Safety Corner

All You Need To Know About Canadian Deferral Time

Let’s uncomplicate the HOS Canada Deferral of Daily Off-duty Time, shall we! (Cannot be used in the U.S.)


The best to explain the ‘HOS Canada Deferral of Daily Off-duty Time’ is to think of this like a split shift to allow a driver to get extra 2 hours of driving and on duty in a 24-hour period (Day 1), taking the required extra 2 hours off on the following day (Day 2).

It would be like working the morning shift, going home for 8 hours in the afternoon and returning to work for the night shift in the same day. The following day, a driver would take 2 hours off during his/her shift and then go home and take 10 hours off. 

The 8 hours off must be completed before the end of the first day of deferral.

Learn more about the upcoming Canadian ELD mandate


  • A driver may split the off-duty time over any 2 consecutive days by deferring a maximum of 2 hours of the daily off-duty time from the first day to the 2nd day and increasing the total of the driving and on-duty times in the 1st day by not more than 2
  • A driver does not drive more than 13 hours or be on duty for more than 14 hours from the end of his/her last 8 consecutive 8 hours
  • The mandatory 8 hours of must be taken before the end of the first
  • The extra 2 hours can be accomplished after the mandatory 8 hours off but still in day 1. (14+8 off+2= 24)
  • Day 2 must show 12 hours
    • 2 hours + 10 consecutive hours
    • 8 hours off in day 1, then 2 hours. + 10 hours off in day 2 = 20
  • Deferral dates must be marked in the comment section of a driver’s log Example: Deferred 2 hours October 12, 2016 to October 13, 2016.
  • This method cannot be used while a driver is in a split sleeper. To end the split sleeper mode, a driver must take 8 consecutive hours off.
  • Over the 2 days, driving must not exceed 26 hours, on-duty 28 hours, or off duty less than 20
  • This method can be used by a driver every 2nd day if he/she wishes to do, but a driver must be aware of the cycle

Some high-level Q & A’s to add context to the above, based on the Federal Rule. 

Q1. Would the driver be eligible for the “deferral of off-duty time” provision, if the driver exceeded 13 hours of driving in the immediately preceding on-duty period?

A1. No, the driver having exceeded the driving limitation is in violation of Sections 12(1) or 13(1). The driver would be declared out-of-service by an inspector and would be required to take a minimum of 10 consecutive hours off-duty. Reference: Section 91(3)(b). 

Q2. Can the driving time be extended to 15 hours and on-duty time to 16 hours into the work shift? 

A2: No. The rules for the work shift continue to apply and cannot be modified.

Example 1 – In Compliance



Example 2 – In Violation

Note: To exercise the deferral option, the 8 consecutive hours must be completed in the first day.

Example 3 – In Violation

Is there a limit as to how often a driver can take the deferral of daily off-duty time?

A3: Yes, every second day. 

Q4. When is a driver utilizing the deferral of off-duty time required to take the deferred time off?

A4: During day 2; as well, the deferred time must be added to the required 8 consecutive hours of off-duty time. The off-duty time deferral is added to the 8 consecutive hours of off-duty time taken in the second day.

Example 4 – In Compliance

Q5. With respect to Section 16(e) will daily log-sheets require special “declaration” boxes in the remarks section to avoid confusion during enforcement?

A5. No. When a driver has exercised the deferral option, this notation should be made in the remarks section of the daily log. The driver must make sure it is clearly understood that he/she has exercised the deferral option and the appropriate day (day 1 or day 2). 

Q6. How is the deferral option required to be recorded if the driver does not retain a log book?

A6: The carrier is required to retain accurate time records. Therefore, the carrier will be required to identify any time the driver used the deferral option. 

Q7. Deferral hours of off-duty are added to the 8 consecutive hours of off-duty time taken on day 2. If a driver used that deferral on the last day of his/her cycle, does he/she have to take 38 consecutive hours off-duty instead of 36? 

A7: No.

For more blogs on the ELD regulation, visit our Ask The Expert section

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