1.1.5 Instrument Approval

February 2013

NOTE: This version replaces the one dated November 2012, which was entitled "Instrument Certification".

This memorandum lists various specifications and explains the procedures for the examination or re-examination of instruments that are used to measure the volume and absolute ethyl alcohol content (strength) of alcohol for purposes of the Excise Act, 2001 (the "Act").

Disclaimer:
The information in this document does not replace the law found in the Act and its regulations. It is provided for your reference. As it may not completely address your situation, you may wish to refer to the Act or its regulations, or contact any Canada Revenue Agency regional excise duty office for additional information. These offices are listed in Excise Duty Memorandum EDM1.1.2, Regional Excise Duty Offices.

General

Volume and alcohol content
ss 148(1)

1. The volume and absolute ethyl alcohol content of alcohol must be determined in a manner specified by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) using approved instruments.

2. The requirement to determine the volume of alcohol and its absolute ethyl alcohol content under the Act is necessary to ensure that the duty on alcohol can be properly calculated. Excise duty on spirits or wine is calculated based on both the absolute ethyl alcohol content and volume of the product at 20°C.

Types of approved instruments

3. In this memorandum, an instrument means a digital thermometer, a glass thermometer, a hydrometer, a digital density meter, a pycnometer, a mass flow measuring system or a tank scale. The specifications and procedures for the examination, re-examination and approval of these instruments are set out further in this memorandum.

Licensee responsibility – instrument specifications

4. Licensees Footnote 1 must ensure that the instruments they acquire to use for excise duty purposes meet the specifications for that instrument type as set out in this memorandum. Instruments not meeting these specifications will not be evaluated.

Science and Engineering Directorate

5. The Science and Engineering Directorate (SED) of the Canada Border Services Agency has been delegated the responsibility of approving instruments used for alcohol determination for purposes of the Act. Prior to April 1, 2010, the SED was called the Laboratory and Scientific Services Directorate or LSSD.

Explanation of terms

6. Some of the terms used in this memorandum are explained below:

  • absolute ethyl alcohol means the substance with the chemical composition C2H5OH (alcool éthylique absolu);
  • alcoholometric tables means the Canadian Alcoholometric Tables, 1980, copyright by the Minister of Supply and Services, published under the authority of the Minister of National Revenue (tables alcoométriques)
  • approved digital density meter means a digital density meter that has been approved by the SED for use for excise duty purposes because it meets the specifications and has passed the examination or re-examination procedures set out in this memorandum (densimètre numérique approuvé);
  • approved digital thermometer means a digital thermometer that has been approved by the SED for use for excise duty purposes because it meets the specifications and has passed the examination or re-examination procedures set out in this memorandum (thermomètre numérique approuvé);
  • approved glass thermometer means a glass thermometer that has been approved by the SED for use for excise duty purposes because it meets the specifications and has passed the examination or re-examination procedures set out in this memorandum (thermomètre de verre approuvé);
  • approved hydrometer means a hydrometer that has been approved by the SED for use for excise duty purposes because it meets the specifications and has passed the examination or re-examination procedures set out in this memorandum (aréomètre approuvé);
  • approved mass flow measuring system means a mass flow measuring system that has been approved by the SED for use for excise duty purposes because it meets the specifications and has passed the examination or re-examination procedures set out in this memorandum (système de mesure du débit massique approuvé);
  • approved pycnometer means a pycnometer that has been approved by the SED for use for excise duty purposes because it meets the specifications and has passed the examination or re-examination procedures set out in this memorandum (pycnomètre approuvé);
  • approved tank scale means a tank scale that has been inspected and verified by an authorized service provider and that may be used for excise duty purposes because it meets the specifications and has passed the examination or re-examination procedures set out in this memorandum (balance-réservoir approuvée);
  • authorized service provider means a registered or an accredited service provider who is authorized to verify measuring devices or inspect and verify devices on behalf of Measurement Canada (fournisseur de service autorisé);
  • certificate of compliance means a certificate issued by the SED denoting that an instrument is approved for use for excise duty purposes (certificat de conformité);
  • dissolved solids means any material that remains after the evaporation of a solution (solides dissous);
  • laboratory table means the Canadian Alcoholometric Laboratory Table, 1996, copyright by the Minister of Public Works and Government Services, published under the authority of the Minister of National Revenue (table de laboratoire);
  • obscuration means a substance or substances that alter the true density reading of a water-alcohol mixture resulting in an erroneous determination of the true strength from alcoholometric tables based on water and alcohol (obscurcissement);
  • obscuration tables means the Canadian Alcoholometric Obscuration Equivalent Tables, 1993, copyright by the Minister of Supply and Services, published under the authority of the Minister of National Revenue (tables d’obscurcissement);
  • product depletion test means a test that is necessary for a meter that normally drains a tank completely, such as receiving and delivering systems (essai d’épuisement du produit);
  • spirits means any material or substance containing more than 0.5% absolute ethyl alcohol by volume, excluding wine, beer, vinegar, denatured alcohol, specially denatured alcohol, fusel oil or other refuse produced as a result of the distillation process or an approved formulation. Also excluded from the definition of spirits is any product not consumable as a beverage that contains or is made from one of the above items, except wine (spiritueux);
  • temperature of measurement means the temperature at which an instrument reading is taken (température de mesure);
  • unobscured spirits means spirits that contain less than 0.3 g/L of dissolved solids and contain no other material having a volatility that is similar to, or higher than, the volatility of absolute ethyl alcohol or water (spiritueux non obscurcis).

