The Standards Council of Canada (SCC) is a Crown corporation whose mandate is set out in the Standards Council of Canada Act. The mandate of SCC is to promote efficient and effective voluntary standardization in Canada where standardization is not expressly provided for by law. SCC guides the work of standardization in Canada and is Canada’s national accreditation body. There are close to 500 accreditations delivered by SCC to organizations to look after the day-to-day work of standards development, certification, calibration and testing, as well as management systems registration. SCC also coordinates people and organizations to represent Canada on the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) for standards, and represents Canada at certification and testing on the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) and the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC).
SCC provides regular updates on its activities through official reporting requirements. These include our Corporate Plan and Annual Report, public quarterly financial statements, financial disclosures, public meetings and events. Ongoing updates are also provided through our monthly newsletter and timely online reporting activities, including news items, Web content and social media.
SCC’s Council is responsible for the stewardship of SCC and sets the strategic direction for the organization. The Council has two standing committees: the Audit Committee and the Corporate Governance Committee.
SCC invites Canadians who are interested in participating in standards development and learning more about standardization to subscribe to the SCC Monthly Newsletter. We also welcome questions about our work and the value we deliver to Canada. Questions can be sent to SCC at any time.
SCC’s next Annual Report will be published after June 30, 2018, following its official tabling in Parliament. In the meantime, to learn more about our work and priorities, you can read past SCC Annual Reports as well as the update on our activities included below. Over the past year, we have worked with government, industry, consumers and other stakeholders to deliver on the following three priorities:
In fiscal year 2017-2018, SCC continued to work with Canadian businesses and governments, to assist Canadian innovators with standardization solutions to help shape marketplace rules to Canada’s benefit.
We helped Canadian innovators use standardization as a strategic instrument for setting international market policies and establish future technology platforms or opportunities. SCC also worked to ensure standardization was considered early in the development phase of new and innovative technologies to ensure Canadian companies could build critical mass to set new standards and accelerate a technology’s time to market. We also remained focussed on fostering critical partnerships with government, research institutions, businesses and industries to develop initiatives that will help propel innovative Canadian products and services to the global stage – particularly in areas that have the greatest potential economic value for Canada.
SCC continued its important work on three projects to facilitate the development of international standards in sectors of strategic importance to Canada, and as a result, helped to shape key global marketplace rules in Canada’s favour. One project involved the creation of standardized graphical building blocks for Human Machine Interface (HMI) applications used in power plants; the second sets out a standardized method for measuring nanoscale objects in three dimensions using tomography in Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM), and the third dealt with the development of a performance standard for marine sensors – which are critical as we use our oceans in new and innovative ways—from oil and gas exploration to aquaculture to marine parks.
To ensure Canada remained a leader in an ever-evolving technological environment, SCC also aligned its work with the Government of Canada’s Innovation and Skills Plan, to help to identify—and assist in the development of—standardization solutions for innovative technologies in sectors of priority for Canada that had high growth and export potential. When Canada sets the international standards for the technologies we develop, we gain a position of leadership and a competitive market advantage.
Over the past year, SCC worked hard to make sure that Canada had a place of leadership at international standardization tables. This helped Canada’s innovative ideas, products and services succeed in the highly competitive global market. It’s also why SCC remained focused on providing a strong Canadian voice nationally, regionally and internationally—and on ensuring we had the most qualified experts to speak on Canada’s behalf. And with global uncertainty resulting from events around the world, standards continue to provide an ongoing framework of stability and certainty.
As the representative for Canada at both the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), SCC sought opportunities to encourage and increase the influence of Canadian industry leaders, technical experts, scientists, government policy and regulatory representatives, as well as consumers on the committees that matter most to Canada. We focussed our efforts on strategically coordinating, aligning and acquiring financial support for the participation of these experts and made sure the best, most suitable candidates represented Canada on these international committees. Similarly, we identified opportunities at the regional level to influence and push forward Canada’s agenda.
As one of the most trade-dependent G-7 nations, Canada’s continued economic growth is also heavily dependent on our ability to get our exports into the global marketplace—and standards play a critical role in making sure this happens. SCC continued to strengthen its relationships with stakeholders in key trading partner countries through existing cooperation agreements. In particular, we helped bolster Canada’s relationship with China by having SCC’s CEO assume an advisory role on the China Standardization Expert Committee (CSEC). This affords a unique opportunity to provide input into China’s future standardization plans, and ultimately, helps open the door to new trade opportunities for Canada.
