ARCHIVED—Retail Food Trade Sector Review — Recommendations
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Retail Food Trade Sector Review - Final Recommendations
Table of Content
Complaints & Disputes
Alternate Service Delivery (ASD)
Periodic Sector Review & Monitoring
Lines of Business
The Retail Food Sector Review Team was created to establish, in consultation with clients, business and consumers, the appropriate level of intervention for this sector and to explore possible alternate service delivery mechanisms.
This report should be read in conjunction with the Retail Food Sector Review Discussion Paper, published previously.
This report will serve as the final recommendations from the Retail Food Sector Review (RFSR) Team. The recommendations contained herein reflect the opinions of the stakeholders in this industry and were generally supported by those stakeholders who participated in the project.
In order for the Retail Food Sector Review (RFSR) to be successful, the direct input from interested and informed stakeholders was critical.
Beginning in April of 2001, the RFSR Team contacted and met with several representative clients consisting of various stakeholders from the retail food industry and Canadian consumers. The purpose of these meetings was to acquaint stakeholders with Measurement Canada’s programs and the Trade Sector Review process. The RFSR team also actively solicited views and comments from the stakeholders as to what future measurement programs they would like to see in the industry and how these programs could be best provided. This information was then compiled into a Discussion Paper which was used as the basis for a series of four Regional Consensus Meetings. The decisions reached during these meetings clarified the information previously obtained by the RFSR team and validates the recommendations contained within this document.
A representative cross section of stakeholders were consulted for this project. These included retailers both large and small, retail trade organizations, consumers and consumer groups. Consumers were represented mainly by the group Option Consommateurs with contributions from other consumer groups as well. Although not primary Stakeholders, Service Industry personnel were invited to participate in the Regional Consensus meetings.
Copies of all RFSR documents are available on this Website.
The final recommendations for the level of intervention were determined by general Consensus amongst all stakeholders.
Figure 1 - Trade Sector Review Flowchart :
The Retail Food Sector Review Team has been tasked with reviewing Measurement Canada’s involvement in measurement issues directly and indirectly related to the Retail Food Industry. The specific sectors targeted included the Canadian Supermarket Industry (SIC1 6011), Grocery Stores (SIC 6012), Other Food Specialty Stores (SIC 6019), Fruit & Vegetable Stores (SIC 6015), Meat Markets (SIC 6016) and Candy & Nut Stores (SIC 6014). This includes all retail grocery stores and supermarkets, delicatessens and ethnic food stores, fish and seafood retailers, fruit & vegetable retailers, meat markets, coffee retailers, health food stores and specialty candy/nut retailers.
Organized farmer’s markets were consulted, but mobile vendors such as those often found in impromptu farmers markets and roadside stands, often selling fruits & vegetables or seafood products were not specifically covered in this review.
The RFSR Team did not extend the review into related food service market segments such as the branded restaurant and the institutional food services segment which includes catering and distribution. These segments will be examined and reviewed by future TSR teams, most likely the Canadian Food & Beverage Manufacturing.
During the course of the review, it became apparent that online retailing, primarily through the internet, though in its infancy now, may become a major factor in the Canadian Food Industry.
A list of stakeholders that have contributed to this document is included in Appendix I.
- Consumers & Consumer Groups (Action Réseau Consommateur, Consumers Association of Canada, Consumers Council of Canada, Option Consommateurs, etc.)
- Industry Trade Organizations (ADAQ, CCGD, CFIG2 )
- Small & Independent Retailers
- Major Grocery Retailers (Corporate & Franchise)
- other Regulatory Departments (CFIA, MAPAQ, FBPB, etc.)
- Device (scale) Manufacturers
- Device (scale) Service Companies (sales & repairs)
The Retail Food Sector uses a limited number of types of measuring devices. For the most part, all measuring devices in use in this sector are small capacity scales (~15kg/30lb) consisting mainly of three separate device types.
Point of Sale system : installed at the front end of most medium to large retailers. These systems may be stand alone, connected to a LAN or a WAN and consist of a scale (or scanner/scale) interfaced to ancillary equipment such as a cash register, scanner, etc.
Counter/Computing Scale : self-contained scales are commonly found in deli’s, specialty stores and smaller retailers. They consist of a complete self-contained scale system often with price computing capabilities built in.
Prepack Scale : scale systems often incorporated into large sophisticated packaging machines. Often found in the meat departments of larger grocery stores. The scale forms an integral portion of a larger system which is designed to run unattended (or partially attended) and wraps, weighs and labels packages destined for display on the store counter.