Meaning of "alcohol licensee"
s 2

7. "Alcohol licensee" means a person who is a spirits licensee or a wine licensee. Additional information concerning these types of licensees is available in Excise Duty Memorandum EDM3.1.1, Producers and Packagers of Spirits and Excise Duty Memorandum EDM4.1.1, Producers and Packagers of Wine.

Meaning of "licensed user"
s 2 and para 14(1)(c)

8.  "Licensed user" means a person who holds a user's licence issued under the Act. A licensed user is authorized to possess and use bulk alcohol, non-duty-paid packaged alcohol or a restricted formulation for specific purposes. Information on the obligations and entitlements of licensed users is available in Excise Duty Memorandum EDM3.1.2, Licensed Users.

Examination of instruments

Submitting a written request

9. All requests for examination or re-examination of all instruments must be submitted in writing.

10. Requests for the examination or re-examination of a digital density meter, a pycnometer, a mass flow measuring system or a tank scale must be submitted in writing to the regional excise duty office. These offices are listed in Excise Duty Memorandum EDM1.1.2, Regional Excise Duty Offices.

11. Requests for the examination or re-examination of a digital thermometer, a hydrometer or a glass thermometer are to be submitted in writing to the SED at the following address.

Science and Engineering Directorate
Attention: Manager, Alcohol and Tobacco Section
Analytical and Forensic Services Division
79 Bentley Avenue
Ottawa, ON  K2E 6T7

Information to be included with written request

12. A written request for examination or re-examination must include the following information:

  • the identity of the instrument to be examined or re-examined, including the manufacturer, model and serial number of each piece, where applicable;
  • the legal name and address of the licensee or licence applicant;
  • the licensee’s contact person and contact information; and
  • for mass flow measuring systems, the reference number of the Measurement Canada notice of conditional approval for the specific instrument model.

For instruments sent to the SED for testing, the request must also clearly identify the address of the licensed premises to which the instrument is to be sent after testing. Failure to do so may result in delays or in the instrument being returned to the sender without examination.

Indicating instrument is approved
ss 148(5)

13. Where an instrument mentioned in paragraph 3 of this memorandum, other than a tank scale (see paragraph 15), has been approved for use for excise duty purposes, the SED will issue a certificate of compliance with respect to that instrument, and will do the following:

  • in the case of a digital thermometer, record the serial number(s) of the instrument and the temperature probe (thermocouple) and issue labels to the licensee to be affixed to the separate parts of the instrument showing the serial number(s), the date of the examination as year, month and day (yyyy-mm-dd) and the symbol of approval shown in paragraph 32 of this memorandum;
  • in the case of a digital density meter or mass flow measuring system, record the serial number of the instrument and issue a label to the licensee to be affixed to the instrument showing the serial number, the month and the examination year (mm-yyyy) and the symbol of approval shown in paragraph 32 of this memorandum);
  • in the case of a hydrometer or glass thermometer, record the serial number of the instrument and mark the instrument with the last two digits of the examination year and the symbol of approval shown in paragraph 32 of this memorandum; and
  • in the case of a pycnometer, only record the serial number of the instrument.

14. The SED will send the certificate of compliance to the licensee and a copy to the regional excise duty office.

Indicating results of inspection of tank scale

15. Where a tank scale has passed inspection by an authorized service provider, that provider will issue a statement showing the results of the inspection, with a copy to be provided to the licensee and a copy to the regional excise office. The regional excise duty office will forward a copy of the inspection report to the SED for their records. The SED will not issue a certificate of compliance or a label, but will record the device serial number and the validity date. The manager of the Alcohol and Tobacco Section, as the delegated authority for the Minister of National Revenue, will accept the inspection report as an indication that the instrument is approved for use for excise duty purposes.

Re-examination of instruments

ss 148(3)

16. The approval of an instrument is valid for a specified period, which is dependent on the type of instrument. Some instruments are more sensitive than others and, therefore, must be re-examined more frequently to ensure their accuracy. The validity period for each type of instrument is set out in this memorandum in the paragraph dealing with the re-examination of a particular instrument.

17. At any time the CRA may direct in writing or a licensee may request in writing, that any instrument previously examined and approved, or of a class, type or design previously examined and approved, be submitted for re-examination. Where a previously approved instrument is re-examined and is approved as continuing to meet the specifications set out in this memorandum, the SED will issue a new certificate of compliance (except for tank scales), and will do the following:

  • in the case of a digital thermometer, record the serial number(s) of the instrument and the temperature probe (thermocouple) and issue new labels to the licensee to be affixed to the instrument showing the serial number, the date of the re-examination as year, month and day (yyyy-mm-dd) and the symbol of approval shown in paragraph 32 of this memorandum;
  • in the case of a digital density meter or a mass flow measuring system, record the serial number of the instrument and issue a new label to the licensee to be affixed to the instrument showing the serial number, the month and year (mm-yyyy) of the re-examination and the symbol of approval shown in paragraph 32 of this memorandum;
  • in the case of a hydrometer or a glass thermometer, record the serial number of the instrument and mark the instrument with the last two digits of the re-examination year; and
  • in the case of a pycnometer or tank scale, only record the serial number of the instrument.

18. The procedures for the re-examination of a previously approved instrument will be the same as for the examination of a new instrument. Except in the case of a tank scale, the SED will send the new certificate of compliance to the licensee and a copy to the regional excise duty office. As for tank scales, regional excise duty offices will forward a copy of the inspection report to the SED for their records.

Instruments modified after approval

19. If an approved instrument is recalibrated or otherwise modified in any way that may affect its metrological characteristics, it can no longer be considered approved for excise duty purposes and must be re-examined. The licensee must notify the regional excise duty office of any instrument modified after approval, and make arrangements for re-examination.

