SCC is taking measures to prepare and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. SCC is continuing to monitor the situation through the Public Agency of Canada (PHAC), Ottawa Public Health and the Federal Government. The safety of our staff, contract assessors and accredited organizations is paramount in all decisions being made.
We invite you to communicate with your SCC Scheduler/Planner and Account Manager to verify if your assessment might be impacted by the current situation which is changing daily.
What measures is SCC taking?
Domestic travel within Canada is being monitored, heavily scrutinized and is currently restricted for the next three weeks. SCC is performing a risk assessment on a case-by case basis and will continue its planned activities (remote where feasible) taking into consideration the safety and comfort level of our assessors and accredited organizations with an attempt to minimize disruption for both accredited organizations and SCC.
International travel (including to the United States) advisories are being monitored. All trips outside of Canada are being cancelled.
SCC is continuing to assess risks and possible amendments for upcoming assessments that may be affected by government travel restrictions and/or public health directives in the short and longer term (i.e. next 3 months). In order to mitigate these risks, several short-term measures are being put in place:
- SCC is evaluating assessment due dates to accommodate accreditation requirements of all accredited organizations. Assessment due dates may be modified.
- Priority is being given to laboratory assessments transitioning to ISO17025:2017 and what aspects can still be evaluated without an onsite visit.
- SCC will consider alternate assessment methodologies such as remote assessments, desk reviews/audits, telephone interviews. This is with the objective of limiting travel of SCC staff and contractors. SCC is considering deploying assessors situated close to the organization’s location to limit travel time and ensure their health and safety.
- If these solutions are not an option, SCC will consider postponing the assessment activities, based on a risk assessment (e.g., organization’s accreditation history, etc.). Once it is safe to conduct assessments, each case will be reevaluated to ensure organizations they continue to conform to their accreditation requirements.
What does SCC expect from their accredited organizations?
SCC will be communicating closely with the accredited organizations immediately affected. These include organizations whose assessments are in the next couple of weeks and until end of June 2020.
SCC welcomes information from accredited organizations as to the extent of the affected services and business areas and sites, and number of affected clients.
Accredited organizations must conduct their own risk assessment of their operations to determine if their clients can continue to operate.
Accredited organizations are encouraged to use alternate methodologies during their assessments (e.g., witness audits, internal audits, etc.) such as remote assessments, desk reviews/audits, telephone interviews and limiting travel of their staff.
If these solutions are not an option and activities need to be postponed, the surveillance activities should be resumed as soon as it is safe to do so. This may mean more surveillance activities in the remainder of the cycle.
The risk assessment, alternate assessment methodologies used, modifications needed to the cycle, and the operational disruption will need to be documented with a justification, and made available to SCC upon request.
SCC will continue to operate and appreciates the patience of the accreditation community while SCC monitors the situation.
This bulletin concerns all SCC accredited organizations with an update to the earlier SCC Accreditation Services Bulletin dated 2020-03-04 given the fast-evolving turn of events in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.
SCC is ensuring that SCC accredited organizations are aware of what measures SCC is taking at this time and what expectations SCC has from their accredited organizations. This is aligned with the IAF informative document ID3:2011 (Informative Document for Management of Extraordinary Events or Circumstances Affecting ABs, CABs and Certified Organizations for Management of Extraordinary Events or Circumstances Affecting accredited organizations).
For any further questions, please contact Abdel Kassou, Manager, Compliance and Assessment Services, Accreditation Services, at firstname.lastname@example.org or +1 613 238 3222 ext. 443.