Canada to require bus and truck drivers to log hours electronically

MONTREAL - After years of study, the federal government says it will implement new safety regulations in two years that are aligned with U.S.

See Full Article

efforts to tackle fatigue among truck and bus drivers.

Drivers will be required to electronically record their hours on the road, says Transport Canada, marking a change from the mandatory paper logs that have been in use since the 1930s.

The regulations would cover cross-border and interprovincial travel and should be in place when similar rules in the U.S. come into force in late 2017, Transport Canada says.

The changes will be "operationally feasible for the industry" and aligned as much as possible with provinces and the U.S., said Transport Canada spokeswoman Natasha Gauthier.

"The technical specifications and standards for electronic logging device (ELD) technology may differ slightly between the U.S. and Canada, but should not be necessarily inconsistent," she wrote in an email.

In making the changes, the Liberal government is following through on a commitment made last year by former transport minister Lisa Raitt. But the Conservatives did not set a timeline.

Industry players have been frustrated by how long it has taken Ottawa to change the regulations.

"We have been talking about this for 10 years," said Motor Coach Canada CEO Doug Switzer.

"Ironically, the industry would like to see regulations on these kinds of things and it's the government that is dragging their feet on it."

Once implemented, commercial truck and bus drivers will be required to record their hours behind the wheel with devices that automatically record driving time by monitoring engine hours, vehicle movement, kilometres driven and location information.

The devices are estimated by the U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to annually save US$1 billion in administrative costs, about 26 lives and prevent 562 injuries. Similar Canadian figures weren't available.

The units also make it easier for provincial officials monitoring compliance and should address concerns that handwritten forms could be doctored.

The Canadian Trucking Alliance says the move towards electronic logs will bring the industry into the 21st century.

"Our industry shares its workplace with the public more than any of the other mode of transportation, yet the enforcement community is relying upon an archaic, outdated way of monitoring and enforcing what is arguably the most important safety rule," said president David Bradley.

The devices, which cost an average of a couple of thousand dollars depending on type of unit, track hours on the road and rest periods to help companies to better manage their fleet.

Truckers and bus drivers can be behind the wheel for up to 13 hours in a day but must be off-duty for 10 hours, eight of which must be consecutive.

Bradley said about half of Canadian trucks have or are in the process of installing electronic devices.

TransForce, one of North America's largest trucking companies, said the devices are already installed in all of its big fleets in the U.S.

"It's just the small guys that are not ready yet but they will have to get ready for the end of 2017," CEO Alain Bedard told analysts during a conference call Friday.

There is general acceptance among drivers, even though privacy concerns have been raised because the electronic devices allow companies to track their every move, says Leo Laliberte, assistant director of the freight division of Teamsters Canada, which represents about 25,000 truckers in the country.

In addition to reducing fatigue, the devices and anti-harassment provisions in U.S. regulations protect workers from being forced by companies facing driver shortages to work longer hours, he said.

Laliberte said the regulations in Canada should take into account the country's unique challenges, including longer travel distances and fewer rest stops compared to the U.S.

"In Canada, you've got to plan like five hours ahead to make sure that you'll be at a truck stop when your machine is going to tell you you won't have any more hours," he said.

Joanne Ritchie, executive director of the Owner-Operator's Business Association of Canada, said small fleet owners also aren't opposed to the adoption of new technology but favour a voluntary system that includes incentives.



Advertisements

Latest Economic News

  • Canadian court approves bid for Trump tower in Toronto

    Economic CTV News
    TORONTO -- A Canadian judge on Thursday approved the sale of the Donald Trump-branded Toronto hotel and condo tower to its main debt holder after no other bids were submitted for the troubled building. Justice GlennHainey of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice approved the $298 million Canadian (US$223 million) "stalking horse" bid from San Diego investment firm JCF Capital ULC. Source
  • Trudeau defends Bombardier aid after executive compensation rose last year

    Economic CTV News
    BRAMPTON, Ont. -- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is defending his government's decision to provide federal assistance to Bombardier after the company's senior executives saw their compensation rise by nearly 50 per cent last year. After touring a Magna auto parts facility in Brampton, Ont. Source
  • GDP numbers Friday expected to show economy started 2017 strong

    Economic CBC News
    Some economists are revising their forecasts upward for Canadian first-quarter gross domestic product growth, ahead of the Friday release of figures for January. The market consensus for January calls for a growth rate of 0.3 per cent, which would match the December report. Source
  • Brad Wall to meet with Trump cabinet members when he heads to Washington

    Economic CTV News
    REGINA -- Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall says he has landed meetings with two members of Donald Trump's cabinet next week, including the president's point man on NAFTA. Wall is scheduled to be in Washington and says he will sit down with Secretary of Energy Rick Perry and Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, the man tapped by Trump to deliver on a promise to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement. Source
  • Alberta premier checking to see if Saskatchewan's Wall breaking free-trade deal

    Economic CTV News
    RED DEER, Alta. -- Alberta Premier Rachel Notley says she is looking at whether Saskatchewan's Brad Wall is breaking regional free-trade rules by offering incentives for oil and gas firms to move to his province. Source
  • McDonald's opts for fresh beef, not frozen, for some burgers soon

    Economic CBC News
    Coming soon to McDonald's: Fresh beef. The fast food giant said Thursday that it will swap frozen beef patties for fresh ones in its Quarter Pounder burgers by sometime next year at most of its U.S. Source
  • Environmental groups challenge Keystone XL pipeline approval

    Economic CBC News
    A coalition of environmental groups challenged the U.S. federal permit for the Keystone XL oil pipeline in court on Thursday because they say additional environmental scrutiny is needed. The Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council and other groups say the initial environmental review completed in 2014 is inadequate and outdated, and that it underestimated how much the pipeline would encourage tar sands oil production in Canada. Source
  • Cenovus shares fall in wake of $17.7B oilsands purchase

    Economic CBC News
    Shares in Cenovus Energy were down 11 per cent shortly after markets opened Thursday following its announcement to acquire Canadian assets belonging to Houston-based ConocoPhillips.Cenovus Energy buying most of ConocoPhillips' Canadian assets for $17.7BUnder the $17.7 billion deal, the Calgary-based energy company would take over most of ConocoPhillips's investments in Canada in what is the latest mega oilsands sale by a major foreign oil and gas producer. Source
  • Is Toronto's housing market in a bubble? Not quite, analyst says

    Economic CTV News
    Despite a recent declaration by Bank of Montreal Chief Economist Douglas Porter that Toronto’s red-hot housing market is indeed in a “bubble,” other economists have been hesitant to use the controversial label to describe the city’s current real estate boom. Source
  • CIBC boosts takeover offer for PrivateBancorp to more than $6B

    Economic CBC News
    Shares of Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce traded lower Thursday after the bank boosted its takeover bid for PrivateBancorp by 20 per cent. Under the terms of a new takeover agreement that has approved by the boards of directors of both firms, the deal values Chicago-based PrivateBancorp at approximately $6.6 billion Cdn, or $60.92 US per share, Source