Q. Why does SCC accredit US-based standards development organizations (SDOs)?
A. SCC has an obligation to review applications from organizations wishing to become accredited under its various programs, and to approve applications when organizations are deemed to meet program accreditation requirements. The addition of new SDOs offers more options and greater flexibility within Canada’s standardization network. The accreditation of US-based standards development organizations helps provide more standardization solutions to better serve stakeholders such as Canadian government, industry and consumers. This further protects the health and safety of Canadians while enhancing Canada’s economic competitiveness.
In a number of industry sectors, Canadian experts already participate directly in standards development activities of these US-based organizations, and having access to these experts for the development of National Standards of Canada is an important element of SCC accreditation. Expanding SDO accreditation also promotes harmonization of standards between Canada and the US, broadening opportunities for trade between the two countries while also presenting solutions to bilateral regulatory issues.
When the expansion of SDOs was first proposed, SCC undertook a year-long consultation process with government, industry and the four Canadian SDOs at the time (CSA Group, Bureau de normalisation du Québec, Canadian General Standards Board and Underwriters Laboratories of Canada). This was instrumental in understanding various perspectives surrounding the issues, opportunities and challenges of expanding the number of SCC-accredited SDOs.
Q. Does accreditation of an organization mean that all of their standards automatically become National Standards of Canada (NSCs)?
A. No it does not. The standards from these organizations do not necessarily meet the SCC Requirements & Guidance for Standards Development Organizations (SDOs). SDOs can bring their standards under SCC oversight as National Standards of Canada (NSCs) after they ensure SCC’s requirements have been met.
Q. Why has SCC revised its standards development program requirements?
A. SCC revised the standards development program requirements to ensure greater clarity, consistency and responsiveness to the needs of Canadian stakeholders. All SCC-accredited SDOs have met the same requirements in order to receive SCC accreditation. The existing SDOs, through the Standards Development Organizations Advisory Committee (SDOAC), were consulted throughout the development of the 2017 Requirements & Guidance documents.
Key updates to the requirements include changes to the duplication resolution process and the implementation of a self-declaration framework. The improvements to the Duplication Resolution Mechanism (DRM) were made with the goal of reaching a timely outcome and a decision that is responsive to Canadian stakeholder needs. These changes include a more proactive role for SCC to facilitate discussions between SDOs, the introduction of specific evaluation criteria, a clearer complaint and appeal process, and a compliance and verification process with Action Plan (issued following SCC decision on duplication).
The self-declaration framework was introduced to allow SCC-accredited SDOs in good standing to self-declare compliance with SCC’s Requirements & Guidance documents for the publication of their standards as NSCs. The proposed self-declaration framework is based on a careful review of existing process controls, which highlighted opportunities for improvement. These improvements make the process simpler, more efficient and reduce administrative burden, while still maintaining the high-trusted value of National Standards of Canada. For a list of SDOs that have been granted self-declaration status, please visit our directory of accredited SDOs.
Q. Has the process for accrediting standards development organizations (SDOs) changed?
A. No, it has not. Any organization interested in SCC accreditation is assessed against the same requirements that apply to all SCC-accredited SDOs.
Q. How does SCC address the possible duplication of standards?
SCC-accredited SDOs are fully expected to continue their long-standing coordination practice to avoid duplication within the Canadian standards development environment and to promote opportunities for harmonization wherever possible.
The Requirements & Guidance – Accreditation of Standards Development Organizations directly address possible duplication of standards in the system (Clause 4.3, Avoiding Duplication):
“SDOs shall make every effort to address the need of the Canadian stakeholder(s) and to not duplicate or overlap with the work of other SDOs, or relevant international or regional SDOs.”
The Duplication Resolution Mechanism was updated as part of the 2017 revision of the Requirements & Guidance – Accreditation of Standards Development Organizations with the goal of reaching a timely outcome and a decision that is responsive to Canadian stakeholder needs. These updates include a more proactive role for SCC to facilitate discussions between SDOs, the introduction of specific evaluation criteria, a clearer complaint and appeal process, and a compliance and verification process with Action Plan (issued following SCC decision on duplication).
SCC’s role is to support the standardization priorities of government and industry in Canada, and, as such, welcome comments and suggestions by stakeholders on approaches to avoid duplication of efforts.
Q. How is it decided which SDO develops a standard?
A. SCC-accredited SDOs are required to ensure technical experts and affected stakeholders are involved when developing a standard, therefore, any SDO can develop standards in any area.