SCC is continuing to monitor and respond to the evolving situation of COVID-19, through the Public Agency of Canada (PHAC), Ottawa Public Health, and the Federal Government. The safety of our staff, contract assessors and accredited organizations remains paramount in all decisions being made.
- If your organization is due for an assessment/inspection this year, you will be contacted by your Scheduler/Planner to discuss options. Guidance for conducting remote assessments vary depending on the type of program, the type of activity, and access to information communication technology.
- For additional information, refer to the recently published “Guidelines for SCC Remote Assessments/Inspections”.
This bulletin is in response to the latest developments and focuses on new guidance that SCC can provide to our conformity assessment bodies (CABs) and, to a lesser extent, their clients during this crisis. It complements the earlier-issued SCC Accreditation Services Bulletins (dated 2020-03-05, 2020-03-16, 2020-03-19, and 2020-04-24).
What are the latest updates on measures SCC is taking?
International travel is curtailed until the calendar year end, and as restrictions for domestic travel are lifted interprovincial quarantines may still apply; This, in itself, presents barriers to doing on-site assessments. SCC assessors and contractors are not permitted to travel under any circumstances until further notice.
- All SCC staff continue to work from home and a return to our downtown Ottawa office is not anticipated until at least January 2021. Assessors and staff administering and supporting the delivery of accreditation services have adapted and have been provided with additional tools so core work continues to advance.
- We are using ZOOM and Microsoft TEAMS as our collaboration tools and providing contract assessors with web-conferencing technology accounts.
- To date, we have conducted 99 remote assessments. These assessments are primarily office assessments for non-laboratory programs, and partial assessments of quality management systems within testing laboratories. Feedback from our customers has been positive. Many are satisfied with the quality of their recent remote SCC assessment and would like to see this assessment methodology be employed for future activities, where feasible.
To continue our oversight as an internationally recognized Accreditation Body, we are presently determining the feasibility of executing remote assessments for activities and programs which were originally not targeted (for example, witness audits in CBAP*, IBAP*, MSAP*, GHG*, and GLP Inspections* - NEW*). We anticipate piloting these activities this fall - if not sooner. Please stay tuned for program-specific Accreditation Bulletins in the upcoming weeks. Your cooperation in conducting remote assessments is crucial to fulfilling accreditation oversight and monitoring.
Thank you for completing the Extraordinary Event Customer Survey (EECS). We had an excellent response from our customers and this feedback will assist us with the future planning of remote assessments. Here are some of the things we have heard:
- A majority (83%) of SCC accredited/recognized organizations have business continuity plans or have established new procedures/policies to support short-medium term action plans, to demonstrate continued system effectiveness
- Some organizations are using remote assessment techniques (and using IAF MD4), others are waiting for confirmation on whether conducting remote assessments is feasible.
Many organizations described high-level strategic plans for telecommuting, health monitoring, disinfection, and return to work activities.
- We remain committed to working with you to continue assessment activities – Account Managers and Scheduler/Planners will be in frequent communication with you (for assistance in completing the remote feasibility forms) to determine the best approach for SCC and your organization.