Fairness at the pump targeted in Canada

| 4/20/2010

The Canadian federal government is taking measures to force fuel retailers to properly calibrate their pumps or face expensive fines. Legislation announced Thursday, April 15, follows reports that approximately 6 percent of fuel pumps are not properly calibrated and that most of the errors favor the retailers.

Minister of Industry Tony Clement said the legislation would increase accountability for their measuring devices to ensure the consumer is protected.

“When Canadians pull into a station to gas up, they want to know that what’s on the pump is what’s in the tank,” Clement stated in a press release. “The proposed Fairness at the Pumps Act gives businesses strong incentives to ensure the accuracy of their devices and will save Canadians millions of dollars annually.”

The legislation would strengthen current weights and measures laws, increase the number and frequency of pump inspections, and authorize fines up to $10,000 for minor offenses and up to $50,000 for repeat serious offenders.

The government currently conducts 8,000 fuel pump inspections per year. Under the proposed act, the government would partner with private companies to conduct 65,000 inspections each year.

Measurement Canada, the federal government agency in charge of weights and measures, would be in charge of implementing the act and investigating complaints.

The Fairness at the Pumps Act is currently up for consideration in the House of Commons. Apart from retail petroleum and wholesale petroleum pumps, the act would eventually extend stricter inspection rules and fines for dairy, retail food, fishing, logging, field crops and mining.

– By David Tanner, associate editor