In addition, there are sometimes other devices present in these industries. These would include large platform scales used for shipping & receiving, rail or beam scales used to weigh sides of meat etc. and finally there may be hanging dial scales in the produce sections designed to allow the consumer to estimate quantities prior to proceeding to the checkout. These scales may or may not be intended for use in trade.
The RFSR Team will be looking at the net quantity inspections of Clerk Served commodities only. These are commodities which are weighed in the presence of the consumer. Items weighed on a point-of-sale system fall under this category. This is also the case for products weighed at a deli, meat, candy or other retail counter where the customer asks for a particular amount of product as opposed to purchasing a prepackaged amount. Prepackaged items fall under the jurisdiction of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (in the case of retail food items), or Fair Business Practices Branch (in the case of retail non food items).
There is no overlap between Measurement Canada and provincial regulators. All measurement issues in this industry fall under the authority of the Federal Government3.
The RFSR Team has no mandate to review intervention levels provided by other government departments.
Documents published by the RFSR Team are intended to generate discussion. All efforts are made to ensure that there are no errors or omissions in this document. However, in the case that this has inadvertently happened, the error(s) will be corrected in an updated version published on our website. No formal redistribution of this document will occur solely for this reason.
The Retail Food industry in Canada is a $69 Billion/year industry4. Approximately 85% of this ($58.6 Billion) of this is sold through traditional channels such as grocery stores & supermarkets. The remainder, an additional $10.4 Billion is sold through non-traditional retail channels such as department and warehouse stores. The market has seen an average growth of approximately 3% per year, a rate slightly exceeding the rate of population growth. The total number of retail grocery stores has however been declining rapidly, 80% of all grocery sales are now derived from only 10 retailers across Canada.
It is estimated that as much as 30% of the value is product weighed within the store (direct or indirect).
Food sales account for approximately 10% of a Canadian consumers total annual expenditures.
2See list of Acronyms & Definitions
4Source: Statistics Canada http://www.statcan.ca - 2000 Retail Food Expenditures
- All measurement standards must be calibrated (traceable).
- All measurement standards must be recognized by Measurement Canada.
- Measurement Canada to evaluate the re-certification period to ensure that it is appropriate for the sector.
Impact : Measurement Canada will have to define and publish minimum acceptable criteria for test standards. The RFSR team recommends that these be based upon already established OIML5 classifications & recommendations. This information must be made readily available on MC’s website and service companies impacted by these changes should be made aware of the new requirements.
Measurement Canada should commit to reviewing the calibration period contained within the W&M Act & Regulations (Reg.56) to ensure that the period is adequate for the intended service. Furthermore, changing the regulation to refer to a specification document should be considered. This would allow more flexibility for future changes.
In order to ensure that devices are properly calibrated after service, the RFSR stakeholders have asked for the requirement that all service companies use only certified test standards. The most effective way of implementing this requirement seems to be changing the wording of [Reg. 35.1] to
35.1 A person who alters, adjusts or repairs a device in a way that may affect the accuracy of measurement shall also take steps to ensure that the device is calibrated, using certified test standards (new wording), immediately after the alteration, adjustment or repair so that the measurement error is as close to zero as possible within the normal operating range of the device. (SOR/98-115)
A second option would be to simply add a definition for the word calibrated in section 2 of the Regulations, that includes use of a known test standard. ( Suggested wording ) :
“Calibrated” “calibrated” means compared to a current and valid standard of known value.
Adding the requirement for all service companies to use standards which are recognized by Measurement Canada and which have valid certification will result in an increased workload. For this reason, the RFSR team has made recommendations in the ASD section for calibration services which address this issue.
Adding the requirement that all service companies use certified test standards will significantly increase the workload for Measurement Canada given the current traceability requirements. For this reason, the RFSR team recommends that traceability be linked directly to the “International Prototype Kilogram”. This change will allow any suitable laboratory, whether in Canada or elsewhere, to calibrate weights with traceability which will still be recognized by Measurement Canada. Suggested that CLAS6 approved laboratories be utilized whenever possible in Canada as the oversight requirements are already well established.
Priority : High
Requirements for CLAS Certification
CLAS is a voluntary program available to calibration laboratories seeking accreditation to ISO/IEC 17025. To be eligible for a CLAS certificate, a calibration laboratory must demonstrate that it is capable of doing specific calibrations and measurements with verified uncertainties and traceabilities to the national measurement standards maintained by NRC. It must also have in place the appropriate personnel, measurement standards and equipment, systems, procedures, and environment necessary to achieve the measurement uncertainties that it is claiming. Finally, it must successfully complete the CLAS assessment of compliance to the criteria and requirements of CAN-P-4D (ISO/IEC 17025), General Requirements for the Accreditation of Calibration and Testing Laboratories.
