GEN-08—Calibration and tolerance testing of standards not owned by Measurement Canada

The copy of this document located on Measurement Canada's website is considered to be the controlled copy.

Category: General
Bulletin: GEN-08 (rev. 6)
Document(s): W&M Regulation 59(1)(c)
Issue Date:
Effective Date:
Supersedes: GEN-08 (rev. 5)


Table of contents


1.0 Purpose

The purpose of this bulletin is to outline when Measurement Canada (MC) should carry out calibrations or tolerance testing of standards not owned by MC and when such services should be carried out by other laboratories. This bulletin also aims to clarify when fees and charges are applied and how they are assessed for the delivery of these services.

2.0 Scope

This bulletin applies to the calibration and tolerance testing of standards defined under the Weights and Measures Act; it does not apply to standards or measuring apparatus used in the electricity and gas measurement disciplines.

MC's policy on the calibration and tolerance testing of standards owned by authorized service providers (ASPs) and used to perform inspections (examinations) is set forth in bulletin A-2—Calibrations of Standards and Measuring Apparatus Owned and Used by Authorized Service Providers to Conduct Inspections.

3.0 Terminology

Device
Any weight, weighing machine, static measure or measuring machine that is subject to the Weights and Measures Act (e.g. fuel dispensers, vehicle scales, retail computing scales, etc.).
Examination
The evaluation of a device, either by an MC inspector or a recognized technician, to determine its compliance with the requirements of the Weights and Measures Act and its related regulations.
Local standard
Any standard that has been designated by the Minister, calibrated and certified in relation to a reference standard as accurate within prescribed tolerances and used for device examinations.
Recognized technician
An individual, employed by an authorized service provider, whose competencies have been successfully assessed and who is recognized by Measurement Canada to examine devices and to submit device examination data and results for the issuance of examination certificates pursuant to the Weights and Measures Act.
Standard
A material measure, measuring instrument, reference material or measuring system intended to define, realize, conserve or reproduce a unit or one or more values of a quantity to serve as a reference (e.g. 20 kg cast iron test weight, 500 L open neck prover, digital thermometer, etc.).

4.0 Background

Historically, MC has provided calibration and tolerance testing services to a wide range of clients with little or no consideration as to the intended use of the standard. Due to limited availability of resources, MC now limits its calibration and tolerance testing activities only to standards that will be used for device examinations (local standards). Only in very specific situations, MC may perform calibration and tolerance testing of standards that are not used for the examination of devices. All standards that will not be used as local standards will now be referred to other laboratories for calibration and tolerance testing.

5.0 Policy

MC inspectors, recognized technicians and Canadian Grain Commission (CGC) inspectors shall employ local standards to examine devices that are to be used in trade. These local standards shall be calibrated and tolerance tested by MC or an MC-recognized laboratory.

Upon receiving a request for the calibration, tolerance testing and designation of a local standard that is not owned by MC, the request is classified into one of the following three categories:

  1. A local standard not owned by an ASP, but used by an MC inspector, CGC inspector or a recognized technician for the examination of a device that is to be used in trade or used for a related process (i.e. calibration of a reference scale) (see section 5.1);
  2. A local standard owned by an ASP and used for the examination of a device that is to be used in trade or used for a related process (i.e. calibration of a reference scale) (see section 5.2);
  3. A standard used to test or adjust devices not used in trade (see section 5.3).

5.1 Local standards not owned by an authorized service provider and used for device examinations

MC may conduct calibrations, perform tolerance testing and designate local standards not owned by an ASP if they are used to perform device examinations and have an individual capacity of:

There shall be no fees or charges for these calibration and adjustment services, regardless of whether the local standard is being initially certified or recertified. If necessary, a local standard may be recertified before the end of the certification period.

5.1.1 Local standards retained in one location and used exclusively to examine a discontinuous totalizing weighing system at that location

Item 2 of the table in subsection 56(1) of the Weights and Measures Regulations determines a maximum five-year period between calibrations and certifications of certain local standards retained in one location and used exclusively to examine a weighing system at that location.

