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Simply defined, standards are documents that describe the important features of a product, service or system. There are thousands of standards in use around the world that cover everything, from the simplest screw thread to the most complex information technology network.

Standards can help organizations ensure their products and services are consistent, compatible, effective, and safe. They also help the public understand these important safety requirements.

Most standards are voluntary - there are no laws requiring their application - but an increasingly competitive market place for goods and services means that more and more customers are demanding adherence to specific standards. Governments also make some standards mandatory by referencing them legislatively or through regulations.

The Standards Council of Canada (SCC) does not develop standards itself,  but it plays the important role of coordinating standards work in Canada and ensuring Canada's input on standards issues in international standards organizations.  The SCC accredits Canadian standards development organizations (SDOs)  and also approves Canadian standards as National Standards of Canada based on a specific set of requirements.

Expert committees representing standards developing organizations, manufacturers, governments, consumers and other interested parties develop standards at the national and international levels. The SCC supports the work of over 15,000 members from various stakeholder groups working on 1,000 national and international standardization committees.

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