Revocation of approval of instruments after re-examination
ss 148(4)

20. Where as a result of the re-examination of a previously approved instrument the approval of the instrument is revoked, the SED will cancel in writing the certificate of compliance. In the case of tank scales, the SED will cancel in writing the approval for use for excise duty purposes. The SED will also do the following:

  • in the case of a digital density meter, a digital thermometer or a mass flow measuring system, record the serial number of the instrument and remove the label already issued or advise the responsible regional excise duty office to remove the label already issued;
  • in the case of a hydrometer or a glass thermometer, record the serial number of the instrument and obliterate from the instrument the symbol of approval and the last two digits of any previous examination years; and
  • in the case of a pycnometer or tank scale, only record the serial number of the instrument.

Submission of a new class, type or design of instruments

Approval of a new class, type or design of instruments
ss 148(2)

21. A licensee may submit a new class, type or design of instruments to the SED for examination. Where a licensee does so, the approval of such new instruments only ensures that the specifications of this new class, type or design of instruments are acceptable. It does not constitute the approval of a specific instrument.

22. When a new class, type or design of instruments is submitted for examination, the SED may examine such instruments or the data provided by the licensee to determine if the accuracy and precision of the instruments are acceptable.

23. When a licensee submits an instrument for examination and provides the SED with the equipment and the means to perform the necessary tests and measurements to prove the accuracy and precision of this new class, type or design of instruments, the SED may initiate a formal examination.

24. Where the SED is not able to determine to its own satisfaction the accuracy and precision of this new class, type or design of instruments, the SED may refuse examination.

25. If the accuracy and precision of this new class, type or design of instruments are acceptable, the SED will provide a description of the class, type or design of instruments to be used, as well as the requirements for the accuracy, precision, proper use and any other requirements that the SED determines as necessary. This information will also be added to this memorandum for future reference.

26. It should be noted that once the SED has approved a new class, type or design of instruments, a licensee who wishes to use an instrument of this class, type or design will still be required to submit the acquired instrument for examination and approval by the SED.

Fees for the examination of instruments

para 304(1)(j)

27. According to the Regulations Respecting the Fees for the Examination of Instruments and the Provision of Tables, the fee for examining an instrument or a new class, type or design of instruments is $25 per instrument. The SED sends the notice of billing to the licensee’s regional excise duty office, which in turn invoices the licensee for the examination. Payment for the examination is to be remitted as directed by the regional excise duty office, but is not to be remitted to the SED.

Fee for re-examination

28. Where a licensee is directed in writing to submit any previously approved instrument or class, type or design of instruments for re-examination, no fee will be charged for that re-examination. However, where a licensee requests a re-examination of any previously approved instrument, the $25 fee will apply.

Regulations Respecting the Fees for the Examination of Instruments and the Provision of Tables

29. The SED may provide paper copies of various tables that are used in conjunction with approved instruments. The fees for the provision of copies of tables are as follows:

  1. $50 for alcoholometric tables;
  2. $15 for the laboratory table;
  3. $15 for obscuration tables; and
  4. $10 for all tables referred to in items a. to c. provided on compact disc.

The regional excise duty office will invoice the licensee for the fee and the payment must be remitted as directed by the regional excise duty office.

Time of initial licensing

30. At the time of initial licensing, every licensee may receive a paper copy of the alcoholometric tables, laboratory table, obscuration tables or a compact disc containing all the tables free of charge. The regional excise duty office responsible for the licensing process provides this service.

Web site information

31. Every licensee also has the option of downloading and printing the tables of alcoholometry directly from the following CRA Web page at www.cra-arc.gc.ca/tx/tchncl/ct2001-eng.html.

Symbol of approval

Red maple leaf

32. The red maple leaf is the symbol of approval. It is sandblasted on every approved hydrometer and glass thermometer together with the last two digits of the examination year, or applied on every label to be affixed to approved digital density meters, digital thermometers and mass flow measuring systems.

maple leaf

Digital thermometer

33. A digital thermometer is an instrument that is designed to measure and display in numerical digits the temperature in accordance with the Celsius scale, as defined in the definition of the International Temperature Scale of 1990 adopted by the Comité international des poids et mesures, and in accordance with the International System of Units.

Specifications

Scale

34. A digital thermometer must have the following characteristics:

  • a minimum range from – 25°C to + 45°C; and
  • a digital display with incremental steps of not more than 0.1°C.

Accuracy and testing

35. Where the temperature is measured by means of a digital thermometer, the maximum permissible error is ± 0.3°C, between – 25°C and + 45°C.

Maximum permissible difference

36. Where the digital thermometer is examined for compliance with the specifications set out in this memorandum, the maximum permissible difference between errors of any two points that are 25°C apart is not more than 0.4°C.

Serial number – main part

37. A digital thermometer must have a unique and legible serial number indelibly marked on the main part of the instrument.

Serial number – removable parts

38. Any removable part, attachment or accessory of a digital thermometer must bear either the same serial number as the main part of the instrument or a unique serial number.

Examination procedures

Licensee responsibility

39. When a licensee purchases a suitable digital thermometer for excise duty purposes, the licensee may arrange for the supplier to send it directly to the SED for examination or the licensee may send it themselves. The licensee’s legal name, their contact person and contact information and the address of the licensed premises to which the instrument must be sent must be clearly identified on the documents that accompany the instrument sent by courier to the SED for testing. Failure to do so may result in delays in testing or the instrument being returned to the sender without examination. If the documents are complete, the SED will examine the digital thermometer to ensure it meets the required specifications.

