Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation (MTO) has announced that it proposes to amend Ontario’s Hours of Service Regulation 555/06 under the Highway Traffic Act (ON) to implement a mandatory requirement for motor carriers who only operate in Ontario to start using electronic logging devices (ELD). The implementation of this new mandate would be no sooner than June 12, 2022. The MTO previously conducted a survey on the issue in December 2020, which found that the majority of carriers believed that there are benefits to using ELDs.
TheMTO is currently accepting comments on the proposed amendments until July 12, 2021 through its website. If adopted, Ontario’s Hours of Service Regulation 555/06 would be amended by similar changes to those made by Transport Canada to federal hours of service legislation for federally-regulated motor carriers (i.e. carriers that cross provincial, territorial or national borders on a regular and continuous basis). The changes would bring Ontario more in line with federal requirements and those of the United States.
Electronic Logging Devices
ELDs are devices installed into commercial motor vehicles that use a computer-based software to monitor the activities of the vehicle’s driver to ensure compliance with hours of service legislation. ELDs are not mandatory for Ontario carriers who do not travel outside of the province. The use of ELDs has been mandatory in the United States since December 18, 2017 and recently became mandatory for federally-regulated motor carriers in Canada on June 12, 2021.
The MTO released a Regulatory Impact Analysis Summary describing the perceived benefits associated with using ELDs, which include reducing unfair competitive advantages for those carriers who operate in excess of the hours of service limits, safety benefits by reducing driver fatigue, collision rates and out-of-service time, improving harmonization with Transport Canada and other provinces and territories, improved quality of life for drivers, and meeting public expectations for safer transportation in the province.
Ontario’s Proposed Amendments
The proposed amendments would require carriers that operate only in Ontario to install ELDs in their commercial motor vehicles and require their drivers to use the ELDs in place of a traditional log book. However, certain exemptions would apply, which would match those set out in the federal legislation. Drivers who are not required to use a logbook, drivers of vehicles subject to a rental agreement of no longer than 30 days (that is not extended or renewed for that same vehicle) and drivers of vehicles manufactured before model year 2000 would be exempt from the requirement to use an ELD. The MTO indicated that it would also include Ontario-specific exemptions for drivers of school buses and driveaway vehicles / tow trucks.
The MTO has advised that the proposed amendments would not change any of the current requirements that relate to which drivers are required to follow hours of service rules and which drivers are required to carry a logbook. Additionally, the current hours of service on-duty and driving time limits would remain the same.
The proposed amendments would adopt the federal Technical Standard in terms of device requirements, and would adopt Transport Canada’s list of certified ELDs. The federal requirements regarding malfunctioning and reporting for ELDs would also be incorporated into Ontario’s legislation.
If you have any questions regarding ELD requirements in Canada or Ontario’s proposed amendments, please feel free to reach out to any member of Miller Thomson’s Transportation & Logistics team.
 We note that as of the date of publication of this article, there are no ELDs that have achieved certification by Transport Canada, making it impossible for federally-regulated motor carriers to comply with the federal ELD mandate. Accordingly, the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators has announced a “progressive enforcement” period until at least June 12, 2022, where the focus is on education and awareness only, with no penalties being issued.