What We Heard Report: Consultation on alternative service delivery programs for device inspection and certification


From November 10, 2023, to December 11, 2023, Measurement Canada (MC) conducted an online consultation on the alternate service delivery (ASD) programs for device inspection and certification under the Weights and Measures Act and Regulations.

The intent of the consultation was to collect input and data to inform the review and modernization of the ASD programs, specifically: the accreditation program and the registration program.

The consultation survey aimed to gather feedback from respondents on the ASD programs for weights and measures (W&M) inspection services and focussed on the following themes:

  1. General feedback on ASD programs for W&M inspection services;
  2. Delivery of training to technicians employed by authorized service providers (ASPs);
  3. Removing trade sectors restrictions from the scope of the registration program.

MC will use the information gathered to ensure that its ASD programs remain flexible and adaptable to new and emerging measurement technologies.

Who we consulted

Comments were received from 312 respondents. The majority (65%) of respondents were ASPs, 47% of which are accredited ASPs and 18% are registered ASPs. The remaining 35% of respondents were businesses/device owners whose devices are inspected either by an ASP or by MC, as well as Canadian consumers and other stakeholders (associations, device manufacturers, distributors).

The majority (36%) of respondents were from Ontario, followed by 12% from Alberta, 12 % from Quebec and the remaining from various other provinces across Canada. In addition, 84% of respondents have a business located in a medium or large urban centre, and 74% of them operate a small- or medium‑sized business.

Approximately 75% of ASP respondents serve fewer than 500 clients a year. One third (33%) of accredited ASPs and over half (58%) of registered ASPs serve fewer than 100 clients in a typical year.

What we heard

1. General feedback on ASD programs for weights and measures inspection services

Respondents provided general feedback on the value of the ASD programs from the perspective of ASPs and clients of ASPs, as well as on the cost models. The results showed that:

  • the majority (69%) of respondents see significant benefit in using an ASP for inspection services, for reasons that include:
    • ASPs are up to date on specific measurement technologies, and
    • ASPs are able to:
      • perform maintenance services for devices if they need repairs;
      • provide replacement or upgrade options for devices in a timely manner; and
      • provide device examination services within expected timeframes.
  • respondents indicated that the main reasons for choosing a specific ASP are:
    • the proximity of the ASP to their location;
    • the ability of the ASP to service their devices; and
    • the ASP is the only service provider in the area.
  • 55% of respondents who identified as businesses/device owners indicated that they have used an ASP for the examination and certification of W&M devices. Of that 55%, 100% indicated they have used the services of a different ASP in the past. Those who changed service providers did so either to take advantage of more competitive fees or because they were dissatisfied with the work carried out by the previous ASP.
  • responses from businesses/device owners regarding their satisfaction with the services provided by ASPs were favourable:
    • 50% were satisfied with the ASP's services in terms of value for money;
    • 50% were satisfied with the efficiency in using the examination services of an ASP; and
    • 88% were satisfied with the quality of the examination services provided by the ASP.
  • the majority of ASP respondents indicated that they are able to provide requested examination services within their existing business cost model without significant issues, while some respondents expressed concern about how to:
    • recover costs to maintain their registration or accreditation under the ASD programs; and
    • address increased costs to clients in remote areas due to the travel required by ASPs to conduct on-site examinations.

2. Delivery of training to technicians employed by authorized service providers

MC is considering updating the ASP registration program's technical training requirements so that the program is flexible and adaptable to new technologies, improving the way inspection services are delivered to Canadians.

The responses related to this theme showed that:

  • 32% of accredited ASPs and 34% of registered ASPs stated they would support the removal of restrictions on the internal delivery of technical training;
  • over 50% of both accredited and registered ASPs reported that they would benefit from the opportunity to provide internal technical training within their organization, or through the services of a third-party training provider;
  • close to 70% of both accredited and registered ASPs reported that they currently have the technical expertise to provide internal technical training;

ASPs also shared suggestions on how MC could help them with internal technical training, such as having access to training materials and assessment tools.

3. Removing trade sector restrictions from the scope of the registration program for authorized service providers

Registered ASPs can only inspect and certify devices within the scope of their registration agreement. Fewer and fewer trade sectors are represented under this program and inspection authorities are restricted to the trade sector associated with the primary use of the devices.

MC is seeking to understand the impact of current trade sector restrictions within the scope of the registration program as well as gather data on the potential impact on businesses if these restrictions were to be removed.

Results indicated that:

  • 40% of the respondents were in favour of removing the trade sector restrictions within the scope of the registration program, while 41% were not in favour and 19% declined to answer the question;
  • increased competition must be balanced with the interests and capacities of both the parties subject to inspections and the parties carrying out inspections;
  • removing restrictions could:
    • reduce the cost of administering a quality management system under an accreditation agreement, making the registration program a more cost-effective option while allowing accredited organizations similar market access;
    • improve client service as more types of inspection services could be offered to traders;
    • provide greater flexibility to meet the demand for new trade sectors, devices and product types; and
    • ensure a greater choice and availability of ASPs.

Conclusion and next steps

MC would like to thank all the respondents for their contribution to the consultation. Their feedback will provide MC with valuable insight when reviewing the ASD programs and will be considered as MC continues to analyze and develop options for future adaptations to its alternate service delivery model.

Any future changes to ASD programs would be implemented in a manner that will allow time for all stakeholders to adjust their business models accordingly and in an equitable manner, taking into consideration the realities of the Canadian marketplace.