'Fairness at the Pumps Act' Taking Effect in Canada
New measurement regulations for gas, beer, other goods begin Aug. 1
OTTAWA -- The federal Fairness at the Pumps Act takes effect Aug. 1, 2014, in Canada, designed to protect Canadian consumers against unfair retail practices and to ensure that they get what they pay for when purchasing everyday consumer goods such as a liter of gasoline, a pint of beer, a cord of firewood and weighted food and groceries.
It also covers electricity and natural gas meters.
Measurement Canada, the nation's department of weights and measures, administers the new regulations.
Gas station and other retailers will be required to have devices inspected regularly, and they will be subject to substantial fines if they do not comply.
This law will mean greater fairness for consumers by placing more responsibility on retailers to ensure the accuracy of their measuring devices, according to Minister of Industry James Moore.
The new measures 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.
- Bring substantial 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 measures will improve the bottom line for Canadian families and ensure that they are getting real value for their hard-earned dollars," said Moore.
"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," said Bruce Cran, president of the association.