Standards Council of Canada


Standards Council of Canada

= About the SCC =

The Standards Council of Canada (SCC) is a federal Crown corporation with the mandate to promote efficient and effective voluntary standardization. Located in Ottawa, Ontario, the Standards Council has a 15-member governing Council and a staff of approximately 90. The organization reports to Parliament through the Minister of Industry and oversees Canada's National Standards System.

Mission and Vision

The SCC’s mission is to lead and facilitate the development and use of national and international standards and accreditation services in order to enhance Canada's competitiveness and well-being. Its vision is to improve Canadians’ quality of life through leadership of the National Standards System (NSS).The work of the SCC falls into three principal areas—Standards, Conformity Assessment and Intergovernmental Affairs and Trade.

Standards

Standardization is the development and application of standards. Standards are publications that establish accepted practices, technical requirements and terminologies for products, services and systems. Standards help to ensure better, safer and more efficient methods and products, and are an essential element of technology, innovation and trade.

The SCC carries out a variety of functions intended to ensure the effective and coordinated operation of standardization in Canada. It also represents Canada's interests in standards-related matters in foreign and international forums.

Most standards are voluntary, there are no laws requiring their application, but an increasingly competitive marketplace for goods and services means that more and more customers are demanding adherence to specific standards. Governments also make some standards mandatory by referencing them legislatively or through regulations.

SCC does not develop standards itself. It plays the important role of coordinating standards work in Canada and ensuring Canada's input on standards issues within international standards organizations. The SCC accredits Canadian standards development organizations (SDOs) and also approves Canadian standards as National Standards of Canada based on a specific set of requirements.

Expert committees representing standards developing organizations, manufacturers, governments, consumers and other interested parties develop standards at the national and international levels. SCC supports the work of over 15,000 members from various stakeholder groups working on thousands of national and international standardization committees.

Conformity Assessment

Conformity assessment is the practice of determining whether a product, service or system meets the requirements of a particular standard. SCC accredits the following conformity assessment bodies: testing and calibration laboratories, greenhouse gas verification and validation bodies, management systems certification bodies, personnel certification bodies, product and service certification bodies and inspection bodies.

SCC is also a member of a number of organizations that are developing agreements to ensure the international acceptance of conformity assessment results.

Intergovernmental Affairs and Trade

SCC advises federal, provincial and territorial governments, industry organizations and nongovernmental bodies on standards and conformity assessment related aspects of trade and regulatory policy. A major focus is to encourage governments and industries to make greater use of the National Standards System in regulatory activities and trade agreements.

SCC offers Canadians the latest and most comprehensive information on standards, technical regulations and conformity assessment in Canada and around the world through its [http://www.scc.ca website] , Information and Research service and technical document centre. The Standards Council of Canada also serves as Canada's World Trade Organization and North American Free Trade Agreement (WTO/NAFTA) Enquiry Point.

Other Programs and Services

The SCC provides an information and research service to the public. Whether a customer has a specific technical request or requires general information related to standards, the SCC’s information officers can assist.

The SCC’s search tool RegWatch identifies Canadian, foreign and international standards referenced in Canadian federal law. RegWatch provides links to the full text of Canadian regulations that cite standards, and links to additional information about the referenced standards.

SCC’s Export Alert! sends an email to subscribers when regulations affecting their specified industry have changed in the global marketplace. Users can select a field and country of interest, get full text of draft regulatory measures, as well as submit comments on proposed regulatory changes.

Standards Alert! allows users to stay informed of changes to Canadian and international standards that may affect their business. An automatic e-mail update is sent when a change occurs in a relevant field. For those interested in purchasing standards, SCC’s Standards Store (www.standardsstore.ca) provides easy and efficient access to standards, collections and related information products.

Standards Development

Standards are developed through consensus by committees of affected stakeholders that may include representatives from industry, governments, academia and the public interest. These committees are established and managed by an organization that specializes in the development of standards.

