GEN-41—Type approval and inspection of devices: clarification of what is considered trade

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

Category: General
Bulletin: GEN-41
Document(s): W&M Act, sections 2, 8, 33 and 34; W&M Regulations, section 4
Issue date: 2012-10-01
Effective date: 2013-01-01


Table of content


1.0 Purpose

The purpose of this bulletin is to clarify which activities are considered trade in order to determine whether devices used in trade require type approval and inspection.

2.0 Scope

This bulletin applies to devices that are subject to the Weights and Measures Act and Regulations.

3.0 Terminology

Trade

means the selling, purchasing, exchanging, consigning, leasing or providing of any commodity, right, facility or service on the basis of measure and includes the business of providing facilities for measuring.

Device

means a weight, weighing machine, static measure or measuring machine and includes any equipment and accessories attached to or used in conjunction with the device that have or can have an effect on its accuracy.

Weighing Machine

means any machine that measures mass or weight and has a moving or movable part that has or can have an effect on the accuracy of the machine.

Measuring Machine

means any machine that measures length, area, volume or capacity, temperature or time and has a moving or movable part that has or can have an effect on its accuracy.

Dockage

means the measurement of a sample of an item taken to assess a reduction factor to the gross measurement based on the amount of unwanted material that is present in the sample.

Royalties

means usage-based payments made by a "licensee" to a "licensor" for the right to ongoing or one-time use of an asset.

4.0 General overview

Devices used in trade require a type approval and inspection, unless they are exempt from these requirements under section 4 of the Weights and Measures Regulations. Devices not used in trade do not require a type approval or inspection.

5.0 Policy

5.1 The determination of the quantity of an individually measured commodity or an adjustment to the quantity is considered trade and devices used for those purposes require a type approval and inspection. Subsection 4(1) of the Weights and Measures Regulations exempts certain device types from these requirements.

5.2 The weighing or measuring of standard quantity commodities is considered trade, but devices used exclusively for those purposes do not require a type approval and inspection (subsection 4(2) of the Weights and Measures Regulations).

5.3 The determination of the quantity of a service is deemed to be trade and devices used for that purpose require a type approval and inspection. Subsection 4(1) of the Weights and Measures Regulations exempts certain device types from these requirements.

5.4 The determination of the quality or grade of a product is not deemed to be trade and devices used exclusively for that purpose do not require a type approval or inspection. A measurement that only affects the price of the product and not the amount of product measured is considered to be a quality measurement.

6.0 Activities considered as trade

6.1 Activities in which devices used require type approval and inspection

6.1.1 Dockage

6.1.1.1 Certain products are meant to be purchased in a "clean" condition; however, some may contain unwanted material mixed in with the desired product. The degree of impurity is determined by sampling the load, weighing the sample before and after the cleaning process and using the weight difference as a factor to establish the final "clean" weight of the load purchased. Common products subject to this type of dockage measurement include grains and woodchips used in the pulp and paper industry. The activity of weighing samples before and after they are cleaned is deemed to be trade. Devices used for this purpose must be approved and inspected.

6.1.1.2 Many products are meant to be purchased in a "dry" or "known moisture content" state. Excess moisture in the product is considered as an impurity and an adjustment is made to the measurement. Samples are weighed before and after they are dried. A factor is established and used to derive the "dry" weight of the load. The activity that consists of weighing samples before and after they are dried is deemed to be trade. Devices used for this purpose must be approved and inspected.

6.1.2 Miscellaneous

6.1.2.1 A device is often used to determine the weight of fruits or vegetables that a person picks and this weight is used to determine the wage paid to that person. This process is deemed to be trade as it is the purchasing of a service based on a measurement. A device used for these purposes requires type approval and inspection. However, there is no legal requirement to state the volume of the container (i.e., box, flat, or pail) used to pick the fruit or vegetables, and as such, the container is not considered as a static measure.

6.1.2.2 The use of scales made available to the public, for a fee, to determine axle load weights is deemed to be trade. These scales require type approval and inspection and they may not be used to determine net quantity for trade transactions unless they are used in a proper manner (i.e., no split load weighing, suitable minimum net weight, etc.).

6.1.2.3 The final sale of pre-mixed feed is deemed to be trade and the device must be type approved and inspected. The final mix is usually weighed using a dedicated hopper scale.

6.1.2.4 The determination of the before and after weight of a cow kept at a feedlot is considered trade and the scales used require type approval and inspection.

6.1.2.5 The sale of individual loads of cement, aggregate or other additives between the supplier and the concrete company is deemed to be trade. Concrete batching equipment and the associated weighing and measuring devices do not require type approval or inspection. The total declared volume of concrete is subject to limits of error for quantities stated in units of volume.