- The approvals program should be maintained for all trade devices.
- The responsibility for obtaining approvals should continue to rest with the manufacturer and/or importer of the device.
- The use of other recognized laboratories should be continued and expanded when and where efficiencies may be realized.
Impact : Little impact in the short term. RFSR Stakeholders have advised that ‘time to market’ of new devices is sometimes excessive thereby placing them at a competitive disadvantage. To address this issue, MC should consider expanding the current mutual recognition program with other laboratories, notably those in Europe (OIML). Ongoing harmonization efforts should make this a feasible proposal. For the mid term, the proposal is to have mutual recognition of test data to facilitate approval turn around time. Long term consideration should include the outright acceptance of recognized laboratory approvals.
Priority : MEDIUM
- All devices to be used in trade must be Initially Inspected before use.
- Initial inspections to be provided by an Accredited (S-A-01) Service Provider.
Impact : Accredited companies will gradually start to take over some of the Initial Inspection work historically handled by MC. This will likely happen first in urban areas and slowly in the rural areas. MC must ensure that there is an adequate number of service providers available in all areas before withdrawing its services completely. This will likely mean that, for the foreseeable future, MC will be required to respond to initial inspection requests in the more remote areas. A clear policy should be in place as to when inspections may be done in factory and when they must be done on site. This policy must address both the gravitational as well as installation issues and is required to avoid possible misunderstandings between MC, Service Companies and Retailers.
Measurement Canada may wish to explore some possible incentives to have retailers choose Accredited Companies rather than MC inspectors to perform these inspections.
Priority : HIGH
- Subsequent (In-Service) Inspections should be mandatory.
- Targeting frequency to be based upon time (X years).
- Subsequent (In-Service) inspections to be provided by recognized ASD.
Impact : Stakeholders support the adoption of a mandatory inspection cycle for this industry provided that it is both realistic and applied (enforced) consistently.
It was felt that a cycle which is to short, would be an unnecessary burden to the retailers with little or no gain to the consumers and one which was too long would provide no benefits. Participants generally felt that they do not have the necessary information to propose a suitable cycle and that this should be developed by MC through the analysis of metrological requirements and industry & consumer concerns. (Discussions revolved around a time frame in the area of 2-5 years. )
Implementation of such a requirement is likely to require a legislative change and should therefore be initiated as soon as possible. In addition, as this is such a large change from current requirement, the RFSR team suggests that this requirement be communicated to the industry as early as possible through all avenues available. Advertising these requirements in Trade Publications such as Grocer Today, Food In Canada & Canadian Grocer should be considered due to the market penetration they enjoy. An initial voluntary implementation should be suggested to allow retailers to become familiar with the requirements and to identify any unforseen difficulties.
Stakeholders felt that although Accredited ASD providers would provide much of the work in this area, there was room for a second, less intensive ASD as well. This second ASD would enable the provider to provide Subsequent Inspections only, Initial Inspections would still have to be done by an Accredited organization. This program is discussed in further detail in the ASD section of this paper.
Priority : HIGH
- Measurement Canada continue to operate the Commodity Inspection program as per usual.
- Measurement Canada & the Canadian Food Inspection Agency review their respective roles within the industry to ensure optimum use of resources.
- Measurement Canada to determine actual compliance levels for “Clerk Serve” commodities.
- Measurement Canada continues to be receptive to 3rd party interest in this area.
Impact : There should be little impact to MC’s current operations from this recommendation as stakeholders have so far not indicated that they are willing to accept any ASD’s for commodity work.
In order to allow stakeholders to make informed decisions in the commodity area, an effort should be made to establish current compliance rates for commodities under MC’s jurisdiction. This information would allow MC to confidently report on measurement equity within the sector.
Some effort should be made to ensure that MC and CFIA work closely together in these areas to minimize any potential duplication of effort, whether real or perceived by stakeholders.
Priority : MEDIUM
- Hold over review until next Periodic Sector Review.
Impact : None. However, MC must continue to monitor developments in this area of the retail food sector.
Priority : N/A
- All service providers must be either recognized or monitored by Measurement Canada.
- All service providers must use recognized, certified & traceable standards.
- All service providers must use recognized test procedures to be provided by Measurement Canada.
