Seed World

Scaling Up Inspection | November 2014



Measurement Canada amended its Weights and Measures Act, requiring scales used in the commercial sale of seed to be re-inspected every two years.

As of August seed laboratories and companies must follow new regulations set forth by Measurement Canada, the federal agency responsible for the integrity and accuracy of measurements in the Canadian marketplace. Measurement Canada now requires mandatory re-inspection of scales and other measuring devices on a regular basis.

The new inspection requirements vary by sector and device type and will be phased in based on the geographical location of the measuring device, according to a memo the Canadian Seed Institute received from Measurement Canada. Requirements for the seed industry fall under the agency’s Grain and Field Crops category. Within the seed industry, platform scales, hopper scales, vehicle scales and railway scales now must be inspected every two years.

Alan Johnston, president of Measurement Canada, explains that inspections are part of a thorough process of measuring device evaluation, approval and monitoring to ensure consumer and business confidence in the fairness and accuracy of measurement-based financial transactions.

Effective Aug. 1, 2014, key amendments to the Weights and Measures Act include:

• Requirement that measuring devices subject to the Weights and Measures Act be inspected at regular intervals in eight trade sectors, including retail petroleum, downstream petroleum, dairy, retail food, fishing, logging, mining and grain and field crops.

• Providing non-government inspectors the authority to perform mandatory examinations or inspections pursuant to the Weights and Measures Act, but enforcement activities will remain with government inspectors.

• Increasing court-imposed fines under the Weights and Measures Act to $10,000 for minor offences, $25,000 for major offences and up to $50,000 for repeat offences, thus providing greater deterrence against measurement inaccuracy and improved consumer protection.

• Introducing administrative monetary penalties under the Weights and Measures Act.

“This has been a long-term project that began with various trade sector reviews, which led to a number of recommendations regarding the appropriate level of Measurement Canada intervention in the marketplace,” Johnston says. “These regulatory amendments were required to implement the Act to Amend the Weights and Measures Act.”

The trade sector reviews Johnston refers to were completed in May of 2008. Designed to maintain a fair and competitive marketplace, the reviews evaluated the rules and practices governing the buying and selling of grain and field crops based on measurements.

Roy van Wyk, executive director of the Canadian Seed Institute, says that the new rule should benefit seed companies and laboratories, as well as customers.

“This helps to make sure that seed companies aren’t putting too much product in a bag and losing money, and the re-inspection requirement ensures that the customer receives what he or she is paying for,” van Wyk says.

The Act states that: “All units of measurement used in Canada shall be determined on the basis of the International System of Units established by the General Conference of Weights and Measures.”

According to its website, Measurement Canada develops and administers laws and requirements governing measurement; evaluates, approves and certifies measuring devices; and investigates complaints of suspected inaccurate measurement.

Julie Deering


For a list of accredited service providers to inspect devices on behalf of Measurement Canada, check out