In an effort to be efficient and to reduce burdens not related to metrological requirements, MC interprets this five-year period as not being limited to discontinuous totalizing weighing systems. Although these local standards are generally weights dedicated to a discontinuous totalizing weighing system, there are similar applications where the system can be a tank scale, a bale scale, etc. It isn't relevant whether the device is a discontinuous totalizing weighing system. What is relevant is whether the weights are dedicated to a weighing system, used exclusively to examine this system and protected from excessive wear and other environmental influences when not in use. The local standards of these systems are inherently difficult to access.

The nominal value of these local standards referred to in the previous subsection shall be equal to or greater than 100 kg or 200 lb. Any local standard with a lower nominal value is not subject to the specific constraints of heavy and bulky local standards housed in places that are difficult to access. There would therefore be no justification for the certification period to exceed one year.

5.2 Local standards owned by an authorized service provider and used to examine devices that are to be used in trade

MC may conduct calibrations, tolerance testing and designate local standards owned by an ASP and used to examine devices that are to be used in trade. All MC calibrations of local standards owned by ASPs must meet the requirements outlined in bulletin A-2.

5.3 Standards used to test or adjust devices

Requests for the calibration or tolerance testing of standards that are only used to test or adjust devices are to be referred to private laboratories recognized under the National Research Council of Canada (NRC), Calibration Laboratory Assessment Service (CLAS) program or to any laboratory offering calibration services.

The following are examples of such standards:

The Directory of Accredited Calibration Laboratories can be accessed on the NRC's website.

Standards owned and/or used by provincial or federal government agencies to test or adjust devices used for law enforcement may be calibrated by Measurement Canada. Such work is subject to fees in accordance with paragraph 59(1)(c) of the Weights and Measures Regulations, except when there is a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the agency and MC.

6.0 Revisions

The effective date of the initial version of this bulletin, titled Legal Metrology List of Private Laboratories, was May 1, 1994.

6.1 The purpose of revision 1 (December 18, 1996) was to outline when MC inspectors should be carrying out calibrations or tolerance testing of industry standards and when such services should be carried out by private laboratories. This revision was also intended to clarify when fees and charges are to be applied. The document was reissued as a GEN-02 policy update and the title was changed to Calibration of Industry Standards.

6.2 The purpose of revision 2 (November 10, 2001) was to rewrite the policy into bulletin format and make minor editorial changes. Under revision 2, the title was changed to Calibration or Tolerance Testing of Industry Standards.

6.3 The purpose of revision 3 (October 1, 2008) was to update the bulletin format, renumber sections and make minor revisions to the text in an effort to simplify requirements regarding the calibration or tolerance testing of industry standards (PBRI2008).

6.4 The purpose of revision 4 (January 1, 2011) was to remove the exemption whereby fees could be charged when a standard was calibrated or tested within its certification period.

Revision 4 was also intended to clarify that, with the exception of organizations subject to former subsection 5.1.1 and at a Manager's discretion, fees and charges will be applied where the standards are used by someone other than an inspector or a recognized technician to adjust devices that are used in trade. Changes of capacity of mass standards from 10 kg to 5 kg were made to be in line with bulletin A-2. A reference to bulletin A-2—Calibrations of Standards and Measuring Apparatus Owned and Used by Authorized Service Providers to Conduct Inspections was added. Other minor editorial changes were made to include recognized technicians in the same context as inspectors.

6.5 The purpose of revision 5 (February 14, 2013) was to remove the requirements of ASP-owned standards used for inspections from this bulletin, rename the document and clarify subsection 6.1.1. Other minor editorial changes were also made to the document.

6.6 The purpose of this revision is to clarify that MC will no longer provide calibration and tolerance testing services of standards that are not directly used for examinations. Definitions were added and the background and policy sections were modified. The interpretation section was removed and all relevant content was included in the background section. A new subsection, 5.1.1, regarding local standards kept in one area and used for devices in that area only, was added. Other minor editorial changes were also made.

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