Navigating the Canadian ELD Mandate: an update with industry insiders

Published on October 4, 2023 | Updated on October 27, 2023

Webinar recap: answering your most pressing Canadian ELD Mandate questions

On September 13, 2023, Northern BI held a Canadian ELD Mandate information webinar with guest speakers, Mike Millian (PMTC) and Brent McInnis (Geotab). Since the federal enforcement began on January 1, 2023, there’s been a lot of confusion around which carriers need to use ELDs, what transportation officers are auditing, and the timelines for each province’s unique ELD Mandate rollout.

First, let’s begin by saying it was Northern BI’s largest webinar turnout to date! This alone says something – people are trying to find up-to-date Canadian ELD information and are coming up short. While Transport Canada lists the rules, regulations and standard ELD exemptions, many folks still have questions. What if we only leave the province a few times a year, do we still need an ELD? What if we only have two trucks that travel outside the 160 km radius, do we need ELDs? What if our truck is red, do we need an ELD? While that last inquiry was added to ensure you’re paying attention, the answer to all the above is YES. If you’re a federally regulated carrier in any of the above situations, chances are you need an ELD.

Watch the entire webinar below:

Basic rule: if you need to use paper logs = you need an ELD

Regarding carriers, big and small, there are just too many unique circumstances to account for. But the basic rule applies: if you’ve had to use paper logs to track HOS, then you likely now need to use third-party certified e-logs. That’s right – you can’t just use any old e-log. It must be certified by an accredited body and listed on Transport Canada’s website.

For any Canadian federally regulated carrier travelling between provinces or to the U.S., the ELD Mandate has been in effect since January 1, 2023. Individual provinces, on the other hand, have been rolling out their own timelines for provincially regulated carriers. Below is a table listing the ELD enforcement dates for each Canadian province.

Updated provincial ELD mandates to reflect the NS date being removed.

What about ELD enforcement in Alberta and Saskatchewan?

At this time, Alberta and Saskatchewan have no plans to enforce the use of ELDs for provincially-based carriers – but that could change. However, if you’re travelling between these two provinces, you need an ELD (that would make you a federally regulated carrier). You’ll also notice that Newfoundland & Labrador’s ELD enforcement date is fast approaching. Eek! If you operate within the province and travel outside the 160 km home terminal radius, then you had best get your ELD today! There’s a fair amount to learn about these mighty little devices. It’s not just a plug-it-in, walk-away and let it do its magic situation. There’s a software platform to administer, a driver’s app to learn, installations, mobile devices, and data plans to buy! Oh, and did we mention just how much people love change?

During the webinar, we reviewed some of the more popular ELD Mandate questions and concerns during the webinar. Here’s a recap of the main points that were addressed during the webinar along with a LONG list of attendee questions. We’re not compliance experts here at NBI, but we know enough to be dangerous. We did our best to provide answers, however, the better option is to contact your local department/ministry of transportation (DOT) office. After all, that’s what they get paid to do.

Canadian carriers are still figuring it out

As you can gather from the questions, many Canadian carriers are still figuring out how the ELD Mandate impacts their business. Most provinces have already enforced the ELD Mandate for regulated carriers. If your fleet requires ELD and doesn’t have them already do not wait. Otherwise, you’re risking fines, point deductions, and even having your vehicle/s seized in some cases. Contact Transport Canada or your local DOT officer if you’re unsure if you require ELD or not.

It takes months to learn and adapt to the e-log software and technology. While Northern BI’s Customer Solutions experts are the best in the business, they can’t put time back on the calendar. We work with ELD clients big and small every day – helping them implement their ELD solution, navigating the driver’s app and troubleshooting any issues they may have. If you’re looking for a solid ELD partner who will be there every step of the way, contact Northern BI today!

Canadian ELD Mandate FAQs

1. What information can a roadside officer request from a driver during a road check?
  • Last 14 days of logs
  • The three ELD-required documents specific to your e-log system (digital or printed):
    • Guide to Data Transfer (sometimes called a “visor card”)
    • Guide/Manual for Drive App
    • Guide to Diagnostic and Malfunction Events
  • Proof of asset inspection/DVIR (digital or printed)
  • Driver’s licence, permit, plates…etc.
  • 14 days of blank log sheets in the event the ELD malfunctions

*These may be subject to change or vary depending on your region. Please check with Transport Canada for official specifications.

