A-6 – Comparing Accreditation and Registration

Date: 2014-12-08
Bulletin: A-6, rev. 1
Category: Programs for authorized service providers
Document(s): Criteria for the Accreditation of Organizations to Perform Inspections Pursuant to the Electricity and Gas Inspection Act and the Weights and Measures Act (S-A-01); Registration Program Terms and Conditions.
Supersedes: A-6


Table of Contents


1.0 Purpose

The purpose of this bulletin is to provide information to organizations interested in becoming authorized service providers to inspect and certify devices pursuant to the Weights and Measures Act. The content of this bulletin was previously available in a communiqué dated November 16, 2005.

Note:

For the purpose of this bulletin, "trade sector" has the same meaning as "category of trade".

2.0 Background

Interested organizations may be wondering what their choices are to help them decide whether they should seek accreditation or registration. Measurement Canada's accreditation and registration programs have the same objective: to authorize qualified organizations to inspect and certify measuring devices.

The pursuit of accreditation or registration is a business decision which can only be made by an interested organization depending on the trade sector(s) in which the organization is or wants to get involved, the investment in money and resources that it is ready to make as well as the results from the different trade sector reviews. It is also important that interested organizations understand the advantages and disadvantages of each program.

There are two fundamental differences between the accreditation and registration programs:

  1. An accredited organization must document, establish and maintain a quality management system which meets the requirements of Measurement Canada's accreditation standard, S-A-01. This requirement does not apply to a registered organization. As a result, there is more frequent Measurement Canada monitoring of recognized technicians working for registered organization than there is for recognized technicians working for accredited organizations.
  2. The scope of the inspection services which can be provided by registered organizations is directly linked to trade sector review recommendations and may have some limitations. These same limitations do not necessarily apply to an accredited organization.

It should also be noted that mandatory recertification periods have been instituted for devices based on the recommendations of the trade sectors reviewed to date. The Weights and Measures Act and its regulations require that devices used in eight trade sectors (retail petroleum, downstream petroleum, dairy, retail food, fishing, logging, mining as well as grain and field crops) be inspected at set intervals.

Organizations seeking either accreditation or registration must acquire the necessary measuring and test equipment, inspection certificates, test and non-compliance reports, rejection tags, inspection markings, verification indicators and seals. The specifications and requirements for these items are identical for both programs.

3.0 Accreditation

The accreditation program was launched in 1986 for electricity and gas organizations and was expanded in 1995 to include weights and measures organizations.

Organizations accredited by Measurement Canada are not limited in terms of which trade sectors they can offer their inspection services in. An accredited organization can certify any device under the scope of its accreditation regardless of the sector that the device is used in. For example, if the organization is accredited for the certification of truck scales, it can offer its services to the pulp and paper industry, the petroleum industry or the grain industry.

The only inspection scope limitations for accredited organizations are those presently stated under

Measurement Canada's S-A-01 accreditation standard.

At least one employee of weights and measures organizations accredited by Measurement Canada must attend and successfully complete the mandatory Measurement Canada theoretical training. Organizations can elect to train additional employees themselves, but they shall be assessed theoretically and practically by Measurement Canada prior to becoming recognized.

Organizations seeking accreditation pursuant to the Weights and Measures Act and the Electricity and Gas Inspection Act shall pay, upon completion of an accreditation audit, a $1,000 audit fee. Thereafter, each accredited organization shall pay a $1,000 audit fee for each surveillance or expansion of scope audit. When surveillance and expansion of scope audits are combined, a single $1,000 audit fee is payable. The applicable weights and measures theoretical training fees are $100 for each day or part of a day per technician.

To ensure compliance, the quality management system established by an accredited organization is subject to an annual surveillance audit by Measurement Canada and each recognized technician listed in an accredited organization's agreement must be audited at least once every three years. In addition, Measurement Canada will conduct product audits on an annual basis and ensure that all device types under an accredited organization's scope are audited at least once every three years.

4.0 Registration

The registration program was launched for weights and measures organizations in April 2004 as a result of the downstream petroleum sector review. Initially, stakeholders in the downstream petroleum sector, including vulnerable parties, asked for the development and implementation of such a program. The registration program may be modified in future years to address requests resulting from stakeholder consultations in other sectors.

The Registration Program Terms and Conditions set out the requirements of the program.

The registration program is offered only following a consensus of the stakeholders of a given trade sector and is subject to approval by the Senior Management Committee of Measurement Canada. Some trade sectors may only offer registration for certain inspection types. For example, the stakeholders from the retail food sector have selected accreditation only for initial inspections, and accreditation or registration for subsequent inspections.

In order to better explain how accreditation and registration differ, let's take the example of a service provider that is registered to carry out truck scale inspections in certain trade sectors only. Under the current scope of the registration program, an organization could be authorized to certify truck scales used in the downstream petroleum sector, but may not be authorized to certify identical devices used in some other trade sectors.

All potential recognized technicians of weights and measures organizations registered by Measurement Canada must attend and successfully complete the mandatory Measurement Canada theoretical training. All potential recognized technicians must successfully pass theoretical and practical evaluations by Measurement Canada prior to becoming recognized.

The organization shall pay an initial registration fee of $1,000 prior to being granted registration. Subsequently, an annual fee of $1,000 shall be paid by the organization to maintain registration. If an organization has had its registration involuntarily revoked and is reapplying, a fee of $2,000 shall be payable at the time of re-application. The applicable weights and measures theoretical training fees are $100 for each day or part of a day per technician.

Measurement Canada will visit each registered organization at least once per 12-month period to ensure that the registration program requirements continue to be met. Monitoring of registered organizations will include at least one follow up inspection per recognized technician per device type, at least once every 12 months. Follow-up inspections can occur in the presence or absence of recognized technicians. For technicians who are recognized for more than one device type, at least one of the follow-up inspections per 12-month period must be done in the presence of the technician. In the case of technicians recognized for only one device type, a follow-up inspection must be conducted in their presence at least once per 24-month period.

5.0 Revisions

The initial version of this bulletin became effective March 4, 2009.

5.1 The purpose of revision 1 (December 8, 2014) is to:

  • clarify that the term "trade sector" has the same meaning as "category of trade";
  • make minor editorial corrections.

6.0 Additional information

For additional information regarding this bulletin, please consult the contact us section of the Measurement Canada website or your departmental contact. The copy of this document located on Measurement Canada's website is considered to be the controlled copy.

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