This is chapter 3 of the Consumer Product Safety in Canada orientation module. A transcript of the video follows below.
Chapter 3: Conformity assessment for consumer product safety
What is conformity assessment? Conformity assessment is the process of verifying conformity to standards; it often comprises a framework of prescribed evaluation methods, enabling a designated specialist to examine your product to ascertain its safety, functionality and quality.
This will help you establish credible proof that your product has been manufactured, imported, and is ready for sale since it will be in accordance with applicable regulations and product safety standards.
Certification provides a means of demonstrating your product’s safety. If you obtain certification through proper conformity assessment channels, such as an SCC- accredited certification body, consumers will have confidence in the integrity of your product.
Conformity assessment activities facilitate market acceptance for manufacturers, importers, and sellers, both in Canada and abroad, by providing confidence that applicable requirements are being met.
The type of scheme that is right for your product and your business greatly depends on the level of risk to the consumer in the event of any safety incident; and the nature of your product.
Some of the methods applied in the assessment of products include:
- Factory audit or inspection
- Implementation of a management system, and
- Product inspection
Conformity assessment can be conducted by
- The supplier
- The purchaser, or
- An independent organization (i.e. third party)
Third-party organizations are most often accredited by a national accreditation body like the Standards Council of Canada (SCC) to undertake conformity assessment. They ensure that standards are being applied correctly and, upon successful audits, provide certification of conformity to a specific standard.
In Canada, there is an intricate network of professional, regulators and other stakeholders who work in the community assessment environment. At the center of this network, SCC facilitates open channels of communication between industry, conformity assessment bodies and regulators.
As Canada's national accreditation body, SCC audits & accredits organizations that perform assessments of conformity to standards, including consumer product certification bodies.
Conformity assessment activities in Canada are based on a shared set of principles:
- Safeguarding the health or safety of Canadians
- Protecting the environment
- Open, accessible and credible operations
- Full cooperation with and support of regulatory requirements, and
- Methods rooted in international standards and protocols that do not create unnecessary barriers to trade.
To learn more about conformity assessment and how it can help you make safer the products you manufacture, import or sell, consult SCC’s consumer safety guidance document.