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Canadian Association for Laboratory Accreditation Inc.

Building Laboratory Excellence

Canadian Standards Strategy

The discussion draft (only 5 pages long!) of a new Canadian Standards Strategy is available for downloading at for your review and comment. We encourage you to send them a comment by email, even if you are satisfied with the draft.

Various background documents are also available at the web site, including the issues paper that was prepared by a Stakeholder Advisory Council on which CAEAL was represented.

The specific issues that CAEAL identified (December 1998) were:

  1. We need uniform North American standards for lab accreditation, and associated Mutual Recognition between accreditation authorities.

  2. SCC's legislated mandate restricts its lab accreditation activities to NAFTA countries, which is a restriction on the Canadian lab industry.

  3. There should be a strategic approach to the development of Mutual Recognition Agreements, recognizing that environmental labs constitute 40% of all labs accredited by SCC.

  4. How can industry participate in developing and presenting Canadian positions on draft international standards?

  5. The environmental lab accreditation system operated by the Government of Quebec is a technical barrier to trade because it prohibits other Canadian labs from operating inside Quebec.

  6. Environment Canada's principal legislation, the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, does not identify a standard for laboratory analysis (ISO/IEC Guide 25) although it deals with the most hazardous chemicals in the country.

  7. The federal government is increasingly relying on the SCC to operate lab assessment programs to fill regulatory objectives of the federal government but the SCC resources are being severely stretched to accommodate the demand.

  8. Environmental standards and methods such as those developed under the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME) should be developed within the National Standards System to avoid having different requirements from province to province.

  9. The SCC needs to become more responsive and accountable to its clients because labs currently complain about poor planning, poorly understood processes, lack of response, and high cost.

  10. Stakeholder commitment is vital to keep the system functioning and to renew it by attracting new volunteers.