April 2018

Dear CALA Community,

In the next couple of weeks, CALA will be hosting its 2018 Annual General Meeting, and as I write my first message for the CALA annual report I can’t help but reflect on the changes at CALA in 2017.  I thought I would use this issue of the newsletter to summarize these changes and bring you up to date on activities here at CALA.  

The most obvious change is the one that brought me to CALA.  In June of 2017 CALA bid farewell to C. Charles (Charlie) Brimley as he retired after serving CALA as CEO for eight years.  Charlie was at the helm of the organisation when current initiatives like the new Association Management System (AMS) got off the ground.  CALA had been working with Cobalt, a U.S. based organization, to develop the Membership and Proficiency Testing modules of the system.  Moving forward, CALA has also engaged the services of Corporate Renaissance Group (CRG), located in Ottawa, to develop the Accreditation module.

In the past year CALA also decided to put an increased emphasis on marketing and communications.   Projects have already been initiated that will become more visible to you as the year progresses.  These include a market research and analysis program to identify markets that offer CALA opportunities for growth, undertaking a website refresh to enhance our communications efforts, and a corporate branding exercise to look at how CALA positions itself in the marketplace.  

CALA Training also underwent significant change in 2017.   In March, we moved training to Shopify as its online store and to LearnUpon as its learning management system.  The feedback received from our customers on both these changes has been very positive.  CALA also looked to virtual delivery of training, to give our customers the option to sign up for training without leaving their office and to schedule it when it best suits their needs.  CALA can now offer courses to many countries around the world.  And lastly, one of the most recent and exciting developments is our ability to now offer select courses in French.  You can find out more about this in the Training section of this newsletter.

When considering the changes that occurred in 2017 I can’t overlook the changes that touch the very heart of what CALA is and does.  November 2017 saw the introduction of two updated standards:  ISO/IEC 17025:2017 General requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories and ISO/IEC 17011:2017 Conformity assessment -- Requirements for accreditation bodies accrediting conformity assessment bodies.  

Accredited laboratories have three years from the date of release (November 29th 2017) to comply with the requirements of ISO/IEC 17025:2017 and be accredited to that standard.  The new standard brings changes for CALA, as all our policy, guidance and working documents will need to be updated to reflect the requirements of the new standard.  CALA assessors will be trained on the new standard at the Biennial training scheduled for the week of April 23rd 2018.  If you have questions about the new standard and what it means for your laboratory, please visit the CALA website.  There you will find resources to support your transition to the new standard including a CALA Crosswalk Comparison Chart that we are making available to everyone free of charge.  CALA Training also has course offerings to help you prepare for transition to the new standard.

The last change I’ll mention is the new version of ISO/IEC 17011:2017, also released in November 2017.  To comply with the requirements of this revised standard, CALA will need to separate its Proficiency Testing (PT) from its Accreditation activities.  During 2018 we will be working on options to meet this requirement and be presenting it to the Board at the November 2018 meeting.  The plan will then go to the 2019 AGM so members can vote on the proposal.  

While 2017 brought many changes to CALA it is clear there are many more in store for at least for the next couple of years.  I invite you all to visit the CALA website regularly to keep up-to-date and to take a few minutes to review this newsletter to know what’s going on with your association.  

Best wishes for a safe and warm spring.

Andrew Adams

President & CEO