Failure and request for new examination

40. If the digital thermometer fails to meet the required specifications, the SED will return the digital thermometer to the licensee. Before requesting a new examination, the licensee must provide written confirmation to the SED that corrective measures, such as servicing of the digital thermometer by a qualified technician, have been taken to ensure the digital thermometer meets the required specifications. When the SED is satisfied that these measures may have corrected the erroneous readings, they will advise the licensee that the digital thermometer may be submitted for re-examination.

Failure of new examination

41. If the digital thermometer fails again, corrective measures must be taken before the licensee may request another examination. Proof of corrective measures is mandatory following each failed examination and before requesting a new examination.

Approval

Indicating instrument is approved

42. Refer to paragraph 13 of this memorandum for the SED procedures on how to indicate a digital thermometer is approved.

Re-examination of an approved digital thermometer

Frequency

43. A digital thermometer that has been previously approved is re-examined annually, at approximately one year after the last approval date. The SED will advise the licensee in writing when a re-examination is required. Notwithstanding the one-year time period, the regional excise duty office may request the re-examination of a previously approved digital thermometer at any time.

Procedures

44. Refer to paragraphs 17 and 18 of this memorandum for the SED and general procedures for the re-examination of a previously approved digital thermometer. Refer to paragraph 20 for the SED procedures when a previously approved digital thermometer does not pass the re-examination.

Glass thermometer

45. A glass thermometer is an instrument designed to measure temperature. It includes a graduated glass tube with a small bulb at one end, containing mercury or alcohol which expands when heated.

Specifications

Type

46. A glass thermometer must be of the solid-stem type, graduated in accordance with the Celsius scale, as defined in the definition of the International Temperature Scale of 1990 adopted by the Comité international des poids et mesures, and in accordance with the International System of Units.

Construction

47. A glass thermometer must be an immersion-type thermometer that is constructed in such a manner that the reading is correct when the glass thermometer is immersed at least to the top of the mercury column in the medium, the temperature of which is being measured. The thermometer will generally bear the indicium "IMM" to indicate that it is an immersion type.

48. A glass thermometer must be straight and its external cross-section must be approximately circular, with a uniform diameter throughout the length of the stem. No portion of the thermometer may have a diameter exceeding 8 mm.

Glass

49. A glass thermometer

  • must be made of suitable thermometric glass; and
  • the stress in the glass of the bulb and the stem must have been reduced to a level sufficient to minimize the possibility of fracture owing to thermal or mechanical shock.

Liquid and gas filling

50. A glass thermometer

  • must contain mercury of a reagent grade as the liquid filling; and
  • the space above the mercury must be filled with a dry inert gas.

Scale

51. The scale of a glass thermometer must be marked so that it can easily be read through the wall of a glass jar that contains a liquid, and have the following characteristics:

  • a minimum range from – 25°C to + 45°C; and
  • a smallest increment of not more than 0.5°C.

Accuracy and testing

52. Where a glass thermometer is

  • used to measure the temperature, the maximum permissible error is ± 0.3°C
    between – 25°C and + 45°C; and
  • examined for compliance with the specifications set out in this memorandum, the maximum permissible difference between errors of any two points which are 25°C apart is not more than 0.4°C.

Serial number

53. A unique serial number must be legibly and indelibly marked on every glass thermometer.

Examination procedures

Licensee responsibility

54. When a licensee purchases a suitable glass thermometer for excise duty purposes, the licensee may arrange for the supplier to send it directly to the SED for examination or the licensee may send it themselves. The licensee’s legal name, their contact person and contact information and the address of the licensed premises to which the instrument must be sent must be clearly identified on the documents that accompany the instrument sent by courier to the SED for testing. Failure to do so may result in delays in testing or the instrument being returned to the sender without examination. If the documents are complete, the SED will examine the glass thermometer to ensure it meets the required specifications.

Failure and request for new examination

55. If the glass thermometer fails to meet the required specifications, the SED will return the glass thermometer to the sender. The supplier or the licensee must send a second glass thermometer to the SED for examination. If the second glass thermometer meets all the required specifications, the SED will approve the glass thermometer. If the second glass thermometer fails to meet the required specifications, the SED will again return the glass thermometer to the sender.

56. The examination procedures are repeated until a new glass thermometer meets the required specifications. Only then is a final approval given to a glass thermometer.

Approval

Indicating instrument is approved

57. Refer to paragraph 13 of this memorandum for the SED procedures on how to indicate a glass thermometer is approved.

Re-examination of an approved glass thermometer

Frequency

58. A glass thermometer that has been previously approved is re-examined five years after the last approval date. The SED will inform the licensee in writing when a re-examination is required. Notwithstanding the five-year time period, the regional excise duty office may request the re-examination of a previously approved glass thermometer at any time.

Procedures

59. Refer to paragraphs 17 and 18 of this memorandum for the SED and general procedures for the re-examination of a previously approved glass thermometer. Refer to paragraph 20 for the SED procedures when a previously approved glass thermometer does not pass the re-examination.

Hydrometer

60. A hydrometer is an instrument that is designed to measure the density (i.e., mass per unit volume) of a liquid.

Specifications

61. A hydrometer must be:

  • a glass hydrometer that is designed to measure the density of solutions of water and absolute ethyl alcohol (unobscured spirits);
  • graduated and calibrated in units of density (kg/m3) at the standard reference temperature of 20°C; and
  • graduated for reading at the level of the free horizontal surface of the liquid.

Description

62. A hydrometer must consist of a cylindrical body:

  • of which the bottom is constructed, in either a cone or hemispherical shape, so as to prevent effectively the entrapment of air bubbles;
  • of which the upper part is fused to a hollow cylindrical stem of which the top is sealed;
  • where the entire external surface is symmetrical about its vertical axis;
  • where the loading material for adjusting the mass is fixed in the bottom of the hydrometer; and
  • where there is no loose material in any part of the hydrometer.

