While accredited conformity assessment bodies (CABs) are encouraged to use information and communication technology to audit remotely, we expect our accredited organizations to comply with the following:
- The CAB shall develop risk mitigation strategies (both short term and long term) for business continuity during an emergency (e.g. COVID-19) and share these details with SCC. (The frequency and format for this information sharing will be communicated separately)
- The CAB shall inform SCC about the activities performed remotely, as a result of this pandemic, on an ongoing basis
- The CAB is responsible for handling continuous compliance activities (such as factory inspections and audits) required by applicable schemes. Further, the CAB is responsible for reviewing scheme owner requirements where remote assessments are prohibited
- The CAB shall ensure it is able to conduct remote audits using ICT whilst fulfilling the audit objectives and meeting accreditation requirements
- The CAB shall establish procedures and processes which allow for the use of ICT in accordance with IAF MD 4:2018, IAF ID 3:2011 and IAF ID 12:2015
- Inspection Bodies shall NOT conduct inspections remotely unless otherwise stated by Authorities Having Jurisdiction such as CACES or IGAC. IBs shall refer to any bulletins issued by CACES and IGAC regarding carrying out inspections during an emergency such as COVID-19
- CABs shall provide oversight for their clients. Failure of their clients to meet the applicable requirements and mitigation measures prescribed by the CAB may result in suspension or withdrawal of the clients.
As the COVID-19 pandemic progresses, SCC is taking measures in response, all of which continue to be aligned with the latest directives of our Federal and Provincial governments, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), and municipal public health authorities along with our international bodies to which we are signatories. As we gather more information and hear from our various stakeholders, we plan to share these details regularly through bulletins. Account Managers within the Accreditation Services Branch are also positioned to answer the many calls and emails they are receiving daily about next steps. As an Accreditation Body, SCC and its accredited organizations together must demonstrate reasonable due diligence and achieve a common understanding of the appropriate risk mitigation actions to be taken in order to ensure conformance with the requirements for accreditation.
This bulletin is in response to the latest developments and focuses on the expectations that SCC has of its 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 and 2020-03-19).
What further measures is SCC taking?
All international and domestic travel has been suspended (be it by air, train or car) until further notice. Specifically, SCC does not foresee booking any travel for on-site assessments during the period of April, May and June 2020.
SCC continues to encourage assessments and partial assessments remotely during this period. Guidelines for conducting remote assessments vary depending on the type of assessment and the accreditation program – in some cases, the technical requirements of the accreditation program cannot be fulfilled remotely.
SCC is now considering conducting witness audits and initial assessments remotely but on a case-by-case basis.
Consequently, SCC is solidifying its remote assessment framework considering the following:
- ISO/IEC 17011:2017 Conformity assessment — Requirements for accreditation bodies accrediting conformity assessment bodies
- IAF MD 4:2018 IAF mandatory document for the use of information and communication technology (ICT) for auditing/assessment purposes
- IAF ID 3:2011 Management of Extraordinary Events or Circumstances Affecting ABs, CABs and Certified Organizations
- IAF ID 12:2015 Principles on Remote Assessment
- The SCC Accreditation Policy
- SCC’s planning and scheduling policies and procedures
SCC is offering further Collections Relief. We value our relationship with you and understand the difficulties many of our customers may face in these uncertain times. As such, SCC has implemented a 90-day interest-free grace period for all invoices issued after February 29th. This grace period may be re-assessed at a later date.
SCC will allow an extension period of a maximum of 6 months for certificates that may expire for all applicable accreditation programs. CABs shall record where this has been applied along with supporting documentation.
SCC continues to monitor the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) Frequently Asked Questions page about the COVID-19 pandemic to inform its processes and those of our stakeholders: https://iaffaq.com
To be implemented immediately
Please contact Abdel Kassou, Manager, Compliance and Assessment Services, at firstname.lastname@example.org or +1 613 238 3222 ext. 443 for more information.