Dear CALA Community,
This will be both a busy and different year for CALA. With the publication of ISO/IEC 17025:2017 on November 29th 2017, accredited labs now have until November 29th 2020, to be reassessed to the new standard. While CALA started planning for this new standard well before its publication, there is still a lot of work to be done in 2018.
The introduction of a new standard may seem straight forward, however it comes with many considerations and lots of questions. For example, if labs have three years to conform to the new standard, when will CALA stop assessing labs to the previous standard (ISO/IEC 17025:2005)? If a lab is seeking accreditation for the first time in February 2018, can they be accredited to the previous (2005) standard? Or must they meet the requirements of the new (2017) standard? Looking forward to 2020, when is the last date a lab can be assessed and have a reasonable expectation of meeting the requirements of accreditation to the new standard by the deadline? Answers to these and other questions you may have, and what it means for your lab, can be found in the Accreditation Update section of this newsletter. As well, you can always visit the CALA website link to the ISO/IEC 17025 Transition page.
In addition to the planning for these timelines over the next three years, CALA must also provide training on the new standard to its assessors, revise and update guidance and policy documents, and update training materials just to name a few things.
CALA is also in the last year of development of a new Association Management System (AMS). The next few months will place a heavy demand on CALA staff to test the new system and ensure the required functionality is present and everything works as expected. Towards the end of 2018 we anticipate rolling this out to our members and providing improved on-line service.
And if that isn't enough, in 2018 CALA will be planning its own future. The ISO/IEC 17011:2017 standard was published at the same time as ISO/IEC 17025. This standard gives accreditation bodies (ABs) three years to meet its requirements. One of the key changes to impact CALA, is that ABs can no longer be proficiency testing (PT) providers. As CALA is both, there will be a need to separate PT from Accreditation. In order to meet the deadline for this new standard, 2018 will see us busy planning CALA's future structure.
It promises to be an interesting year ahead. We look forward to continuing our service to the CALA community. Keep an eye on the quarterly newsletter for program and business updates. As always, I welcome any comments and feedback
Best wishes for the new year.
President & CEO