Scale

63. The stem of a hydrometer must contain a graduated scale marked on a strip of material, which is securely fastened to the interior of the stem;

  • datum marks must be provided on the graduated scale strip and on the glass stem so that any displacement of the scale strip are readily apparent;
  • there must not be more than one graduated scale;
  • the nominal range must be 20 kg/m3; and
  • the scale must be graduated in units of 0.2 kg/m3.

Dimensions

64. A hydrometer must have the following dimensions:

  • it must not exceed 300 mm in total length;
  • the diameter of the cylindrical body must not exceed 40 mm;
  • the volume below the lower nominal scale limit must not exceed 125 mL; and
  • the diameter of the stem must not be less than 4 mm.

Accuracy and testing

65. A hydrometer must:

  • have a maximum permissible error of ± 0.2 kg/m3;
  • be used to determine the density of a liquid at the temperature of measurement with a maximum permissible error of ± 0.5°C.

66. Where the hydrometer is examined to ensure compliance with the specifications set out in this memorandum, at least three points evenly distributed over the nominal scale are to be tested.

Serial number

67. A hydrometer must have a unique and legible serial number indelibly marked on its graduated scale strip.

Density and surface tension data

68. A hydrometer must have the following values of density at 20°C that correspond to the surface tension values at 20°C of ethyl alcohol and water solutions:

Density and surface tension data table
Density at 20 °C kg/m3 Surface tension at 20 °C mN/m
780 21.1
786 22.3
790 22.4
794 22.7
800 22.9
806 23.2
810 23.4
814 23.5
820 23.8
826 24.1
830 24.3
834 24.4
840 24.7
846 25.0
850 25.2
854 25.3
860 25.6
866 25.9
870 26.1
874 26.3
880 26.5
886 26.8
890 27.0
894 27.1
900 27.5
906 27.8
910 28.0
914 28.2
920 28.6
926 29.0
930 29.4
934 29.8
940 30.4
946 31.3
950 32.1
954 32.9
960 34.7
966 37.1
970 39.1
974 41.7
980 46.2
986 51.9
990 56.5
994 62.0
1000 80.5

Examination procedures

Licensee responsibility

69. When a licensee purchases a hydrometer for excise duty purposes, the licensee may arrange for the supplier to send it directly to the SED for examination or the licensee may send the hydrometer themselves. The licensee’s legal name, their contact person and contact information and the address of the licensed premises to which the instrument must be sent must be clearly identified on the documents that accompany the instrument sent by courier to the SED for testing. Failure to do so may result in delays in testing or the instrument being returned to the sender without examination. If the documents are complete, the SED will examine the hydrometer to ensure that it meets the required specifications.

Failure and request for new examination

70. If the hydrometer fails to meet the required specifications, the SED will return the hydrometer to the sender. The supplier or the licensee must send another hydrometer to the SED for examination. If the second hydrometer meets all the required specifications, the SED will approve the hydrometer. If the second hydrometer fails to meet the required specifications, the SED will again return the hydrometer to the sender.

71. The examination procedures are repeated until a new hydrometer meets the required specifications. Only then is a final approval given to a hydrometer.

Approval

Indicating instrument is approved

72. Refer to paragraph 13 of this memorandum for the SED procedures on how to indicate a hydrometer is approved.

Re-examination of an approved hydrometer

Frequency

73. A hydrometer that has been previously approved is to be re-examined five years after the last approval date. The SED will inform the licensee in writing when a re-examination is required. Notwithstanding the five-year time period, the regional excise duty office may request the re-examination of a previously approved hydrometer at any time.

Procedures

74. Refer to paragraphs 17 and 18 of this memorandum for the SED and general procedures for the re-examination of a previously approved hydrometer. Refer to paragraph 20 for the SED procedures when a previously approved hydrometer does not pass the re-examination.

Digital density meter

75. A digital density meter is an instrument that is designed to measure and display in numerical digits the density (i.e., mass per unit volume) of a liquid.

Specifications

Scale

76. A digital density meter must display the density of a liquid in units of g/cm3.

Range

77. The minimum range for a digital density meter must be from 0.00000 to 1.00000 g/cm3 at 20°C.

Reference temperature

78. A digital density meter must be standardized and used to determine the density of a liquid at the standard reference temperature of 20°C with a maximum permissible error of ± 0.02°C.

Accuracy

79. A digital density meter must display the density of a liquid with a maximum permissible error of ± 0.00002 g/cm3.

Serial number

80. Each digital density meter must have a unique and legible serial number indelibly marked on the exterior of the instrument.

Examination procedures

Licensee responsibility

81. A licensee wishing to use a digital density meter must notify their regional excise duty office in writing and arrange with the regional excise duty office for an excise duty officer to witness the examination.

Documentation sent to licensee

82. The regional excise duty office will notify the SED. Upon notification, they will send the licensee

  • a letter stating the general procedure for examination of the digital density meter; and
  • three samples of spirits of certified strength to be used in the examination.

Testing alcohol strength

83. The excise duty officer witnessing the examination must verify that the digital density meter meets its specifications and sign the test results. The licensee will submit the alcohol strength results obtained on the three spirits samples to the SED. The SED will compare the licensee’s results to the certified values of the samples. If the results are within ± 0.05% absolute ethyl alcohol by volume at 20°C of the certified value for each of the samples, the SED will approve the digital density meter.

