Determine if the new rule applies to you
First, determine if the upcoming Canadian ELD regulations apply to you. If you are governed by federal regulations as a carrier, then the answer is yes. A glance at the conditions that EXEMPT you from this rule can also be helpful. A summary of these is available in ISAAC’s blog : What you need to know about the Canadian ELD Rule.
Start where you are
If you must comply to Canadian ELD regulations and have already prepared your organization, keep reading nonetheless, as what follows will certainly be helpful in crosschecking what you have accomplished. If you haven’t yet begun, don’t fret, but do get started soon.
Know your project scope
You should be thinking in terms of months as opposed to weeks for making this transition. The time required for such an undertaking depends on your fleet size, but several other factors come into play. Getting an idea of the project scope now is a must to ensure you have enough time to get everyone trained.
Consider your starting point
To get started, first consider your current situation. Are you already using an electronic logging device? If so, is this device compliant to current U.S. ELD regulations? How you answer these two questions determines the scope of what lies ahead in implementing ELDs that comply to the Canadian rule. Hardware installation may be required or not, and training efforts will vary.
If you are not using an electronic logging device today, it’s best to start your evaluations soon to determine the best fit for your organization.
Talk to your ELD provider
Whether you are implementing ELD’s from scratch in your fleet or upgrading existing ELDs to meet Canadian requirements, talk to your ELD provider and ask some key questions.
Will the ELD solution be certified by an official certifying body named by Transport Canada?
Third-party certification is mandatory for Canadian ELDs as opposed to the U.S. version which allows for self-certification. Yes, is the only acceptable answer to this question if you wish to be compliant in Canada.
System readiness – Is the provider’s ELD currently feature-complete for Canadian regulations compliance?
Ideally, your supplier has a feature-complete solution that is ready to submit for testing. If not, obtain a commitment in writing as to when the system will be ready to submit to an officially named certifying body, in order to ensure you are well positioned for having a certified solution on time.
Hardware – Must you install or change hardware to have a compliant Canadian ELD?
The best-case scenario is that you are using an ELD already compliant in the U.S., and that only a software upgrade is needed. However, some providers have communicated that hardware changes will be required for making their solution compliant in Canada. This has a major impact on your transition timeline, so be sure to factor this in to your project plan.
Software – What is the process for updating software so that it complies to the Canadian rule?
We may assume software upgrades are automatic, seamless, and done over-the-air nowadays, but confirming this will avoid any surprises. Is there any operational downtime to be planned for during this software update?
Training – What is to be expected in terms of training and the logistics surrounding it.
What does your provider recommend for training end users? Do they offer turnkey training services, does the training need to be in-person, and what is the typical timeframe required to train drivers? This is where user-friendly systems and remote assistance capabilities can really pay off.
Plan and communicate
Establish a plan that covers both hardware and software installs, and training of all end users including drivers, dispatchers and office personnel. Take advantage of any low activity periods in your business. This will be helpful in minimizing impacts to your operations.
Also, communication, communication, communication. The importance of keeping your entire team in the loop throughout this transition, cannot be stressed enough. The objective is to have everyone be already comfortable with the changes on the day these come into effect.
Team up with your drivers
CNTL’s supervisor of truck operations Derek Gaston, has rolled out an ELD solution on over 1000 trucks not once but twice, after changing ELD providers. When asked about the pitfalls to avoid when implementing ELD technology, he stressed the importance of change management with drivers, but also to trust their ability to onboard.
“Don’t underestimate your drivers.” he says, adding that most drivers generally handle the change well. Derek Gaston also boasts the merits of making drivers advocates for using the system. “Through the whole thing we used a lot of peer training, so 80% of the time we had truck drivers training truck drivers. We made them content experts.” 2
Transitioning to Canadian ELDs is a project that varies in scope based on what you are currently using to log hours of service, and on the solution you’re considering. With the months that lie ahead, getting started now if you haven’t already, and tackling a well thought out plan is key. Success however, also lies in having open and regular communication with all the players on your team impacted by this change.