re running into is the ferry exemption was never written into the ELD regulation,” Millian said. “As soon as that truck driver moves his or her truck, it’s going to be recorded as driving time and you cannot adjust automatically recorded driving time. There’s no button for the driver to push that says ‘using fairy exemption on the ELD’ because it wasn’t written into the technical standard.”

Transport Canada said it has heard concerns from the trucking industry about how the ferry exemption will be handled. 

“We are also aware of the question pertaining to ferries,” Transport Canada said. “Discussions are already underway with provinces and territories through the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators to assess the issue and address it in a timely manner.”

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  1. Stephen

    Why not put as much effort into the wellness of all drivers including private companies that use foreign students as truck drivers Then just send them back to the country they came from if they get hurt or in a bad accident or complain about being paid incorrectly

  2. Stephen Webster

    We need safe place to park a plan to build low cost parking and temporary housing for sick disabled drivers and those like myself that were living a shelter with a covid outbreaks

  3. Greg S.

    “There’s no button for the driver to push that says ‘using fairy exemption on the ELD’”
    Bet there’s a lot of drivers that wish there were ‘fairy exemptions for hours of service rules.

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Noi Mahoney

Noi Mahoney is a Texas-based journalist who covers cross-border trade, logistics and supply chains for FreightWaves. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in English in 1998. Mahoney has more than 20 years experience as a journalist, working for newspapers in Maryland and Texas. Contact [email protected]