ELD certification process coming in March, Transport Canada says


All ELDs used in Canada will need to comply with a new third-party certification process. (Photo: Isaac Instruments)

OTTAWA, Ont. – The application process to certify electronic logging devices (ELDs) for use in Canada is scheduled to open this month as test procedures are finalized, Transport Canada has announced.

Hardware, software, and apps alike will need to be tested by a certification body accredited by Canada’s Transport Minister – unlike the U.S., where suppliers can self-certify their devices.

It all comes as Canada prepares to mandate ELDs for federally regulated carriers beginning in June 2021. Provinces and territories are expected to follow suit.

Transport Canada will leave the actual certification to the Standards Council of Canada, which will have its actions guided by a new ELD Certification Stakeholder Advisory Committee. (Those who want to join it have been invited to email MVS-SA.)

“We will try to make a decision within a month of receiving your application package. Once a decision is made, we will send you a notification,” Transport Canada says on a related website. “Accreditation is valid for five years, unless it’s suspended or cancelled.”

The step-by-step certification process has been developed by Transport Canada and the National Research Council, requiring simulations and bench-top and in-vehicle tests. Each device will need to have at least 25% of the test procedures completed per year, with none of the tests repeated over a four-year cycle.

“These test procedures will help to make sure tests are comprehensive and consistent, regardless of who is doing them. We will make the test procedures available once the application phase starts,” Transport Canada adds.

Certified software will be identified with a unique certification number. Transport Canada is to be informed of any changes to certification status within seven days.

Prepare for ELDs

Technical standards that apply to ELDs were published in December, replacing an initial version published in April 2019.

“The Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) welcomes the news that Transport Canada is getting closer to opening up the certification process and sending a message to the industry that we are making progress and moving forward,” said Geoff Wood, CTA’s senior vice-president – policy.

The alliance says it has been working alongside ELD suppliers to develop a communication strategy to promote “early preparedness” for the mandate. Through that, carriers will be encouraged to ask ELD suppliers to commit to having the devices certified to the Canadian rules.

“By working with ELD suppliers that are committed to the Canadian process, carriers don’t need to wait until the last minute to address electronic [hours of service] compliance,” he said. “They can begin working with suppliers now to install equipment, which can be updated when the hours-of-service software is certified, and begin training their staff to raise awareness with their shipping customers on the impact ELDs will have on the supply chain.”

The CTA has been among groups raising concerns about U.S. devices that can be manipulated to circumvent hours of service rules. An ongoing lawsuit in the U.S., for example, involves a Tennessee trucker that is accusing Amazon and one of its freight partners of “coercing” him to exceed allowable hours of service. The driver said he would “routinely edit” his ELD.

Demonstrations for members of the CTA board illustrated similar weaknesses in some available technologies.

Questioning ELD abuse

During a recent meeting of the Truckload Carriers Association in the U.S., Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) acting administrator Jim Mullen said he doesn’t think abuse is widespread.

“We have a process in which we can de-certify ELD vendors,” he added. “We look at that process very closely.”

He called on the trucking industry and manufacturers of compliant devices to help the FMCSA identify ELDs that can be manipulated.

“Help us detect how you can circumvent the rules to allow fraud and abuse and what the industry can do on a voluntary basis to assist FCMSA identify these issues,” he said.

For more information on Canada’s certification requirement for ELDs, click here.