On the day the U.S. electronic logging device (ELD) mandate went into effect, Canadian Transport Minister Marc Garneau gathered with trucking industry leaders bearing a gift, in the form of a law that would by 2020 require ELDs be used in Canada as well.

“We’re constantly looking at how technology can improve road safety, and electronic stability control and electronic logging devices fit the bill,” Garneau said. “These new measures not only make trucks and buses safer, but they also have a trickle-down effect of making the roads safer for all Canadians.”

It was a long-awaited and welcome announcement for many in the trucking industry, but a contentious requirement that is still loathed by many owner-operators, drivers and small fleets. Garneau was accompanied at the launch, hosted by Trailcon Leasing, by Ontario Transport Minister Steven Del Duca, the only provincial transport boss who has yet to publicly endorse the mandate.

“Ontario has a strong record of adopting and supporting initiatives that further improve road safety. Three years ago, our government became the first in Canada to publicly endorse the use of electronic logging devices,” Del Duca said. “I commend Transport Canada for taking this important step toward making these devices mandatory.’’

Stephen Laskowski, president of the Ontario Trucking Association (OTA), said: “Minister Del Duca has been a great partner for OTA in improving truck safety. ELDs are going to reduce fatigue in commercial drivers, which will have a positive impact on reducing distracted driving collisions and increasing safety for our sector.’’

The OTA and the CTA have been pushing for an ELD mandate in Canada for years, and OTA said after the announcement that it wants to see the regulation enforced as soon as possible. That wish was echoed by CTA chairman Gene Orlick.

“CTA knows Minister Garneau wants to see enforcement of this important safety regulation as soon as possible. During the comment period of the Canada Gazette I process, our sector will be working with all provincial stakeholders to support Minister Garneau’s safety vision,” said Orlick, who is owner and president of Orlicks Inc. in Calgary, Alta.

“The U.S.’s experience in implementing ELDs has shown us that even with two years to prepare, there will be some in our sector that never choose to comply in time. While we need to be respectful of the transition-time requirements of ELD implementation to businesses and governments, we also must not manage to the lowest common denominator and ensure everybody is fairly complying with the rules.”

However, the Canadian mandate won’t require ELDs to be used until 2020, with existing devices permitted until 2022.

In addition to Orlicks, other carriers were also represented at the announcement, including Kriska, Onfreight Logistics, Arnold Bros. Transport, and Kenan Advantage Group. The Private Motor Truck Council of Canada (PMTC) also welcomed the announcement.

“The PMTC and its members are extremely pleased about this announcement,” said Mike Millian, PMTC president. “Our membership has been involved in the consultations with the department and are firm believers that this regulation will benefit the entire industry. Electronic logs will make compliance easier to verify, ensuring all carriers are following the hours of service rules. This will result in a leveling of the playing field within the industry and improved road safety for all.’’

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