Almost every Canadian is a consumer whether they are buying electricity to light a home, or gas to heat it, gasoline for an automobile, or meat or produce in a grocery store. When people shop or pay their utility bills, they can feel confident that they have received the amount they are paying for because businesses and retailers are required to measure their products and services accurately.
Measurement Canada ensures equity and accuracy where goods and services are bought and sold on the basis of measurement, in order to contribute to a fair and competitive marketplace for Canadians.
Essential to society
Throughout history, laws have been passed proclaiming that there should be truth and accuracy in weights and measures when goods are traded. Today, all industrialized countries have a government organization responsible for monitoring measurement accuracy, demonstrating the importance societies place on the integrity of measurement to a nation's economic health and prosperity.
Canada is no exception. The Government of Canada has ensured fair measure in the marketplace for more than 120 years. Prior to Confederation, each province had its own system of weights and measures.
With Confederation, this important function came under the exclusive domain of the new Government of Canada, and the first Weights and Measures Act was passed in 1872. This was followed by the Gas Inspection Act of 1873 and the Electric Light Inspection Act of 1894. Together, these three statutes form the foundation for fair and accurate measurement of goods and services in Canada.
Measurement Canada ensures equity and accuracy where goods and services are bought and sold on the basis of measurement.
Keeping pace with innovation
Throughout the 20th century, the science of measurement (metrology) and the laws and regulations that govern it (legal metrology) have evolved. So has Measurement Canada, which became a special operating agency of Industry Canada in 1999. This change provides us with greater flexibility to conduct our business and achieve our goal of client-oriented program delivery with an increased emphasis on service, quality and accountability for results.
As well, Measurement Canada now uses Authorized Service Providers to deliver many inspection and certification services. It also monitors these organizations to ensure that government standards are met.
Our business: trade measurement
With regional and district offices across Canada, and its headquarters laboratory test facilities in Ottawa, Measurement Canada provides services to ensure that consumers and businesses alike can make measurement-based transactions with confidence. These services include:
Calibration of measurement standards
Measurement Canada calibrates and certifies standards of mass, length, volume, pressure, temperature and various electrical quantities, so that measurement in domestic and international trade will be uniform. These standards form the basis of all trade measurement in Canada.
Approval of measuring instruments
Measurement Canada tests prototype measuring instruments (scales, electricity and gas meters, gasoline pumps) for compliance with legislated requirements to ensure that they are capable of measuring accurately under normal conditions of use and throughout their service lifetime, and approves them for retail and commercial use.
Inspection and certification
Measurement Canada inspectors and Authorized Service Providers inspect and certify thousands of weighing and measuring devices, and verify millions of electricity and gas meters to ensure that they maintain their accuracy and are not used fraudulently. In addition, inspectors check goods and services that are traded on the basis of measurement to ensure that they are accurately measured.
Dispute and complaint investigation
Measurement Canada investigates complaints from those who suspect they have received inaccurate measurement or are dissatisfied with the results of their measurement transaction.
Fair measure: it's your responsibility too
We all play a part in ensuring fair measure in the marketplace. Measurement Canada contributes to a fair and efficient marketplace by monitoring and regulating trade on the basis of measurement. Businesses and consumers contribute to this work by reporting any suspicions of inaccurate measurement. These efforts, combined with the honesty and integrity of vendors and retailers, instill confidence in Canadians that they are receiving the goods and services for which they have paid.
For more information
For more information, please contact Measurement Canada.