Failure and request for new examination

84. Where any of the average values vary by more than ± 0.05% absolute ethyl alcohol by volume of the certified value of the spirits samples, the SED will reject the results. Before requesting a new examination, the licensee must provide written confirmation to the regional excise duty office that corrective measures, such as servicing of the instrument by a qualified technician, have been taken to remedy the erroneous readings obtained. The regional excise duty office will send the information to the SED. Upon receiving confirmation of the corrective action and provided they are satisfied that such measures may have corrected the erroneous readings, the SED will inform the licensee that the digital density meter may be submitted for another examination. The SED will then send three new spirits samples of certified strength to the licensee for the new examination.

Failure of new examination

85. If any of the average values of this examination still vary by more than ± 0.05% absolute ethyl alcohol by volume at 20°C of the value of the spirits samples, the licensee will be advised that the digital density meter has failed again and that corrective measures must be taken before they may request another examination. Proof of corrective measures is mandatory following each failed examination and before requesting a new examination.

Approval

86. Approval of a digital density meter is based on all the results mentioned in the previous section, as well as information provided by the regional excise duty office during the examination process.

Indicating instrument is approved

87. Refer to paragraph 13 of this memorandum for the SED procedures on how to indicate a digital density meter is approved.

Re-examination of an approved digital density meter

Frequency

88. A digital density meter that has been previously approved is re-examined two years after the last approval date. The SED will inform the licensee in writing when a re-examination is required. Notwithstanding the two-year time period, the regional excise duty office may request the re-examination of a previously approved digital density meter at any time.

Procedures

89. Refer to paragraphs 17 and 18 of this memorandum for the SED and general procedures for the re-examination of a previously approved digital density meter. Refer to paragraph 20 for the SED procedures when a previously approved digital density meter does not pass the re-examination.

Pycnometer

90. A pycnometer is an instrument that is designed for measuring the density (i.e., mass per unit volume) of a liquid as a function of temperature.

Specifications

91. A pycnometer must be

  • a glass pycnometer;
  • designed to determine the mass of a liquid at 20°C; and
  • of a nominal capacity of 25 or 50 mL.

Description

92. A pycnometer must consist of a bottle:

  • the bottom of which is flat;
  • the upper part of which has an elongated neck; and
  • the top of the elongated neck of which is closed with a removable, tightly fitted stopper.

93. A pycnometer must be constructed so as to effectively prevent the entrapment of air bubbles.

Reference temperature

94. A pycnometer must be calibrated and used to determine the mass of a liquid at the standard reference temperature of 20°C with a maximum permissible error of ± 0.05°C.

Accuracy

95. The maximum permissible error of a pycnometer is ± 0.0001 g/cm3 at the standard reference temperature of 20°C.

Serial number

96. A pycnometer must have a unique and legible serial number indelibly marked on the bottle and its stopper.

Examination procedures

Licensee responsibility

97. A licensee wishing to use a pycnometer must notify their regional excise duty office in writing and arrange with the regional excise duty office for an officer to witness the examination.

Documentation sent to licensee

98. The regional excise duty office will notify the SED. Upon notification, they will send the licensee:

  • a letter stating the general procedure for the examination of a pycnometer; and
  • three samples of spirits of certified strength to be used in the examination.

Testing alcoholic strength

99. The excise duty officer witnessing the examination must verify that the pycnometer meets its specifications and sign the test results. The licensee will submit the alcohol strength results obtained on the three spirits samples to the SED. The SED will compare the licensee’s results to the certified values of the samples. If the results are within ± 0.1% absolute ethyl alcohol by volume at 20°C of the certified value for each of the samples, the SED will approve the pycnometer.

Failure and request for new examination

100. Where any of the average values vary by more than ± 0.1% absolute ethyl alcohol by volume at 20°C of the certified value of the spirits samples, the SED will reject the results. Before requesting a new examination, the licensee must provide written confirmation to the regional excise duty office that corrective measures, such as cleaning of the pycnometer, have been taken to remedy the erroneous readings obtained. The regional excise duty office will send this information to the SED. Upon receiving the written confirmation and provided they are satisfied that such measures may have corrected the erroneous readings, the SED will inform the licensee that the pycnometer may be submitted for another examination. The SED will then send three new spirits samples of certified strength to the licensee for the new examination.

Failure of new examination

101. If any of the average values of this examination still vary by more than ± 0.1% absolute ethyl alcohol by volume at 20°C of the certified value of the spirits samples, the licensee will be advised that the pycnometer has failed again and that corrective measures must be taken before they may request another examination. Proof of corrective measures is mandatory following each failed examination and before requesting a new examination.

Approval

102. Approval of a pycnometer is based on all the results mentioned in the previous section, as well as information provided by the regional excise duty office during the examination process.

Indicating instrument is approved

103. Refer to paragraph 13 of this memorandum for the SED procedures on how to indicate a pycnometer is approved.

Re-examination of an approved pycnometer

Frequency

104. A pycnometer that has been previously approved is re-examined two years after the last approval date. The SED will inform the licensee in writing when a re-examination is required. Notwithstanding the two-year time period, the regional excise duty office may request the re-examination of a previously approved pycnometer at any time.

Procedures

105. Refer to paragraphs 17 and 18 of this memorandum for the SED and general procedures for the re-examination of a previously approved pycnometer. Refer to paragraph 20 for the SED procedures when a previously approved pycnometer does not pass the re-examination.

Mass flow measuring system

106. A mass flow measuring system (MFMS) is designed to measure the mass of a liquid moving through an element. It consists of a mass flow meter and an approved, compatible electronic register.

107. A mass flow meter, also known as an inertial or Coriolis-type flow meter, is a device that measures mass flow rate of a fluid travelling through a tube. The mass flow rate is the mass of the fluid travelling past a fixed point per unit time.

