PMTC pleased with TC’s phased in ELD Enforcement announcement, but details are still needed

On March 2nd, the Honourable Federal Transport Minister Omar Alghabra announced that the Canadian Federal ELD Mandate, coming into force on June 12th, will begin with an enforcement roll out that involves education and awareness only, with no penalties to carriers at the start of the mandate.

This is great news for the industry, and a position the PMTC has been actively advocating for over the course of a year now. The PMTC is incredibly pleased with this announcement and congratulate the Minister and his team for making this commitment. With no certified devices on Transport Canada’s list of approved devices at the time of writing this article, the announcement is the only reasonable way to move forward.

The extra time will allow for:

  1. ➢ More ELD providers to prepare and submit devices for certification
  2. • There is a supply and demand risk that having only a handful of devices may not satisfy the hundreds of thousands CMVs that will require a device between intra-provincial and extra-provincial carriers
  3. • Carriers should have competitive options when choosing a device, especially when the cost of certification has likely not been built into most existing price points.
  4. ➢ Provide carriers more time to pick from an adequate list of approved devices
  5. ➢ Ensure the device they may already be utilizing has adequate time to be submitted in the queue for certification
  6. ➢ Provide an opportunity to research and invest in a new device if required

The recent announcement alleviates many of our concerns; however, the clock is ticking, and details on what a “progressive enforcement” will look like needs to be provided to industry in a timely manner to provide clarity. The current announcement simply states:

“With the support of provinces and territories, and in consultation with industry, we will work together on the successful and effective implementation of a progressive enforcement period. This will give sufficient time for industry to obtain and install certified electronic logging devices without penalty as of June 12, 2021. Early enforcement measures will consist of education and awareness.” 

As indicated, while this announcement was necessary, it was long overdue, and it still leaves many unanswered questions that industry deserves to be made aware of in short order. The part that needs to be cleared up the most is the last part, “Early enforcement measures will consist of education and awareness only.” While this is what the PMTC has been requesting, there is still much to be determined, such as:

➢ Is it a timeframe of 3, 6, 9 or 12 (or more) months after June 12th, 2021?

➢ Is “phase 2” going to start with verbal or written warnings?

➢ When will punitive measures begin with points being applied to carrier profiles?

➢ Will all jurisdictions apply points the same way?

➢ Have jurisdictions developed conviction codes to even apply to carriers without a certified ELD?

➢ Are jurisdictions considering out-of-service (OOS) declarations for not having a certified ELD and when?

➢ Will those who have paper logs be treated differently than those with uncertified ELDs and can they legally do this if a driver is compliant with HOS and produces a valid record of duty status?

➢ What is the number of certified devices available that will determine more progressive enforcement? 3, 4, 5+?

While the PMTC understands that decisions on enforcement are a provincial and territorial responsibility as TC has no enforcement authority, a statement from TC, and assurances from enforcement and the Provinces as to when penalties and fines will begin, needs to be provided to industry in the immediate future. At this point, the only jurisdiction to provide this information to industry is Quebec, who announced that enforcement for ELDs is at least a year away and that paper logs from all carriers will still be accepted throughout this time period. Until other provinces and territories make announcements, either collectively or independently, we simply cannot be left swinging in the wind wondering when the string will be cut, and we come crashing down.

The PMTC has made their preferred phased in approach known to the CCMTA, Transport Canada and CVSA Region V. Our approach wants to see no fines or penalties for at least 9 months after June 12th, with no warnings issued for at least 6 months. We also believe paper logs and uncertified ELDs need to be treated the same, with no differences whatsoever in how these are treated at roadside during the phased in approach. We also understand that these timelines will need to be monitored and possibly adjusted based on how the roll out of certified devices proceeds and vendors begin to populate TC’s approved list, but we need to have a starting point and plan now.

Mike grew up on a beef farm in rural Southwestern Ontario in Huron County and began his career in the Trucking Industry in 1990 at the age of 18. Mike spent three years working for a local carrier Hauling Livestock and bulk agriculture products. At the age of 21 Mike went to work for a long Haul Refrigerated and general freight carrier and spent 5 years hauling freight in all 48 US Mainland States and 6 Canadian Provinces. The Carrier then opened a Certified Driver Training School in 1998 and Mike came off the road to become one of the Schools First Certified Driver Trainers. In 2000 Mike Transitioned into Safety and Compliance for the Fleet, while still working part time as a Trainer for the School. In 2002 Mike moved over to a Private Fleet and became the Safety, Compliance, Maintenance and Training manager for the Hensall District Co-operative’s Commercial Trucking Fleet. Mike spent the next 12.5 years with Hensall and oversaw the Fleets as it grew from 40 Trucks in 2002 to over 160 in 2015. In January of 2015 Mike moved into the Trucking Association business and was named the President of the Private Motor Truck Council of Canada, where he remains in his current role.