Durham MP Erin O’Toole and Harper Government Implement New Measures to Protect Consumers
August 11th, 2014 Bowmanville – Erin O’Toole, Member of Parliament for Durham, today announced that new measures are taking effect to protect Canadian consumers against unfair retail practices, ensuring they get what they pay for when purchasing everyday consumer goods such as gasoline and groceries.
These changes are a result of the coming into force of the Fairness at the Pumps Act. This law will mean greater fairness for consumers by placing more responsibility on retailers to ensure the accuracy of their measuring devices. Retailers will be required to have devices inspected regularly, and they will be subject to hefty fines if they do not comply. If businesses do not do their part to ensure measurement accuracy, they will be held to account.
The new measures are part of the government’s concrete actions to stand up for consumers first.
The new measures, which took effect August 1, 2014, will
- introduce mandatory inspection frequencies for retailers and other vendors who use measuring devices (scales, gas pumps, petroleum meters, etc.);
- apply to measurement-based financial transactions in the retail petroleum, wholesale petroleum, mining, grain and field crops, dairy, forestry, retail food and fishing sectors;
- establish administrative monetary penalties that augment an existing graduated enforcement approach to owners of non-compliant devices; and
- bring in hefty fines and penalties for businesses that do not meet measurement accuracy requirements, including court-imposed fines of up to $10,000 for minor offences, up to $25,000 for major offences and up to $50,000 for repeat offences, and introduce a formal penalties system to back up these fines.
“Canadian families expect that when they fuel up, they get what they pay for. The new rules coming into force will mean better protection for consumers when purchasing measured goods such as gasoline and groceries. Canadians expect their government to make decisions that put the interests of consumers first. These new measureswill improve the bottom line for Canadian families and ensure that they are getting real value for their hard-earned dollars.”
– James Moore, Minister of Industry
“The Consumers’ Association of Canada supports this new federal legislation, which is a much-needed step in the right direction, and applauds Minister Moore’s action on this file. The Fairness at the Pumps Act will help make sure Canadians get what they pay for.”
– Bruce Cran, President, Consumers’ Association of Canada
Coming into force of the Fairness at the Pumps Act
The Fairness at the Pumps Act, which amends the Electricity and Gas Inspection Act and the Weights and Measures Act, comes into force on August 1, 2014.
As a result, owners of measuring devices, such as scales and gas pumps, must have their devices inspected at regular intervals. New mandatory inspection frequencies apply to the following sectors: retail petroleum, wholesale petroleum, retail food, mining, grain and field crops, dairy, forestry and fishing. These new inspection frequencies are being phased in based on the geographical location of the devices.
These new measures will give inspectors the right enforcement tools to ensure that businesses are held accountable for the accuracy of their gas pumps and other measuring devices. In fact, authorized service providers are subject to a comprehensive review by Measurement Canada and must meet strict guidelines. Measurement Canada will maintain oversight of the inspection process, including follow-up inspections, on-site audits and enforcement actions when necessary. Measurement Canada annually evaluates authorized service providers to ensure they carry out their duties in accordance with the law.
The Fairness at the Pumps Act increases court-imposed fines under the Electricity and Gas Inspection Act and the Weights and Measures Act up to $10,000 (from $1,000) for minor offences and $25,000 (from $5,000) for major offences. A new fine of up to $50,000 for repeat offences has also been introduced.
In addition, administrative monetary penalties are added to both the Weights and Measures Regulations and the Electricity and Gas Inspection Regulations, providing Measurement Canada with new tools that allow it to employ a graduated enforcement strategy. These penalties range from $250 for each minor violation up to $2,000 for each serious violation.
The Fairness at the Pumps Act strengthens consumer protection against inaccurate measuring devices, such as gas pumps and scales, as well as unfair retailer practices. As consumer confidence is key to a fair and efficient marketplace, the Act also aims to improve consumer confidence in the accuracy of goods bought and sold on the basis of measurement.