2. Where can we find our provincial ELD contacts?

3. When will Alberta and/or Saskatchewan enforce the provincial ELD Mandate?

At this time, Alberta and Saskatchewan have no plans to enforce the ELD Mandate for provincially regulated carriers. If, however, you travel between the two provinces and are a federally regulated carrier, then you do require an ELD.

4. Will ELD manufacturers be implementing a “ferry exemption”?

As per Canadian HOS regulations, a ferry exemption does exist, however, the spec was overlooked when Transport Canada developed the ELD technical standards. For this reason, it is recommended drivers put themselves in “personal conveyance” and annotate with all the details of the trip. The CCMTA is looking at updating the ELD tech spec document to account for a ferry exemption, but we aren’t confident one will be available anytime soon.

5. What if we only go outside the 160 km radius threshold a few times per year/month – do we still need an ELD?

Yes, carriers must use an ELD even if they only occasionally go beyond the 160km threshold (even once).

6. What happens if the ELD malfunctions or crashes?

This is why drivers must carry 14 pages of blank logs with them at all times. In the event the ELD crashes, drivers can resort to using paper logs for up to 14 days. If the ELD cannot be fixed within 14 days, please reach out to your local DOT office to advise next steps.

7. We only drive from Alberta to the U.S. less than 10 times a year. Can we just do paper logs?

No, you must use an ELD. In this instance, you’re breaking two laws. First, leaving the province of Alberta without an ELD, and second, travelling in the U.S. without an ELD.

8. Sometimes some of our drivers don’t verify HOS for several days and we are a federally-regulated carrier. What could the repercussions be for them?

All logs must be assigned to a driver. Failure to do so could result in fines. NBI recommends that system administrators review unassigned driver logs regularly, and where needed, add this step as part of your vehicle use policies.

9. Is it okay to change logs from an unidentified driver and assign them to the appropriate driver who for whatever reason was not logged onto the device or truck?

You can (and should!) assign logs to another driver, however, that driver will then need to accept the logs via the Geotab Drive app. If you’re a client of NBI, please reach out to your Customer Success Manager (CSM) who can assist in managing driver logs.

10. Is there a recommended procedure for dealing with unassigned logs created by yard moves and trucks driven by mechanics for repair?

Northern BI recommends users are created for anyone who will be responsible for moving a vehicle – including yard moves, mechanics and others. Please reach out to your NBI Customer Success Manager (CSM) who can show you our approach to managing unassigned driver logs. It is also critical to train all of your ELD users to only accept driving logs that belong to them!

11. Is it mandatory that the ELD device (phone/tablet) be hard-mounted on the dash in the view of the driver?

Our understanding is the mobile device, be it a tablet or phone, must be hard mounted inside the truck cab in a place where the driver can easily read the app. Please reach out to your local DOT for further clarification.

12. Is there any plan that would expand the 160km radius? We frequently travel about 180km – 190km from our home terminal.

There have been no discussions of this in Canada.

13. What if our truck is only going outside of the 160km radius for maintenance and hauling?

If a federally or provincially regulated vehicle is outside of the 160km radius, then it would need an ELD. Best to confirm with your local Department/Ministry of Transportation.

14. When a driver forgets to log out at the end of the day and the mechanic then drives the vehicle, how can that time driven by the mechanic be removed from the original driver?

Make a note on the ELD through annotations – they have to be understandable to some point due to technology. Each of the ELD systems handles driver logs a bit differently. However, once a driver log has been accepted it cannot be moved. We recommend that drivers use the annotate function to make notes of any issues like this.

15. Are you allowed to switch back and forth between e-log and paper? For example, today we were within 160km, but tomorrow we leave the province.

You can use paper logs when you’re within the 160km radius and use an ELD when outside 160km. A best practice is to use the ELD all the time as there would be less back and forth and would prevent duplicate logs.

Click here to view the full list of Canadian ELD Mandate webinar questions and answers

Need ELDs? Contact Northern BI today!


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Julie Darnbrough

Marketing Manager


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