108. Where an MFMS displays density or temperature, those readings are not to be used to determine alcohol strength for excise purposes. Licensees must use other approved instruments to measure the density, such as digital density meters or hydrometers and thermometers. The alcohol strength must be determined using the density reading obtained and either the Canadian Alcoholometric Tables, 1980 (for hydrometers), or the Canadian Alcoholometric Laboratory Table, 1996 (for digital density meters).

Specifications

109. An MFMS is established for the determination of alcoholic mass and may be further examined for excise duty purposes only if it:

  • is of a class, type or design that is approved by the Minister of Industry Canada under the Weights and Measures Act;
  • is of a class, type or design which meets all of the requirements stipulated in the Weights and Measures Regulations under the Weights and Measures Act and operates within the appropriate limits of error (± 0.3%) prescribed by the Weights and Measures Regulations or ministerial specifications;
  • measures the mass in kilograms of unobscured spirits;
  • is to be used to measure unobscured spirits where the alcohol strength is constant (does not change) during the measurement period;
  • may be used to measure discrete batches of unobscured spirits of different strengths (e.g., unloading from a tanker truck), provided that the mass at each strength is measured and recorded separately along with the corresponding alcohol strength determined using an approved instrument, not the mass flow measuring system;
  • is installed in the required locations for excise duty purposes, such as shortly after the point of distillation when the alcohol takes its liquid form, where alcohol is received, or located immediately before the alcohol is denatured or any other location approved by an excise duty officer;
  • is installed in a manner which is consistent with the manufacturer’s recommendations and the Measurement Canada notice of conditional approval;
  • has all the necessary devices to ensure an acceptable level of accuracy and precision (e.g., an air eliminator or de-aerator, alcohol cooling systems);
  • has a measuring capacity that is optimal for the range of flow rates at which the licensee will be operating;
  • is a tamper-proof system (e.g., there is a locked system prior to the alcohol passing through the MFMS). Any sample valves installed prior to the MFMS must have control procedures in place to ensure that material amounts of alcohol have not been removed. Control procedures would include a lock on the valve, a sample log of the time the sample was taken, who took the sample, and the quantity taken for sampling, etc.;
  • is a closed unit to prevent unhooking or any unauthorized alteration or degradation of its metrological characteristics or fraudulent use of the MFMS; and
  • is set up to allow for re-examination every two years. For example, a sealed pipe may be opened for the weighing of the alcohol measured by the MFMS and subsequently re-sealed by an excise duty officer for normal operation of the MFMS.

Examination procedures

Licensee’s responsibility

110. Licensees will advise their regional excise duty office that they have acquired an MFMS that meets all of the specifications set out in paragraph 109 of this memorandum and wish to have the MFMS examined for approval for excise duty purposes.

111. The approval process for an MFMS includes on-site testing by an authorized service provider and witnessed by an excise duty officer. The licensee must make arrangements with an authorized service provider to perform the on-site testing in accordance with the CRA requirements. This means that the testing must be done using gravimetric testing methods, and not volumetric, at three different flow rates – slow, intermediate and high.

112. A licensee should perform a preliminary test on each MFMS at each of the three different flow rate levels prior to confirming the scheduled on-site testing. Fixing potential problems prior to the test date will minimize the chances of the MFMS failing the test.

Examination of the MFMS

113. An excise duty officer must be present during the testing of the MFMS to verify the MFMS meets its specifications, witness the testing and ensure that the CRA requirements are met. The authorized service provider will perform the examination according to the requirements of the Weights and Measures Act and Regulations in the presence of the excise duty officer. The officer will record the test data (the flow rate, mass, etc.) from the MFMS and the reference scale and send the data to the SED. The SED will evaluate the results and either approve or reject the MFMS.

114. The MFMS must meet all the required specifications at various flow rates as stated in the Weight and Measures Regulations or as specified in the ministerial specifications. At each flow rate, tests are repeated three times and the test results must fall within Measurement Canada’s accepted tolerance level (± 0.3%).

115. The MFMS must be tested with ethyl alcohol at a strength consistent with that at which it will be utilized. If the MFMS is to be used with solutions of ethyl alcohol and water (unobscured spirits) that have a range of density of greater than 100 kg/m3 at 20°C, the meter must be tested (at all three flow rates) using the maximum and minimum alcohol strength with which the meter will be utilized, without being recalibrated.

116. MFMS that are used to unload a tanker truck must also pass product depletion tests to ensure that the air eliminator or de-aerator is functioning properly.

Excise duty seal

117. Once the on-site testing is complete, the excise duty officer will place an excise duty seal on each of the components of the MFMS to prevent tampering.

Failure and request for new examination

118. If the MFMS fails to meet the required specifications and testing, the SED will inform the regional excise duty office. The regional excise duty office will inform the licensee that the MFMS has failed and that corrective measures must be taken before the licensee may request a new examination. Before requesting a new examination, the licensee must provide written confirmation to the regional excise duty office that corrective measures, such as servicing of the system by a qualified technician, or re-calibration, have been taken to remedy the erroneous readings obtained. The regional excise duty office will forward this information to the SED. Upon receiving this information and provided they are satisfied that such measures may have corrected the erroneous readings, the SED will advise the licensee via the regional excise duty office that the MFMS may be submitted for re-examination. The new examination will follow the same procedures described previously.

Failure of new examination

119. If the MFMS fails again, corrective measures must be taken before the licensee may request another examination. Proof of corrective measures is mandatory following each failure and before requesting a new examination.

Approval

120. Approval of the MFMS is based on all the results mentioned in the previous section, as well as information provided by the regional excise duty office during the examination process.

