Standards and Codes

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How Standards & Codes Work in Canada

How Standards and Codes are created in Canada infographic. This image describes the relationship between the various partners and organizations to develop standards in Canada and around the world. The Standards Council of Canada S.C.C. is a National Standards Body and is a member of both the International Organization for Standardization (I.S.O.) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (I.E.C.). The I.S.O. and I.E.C. create international standards and the S.C.C. can adopt or approve these standards. The S.C.C., being a member of the I.S.O. and I.E.C. can contribute to the creation of the international standards. Along with adapting or adopting international standards, the S.C.C. accredits Standards Developing Organizations (S.D.Os.) in Canada. S.D.Os. can create Canadian standards which are then approved by the S.C.C. Canadian standards can either be voluntary or mandatory. If a Canadian standard is adopted by law, it becomes a code, which is the minimum standard all industries must attain. Codes can be adopted into law by federal, provincial or regional governments which then have the authority to enforce those codes.

How Standards & Codes Work in Canada:


Standards Developing Organizations

Standards Developing Organizations (SDOs), like the Canadian Standards Association (CSA), create a proposal for a standard based on an identified need.  SDOs in Canada are accredited by the Standards Council of Canada (SCC) to carry out standards developing projects.  They develop a standard by consulting with subject matter specialists who become members of a technical committee.


The Standards Council of Canada

The Standards Council of Canada (SCC) is a Canadian Crown Corporation and is Canada's single recognized national standards body (NSB). The Standards Council of Canada, for its role, accredits the SDOs and coordinates Canada's contribution to international standards work.  The Standards Council of Canada reviews standards by SDOs for approval as National Standards of Canada. The development of National Standards of Canada uses international standards development best practices and looks out for the interests of Canadians. These national standards may be nationally created or may be adoptions or adaptations of international standards.


The International Organization for Standardization

The Standards Council of Canada also determines Canada's participation in international standards development activities through its membership on the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). The ISO is an independent, non-governmental international organization with a membership of over one hundred national standards bodies. It brings experts together to share industry knowledge and provide for global challenges. The Standards Council of Canada works with the ISO under certain criteria such as the work should benefit trade, advance the national economy, benefit the health and safety of the public and support government initiatives.



For more information on these structures, please visit the:

  1. Standards Council of Canada:
  2. International Organization for Standardization:

This video by the Standards Council of Canada (SCC) outlines its mission to promote voluntary standardization in Canada where standardization is not provided for by law. As Canada's National Standards Body, the SCC is a leader in Canada's standardization network and manages Canada's interests by participating in international standards development.  The SCC is Canada's member at the International Organization for Standardization and the International Electrotechnical Commission.  Lastly, the SCC is a driving force in accreditation so that organizations operate at the highest possible levels.

Introduction to the Standards Council of Canada.
View Introduction to the Standards Council of Canada on Youtube


Our world moves quickly, very quickly. Most of the time it's like a choreographed dance in which everything just seems to work together. You take it all for granted -- quality, consistency, safety. And we rarely think about how all this comes to be. Behind almost everything in our lives is a sophisticated network of guidelines, rules and requirements, all designed to ensure things don't go wrong.

What we're talking about are standards. The carefully, designed specifications for virtually all products services and processes that shape how we live, work and play. Standards come to life through blueprints and prototypes, on production lines, in workplaces and laboratories, hospitals and schools and street corners, guiding the way Canada builds and innovates and competes successfully in the global marketplace.

We are the Standards Council of Canada. Since 1970, we have been leading Canada's standardization network. People working together to create standards and assess how we comply with them. Here's what we do. We safeguard Canadian interests by working with organizations to develop standards. These organizations share our passion and commitment to getting it right every time. We're also a driving force in accreditation ensuring that organizations called conformity assessment bodies operate at the highest possible level. Essentially, we test the testers.

Consider the marks on your toaster or on the lights you use on your home everyday. Those marks are only as reliable as the tests behind them. And it's because of these certification marks from SCC accredited bodies that we can trust things that are essential to our well-being. The Standards Council of Canada that we can trust things that are essential to our well-being. The Standards Council of Canada accredits hundreds of conformity assessment bodies in Canada and throughout the world that provides certification, testing, inspection and calibration services and more.

We work with committees involving more than 3,000 Canadians -- the people who work hard to develop and revise standards. These committees determine the best way of doing things, whether it's safety, performance, efficiency, reliability or protecting the environment. And they do this through an open and transparent approach based on collaboration and consensus.

Beyond Canada's borders, we help to set new global standards and work to improve standards that are already in place. We ensure Canada's voice and our input into global standards are heard at the highest international levels. This is essential because globalization is changing the way we think about standardization. And for us, this means, one standard, one test accepted everywhere.

Yes, things move quickly. It's pretty clear that change is constant. And at the Standards Council of Canada, we believe that's very exciting. We're proud of the work we do: delivering solutions to government and industry, working with consumer representatives, boosting Canada's economy, driving innovation in the marketplace and protecting and improving the overall quality of life for Canadians -- it's our purpose and our passion.



Canada's standardization network includes participants, beneficiaries and partners such as industry, consumers and non-governmental organizations and governments.  In addition, you also have accredited organizations such as inspection bodies, greenhouse gas validation/verification bodies, personnel certifiers, management systems certification bodies, product/service certification bodies, calibration and testing laboratories, standards development organizations, international and regional standardization bodies, and the Standards Council of Canada.

This diagram, from the Standards Council of Canada, demonstrates the many elements of Canada's standardization network.  It indicates partners such as industry, consumer group and governments, the work of accredited bodies such as calibration and testing laboratories and the connections among the Standards Council of Canada, standards developing organizations and international standardization bodies such as the International Organization for Standardization.



Standards Council of Canada. (2019). Canada's standardization network, Retrieved from:


Standards developing organizations (SDOs) are organizations whose main goal is to develop, coordinate, revise, amend, reissue or produce technical standards that address the needs of affected adopters.

Examples of relevant SDOs include:

  1. Canadian Standards Association (CSA)
  2. Institute of Electrical & Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
  3. American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)
  4. American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM)




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