Canada Implementing 'Fairness at the Pumps Act'

Published in CSP Daily News

Strengthens consumer protection against inaccurate measuring devices such as gas pumps

James Moore

OTTAWA, Ontario -- Minister of Industry James Moore announced earlier this month that the government of Canada is taking steps to implement the Fairness at the Pumps Act.

The Fairness at the Pumps Act strengthens consumer protection against inaccurate measuring devices, such as gasoline dispensers and scales, as well as unfair retailer practices. It aims to improve consumer confidence in the accuracy of goods bought and sold on the basis of measurement.

The act, which amends the Electricity & Gas Inspection Act and the Weights & Measures Act, received Royal Assent on March 23, 2011, and became law. The amendments are expected to come into force by June 2014.

Court-imposed fines will increase to $10,000 (from $1,000) for minor offences and $25,000 (from $5,000) for major offences. The amendments will also create a new fine of up to $50,000 for repeat offences.

Changes to the Weights & Measures Regulations will mean mandatory inspection frequencies for scales, gasoline dispensers and other measuring devices in eight initial sectors: retail petroleum, wholesale petroleum, retail food, mining, grain and field crops, dairy, forestry and fishing.

"Canadian families expect that when they fuel up, they get what they pay for," said Minister Moore. "Our new regulations will give inspectors the right enforcement tools to ensure that retailers are held accountable for the accuracy of their scales, gas pumps and other measuring devices. We're putting money back into the pockets of Canadians, and we will continue to stand up for consumers in all sectors of our economy."

"On behalf of Canadian consumers who have long been on record calling for accuracy at the pumps, we welcome the government's move to protect consumers with mandatory pump inspections," said George Iny, president of the Automobile Protection Association. "Canadians spend a significant amount of their income on transportation and deserve to get what they pay for when they fill up their fuel tanks. This is great news for both drivers and gas station operators."

The proposed new regulations go beyond the precision of gasoline dispensers. They also ensure greater accuracy in measuring the many everyday goods that Canadian consumers purchase, such as groceries. These regulations will protect consumers against loss due to inaccurate measurement by placing more responsibility on retailers to ensure their measuring devices are accurate.

The proposed regulations contain mandatory inspection frequencies along with new and increased fines to prevent inaccurate measurement. These include administrative monetary penalties, which are a strong deterrent to those who, either through carelessness or malicious intent, sell goods without accurate measurement.

"Canadians work hard to make ends meet and expect their government to have their interests front of mind," said Moore. "The Fairness at the Pumps Act, alongside several other consumer-related measures under way, will improve the bottom line for Canadian families and ensure that they are getting real value for their hard-earned dollars."