Impact : Recognizing and Monitoring service companies will be accomplished through either the adoption of an ASD program or, for those service providers who choose not to follow this route, by the enforcement of current reporting requirements (W&M Act 29.). These requirements, which call for reporting of all repairs done to a device, must be made as easy as possible to comply with, capture only relevant information, enforced consistently and the resulting data analysed. This will mean the development of multiple reporting methods (mail, fax, internet, email, etc.) and some criteria to analyse the resulting data against. Electronic reporting is suggested and should be encouraged to lower the overhead required to compile and analyse the information. Status Quo is not acceptable.
All stakeholders felt that it was imperative all service companies use test procedures and physical measurement standards that are consistent with MC requirements. This is to ensure that there is at least the opportunity for results to be consistent regardless of who works on and tests the equipment. Any service company who chooses to become an ASD for MC will automatically be subject to these requirements.
The issue then becomes what about service companies who choose not to pursue becoming an MC recognized ASD. The recommendation from stakeholders is that they too be subject to the same requirements. The first choice is to make it mandatory (legislated) that to break a seal (or increment an event counter) on a device, the service company must use (be in possession of) certified test standards. In addition to this, MC would ensure that each company is aware of, and has easy access to, all current MC regulations, bulletins and specifications. This could be supplemented with periodic (annually, quarterly, etc.) mail-outs of any changes to all identified service providers.
The use of on-line reporting and information dissemination should be expanded as much as possible due to its several key advantages. The primary advantage is the large audience that can be efficiently and effectively reached for a very low cost. The second major advantage is the reduction in required MC resources to handle reporting and analysis.
Priority : HIGH - MEDIUM
- Disputes to be dealt with first between the primary parties (status quo).
- Measurement Canada to remain responsible for dealing with unresolved disputes.
- Measurement Canada increase its visibility in the marketplace.
Impact : MC must work on raising its public profile. It is especially important that in the event of a complaint, the complainant has quick and easy access to all lines of recourse, including MC. This could be partially accomplished by asking consumer groups to identify MC if and when they receive complaints about a retailer. Advertising in Consumer Publications may also be a viable option. Raising awareness of the significance of MC’s verification sticker may also go a long way to educating the consumer of MC’s role in the marketplace.
Retailers have asked for formal reporting on complaints received by MC. This should be implemented immediately at the District Level.
Priority : MEDIUM
- Mutual recognition of approvals laboratories to be continued & expanded when and where efficiencies may be realized. (See Section 2, Devices)
- Suitably recognized 3rd parties to perform initial and subsequent inspections on Measurement Canada’s behalf must be identified. (See Section 2, Devices)
- Measurement Canada should provide access to test procedures and requirements to ensure all interested parties are thoroughly familiar with them.
- ASD of choice is Accreditation to Measurement Canada Accreditation Standard (S-A-01) for Initial and Subsequent Inspection.
- An alternate ASD program to be developed for Subsequent Inspections only.
- MC to accept Standards Traceability to the “International Prototype Kilogram”.
Impact : The impact of expanding Accreditation is negligible given MC’s current priorities in this regard. Service companies currently working in this industry, and those potentially interested in expanding into this industry, should be advised of any changes forthcoming from this TSR to ensure that they have all relevant information when deciding whether they wish to pursue one of the ASD options.
Adding another program for Subsequent Inspections is however a much more involved undertaking. This is made even more complex by the fact that the stakeholders have indicated they are intrigued by the proposed Registration Program (DPSR) but would not support it without random and monitoring, technician training and mandatory use of MC recognized standards and procedures. Mandatory monitoring must ensure that technicians competencies are assessed and then reevaluated periodically. In addition, MC must conduct at least a minimum number of in-field inspections (similar to product audits to ensure that the ASD is functioning as planned.) Stakeholders were willing to forgo the QA component of the current Accreditation program only.
Priority : HIGH-MEDIUM
- Measurement Canada will establish an ongoing monitoring program that will include field inspections to monitor compliance levels for device and commodity.
- Measurement Canada will intervene as necessary to ensure that compliance and confidence levels remain high. Critical issues must be dealt with immediately.
- Measurement Canada will formally review the sector every 5-10 years to measure the level of satisfaction amongst the stakeholders, to assess the evolution of the sector and deal with non-critical issues.