121. The SED will approve the use of the MFMS for the determination of alcoholic mass for excise duty purposes only if both the authorized service provider and the regional excise duty office are satisfied that the MFMS will operate properly.

Indicating instrument is approved

122. Refer to paragraph 13 of this memorandum for the SED procedures on how to indicate an MFMS is approved.

Re-examination of an approved mass flow measuring system

Frequency

123. An MFMS that has been previously approved must be re-examined two years after the last approval date. The SED will inform the licensee in writing when a re-examination is required. Notwithstanding the two-year time period, the regional excise duty office may request the re-examination of a previously approved MFMS at any time.

Procedures

124. Refer to paragraphs 17 and 18 of this memorandum for the SED and general procedures for the re-examination of a previously approved MFMS. Refer to paragraph 20 for the SED procedures when a previously approved MFMS does not pass the re-examination.

Tank scale

125. A tank scale  is designed for measuring the mass of liquids. The tank scale may be mechanical or fully electronic. In the case of an electronic scale, load cells that are mounted in compression or in tension sense the weight of a liquid.

Under new Measurement Canada requirements, all tank scales that will have their initial inspection after December 31, 2011 must be equipped with appropriate approved load cells.

Specifications

126. A tank scale is established for the determination of the alcoholic mass and may be further examined for excise duty purposes only if it:

  • is of a class, type or design that is approved by the Minister of Industry Canada under the Weights and Measures Act;
  • is of a class, type or design which meets all of the requirements as stated in the Specifications Relating to Non-Automatic Weighing Devices (1998) under the Weights and Measures Act and operates within the appropriate limits of error as prescribed by these Specifications;
  • measures the quantity of alcohol in metric units of mass;
  • is installed in the required locations for excise duty purposes, such as shortly after the point of distillation when the alcohol takes its liquid form, where alcohol is received or located immediately before the alcohol is denatured;
  • has all the necessary devices to ensure an acceptable level of accuracy and precision;
  • is a tamper-proof system (e.g., there is a locked system prior to the alcohol dispensing into the tank scale). Any sample valves installed prior to the tank scale must have control procedures in place to ensure that material amounts of alcohol have not been removed. Control procedures would include a lock on the valve, a sample log of the time the sample was taken, who took the sample, and the quantity taken for sampling, etc.;
  • is a closed unit to prevent tampering or any unauthorized alteration or degradation of its metrological characteristics or fraudulent use of the tank scale; and
  • is set up to allow for re-examination every two years by an authorized service provider.

Examination procedures

Licensee’s responsibility

127. A licensee will advise their regional excise duty office that they have acquired a tank scale that meets all of the specifications set out in paragraph 126 of this memorandum and wish to have the scale examined for approval for excise duty purposes.

128. The approval process for tank scales includes on-site testing by an authorized service provider, to be witnessed by an excise duty officer. The licensee must make arrangements with an authorized service provider to perform the on-site testing in accordance with the CRA and Measurement Canada requirements.

Examination of the scale

129. An officer must be present during the testing of the scale to verify the tank scale meets its specifications, witness the testing and ensure that the CRA requirements are met. The authorized service provider will perform the examination according to the requirements of the Weights and Measures Act and its regulations in the presence of the excise duty officer.

130. The tank scale must meet all the required specifications stipulated in the Specifications Relating to Non-Automatic Weighing Devices (1998). The licensee must provide supporting documentation from the authorized service provider that the scale meets these requirements.

Excise duty seal

131. Once the on-site testing is complete, the excise duty officer will place an excise duty seal on each of the components of the tank scale to prevent tampering.

Failure and request for new examination

132. If the tank scale fails to meet the required specifications and testing, corrective measures must be taken. These measures may include servicing of the scale and/or recalibration by a qualified technician. Before requesting a new examination, the licensee must provide written confirmation to the regional excise duty office that the corrective measures have remedied the erroneous readings. The new examination follows the same procedures described previously.

Failure of new examination

133. If the tank scale fails again, corrective measures must be taken before the licensee may request another examination. Proof of corrective measures is mandatory following each failure and before requesting a new examination.

Approval

134. Approval of a tank scale is based on all the results mentioned in the previous section, as well as information provided by the regional excise duty office during the examination process.

135. The tank scale may be used to determine alcoholic mass for excise duty purposes only if both the authorized service provider and the regional excise duty office are satisfied that the tank scale will operate properly.

Indicating instrument is approved

136. Refer to paragraph 15 of this memorandum for the procedures to indicate a tank scale is approved.

Re-examination of an approved tank scale

Frequency

137. A tank scale that has been previously approved must be re-examined two years after the last approval date. The SED will inform the licensee in writing when a re-examination is required. Notwithstanding the two-year time period, the regional excise duty office may request the re-examination of a previously approved tank scale at any time.

Procedures

138. Refer to paragraphs 17 and 18 of this memorandum for the SED and general procedures for the re-examination of a previously approved tank scale. Refer to paragraph 20 for the SED procedures when a previously approved tank scale does not pass the re-examination.

Contraventions and penalties

Failure to comply

139. Where a licensee fails to use and maintain an approved instrument for excise duty purposes and does not comply with the above-mentioned examination or re-examination procedures, they may be subject to a penalty under the Act.

All of the excise duty memoranda are available on the CRA Web site at www.cra.gc.ca/exciseduty, under "Excise Act, 2001 – Technical Information".

Footnote 1 When discussing the examination or re-examination procedures for instruments in this memorandum, the term "licensee" will be used to incorporate both "alcohol licensee" and "licensed user". These terms are defined in paragraphs 7 and 8 of this memorandum.

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