Canadian metrication began in January 1970 when the Liberal government led by Pierre Trudeau introduced the White Paper on Metric Conversion which was supported by the House Leaders of all political parties in the House of Commons. By 1975 metric product labelling began and weather forecasts were in metric. By the end of 1977 all road signs were metric and all new cars had metric odometers and speedometers.
In 1978 timetables were established for the conversion of the sale of motor fuels, individually measured retail foods, and home furnishings. On 3 June 1979 Canadians were faced with a federal election. While Canadians were starting to become accustomed to metric the Liberal party had become unpopular for a number of reasons and thus the Progressive Conservatives under Joe Clark formed the new minority government. Part of the Conservative's platform was to make metrication voluntary. In January 1980 the deadline for metrication of home furnishings passed without enforcement.
On 2 March 1980 Canadians again went to the polls and elected a Liberal majority government under Pierre Trudeau form. By January 1981 motor fuel and fabric sales were metricated.
In January 1983 two Toronto gas station owners, Jack Halpert and Ray Christianson, were charged under the Weights and Measures Act for selling gasoline by the imperial gallon. The two gas station owners won their case in provincial court. While the decision was under appeal by the Attorney General of Canada, Mark MacGuigan; Judy Erola, Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affaris, the federal department responsible for implementing the Weights and Measures Act, placed a moratorium on the metrication of motor fuels, home furnishings, and individually measured foods. At this point in the metrication process both the metric and imperial systems were permitted but the metric value was required to be displayed more prominently than the imperial value.
On 17 September 1984 the Progressive Conservatives led by Brian Mulroney formed a new majority government.
In October 1984 the Ontario Court of Appeal decided that the litre must be used for the retail sale of gasoline.
In November 1984 the new Conservative Consumer and Corporate Affairs Minister Michel Côté announced that his department will not prosecute violators of the metric laws but will ensure consumers are protected from fraud or inaccurate measuring whether it is in metric or imperial. In January 1985 the Mr. Côté announced that the metrication regulations were to be replaced with new regulations. In March 1985 the Metric Commission of Canada was disbanded and replaced by a small Metric Information Division in the department of Industry Canada. This office was disbanded in April 1988. New metric regulations were never introduced. Canadian metrication efforts had official stalled.
On 4 November 1993 the Liberal party formed a new majority government under Jean Chrétien. Today in Canada the prominent retail measurement system is British imperial with metric either added as an afterthought or absent altogether. The only exception is the retail of deli products which are, for the most part, sold by the 100 g unit to make prices appear less expensive.
The statement "Today in Canada the prominent retail measurement system is British imperial with metric either added as an afterthought or absent altogether." is misleading as although many packages are still in odd units (ex. 173 grams vs 175 grams) due to the fact that the physical plant for production of packages has not turned over does not mean the imperial system predominates. For Canadians who grew up in the era of the switch and after the imperial system is essential dead.
Canada did switch to the metric system in the year 1970.
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