Impact : MC must develop and implement an ongoing monitoring program with the ability to modify key components of the ASD’s as necessary to address problems. In addition, a Periodic Sector Review process must be developed and implemented
The best Performance Indicators are almost unanimously considered to be compliance rates. These can be generated by MC as well as ASD inspections. If derived from ASD inspections, there should be some independent confirmation/validation of results through Measurement Canada inspections. The use of complaint data could also be considered for use as a performance indicator, but the team feels that the numbers of such complaints are presently too low to provide much in the way of meaningful information. This may change if MC becomes more visible in the marketplace.
Priority : LOW
- Generally speaking, stakeholders have indicated that all current programs in place in the retail food industry today are relevant and should be maintained - if not expanded. This includes the approvals process, initial and subsequent device inspections as well as commodity inspections. How these programs are delivered is negotiable. The use of properly recognized 3rd parties to deliver some or all of these programs appears to have much support.
- Stakeholders have made it abundantly clear to the RFSR Team that any programs adopted or modified by this review must be completely and effectively monitored, on a continuous basis, by Measurement Canada to ensure that confidence in the marketplace is held to the highest possible level. It was pointed out that the industry relies on the trust of their customers and anything done to compromise that trust would have severe negative repercussions.
- It was a surprise to many interviewed stakeholders that Measurement Canada has limited enforcement options. Measurement Canada’s enforcement policy includes issuing requests for repair (Notice of Non-Compliance - generally issued after an identified problem), removal from service of devices (Notice of Seizure & Detention - issued after the identification of a more serious problem), warning letters and finally prosecution. It was suggested that there is room for another level of enforcement before prosecution. Fines and penalties are one such option. Support was not unanimous for this option however.
- There was much concern amongst stakeholders about the added costs of any new requirements. It should be noted that these concerns were the same for large and small retailers.
- Stakeholders have indicated that they are concerned about inconsistent enforcement of requirements, especially between large stores located in urban areas and smaller ones located in more rural areas. There will likely be less companies interested in providing ASD services in the smaller rural areas. This must be addressed and requirements must remain the same for all stakeholders.
- Action Réseau Consommateur
- Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
- Archibald Candy Corporation - Laura Secord
- Association des détaillants en alimentation du Québec [ADAQ]
- Atlantic Wholesalers Ltd.
- Atlantic Superstore
- Atlantic SuperValu
- Atlantic Save Easy
- Amolco Foods
- Cash’n Carry
- Buy Low Foods
- Canada Safeway
- Canadian Council of Grocery Distributors [CCGD]
- Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers [CFIG]
- Canadian Food Inspection Agency [CFIA]
- Clearwater Fine Foods
- Consumers Council of Canada [CCC]
- Co-op Atlantic
- Coopers Foods
- Country Grocer
- Federated Cooperatives Ltd.
- Arctic CO-OP
- Grocery People
- Granville Island Public Market
- 50 independent food stores
- Great Atlantic & Pacific Company of Canada
- H.Y. Louie Company Ltd.
- IGA British Columbia
- Halifax Regional Homeowners Association
- La Bonbonnière (Sweet Factory)
- Lonsdale Quay Public Market
- Metro/Richelieu 2000 Inc.
- Loeb and Loeb Plus
- Super C
- Ministère de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation du Québec [MAPAQ]
- Nutters Bulk and Natural Foods
- Options Consommateurs
- Overwaitea Food Group
- Save On Foods
- Urban Fare
- Price Smart
- Bulkley Valley Wholesale
- Pete’s Frootique
- Provigo Inc.
- Loblaw (Quebec)
- Maxi & Cie
- Purdy's Chocolates
- Sobeys Inc.
- Sobeys Atlantic
- Sobeys Ontario
- Sobeys Quebec
- Price Chopper
- Food Town
- Sweet Factory (La Bonbonnière)
- Thrifty Foods
- Westfair Foods (Loblaws)
- Real Canadian Superstore
- Real Canadian Wholesale Club
- Extra Foods
- AIT Services
- AM/PM Service
- Bizerba Canada Inc.
- Digi Canada
- Hobart Food Equipment Canada Ltd.
- International Business Machines (IBM)
- Matrix Scale Service Inc.
- Mettler Toledo
- Precision Giant
- Superior Technologies
- Canadian Consumers Association
- Canadian Federation of Independent Business [CFIB]
- Canadian Health Food Association [CHFA]
- Canadian Association of Specialty Foods [CASF]
- Independent Food Stores Association (N.S.)
- Loblaws Inc. (Ontario)
- Longo’s (Ontario)
- Retail Council of Canada [RCC]
- Saskatchewan Food Processors Association
- Second Cup
- Stongs Market
- T&T Supermarkets
- Timothy’s Coffee World
- Zehrmart Inc. (Ontario)
7These companies/organizations either chose not to participate, or did not return calls. All knownGravimetric Service Companies in Canada were contacted and advised of the existence of this review.
