The Canadian ELD mandate went into effect in June of this year to much fanfare, but unfortunately, without any certified ELD devices available for purchase. As a result, Transport Canada and the Canadian Provinces agreed to delay enforcement until June of 2022. Transport Canada and the provinces are using the time to raise awareness of the new rules. Unfortunately, the announcement of the delay led to widespread confusion and consternation among motor carriers and ELD vendors seeking certification who were suddenly beholden to a rule that was on the books but with which it was impossible to comply. Of course, this was completely avoidable if regulators had committed to transparency and engagement. It’s not too late, though, and the industry is ready to heed the call.
To date, the process has been mired by confusion and frustration. To their credit, Transport Canada has been willing to meet with individual vendors but have done so largely in a vacuum, missing an opportunity to communicate a new interpretation or upcoming change to the wider industry. There have been few efforts to leverage the collective knowledge and experience of seasoned ELD companies. Instead, ELD vendors eagerly await the quiet announcement of piecemeal changes to test cases or the technical standard which have been developed with limited industry input. This process has clogged the certification pipeline, delayed progress, and frustrated carriers and ELD vendors concerned over the next looming deadline.
A transparent industry-government partnership could have avoided conflicts between the ELD Technical Standard and test cases. A partnership would facilitate consistent treatment of technical problems when questions arise. A partnership would make getting answers to critical questions easier and would allow all vendors and carriers to benefit from each the interaction. A partnership would facilitate administrative maintenance and tracking of updates to the ELD test procedures and technical standards. Simply put, a partnership would unclog the certification pipeline, accelerate understanding and conflict resolution, and allow the mandate to move forward in a more seamless and coordinated fashion.
In STC’s view, without significant changes to processes and more transparency and engagement with industry, Transport Canada may miss their next deadline as well. ELD vendors are expending significant resources to offer compliant ELD products to the Canadian market, and require a fair, open, and transparent business environment to accomplish this. Transport Canada’s strong leadership and commitment to ongoing dialog and public discourse can improve the certification process and facilitate the successful implementation and enforcement of these important safety rules. A strong partnership built on openness, transparency and collaboration with industry is the solution.