The President of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is in Ottawa today, along with delegates from more than 100 countries, to mark the opening of ISO’s annual General Assembly. Hosted by the Standards Council of Canada (SCC), this is only the second time since ISO’s inception in 1947 that Canada has hosted such a major reunion of worldwide standards experts.
“As a founding member of ISO, Canada has been at the forefront of many of the organization’s achievements for close to 60 years,” said ISO President, Professor Masami Tanaka. “Canadians have made significant contributions to many of ISO’s 16,000 standards, as exemplified by their leadership role in the development of the internationally-recognized ISO 9000 and ISO 14000 series of standards, and more recently in the work towards the first global standard for social responsibility.” he added. “On behalf of ISO member bodies, I would like to thank the Standards Council of Canada for hosting the 29th ISO General Assembly and for providing us with the opportunity to continue building on our successes.”
Dr. Colin Carrie, Parliamentary Secretary to the Honourable Maxime Bernier, Minister of Industry, stressed the important role international standards play in strengthening the economy and contributing to our quality of life. “As a trading nation, Canada has long realized the importance of standardization. Both NAFTA and the World Trade Organization recognize international standards as key to harmonizing trade practices, while ensuring the safety and quality of products and services.”
"Standards, while often invisible to consumers, play a major role in the economy by helping business and industry reduce operating costs, access new markets, encourage innovation and enhance marketability,” noted SCC Chairman, Hugh Krentz.
As part of the week-long meeting, a one-day public forum will take place on September 14th where Canadian industry, healthcare organizations and government representatives will discuss some of the most persistent healthcare challenges facing the world today and how international standards can help address these challenges.
“The application of standards in healthcare is a prime illustration of how standards can benefit Canadians, government and industry by reducing red tape, improving efficiency and encouraging innovation,” said Richard Alvarez, President and CEO of Canada Health Infoway and a speaker at the Open Session on Healthcare.
“In the case of electronic health records for example, standards ensure that the systems being developed and used across the country are compatible. Healthcare professionals are thus granted immediate access to vital information resulting in better patient care and reduced operational costs,” he said.
ISO is a worldwide federation of national standards bodies, comprised of approximately 156 members. The object of ISO is to promote the development of standardization and related activities with a view to facilitating the international exchange of goods and services.
SCC is Canada’s representative to ISO and is responsible for coordinating our participation in the development of international standards. As the coordinator of the National Standards System, SCC facilitates the development and use of the standards and accreditation services that enhance Canada’s competitiveness and social well-being. For more information on the SCC and the 2006 ISO General Assembly, visit www.scc.ca or email firstname.lastname@example.org.