The Standards Council of Canada accredits organizations that develop standards in Canada. Accreditation is the verification that an organization has the competence necessary to carry out a specific function. SCC's accreditation programs are based on internationally recognized guides and standards.

Accredited standards development organizations may submit their standards for approval as National Standards of Canada. This designation indicates that a standard is the official Canadian standard on a particular subject. It also shows that the development process met certain specified criteria. National Standards of Canada may be developed in Canada or adopted, with or without changes, from international standards.

The National Standards System

The Standards Council of Canada has the mandate to coordinate and oversee the efforts of the National Standards System, which includes organizations and individuals involved in voluntary standards development, promotion and implementation in Canada.

For more than 25 years, the National Standards System has helped to ensure the safety and performance of products and services, helped to open the global marketplace to Canadians, and made Canada a leader in international standardization.

More than 15,000 Canadian members contribute to committees that develop national or international standards. As well, more than 400 organizations have been accredited by the Standards Council. Some of these develop standards, others are conformity assessment bodies which determine the compliance of products or services to a standard's requirements.

International Participation

Internationally, SCC manages Canada's participation in the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and International Organization for Standardization (ISO), two of the world's most important voluntary standardization bodies, and in regional standards organizations. It also encourages the adoption and application of international standards in Canada.

Trade and Policy

SCC understands the key relationship between trade, standardization and conformity assessment. Consequently, a significant amount of its work focuses on trade-related issues, within Canada and internationally.

Nationally, the SCC works to keep the lines of communication open with provincial and territorial representatives to ensure the effectiveness of national standards and trade across the country.

On the global stage, the SCC plays an important role on Canada's behalf as the National Enquiry Point for information from around the world concerning upcoming regulatory and standardization changes impacting trade. This service is a requirement of Canada's membership in both the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

The SCC also offers technical support and advice to government and industry on trade issues related to standardization. It assists the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) in formulating Canadian policy positions on standards issues in the WTO, as well as other trade agreements and partnerships. As Canada's national accreditation body, the SCC is also involved in helping to negotiate both voluntary and formal recognition agreements for conformity assessment practices with trading partners.

This includes supporting the International Accreditation Forum (IAF), Cross Frontier Policy for accreditation bodies. The policy aims to increase cooperation among national accreditation bodies in order to facilitate the goal of a global accreditation system that would eliminate the need for duplicative testing of products and services and reduce unnecessary barriers to international trade.

The SCC is committed to helping developing countries build their own standardization systems and meeting the requirements set out in international trade agreements through cooperation with national and international partners.

Governance

The Standards Council of Canada (SCC) reports to Parliament through the Minister of Industry. The governing Council has 15 members, appointed by Order-in-Council, to represent a broad spectrum of stakeholder interests. Council is responsible for setting the strategic direction of the organization, ensuring fulfillment of SCC's mandate, and providing direction on governance matters. Council normally holds four meetings a year, including a strategic session.

History

In 1964, the federal government conducted a comprehensive review of standards activity in Canada. The study identified a number of deficiencies in the country's approach to standardization, including coordination and long-term planning, support from industry and government, and Canadian involvement in international standardization.

In 1970, the government responded by establishing the Standards Council of Canada through the Standards Council of Canada Act, which received Royal Assent in the same year. Two years later, the SCC held a seat on the International Organization for Standardization’s governing Council.

Publications

A catalogue of all Standards Council of Canada (SCC) publications can be found on its corporate website, including various brochures, fact sheets, studies and reports on standardization-related topics.

[http://www.scc.ca/en/publications/consensus_mag/index.shtml CONSENSUS Magazine] , which is published annually by the SCC, includes articles that examine the impact of a range of standards-related subjects on industry, government and consumers. Current and past issues of the magazine can also be downloaded from the SCC website.

See also

* World Standards Day

External links

* [http://www.scc.ca Standards Council of Canada (SCC)]
* [http://www.iso.org International Organization for Standardization (ISO)]
* [http://www.iec.ch International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC)]


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