For more information on Measurement Canada and Trade Sector Review, see our website or contact a member of the Retail Food Sector Review Team at : firstname.lastname@example.org
277 Winnipeg Street
Penticton, B.C. V2A 5M2
Tel. : (250) 862-6557
Fax : (250) 712-4215
Luciano Burtini : email@example.com
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0C9
Tel. : (613) 941-3459
Fax : (613) 952-1736
Michel Maranda : firstname.lastname@example.org
50 Brown Avenue
Dartmouth, Nova Scotia
Tel. : (902) 426-0559
Fax : (902) 426-1000
Gilles Poirier : email@example.com
Measurement Canada fulfills its mission through the following programs:
- Establishment of measurement specifications - the Program Development division of Measurement Canada is responsible for the development of specifications, regulatory amendments, policies and procedures for weighing and measuring devices. When a new measurement technology emerges on to the marketplace, it will be approved and inspected against regulatory specifications and test procedures. Specifications are consulted and developed with industry representatives.
- Maintenance and calibration of measurement standards - Measurement Canada, through its Calibration Services Laboratory, owns and maintains measurement standards (reference) that are traceable to the National Research Council primary base units of measurement. Standards of mass, length, volume, temperature, pressure, and electricity are calibrated and certified. These measurement standards are used by government inspectors and accredited and non-accredited parties. Measurement Canada also calibrates industry standards that are used to calibrate or certify trade measurement devices.
- Pattern approval of new measurement devices - Measurement Canada, through its Approval Services Laboratory, must approve all weighing and measuring devices intended for trade use in Canada. All new and modified devices are examined and tested with respect to legislative requirements for design, composition, construction, and performance. This service is intended to ensure a population of measuring devices which are reasonably accurate throughout their lifetime and to minimize the possibility of fraudulent use. Note that Measurement Canada has not approved trade measurement devices in sectors where we do not currently have enforcement programs, i.e., pipeline meters, cryogenic meters, water meters, taxi meters, etc. Measurement Canada is a partner in a Mutual Recognition Program with our United States counterparts in order to harmonize requirements for the approval of weighing devices in both countries.
- Initial inspection of new devices (verification) - Measurement Canada, through its field inspection staff, or accredited meter verifiers must inspect (initial inspection) weighing and measuring devices, unless exempted by the Act and Regulations, before they are used in trade. The intent is to ensure the devices meet approval criteria, are installed correctly and operate within the appropriate limits of error before its service life begins.
- Periodic inspection of in-service devices (re-verification) - Meters for measuring electricity and natural gas are verified at specific intervals as set out by legislation pursuant to the Electricity and Gas Inspection Act. The intent is to ensure that previously verified meters, after being in use for a period of time, continue to operate within the applicable limits of measurement error. Measuring devices used to measure quantities of mass or volume, pursuant to the requirements of the Weights and Measures Act are verified, on an ad-hoc basis, throughout their lifetime to ensure that they are properly maintained, continue to measure accurately, and are not used in a fraudulent manner. At present, there is no mandatory re-verification period.
- Inspection of installations - Measurement Canada, through its field inspection staff, inspect installations of electricity and gas metering systems where the impact of measurement error is high. The nature of some electricity and gas device installations are such that installation inspections are required to be performed on a periodic basis.
- Commodity inspection - Goods and services traded on the basis of measure are inspected periodically to ensure that they are measured with prescribed tolerances. Commodities are generally inspected on a product/industry specific basis with emphasis placed on problem product/industries.
- Complaint investigation - Measurement Canada, through its field inspection staff, will investigate complaints and advise affected parties of the result of the investigation, including where warranted, any corrective action instituted however, any compensation would normally be left up to the action of the parties involved.
- Dispute resolution - Measurement Canada, through its field inspection staff, will investigate and resolve disputes via the dispute resolution process administered under sections 23 and 24 of the Electricity and Gas Inspection Act. This occurs when the buyer or seller of electricity or gas is dissatisfied with the condition of the registration of a meter or installation and cannot resolve the difference with the other party of the contract. Measurement Canada authorizes compensation when warranted.
- Accreditation of qualified organizations to perform inspection work of approved devices - An organization may be granted the authority to initially verify, re-verify, and certify trade weighing and measuring devices on behalf of Measurement Canada provided that it meets the requirements of the program. Accredited organizations are periodically audited by Measurement Canada to ensure that the program is being carried out according to the standard.
