December 1, 2003
(Government Services and Lands)


The following is being distributed at the request of the Petroleum Products Pricing Commission:

Commission to attend Measurement Canada review meetings in Halifax

The Petroleum Products Pricing Commission (PPPC) is looking forward to having its say when it comes to fuel-pump calibration and federal support services in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Measurement Canada has identified the PPPC as a "valuable stakeholder" in the petroleum industry and has invited representation at its Retail Petroleum Trade Sector Review (RPTSR) in Halifax, Nova Scotia, December 9-10.

George Saunders, PPPC commissioner, said he and research director, David Toms, will attend the session because several topics scheduled for discussion fall in line with comments he made this past August following a fact-finding tour in Labrador.

At that time, the PPPC learned that official inspections by Measurement Canada to ensure accurate fuel-pump calibration had not been carried out on petroleum-dispensing pumps for nearly a decade.

The commissioner said he also believes the federal agency is understaffed, and there needs to be an increased presence to address inadequacies in the province.

These concerns were raised during a meeting with Ontario MP Dan McTeague last month, and were brought to the attention of Measurement Canada as well as federal Industry Minister Allan Rock.

The commissioner received a reply from Mr. Rock outlining Measurement Canada�s procedure when it comes to measuring equipment and complaints. As well, the industry minister indicated he didn�t feel that increasing the number of government inspectors to test gasoline pumps was the best use of taxpayers� dollars, and decided that consultation with industry stakeholders to find a more effective means of improving measurement accuracy was preferred.

The letter stated that it is the owners� legal responsibility to make sure their gasoline pumps measure accurately, and Measurement Canada will continue to work with them to ensure they understand and honour their obligations.

Mr. Saunders noted that the review�s stakeholder meetings will discuss topics of particular interest to the PPPC, including measurement standards, device approvals, initial and subsequent inspections of devices, service providers, complaint/dispute process, and alternate service delivery.

He was encouraged to learn from Mr. Rock that Measurement Canada had introduced a mandatory reverification period for measuring equipment in the retail food sector, and believes this practice should be extended to the petroleum industry.

"It�s imperative to bring any inadequacies to the attention of those who can do something about it," said Mr. Saunders. "This province should receive the services necessary to ensure that we are getting what we are paying for. We plan on driving that point home when we attend the session in Halifax next month. We are pleased the federal government recognizes the need for stakeholder input, and has included us in the discussion."

Mr. Saunders said the commission will prepare a presentation for the meeting, and has written all communities along coastal Labrador as well as the Independent Retailers Association of Newfoundland and Labrador requesting their input.

Media contact: Michelle Hicks, Communications. Tel: (866) 489-8800, or (709) 489-8837. Cell: (709) 486-4789.

2003 12 01                                        9:10 a.m.

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