On October 26th, the Ontario government introduced Bill 223 which if passed, will amend the Highway Traffic Act to adopt the use of Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) in Ontario. The use of an ELD will transition the recording of a driver’s Hours of Service from a paper based daily log, into an electronic device. Bill 223 is the first step in adopting ELDs in Ontario and while the Bill mirrors some language found in the federal Hours of Service Regulation, it is still too early to determine how or if provincially regulated school bus operations will be impacted. These details will be outlined when the provincial Hours of Service Regulation is finalized.
The federal ELD rule, published in 2019, is still scheduled to take effect on June 12, 2021. As it currently stands, the federal ELD rule will only apply to an Ontario school bus operator that has buses which travel from within Ontario to another province. The federal ELD rule also exempts school buses and other commercial vehicles from requiring an ELD when they are operating locally (under the 160-km radius exemption).
The Canadian federal Hours of Service Regulations can be viewed here.
School bus operators whose buses only operate in Ontario are subject to the provincial Hours of Service Regulations. The Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO) has not yet announced how it intends to amend the provincial Hours of Service Regulations to administer ELDs.
In summary, despite the introduction of Bill 223, the existing ELD laws apply as follows:
- Driver of an Ontario plated bus which travels outside Ontario and beyond a 160 km radius of where the drivers starts/ends their day (example – long-distance charter): ELD will be required as of June 12, 2021.
- Driver of an Ontario plated bus which travels outside Ontario but not beyond a 160 km radius of where the driver starts/ends their day: ELD not required
- Driver of an Ontario plated bus which does not travel outside Ontario: ELD not currently required (pending publication of provincial ELD rules)
School Bus Ontario (SBO) continues to be in communication with MTO to advise that requiring ELD use on school buses creates significant concerns. SBO will ensure members are updated as any news on provincial ELD rules are released.
NOTE: Commercial vehicles which travel to the United States must comply with the US ELD rule which has been in effect since December 2019.
For questions, please feel free to reach out to the Safety and Legislation Team at 416.695.9965 Ext. 2 or firstname.lastname@example.org.