Who is exempt from using ELDs in Canada?

Aug 12, 2021


“Are my trucks exempt from federal ELD regulations?”

This is probably the question we get most often. And with good reason. Exemptions can be confusing. So how do you know if your fleet is required to comply with the Canadian Electronic Logging Device (ELD) rule or not? Let’s examine that question together.

Is my fleet exempt?

This may seem like a simple question, but it is actually complex. Here are some questions you should ask yourself to help answer it.

  • Is your transportation company under provincial or federal jurisdiction?
    In Canada, a company involved in extra-provincial transportation, including local operations, falls under federal jurisdiction. Provinces must apply the federal rule for fleets under federal jurisdiction. However, if a company operates within a single province, it is under provincial jurisdiction.

  • Is your provincially regulated transportation company exempt from using an ELD?
    Some provinces have rules that differ from the federal rules for their intra-provincial fleets, and may not even require the use of an ELD for those fleets operating solely within the province.

    To determine if your provincially regulated fleet is exempt from using ELDs, you must determine if the province in question will make ELDs mandatory for intra-provincial operations.

    For most provinces, the use of ELDs will be required for intra-provincial operations. Currently, however, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Prince Edward Island and Nunavut do not intend to make it mandatory. However, the situation may change. You should check with your provincial authorities.

    Remember: The Canadian ELD rule applies to federally regulated carriers, but provinces may also impose it on provincially regulated carriers. It is recommended that you check with your provincial authorities.

  • Are your trucks considered commercial vehicles under the federal rule?
    According to the definition outlined in the law, a commercial vehicle “ is operated by a motor carrier and propelled otherwise than by muscular power; and is a truck, tractor, trailer or any combination of them that has a registered gross vehicle weight in excess of 4 500 kg or a bus that is designed and constructed to have a designated seating capacity of more than 10 persons, including the driver.”

  • If your transportation company is federally regulated and your trucks are commercial vehicles, the following are exemptions to the Canadian ELD regulations

    • vehicle operated by a motor carrier under a permit;

    • vehicle operated by a motor carrier to which an exemption has been issued under the Act;

    • vehicle that is the subject of a rental agreement of no longer than 30 days that is not an extended or renewed rental of the same vehicle;

    • vehicle manufactured before model year 2000.

Logbook exemptions

Exemptions to the ELD rule are sometimes confused with exemptions from keeping a logbook. Canada’s ELD regulations are designed to replace paper logbooks with an electronic method of recording.

In most cases, a driver who is exempt from keeping a daily log will also be exempt from the requirement to use an ELD.

To be exempt from completing a daily log, a driver must meet all these conditions:

  • they operate within a 160 km radius of their home terminal

  • they return to their home terminal each day to take at least 8 consecutive hours of off-duty time

  • the vehicle they are driving is not covered by a permit for exemption from the hours of driving and off-duty time

  • the motor carrier maintains accurate and legible records showing, for each day, the cycle the driver followed and on-duty times and keeps those records and the supporting documents relating to those records for a minimum period of 6 months after the day on which each record was recorded.

You may have heard this exemption referred to as the “160 km radius exemption”.

Still unsure if you are exempt or not?

Here is a series of questions that we frequently answer. Perhaps you will find an answer that clarifies whether your situation exempts you from the ELD regulations.

What happens if I exceed the 160 km radius only once a month?
You must comply with the Canadian ELD rule unless other exemption criteria apply. Unlike the U.S. rule, which allows drivers to use paper logs for up to 8 days in a 30-day period, the Canadian rule does not allow this practice.

Are livestock transporters exempt in Canada?
No, there is no exemption for livestock transporters at this time, although there is in the United States. The two rules differ.

I only have one truck that crosses the provincial border, do I have to equip all my trucks with an ELD?
Yes, all your trucks must be equipped with an ELD since your transportation company is under federal jurisdiction due to the nature of your activities and travel. However, you can check to see if your trucks that do not cross a border qualify for the 160 km exemption.

I am a one-truck owner-operator, do I need an ELD?
If you haul extra-provincially or cross international borders, have a vehicle that is considered a commercial vehicle, do not fall under the four main exemptions of the ELD rule, and exceed the 160 km radius—then yes, you do need an ELD, even if you only have one truck.

My truck’s model year is after 2000, but the engine year is before 2000. Is it exempt?
The regulation as currently written only exempts commercial vehicles manufactured before the 2000 model year. There is no exception or guidance as in the U.S. to exempt vehicles manufactured after the 2000 model year but with an engine manufactured before the year 2000.


Remember that the Canadian ELD rule does not change the hours of service (HOS) rules, but rather how HOS are recorded and tracked. The main exemptions are relatively straightforward, but if your operation is not typical, be sure to ask the appropriate authorities to verify compliance.

If you are a carrier under provincial jurisdiction, know that provincial authorities must develop their own enforcement plan for the federal ELD mandate. Visit our blog on Understanding the Canadian ELD Mandate’s Progressive Enforcement to keep up with developments.

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