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Developing standards

Standards are developed through consensus by committees of affected stakeholders that may include representatives from industry, governments, academia and the public interest. These committees are organized and managed by an organization that specializes in the development of standards.

The Standards Council of Canada accredits Canadian standards development organizations and coordinates Canada's input in international standardization work.

The Standards Council of Canada also reviews standards submitted by standards development organizations for approval as National Standards of Canada.

The basic process by which a standard is developed is consistent among all standard development organizations, national and international. The following is a simplified breakdown of the process:

  • Identification of the need for new standard
  • Preliminary study and preparation of a draft outline
  • Establishment of a committee (pre-existing or new)
  • Committee meetings and consensus building on the draft
  • Vote on the draft standard
  • Publication of the standard

Through its Member Program, SCC also coordinates membership on international standards development committees.

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National Standards Development

The four Canadian standards development organizations may develop standards in any subject area, however they have generally agreed upon areas of specialty that reflect the expertise of their technical committees.

Once a new standard has been developed it may be sent to the Standards Council of Canada where it will be evaluated to see if it meets the criteria of a National Standard of Canada.

Key criteria for designation as a National Standard of Canada include:

  • Developed by consensus of a balanced committee of stakeholders
  • Subjected to public scrutiny
  • Published in both official languages
  • Consistent with or incorporates existing international and pertinent foreign standards
  • Does not act as a barrier to trade.

National Standards of Canada can be submitted to international standards development organizations for consideration and adoption as international standards.

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International Standards Development

International non-governmental standards are primarily developed by two organizations:

The Standards Council of Canada is involved in both organizations through the work of the Canadian National Committee of the International Organization for Standardization (CNC/ISO) and the Canadian National Committee of the International Electrotechnical Commission (CNC/IEC).

The national committees are composed of senior representatives from industry, government, the research community and public interest and consumer groups. They help to develop policy and to resolve issues that arise. The SCC supports these two committees by providing management and policy research support.