This is chapter 1 of the Introduction to Standards and the Standards Council of Canada orientation module. A transcript of the video follows below.
Introduction to Standards and the Standards Council of Canada
Chapter 1 - What are standards?
A standard is a document that provides rules, guidelines or characteristics for activities or their results.
Most standards aim to achieve an optimum degree of order in a given context.
Standards are guidelines that establish accepted practices, technical requirements, and terminologies for diverse fields.
Because they are easy to recognize and reference, standards enable organizations to ensure that their products or services can be manufactured, implemented and sold around the world.
Standards can be either voluntary or mandatory.
Standards are voluntary when organizations aren’t legally required to follow a standard. However, organizations may do so as a result of customer or industry demands.
Standards are mandatory when they are enforced by laws or regulations, quite often for health or safety considerations.
However, a standard is distinct from an Act, a regulation or a code.
An Act is a statute that establishes control or directives based on legal authority.
A regulation is a statutory instrument made by exercising a legislative power conferred by an Act of Parliament. They have a binding legal effect, and if a voluntary standard is referenced in a regulation, it becomes mandatory.
A code is broad in scope, and is intended to be given the force of law through adoption by a provincial, territorial or municipal authority. A code may include any number of referenced standards.
Many types of standards exist, including performance standards, prescriptive standards, design standards, and management system standards.
- Performance standards test products by simulating their performance under actual service conditions;
- Prescriptive standards identify product characteristics, such as material thickness, type and dimension;
- Design standards identify specific design or technical characteristics of a product; and
- Management System standards define and establish an organization’s quality policy and objective.
For example, ISO 50001 is published by the International Organization for Standardization specifically for the development of an energy management system within an organization.
With its main goal being resource conservation and the promotion of efficient energy use, this standard helps policy development, fixes targets and objectives to meet policy, outlines a result management framework, and described methods for review and improvement.
Standardization is the development and application of standards. This includes:
- Committee work;
- Publication of a standard;
- Use of a standard; and
- Assessment of conformity to a specific standard or a set of standards.