Canadian Hours of Service

After several years of meetings, research, and planning, Canada's revised Commercial Vehicle Drivers Hours of Service Regulations were adopted on November 16, 2005, with an effective date of January 1, 2007. The newly revised regulations specify daily driving and on-duty maximums, daily off-duty requirements, and workshift length limits. The primary focus of the regulations is to prevent fatigue-related accidents involving commercial vehicle drivers by limiting the hours in which a driver may drive, be on duty, and complete their driving.

Applicability

The federal Canadian hours of service regulations apply to extraprovincial drivers (drivers operating in more than one province/territory and U.S. drivers) operating commercial vehicles. Under the Commercial Vehicle Drivers Hours of Service Regulations, commercial vehicles are defined as:

Drivers of the following vehicles are not subject to the regulations:

The regulations also do not apply when a driver is driving the vehicle personal use, as long as:

The regulations specify two types of drivers – those driving south of the 60th parallel and those driving north of the 60th parallel. The 60th parallel runs along the northern borders of British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan, and continues through the very northern regions of Quebec and Newfoundland/Labrador. Because the greatest number of drivers will fall under the requirements for drivers south of the 60th parallel, the following explanation covers the requirements for those drivers. A brief explanation of the requirements for drivers north of the 60th parallel is included towards the end of this explanation.

Driver cycles

Because the intent of the regulation is to limit the driving and on-duty time in a day, and to ensure drivers obtain enough rest, the regulations establish cycles that drivers must follow. Cycle 1 allows drivers to accumulate 70 hours of on-duty time over 7 days, while Cycle 2 allows drivers to accumulate 120 hours of on-duty time over 14 days. If a driver reaches the 70-hour or 120-hour limits, then he/she can reset the cycle by taking 36 hours or 72 hours of off-duty time, respectively. Drivers may also switch from Cycle 1 to Cycle 2 by taking 36 hours of off-duty time, or switch from Cycle 2 to Cycle 1 by taking 72 hours of off-duty time.

All drivers, regardless of cycle, must have taken at least 24 consecutive hours off-duty time in the preceding 14 days.

Limitations

Drivers that are operating south of the 60th parallel are subject to the following limitations for driving, on-duty time, and off-duty time:

Daily driving and on-duty time

Drivers may not drive after accumulating 13 hours driving within a day or 14 hours of on-duty time within a day.

Daily off-duty time

Drivers are required to take at least 10 hours off-duty or sleeper-berth time within a day. Two hours of the total 10 hours can be taken throughout the day in blocks of no less than 30 minutes. The two hours cannot be counted as part of a required 8-hour break. Please note, however, that the two additional hours can be added onto a required 8-hour break, thereby creating a consecutive 10-hour break.

Off-duty time

After a driver has accumulated 13 hours driving time or 14 hours on-duty time, within a day or within his/her workshift (described below), the driver must take at least 8 hours off-duty before driving again.

Length of workshift and workshift limits

The rules prohibit drivers from driving after 16 hours have elapsed from the start of their workshift. The 16-hour period is determined by the conclusion of the most recent period of 8 or more hours off duty to the start of the next period of 8 or more hours off duty. The 16 hours includes all driving, on-duty, and off-duty time between the 8-hour off-duty periods.

Drivers may not drive after accumulating 13 hours of driving or 14 hours of on-duty time within a workshift. This means that drivers have 16 hours from the start of the workshift to complete their driving time. Drivers cannot extend the workshift by taking off-duty time for lunches, naps, etc.

Deferring daily off-duty time

Sometimes, drivers may encounter situations where they may not be able to take the additional 2 hours of off-duty time in a day. The deferral provision allows a driver to defer up to two hours of the daily off-duty time to the next day. The deferral is allowed only if all of the following conditions are met:

The deferral provisions do not allow a driver to exceed the 13-hour driving rules or drive after accumulating 14 on-duty hours in a workshift, as the workshift limits are still in effect. For a driver to use the deferral option, he/she must complete 8 consecutive hours off-duty within the first day. If any part of the 8 hours falls on the next day, then the driver is in violation of trying to defer time that is part of a mandatory 8 consecutive hours off duty.

Splitting daily off-duty time

Single drivers and team drivers driving commercial vehicles equipped with sleeper berths are allowed to split the daily off-duty time into two periods, instead of taking one long period of off-duty time. Single drivers who wish to split time must ensure that:

The rules are slightly different for drivers in a team situation. Team drivers who split their daily off-duty time must meet the same requirements as a single driver, except that the periods of off-duty time must be at least 4 hours and the total of the two periods of off-duty time must be at least 8 hours. Team drivers are still required to obtain 10 hours of off-duty time within a day.

In both a single driver and a team driver situation, the driver(s) must not exceed 16 hours of elapsed time in the periods immediately before and after the periods of off-duty time. The 16th hour is calculated by excluding any sleeper berth periods that are 2 or more hours, or 4 hours for team drivers, that when added to a subsequent period equals 10 hours, or 8 hours for team drivers. Included in the 16 hour elapsed time is all on-duty time, all off-duty time not in the sleeper berth, all periods of sleeper berth time that are less than 2 hours, or 4 hours for team drivers, and any other period spent in the sleeper berth that does not meet the requirements.

Drivers north of the 60th parallel

Drivers north of the 60th parallel have slightly longer driving and elapsed time limits. After accumulating 15 hours driving, or 18 hours of on-duty time, a driver must take at least 8 hours off duty before driving again. The daily off-duty time is reduced to 8 hours off duty. The rules prohibit drivers from driving after 20 hours have elapsed from the start of the workshift. The 20-hour period is determined by the conclusion of the most recent period of 8 or more hours off duty to the start of the next period of 8 or more hours off duty. The 20 hours includes all driving, on-duty, and off-duty time between the 8-hour off-duty periods.

Drivers north of the 60th parallel may split the required off-duty time in the same manner as drivers south of the 60th parallel. However, single drivers only need to obtain 8 hours, not 10 hours, of off-duty time. Drivers north of the 60th parallel are also allowed 18 hours of elapsed time, instead of 16 hours, in the periods immediately before and after the periods of off-duty time.

The cycle limits for drivers north of the 60th parallel are Cycle 1, 80 hours in 7 days, and Cycle 2, 120 hours in 14 days. The cycle reset and switching provisions are the same as those for drivers south of the 60th parallel.

Daily log requirements

The requirement to fill out a daily log applies to every driver except if a driver who meets the following conditions:

The following information is required to be on a driver’s log:

The driver is required to record the hours spent in each duty status on the graph grid and record the location of each duty status change. At the end of the day, the driver is required to record the total hours for each duty status, total distance driven during the day (minus personal use), and the ending odometer reading. The driver must also sign the log attesting to its accuracy.

Supporting documents

Drivers must keep with them copies of the previous 14 days’ logs. The drivers must also have in their possession any supporting documents (fuel receipts, bills of lading, toll receipts, CVSA reports, credit card receipts, citations, dispatch records, etc.) that support the hours and information recorded on the driver’s daily log.

Jurisdiction hours of service

A jurisdiction’s hours of service regulations apply to drivers operating only within a jurisdiction. The jurisdiction regulations closely follow the federal regulations, with minor differences. Refer to each jurisdiction’s information for an explanation of the hours of service regulations.