We also increased opportunities for Canadian companies by strengthening our relationships with and assisting regional standardization organizations such as the Pacific Area Standards Congress (PASC) and the Pan American Standards Commission (COPANT) to develop strategies that were mutually beneficial between their member countries and Canada. SCC also maintained its signatory status with the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) and the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) to help facilitate trade through an efficient system of conformity assessment at the regional and international levels.
SCC is a signatory member, representing Canada in a number of international and regional accreditation associations (IAF, ILAC, and IAAC) and has signed multilateral agreements with other member countries to recognize each other’s accreditation. This means that an accreditation by SCC is accepted as equal by the accreditation body in these member countries. This helps remove trade barriers across nations with an efficient system of conformity assessment accepted globally. Accreditation bodies are also peer evaluated and exposure to best practices that are subsequently adopted also leads to efficiencies.
In fiscal year 2017-2018, SCC continued to focus on strengthening ties with the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) and the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization (CENELEC). We took advantage of a newly launched partnership that provided Canadian experts with the opportunity to participate in the development of European standards. This gave Canadian companies increased access to European markets. In addition, we continued to work with stakeholders to understand the requirements of the Canada-European Union: Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) and pursued ways that standardization can bolster trade between Canada and the European Union.
Differences in standards referenced in regulations not only create marketplace obstacles but also increase costs for Canadian consumers. SCC therefore continued its important work to facilitate the development of joint standards between Canada and the United States, between Canada and Mexico, and trilaterally, where possible. We also worked with the Government of Canada offering expert advice on standardization in support of efforts to modernize the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Finally, SCC also identified opportunities to update its requirements and guidance documents so that they are better aligned with standards development requirements at the regional level.
Creating a strong standardization network that delivers real value to Canada is a team effort. As the leader of Canada’s standardization network, SCC continued to bring together all members of the network to develop and implement standardization solutions and initiatives that better protect consumers, promote domestic and international trade, support sustainable development and fuel our economy. To do this, the organization must remain flexible and nimble so that we are responsive to the needs of stakeholders, while continuing to support Canada’s strategic priorities.
Through SCC’s Provincial-Territorial Advisory Committee (PTAC) and as Secretariat to the National Public Safety Advisory Committee (NPSAC), SCC helped to align standards and regulations across Canada. We also worked with the provinces and territories to develop a plan for the future implementation of the Canadian Free Trade Agreement (CFTA). Varying provincial and territorial regulations and standards within Canada have created internal trade barriers that have resulted in chronic economic inefficiencies and lost opportunities. Removing these barriers through the CFTA is a priority for the Government of Canada and SCC successfully supported these efforts over the past year.
SCC remained focused on providing standardization solutions at both the federal and provincial/territorial levels. We continued to partner with federal departments and agencies to implement strategies to ensure that standards referenced in regulations were relevant and up-to-date. We also provided support to the provinces and territories as they completed inventories of standards referenced in their regulations. This ongoing work helps ensure standardization principles are implemented in their long-term plans, thus reducing internal trade barriers and enhancing coordination across Canada.
This past year, dealing with the impacts of climate change was another priority for the federal government – and for SCC – particularly in Canada’s North. To support this objective, SCC led the development of standardization solutions that will help adapt infrastructure to our changing climate. In fact, SCC pioneered a new program to develop standardization guidance for weather data, climate information and climate change projections. And SCC invested in updating a broad range of existing critical standards that ensure infrastructure is climate-ready in Canada’s North—and across the country.
SCC also focussed on outreach so that key stakeholders fully understood the benefits of standardization. We modernized our business infrastructure in several areas and refined and enhanced our online presence to ensure we reach more people—so that all Canadians better understand the value of standardization.
Most importantly, our ongoing ability to deliver value to Canada also depended largely on SCC’s team of highly skilled and knowledgeable staff. To ensure we retained the expert staff necessary to effectively execute and deliver on SCC’s ambitious plan, we focussed on training and succession planning for all critical positions. We also continued to foster a culture of innovation and high performance by encouraging skills such as leadership, teamwork, trust and transparency at all levels of the organization.
Ultimately, SCC delivered significant value to Canada through standardization and helped ensure we remain a strong, more competitive and innovative nation – now, and in the future.
Stay tuned for SCC’s 2017-2018 Annual Report to learn more about our work in these important areas and how standardization consistently delivers strategic value for Canada.