This is chapter 2 of the Consumer Product Safety in Canada orientation module. A transcript of the video follows below.
Chapter 2 - The role of standards in consumer product safety
What is a standard? A standard is a document that outlines, from A-Z, an agreed-upon way of achieving a desired outcome, such as completing a task. It is often performance-based, which specifies the formula, set of instructions, or procedures that are applied to achieve a consistent result (for example, a safe product).
Standards may provide a set of performance requirements that a product must meet, and/or a prescribed set of steps that manufacturers, importers and sellers can follow throughout various aspects of the production and distribution cycle.
Users of specific standards are able to verify, for example:
- the consistency of the material used for the shell of a hockey helmet so it hardens properly in its mold, or
- the assembly of a washing machine being sold in Canada.
By working together, stakeholders apply a consensus-based process to research, develop, review and agree upon the content of a range of national and international standards. The procedural requirements for developing standards are consistent among all SCC-accredited standards development organizations in Canada, and are in keeping with principles accepted around the world.
Some standards in Canada are mandatory, i.e. incorporated by reference in laws or regulations, quite often for health or safety reasons. Most standards, however, are voluntary - meaning that industry and stakeholders choose to work together to develop and follow the standard.
SCC leads Canada's standardization network and facilitates the development and use of standards, providing accreditation of organizations that demonstrate competence to develop and/or verify conformity to specific standards.
In Canada, there are a number of SCC-accredited standards development organizations (SDOs). For a full list of these organizations, visit scc.ca/accreditation/standards
The SCC-accredited SDOs form and lead the work of committees of stakeholders that develop new Canadian standards or work on adopting or adapting relevant international standards in a range of subject areas.
SCC also represents Canada's interests on the global standards stage as a member of two organizations that develop international, non-government standards:
- the International Organization for Standardization (or ISO), and
- the International Electrotechnical Commission (or IEC)
Involvement with these international bodies provides a means for Canadian needs and interests to be considered during the development of those standards which are likely to be applied in Canada.
SCC also facilitates and manages participation in international policy committees and regional standardization bodies. Canadian participation in these organizations is composed of volunteers from industry, government, academia and public interest groups. Qualified candidates interested in learning more can refer to the SCC website for detailed information on how to participate.