Trust, safety and international success
Trust, a fundamental component of trading relationships, is fostered through accreditation. Using international standards and accredited conformity assessment in regulations can instill confidence in goods and services, allowing businesses access to a broader international marketplace while enhancing the quality and safety of imports.
A robust quality system is crucial to ensure that consumers, businesses and regulators can trust the safety, reliability and quality of goods and services entering their market.
Governments and regulators can implement such quality systems to help safeguard health, safety and environmental well-being, while not creating technical barriers to trade. This in turn creates a level playing field for Canadian businesses of all sizes to compete on the global stage.
Technical trade barriers arise when a country enacts technical regulations, conformity assessment procedures or standards that impose unnecessary restrictions on trade. As a result, exporters and importers may face obstacles such as burdensome, costly and duplicative testing, verification, inspection, calibration and certification procedures to demonstrate compliance with foreign standards and regulations.
SCC accreditation and conformity assessment: enabling international trade
The Standards Council of Canada (SCC) works to facilitate trade between Canada and its partners. One way it does this is by using accreditation as a tool to signal that Canadian goods and services meet internationally recognized standards. This paves the way for broader acceptance by importing countries.
As Canada’s national accreditation body, SCC accredits conformity assessment bodies like testing laboratories, and organizations that certify, inspect and verify. These conformity assessment bodies determine whether goods, services or systems meet the requirements of a particular standard or regulation.
Accredited conformity assessment bodies provide a layer of trustworthiness and confidence in the international trading system. Their accreditation by an internationally recognized accreditation body, like SCC, signals their impartiality, competence, and reliability to accurately assess whether tradable products and services meet stringent requirements of governments, industries, and the global marketplace.
Global recognition and internationally accepted results through ILAC and IAF
As a member and signatory of the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) and the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC), SCC plays a crucial role in supporting global trade.
Through international arrangements, these organizations promote the acceptance of results from accredited conformity assessment bodies by signatory members worldwide, reducing trade barriers and fostering trust among trading partners.
Frameworks for the mutual recognition of accreditation, such as these, ensure that procedures completed by accredited conformity assessment bodies are more likely to be trusted and accepted by trading partners, thereby reducing time to market, costs and bureaucratic red tape for exporters and importers.
By using accredited conformity assessment bodies, Canadian businesses seeking to export their products and services can enjoy several benefits:
- Enhanced product and system quality and safety
- Increased global recognition for products or services
- Reduced costs and improved efficiency
- Lower business risks
- Competitive export advantage
Canada's implementation of conformity assessment protocols with the European Union and United Kingdom
SCC has taken significant steps to implement conformity assessment protocols with two of our key trading partners: the European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom (UK). These protocols aim to facilitate mutual recognition and acceptance of accreditation, allowing industries to have certain products certified at home in accordance with their trading partners’ requirements.
For instance, the protocol with the EU will allow Canada and the EU to recognize each other’s accredited conformity assessment bodies as competent entities to certify goods to their respective requirements. This mutual acceptance of conformity assessment results expedites the certification process, saving time and money for industries while reducing costs for consumers.
Notably, the successful implementation of the ATEX/HAZLOC product category, covering equipment for use in potentially explosive atmospheres, highlights the collaborative efforts between Canada and the EU. And work is underway to implement other categories of goods.
Additionally, Canada and the UK are actively collaborating to establish a framework for recognizing each other's conformity assessment bodies. This ongoing work aims to streamline trade processes and establish mutual recognition, providing a solid foundation for continued strong trade relations.
By promoting mutual recognition and acceptance of accredited conformity assessment results, these initiatives facilitate trade, strengthen relationships, and create a more efficient and cost-effective environment for industries. As a result, businesses benefit from reduced administrative burdens, accelerated market access, and increased opportunities for growth, ultimately delivering enhanced value to consumers.
Want to know more?
You can reach out to the Standards Council of Canada if you or your organization wants to learn more about accreditation. We offer training, can present to a group and can answer questions on a one-on-one basis. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.