A new agreement between the national metrology institutes and accreditation systems of Canada, the U.S. and Mexico is expected to help open borders and increase trade between the three participating countries and the rest of the world.
The memorandum of understanding, signed 2001-07-30 in Washington, DC, establishes the North American Calibration Committee (NACC), formerly the North American Calibration Cooperation. NACC provides a forum for participating countries to harmonize their calibration laboratory accreditation systems and develop mutual confidence in the measurements made by accredited laboratories.
"By helping to ensure that results from one country are accepted in another, NACC will help to simplify cross-border trade for Canadian calibration laboratories and their clients", said Don Wilson, Director of the Standards Council of Canada's Conformity Assessment Branch.
The memorandum was signed by the Standards Council and the National Research Council of Canada (NRC), the U.S. National Cooperation for Laboratory Accreditation and National Institute of Standards and Technology, and Mexico's entidad mexicana de acreditación (ema) and the Centro Nacional de Metrología (CENAM).
Accredited calibration laboratories enable testing laboratories to provide reliable results by providing traceability of measurements to the International System of Units (the SI). Accreditation is the formal recognition of the competence of a testing or calibration laboratory to perform particular tests and measurements. Many clients and regulators require laboratories to be accredited before they will accept their test results. In Canada, calibration laboratories are accredited by the Standards Council, as Canada's national laboratory accreditation body, with the NRC, as its national metrology institute, through its Calibration Laboratory Assessment Service (CLAS).
The Standards Council of Canada is a Crown corporation with the mandate to coordinate and promote efficient and effective voluntary standardization. Its Program for Accreditation of Laboratories - Canada (PALCAN) has accredited over 300 laboratories in a variety of general testing, calibration and specialty areas.