6.2 Activities in which devices used are exempt from type approval and inspection

6.2.1 Subsection 4(1) of the Weights and Measures Regulations exempts a device used to pay or charge a person based on time (i.e., punch clock, parking meter, etc.) from the requirement of type approval and inspection.

7.0 Activities not considered as trade

7.1 Grading

7.1.1 Eggs are classified as small, medium, large or extra large based on their weight and sold by quantity (usually by the dozen). Price is based on the number and weight of eggs. In all cases, the number of eggs received must be as stated.

7.1.2 Shrimps are graded based on size. Price is based on the number of pieces per kg and total net weight. The device used to determine the weight of the samples does not need to be approved or inspected, but the device used to determine the total weight of the commodity is a trade device and must meet both type approval and inspection requirements.

7.1.3 Raw milk is purchased from dairy farmers on the basis of weight (meter volume readings are converted to mass using a standard density value). The unit price depends on the fat content, which is determined by measurement using special scales or instruments. The higher the butter-fat content, the higher the unit price. The percentage of fat content does not affect the total volume or mass like it does for dockage, but it affects the amount paid to the dairy farmer for the quantity delivered. This is considered a form of quality grading.

7.2 Batching

7.2.1 Batching is the apportionment of ingredients in the production process. Examples of batching include the following.

7.2.2 Redi-Mix Concrete is usually sold by volume (i.e., cubic metre or cubic yard) in varying strengths depending on its intended use. Concrete batching equipment utilizes hopper scales and liquid meters to ensure that an appropriate mix of aggregates, cement, water, and additives is achieved. Concrete batching equipment and the associated weighing and measuring devices do not require type approval or inspection. The total declared volume of concrete is subject to limits of error for quantities stated in units of volume.

7.2.3 Packages of ice cream are usually sold by volume. Ice cream of different quality is available in the marketplace. The quality of the ice cream depends on the type, quality and portion size of the ingredients used in the preparation. The measurement of ingredients is important to maintain consistency in the taste, texture and colour of the product. Using more of an expensive ingredient in the recipe will impact the sale price, but the measurement is primarily done to maintain consistency of taste (i.e., the quality and not the quantity of the finished product). If the recipe is not closely followed, there will be a change in the taste or texture of the finished product and not the quantity for which the consumer pays. The measurement of the ingredients in this case is not considered trade and the weighing and measuring devices used in the batching process of ice cream do not require type approval or inspection.

7.2.4 Cattle feed is batched according to specific recipes or formulas requested by farmers or feedlot operators. The formulas are established to provide cattle with a balanced nutritional diet in terms of protein, vitamins and fat, in addition to medications, antibiotics, hormones, etc. The price per ton varies according to the percentage of individual ingredients used in the batching process. Hopper scales are usually used to batch the ingredients before mixing occurs. The batching of feed is not considered trade and the scales used in the batching process do not require type approval or inspection if this is their sole use.

7.2.5 The determination of the portion size of a meal or food item is not considered trade. This includes measuring ground beef for hamburger patties, weighing ice cream cones as well as using machines that dispense a pre-determined amount of liquid product. The devices used in the portion control process do not require type approval or inspection.

7.3 Miscellaneous

7.3.1 The determination of excise taxes is not considered trade and the devices used exclusively for that purpose do not require type approval or inspection. Consult bulletin GEN-35—Weighing and measuring devices used in non-trade applications, including excise for more details.

7.3.2 The use of scales by provincial authorities to weigh axle loads of vehicles for the purpose of highway weight control and the assessment of fines is not considered trade. Devices used for that purpose do not require type approval or inspection. Consult Bulletin GEN-35 for more details.

7.3.3 The payment of royalties to provincial governments is not considered trade and devices used solely for this purpose do not require type approval or inspection. Examples of these devices include meters used on oil well heads to determine the royalty to be paid to the provincial government for the right to extract natural resources and scaling devices used to determine stumpage fees for the harvesting of timber on provincial lands.

7.3.4 The use of radar guns by federal, provincial or local authorities to determine vehicle speed and compliance with posted speed limits is not considered trade and devices used for this purpose do not require type approval or inspection.

7.3.5 The determination of fuel octane ratings is regarded as a measurement of the quality of the fuel, and as such, it is not considered trade. Measurement Canada has no jurisdiction to enforce fuel octane ratings and does not possess any device that can be used to determine the octane rating of various fuels.

7.3.6 The use of net gauges by Natural Resource Officers (fisheries) to determine legal net sizes for enforcement purposes is not considered trade and the devices used for that purpose do not require certification by Measurement Canada.

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