Measurement Canada Current Requirements for the Calibration and Certification of Local Standards
If you encounter any difficulty in accessing the content on this or any other page please contact us for assistance.
This table has been taken from ‘Weights and Measures Regulations” section 56 and 56.(1) (SOR/86-132)
Every local standard described in Column I of an item of the table to this section shall be calibrated and certified at least once within the period of time set out in Column II of that item :
|Column I - Local Standards||Column II - Period of Time|
|1. A weight that is used by an inspector in inspecting devices for use in trade.||1 year|
|2. A weight, other than a troy weight, that is retained at a Weights and Measures Office.||5 years|
|3. A troy weight that is retained at a Weights and Measures Office.||10 years|
|4. A volumetric static measure other than a measure described in item 5.||1 year|
|5. A volumetric static measure that is made of glass.||10 years|
|6. A volumetric liquid measuring machine, other than a volumetric liquid meter, that has a valve or other moving or movable part that has or can have an effect on the accuracy of the machine.||4 years|
|7. A volumetric liquid standard not otherwise provided for in this table.||2 years|
|8. A linear static measure.||10 years|
|Electricity Measuring Local Standards||
|9. Volt measuring.||5 years|
|10. Ampere measuring.||5 years|
|11. Watt hour measuring: induction type.||6 months|
|12. Any electricity measuring local standard not specified in items 9 to 11.||1 year|
|Gas Measuring Local Standards||
|13. Linear static measuring.||10 years|
|14. Temperature measuring mercury thermometer.||10 years|
|15. Any gas measuring local standard not specified in items 13 and 14.||5 years|
These definitions are specific to the Retail Food Sector Review and may or may not be relative to all aspects of Measurement Canada’s programs....
Alternate Service Delivery (ASD) Mechanisms
means the effective delivery of Measurement Canada programs and services to the Canadian Public through various organizational forms or through arrangements with other government or private organizations. Examples of ASD :
Measurement Canada Accreditation Program - allows organizations to be granted the authority to inspect and certify weighing and measuring trade devices provided that they implement a quality assurance program based on Measurement Canada's S-A-01 standard and comply with all aspects of the program. These arrangements are subject to audit by Measurement Canada auditors;
Memorandum of Understanding - is an agreement with another government department or private organization for the recognition of the results of their programs;
Other Delegated Arrangements - where organizations are conferred the authority and responsibility, under specific contract or not, to deliver Measurement Canada programs or services. Measurement Canada would continue to perform audit functions only. [See also Voluntary Codes ]
a formal evaluation of a device types design and construction. This is a mandatory step before any design or model of device may be sold as Legal for Trade in Canada. Once approved, an approval number is issued authorizing the use of the device type for Legal for Trade use in Canada. Weights and Measures approval numbers may be found on the device and will generally be in the format of SWA-XXXX or AM-XXXX.
CAC : Consumers Association of Canada
CASF : Canadian Association of Specialty Foods
CCC : Consumers Council of Canada
CCGD : Canadian Council of Grocery Distributors
CFIA : Canadian Food Inspection Agency
CFIG : Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers
CHFA : Canadian Health Food Association
CPMA : Canadian Produce Marketing Association
Prepakaged - Any product that is packaged in a container in such a manner that it is ordinarily sold to, used or purchased by a consumer without being re-packaged. Prepackaged commodities may be of random or predetermined sizes.
Clerk Served - Any product which is weighed or measured in the presence of the purchaser at the time of sale.
refers to any of a number of scale types which function independent of a cash register and are used for direct sales to the public. These scales are commonly found on the counters of delicatessens, candy and confectionary stores as well as at the checkout of many smaller grocery and general stores.
implies that the vast majority of stakeholders agree with the recommendations; there may continue to be stakeholders that would have preferred a different recommendation, but will accept the consensus view. [See also Unanimous]
the point at which possession of the product changes possession or ownership.
for the purposes of this document, device means any measuring equipment designed to be used in trade, especially scale(s).
considered the purchaser or seller of a product who owns or controls the measuring device used in the trade transaction.
[See also Vulnerable Party ]
the mandatory first inspection of an individual device before it may be placed into trade service. This inspection ensures that the device is installed and measuring correctly.
the inspection of an individual device, subsequent to the initial inspection. Routinely performed by Measurement Canada inspectors on a random basis depending on resources and/or departmental priorities. This inspection program is not mandated by legislation.
Legal For Trade / Legal For Use in Trade
the term used to describe a measuring device (scale) of a type which has been approved by the Measurement Canada approvals process. The device must be Initially Inspected before it may actually be used in trade. [See Trade]
the science of measurement in legal for trade applications.
Level of Intervention
the amount of government involvement in regulating an industry sector to ensure fair and equitable trade measurement.
implies that the vast majority of stakeholders are in agreement with the recommendation: some stakeholders opposed the recommendation and the opposition was noted. [See also Consensus]
MC [Measurement Canada]
Measurement Canada, an agency of Industry Canada.
the science of measurement.
Organisation Internationale de Métrologie Légale (International Organization of Legal Metrology) - an international body established in order to promote the global harmonization of legal metrology procedures.
a means of ensuring the effectiveness of a program which has been implemented to assure that Measurement Canada’s mission, of ensuring equity in the marketplace, has been fulfilled. Although historically Performance Indicators have been synonymous with Compliance Rates, they may take other form as well. All programs, whether delivered directly by Measurement Canada or indirectly by a third party must be measurable.
a term used to describe the type of inspection other than the initial inspection of a trade measuring device. The frequency of periodic inspections is not currently prescribed by Measurement Canada. [See In-Service Inspection]
Point of Sale (POS) scale
refers to a scale used at the checkout stand of a retail store. Usually interfaced to a cash register or computer system and may be a combination scanner/scale.
refers to a scale used as part of a packaging and labelling system designed to package individual commodities for future sale. These scales are often found as part of a meat prepack and wrapping station in the butcher department of a grocery store.
Criteria for the Accreditation of organizations to perform inspections pursuant to the Electricity and Gas Inspection Act and the Weights and Measures Act.
Standards (test weights)
refers to the actual test equipment or test weights usually calibrated or referenced to a national or international physical standard. The standards are then used to test trade measuring equipment or devices.
[See In-Service Inspection ]
refers to the written technical specifications, procedures and policies.
[See Standards (test weights) ]
refers to the step by step accountability of a calibration of a standard or device back to a reference standard. Test weights may be traceable to the international prototype kilogram held in Sèvres, France. Measurement Canada Standards are traceable to the Canadian one kilogram standard (K74-1993, replaces K50) which in turn are traceable to the international prototype.
means the selling, purchasing, exchanging, consigning, leasing or providing of any commodity, right, facility or service on the basis of measure and includes the business of providing facilities for measuring. [See Legal for Trade]
Trade Sector Review
a process whereby Measurement Canada periodically reviews and assesses its services provided to the marketplace to ensure their relevancy to the needs of the sector stakeholders.
implies that all stakeholders are in full agreement with the recommendations. [See also Consensus]
Voluntary Codes are non-regulatory initiatives-commitments not required by legislation, agreed to by one or more organizations and applied consistently to influence or measure behaviour. A report on the use of Voluntary Codes may be obtained by clicking on the link.
a party who is the purchaser or seller of a product and who does not own or control the measuring equipment used in the trade transaction. The degree of vulnerability may vary from nil to high depending upon the capacity and ability of the vulnerable party to detect measurement errors, re-measure the product and have corrective measures taken where appropriate. [See also Dominant Party]
NOTE: For more information or clarification, please visit the Measurement Canada Web Site or call your nearest Measurement Canada office .
Retail Food Compliance Rates
The table on the next page indicates the compliance rates for devices and commodities calculated from random inspections conducted by Measurement Canada inspectors.
These inspections were performed in traditional areas of Measurement Canada responsibilities and consist of historical random inspections as well as targeted inspections performed in anticipation of the Sector Review process.
The first table shows compliance rates for devices [scales] inspected in the retail food area. There are entries for each of the sub sectors within the Retail Food Sector. The purpose of this information is to show the average compliance rates within the industry as a whole.
The second table shows compliance rates for devices [scales] reinspected in the retail food area. Reinspections are considered to be those inspection performed subsequent to the repair of a device which was rejected during a random inspection. The purpose of this information is to show the relative effectiveness of the repair agencies efforts.
The third table shows compliance rates for ‘clerk served commodity inspection’. These inspections are not random and are targeted to areas where problems are expected. These are generally the result of a complaint being received by the department, although they may also be targeted by departmental priorities. The purpose of this information is to show specific problem areas.
DEVICES - Compliance Data -STARS (Strategic Tracking and Reporting System) - Measurement Canada’s inspection & compliance database.
Note: If numbers do not add up to 100% it is due to rounding errors in the data. STARS Compliance Rates.
If you encounter any difficulty in accessing the content on this or any other page please contact us for assistance.
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